The Future of Another Timeline

The Future of Another Timeline

From Annalee Newitz, founding editor of io9, comes a story of time travel, murder, and the lengths we'll go to protect the ones we love.1992: After a confrontation at a riot grrl concert, seventeen-year-old Beth finds herself in a car with her friend's abusive boyfriend dead in the backseat, agreeing to help her friends hide the body. This murder sets Beth and her friends...

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Title:The Future of Another Timeline
Author:Annalee Newitz
Rating:

The Future of Another Timeline Reviews

  • K

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I beta read for this book at the end of 2018 to offer some insights into the musical material that forms a key part of the plot.

    I initially beta read this novel to lend my expertise as a popular music historian and, yet, I found myself completely caught up in the narrative structure and overall message of this novel – that we ultimately have the power to change our timeline. I don't usually enjoy time travel stories, but I am huge fan of alternate histories. This one worked for

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I beta read for this book at the end of 2018 to offer some insights into the musical material that forms a key part of the plot.

    I initially beta read this novel to lend my expertise as a popular music historian and, yet, I found myself completely caught up in the narrative structure and overall message of this novel – that we ultimately have the power to change our timeline. I don't usually enjoy time travel stories, but I am huge fan of alternate histories. This one worked for me because it combined those two sub-genres and there was just enough familiar material for me to latch onto. Like the author, I am a Gen-Xer who grew up in Orange County, CA. Many of the details relating the the teenagers in Irvine, Newport Beach, and Los Angeles felt immediately close to what surrounded me as a teenager, from how kids south of LA understood that metropolitan area to what it's like to grow up with so many entertainment industry folks flirting (inappropriately) with high school girls. There's also a lot of music in this novel, from references to riot grrrl to the revolutionary role of some songs from the music hall era. Beyond all of those delicious details, it was that story in the late 20th century that kept me the most emotionally invested even as some of the leaps around the timeline got a bit dizzying, including such stops as the Chicago World's Fair and the near future where the characters are trying to figure out how to stop misogynists tampering with the timeline. Ultimately, the hopeful message really won out and made me feel far more optimistic about the present moment than I otherwise would have imagined. That, I think, is ultimately what made reading this novel so pleasurable.

    This book is unabashedly feminist in the most inclusive meaning of the word. It helps if you have some sense of the history of the women's rights movement as well as the major challenges to it. Because it's a book about fighting against relentless misogyny, there are some seriously violent and even triggering moments having to do with death and abuse. The violence and threats are there from the beginning, so there's no real hiding from it. IMO, those elements heightened the emotional stakes and made reading this incredibly satisfying. Highly recommended.

  • Libertie

    Hell yes! I was lucky enough to grab an advance reader copy from this year's BookExpo, and while I loved Annalee Newitz's previous novel,

    , they have really outdone themself with this wickedly smart story about the battle for humanity's future (and past). I tend to drag books out, but I tore through

    in a few rapt sessions, setting the book down only to shout delightedly about it to my partner or shake the chills out of my body when the story hit close t

    Hell yes! I was lucky enough to grab an advance reader copy from this year's BookExpo, and while I loved Annalee Newitz's previous novel,

    , they have really outdone themself with this wickedly smart story about the battle for humanity's future (and past). I tend to drag books out, but I tore through

    in a few rapt sessions, setting the book down only to shout delightedly about it to my partner or shake the chills out of my body when the story hit close to home.

    The book follows two protagonists, one a riot grrrl navigating the trauma of familial abuse and a toxic friendship in the early nineties, the other a member of the Daughters of Harriet, a secret society working to legalize abortion by changing history. Both are white, cis women but the story is peppered with Black, Latinx, immigrant, and transgender folks. I loved the complex, conflicted, and ferocious characters Newitz has written! (Which was a surprise because all the characters in "Autonomous" seemed deliberately unlikable.) The plot moves across hundreds of millions of years but focuses on two critical periods: the end of the 19th century and the early 1990s. This allows Newitz to weave together a spectacular cast that includes punk rockers, spiritualists, anarchist revolutionaries, and burlesque performers – many of whom were either real persons or patterned after historical figures. As a lover of history and biography, I was elated at the inclusion of radicals Lucy Parsons and Emma Goldman as nuanced supporting characters, along with Anthony Comstock, a real life villain who fits perfectly into an epic story about the fight for reproductive freedom.

    The book succeeds both as a gripping scifi narrative—packing some fantastic plot twists that don't rely on overly convoluted time travel mechanics—and a thoughtful exploration of profound questions; most notably, "what causes social change?". Would-be timeline editors debate and test the merits of interventions informed by both the "Great Man" and "Collective Action" theories of history. And while all of the action takes place in the past, the underlying political struggle feels terrifyingly relevant to our present. Throughout, Newitz's social commentary manages to stay sharp rather than heavy handed and the story is dark but hopeful. That tone combined with thoroughly original world building keeps the book from being reducible to a mashup of

    and

    (though it would certainly appeal to fans of either).

    My only disappointment is that Newitz leans heavily into a thread about transmisogyny (i.e. hatred of trans women) and then seems to abandon it half way through the book. One of my favorite chapters revolves around a transgender character named Bernice who gets rescued and then never really shows up again. And although a persistent character may be nonbinary, trans people (and their liberation) sort of unceremoniously disappears from the plot.

    I seriously loved this book and can't wait to see what Annalee Newitz writes next! No doubt it will be fucking brilliant.

  • Olav

    Torn between four and five stars, so a solid 4.5/5.

    is built around one great big idea: a covert war between time travelling factions battling over women's rights. This takes the form of legislation to enfranchise women with the vote, and access to abortion and contraception, as well as shifting subtler cultural attitudes.

    The book pivots between two main points of view: a teenager in Irvine California in the 1990s facing the effects of a world in which women have fe

    Torn between four and five stars, so a solid 4.5/5.

    is built around one great big idea: a covert war between time travelling factions battling over women's rights. This takes the form of legislation to enfranchise women with the vote, and access to abortion and contraception, as well as shifting subtler cultural attitudes.

    The book pivots between two main points of view: a teenager in Irvine California in the 1990s facing the effects of a world in which women have fewer rights, and a time-travelling academic (and covert agent) trying to improve those rights.

    The level of research (and just plain background knowledge) Newitz brings to the table enriches this story. Obscure historical figures, cultural movements and legal battles make the conflict more viscerally real.

    Time and again, I was forcibly reminded that the villains of

    exist in our world, and we don't need time travel to draw a straight line between Anthony Comstock and Jordan Peterson.

    [Full disclosure: Received an ARC from the publisher. Working on a more complete review with other readers for our blog hugoclub.blogspot.ca]

  • Anabel Boyanova

    This book felt a little bit difficult to get into, but once you get past the set-up of the time travel conceit there’s a really intriguing story woven in and amazing feminist themes!! I love the dual narrative of Eliza and Beth - the two narratives intertwine in a very powerful way and it creates an entirely new dynamic mid-book that’s very compelling. There are also so many really beautiful B-stories with the women surrounding Eliza and Beth.

    It's a really beautiful story of a woman trying to ri

    This book felt a little bit difficult to get into, but once you get past the set-up of the time travel conceit there’s a really intriguing story woven in and amazing feminist themes!! I love the dual narrative of Eliza and Beth - the two narratives intertwine in a very powerful way and it creates an entirely new dynamic mid-book that’s very compelling. There are also so many really beautiful B-stories with the women surrounding Eliza and Beth.

    It's a really beautiful story of a woman trying to right the wrongs of her past and save the best friend who changed her life. The book also touches on and gives thoughtful historical context on race issues, gender nonconformity, anti-Semitism, and more. This is one of those books that has more, rather than less, and so it can feel dense and slow-going at times – but the actual premise and themes presented in the book are very compelling emotionally.

  • Jen

    ** I read an advance reader copy of this book. **

    This is a timely book that pictures what could very well be our future as our present day. The world in which the characters exist is one in which women's rights have been severely curtailed and there is a group of men who are looking to curtail those rights even more. The world is one in which time travel exists and the main characters are fighting to overturn the changes the men are making in the past that lead to women having fewer and fewer ri

    ** I read an advance reader copy of this book. **

    This is a timely book that pictures what could very well be our future as our present day. The world in which the characters exist is one in which women's rights have been severely curtailed and there is a group of men who are looking to curtail those rights even more. The world is one in which time travel exists and the main characters are fighting to overturn the changes the men are making in the past that lead to women having fewer and fewer rights. The book is split into two voices, one an adult woman from our 'present' and the other a teen girl from the '90s. The roles they play in overturning the changes the men make and their convergent stories make for some very interesting reading. While time travel does not exist, the rest of the book seems all too likely given the way things are going in today's world. Definitely recommended.

  • Jessica Woodbury

    This is a feminist punk queer time travel novel, which will probably be enough to sell it for many readers. A group of time traveling cis and trans women and nonbinary folks suspect a competing set of cis male time travelers are trying to create a version of history where women are never allowed to vote. Tess, our protagonist, is determined not only to stop them but to make a world with strong reproductive rights. But she gets a little sidetracked when she decides to try to change part of her ow

    This is a feminist punk queer time travel novel, which will probably be enough to sell it for many readers. A group of time traveling cis and trans women and nonbinary folks suspect a competing set of cis male time travelers are trying to create a version of history where women are never allowed to vote. Tess, our protagonist, is determined not only to stop them but to make a world with strong reproductive rights. But she gets a little sidetracked when she decides to try to change part of her own past.

    In a time travel novel, there is a whole system of time travel which must be imagined, explained, and then accepted for it to work. For me, the book didn't wholly succeed in its effort. I appreciated how different Newitz's system was, it doesn't feel like one you've seen before. But when you get into a story where the whole premise is changing the past, it can dig you into a muck of explanations that aren't always worth the trouble. You can get a little stuck here, the time travel mechanism and the repercussions never really gel into something that is easy to explain or understand.

    I actually find the parallel story of teenage Beth. Her story intersects with Tess's attempts to fix her own past, and the simpler story of Beth and what happens to her was much more emotionally satisfying for me.

    While I like the overall aesthetic Newitz is going for, I don't think this book played to her strengths quite the way her previous novel did. She's great at complicated, twisty, sci-fi plots. Here there isn't much hard science at all, and with just philosophical questions and character development the pacing can feel off. Sometimes I wasn't sure if I would finish it at all, though eventually I was pulled along by Beth's story, even though it was sometimes rather stilted.

  • Sana

    DAAAAAMN, THIS COVER :HEART EYES: Will Staehle designs some of the best covers, man

    ------------

    I haven't even read Autonomous yet but I'm hoping this will be better and not just because there will be time-traveling geologists and the fact that mind-bending really means mindfuckery

  • Sabiya

    this looks LIT I’m excited 🔥🔥🔥

  • deep

    PW Starred: Newitz’s mind-rattling second novel (after Autonomous) is a multilayered tale of “editing” history, human rights, and the ripple effect. Geologist and time traveler Tess (2022 CE) is fighting a misogynist group set on subjugating women across the present and future, then destroy the time machines to lock in their dominance permanently. Punk rock–loving high schooler Beth (1992 CE) just wants her own life, and normalcy after witnessing a murder. Their lives intertwine in ways neither

    PW Starred: Newitz’s mind-rattling second novel (after Autonomous) is a multilayered tale of “editing” history, human rights, and the ripple effect. Geologist and time traveler Tess (2022 CE) is fighting a misogynist group set on subjugating women across the present and future, then destroy the time machines to lock in their dominance permanently. Punk rock–loving high schooler Beth (1992 CE) just wants her own life, and normalcy after witnessing a murder. Their lives intertwine in ways neither quite understands, and the effects of their connection extend for centuries in both directions. Newitz’s fascinating extrapolation is an intelligent, gut-wrenching glimpse of how tiny actions, both courageous and venal, can have large consequences. The sidelong looks at prejudice-born horrors are frequent but not overwhelming, and the examinations of how much darkness one might be willing to endure in order to stop a vaster terror are heartbreaking. Smart and profound on every level, this is a deeply satisfying novel. Agent: Laurie Fox, Linda Chester Literary. (Sept.)

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