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The Future of Another Timeline

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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 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 on a path of escalating violence and vengeance as they realize many other young women in the world need protecting too. 2022: Determined to use time travel to create a safer future, Tess has dedicated her life to visiting key moments in history and fighting for change. But rewriting the timeline isn’t as simple as editing one person or event. And just when Tess believes she's found a way to make an edit that actually sticks, she encounters a group of dangerous travelers bent on stopping her at any cost. Tess and Beth’s lives intertwine as war breaks out across the timeline--a war that threatens to destroy time travel and leave only a small group of elites with the power to shape the past, present, and future. Against the vast and intricate forces of history and humanity, is it possible for a single person’s actions to echo throughout the timeline?


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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 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 on a path of escalating violence and vengeance as they realize many other young women in the world need protecting too. 2022: Determined to use time travel to create a safer future, Tess has dedicated her life to visiting key moments in history and fighting for change. But rewriting the timeline isn’t as simple as editing one person or event. And just when Tess believes she's found a way to make an edit that actually sticks, she encounters a group of dangerous travelers bent on stopping her at any cost. Tess and Beth’s lives intertwine as war breaks out across the timeline--a war that threatens to destroy time travel and leave only a small group of elites with the power to shape the past, present, and future. Against the vast and intricate forces of history and humanity, is it possible for a single person’s actions to echo throughout the timeline?

30 review for The Future of Another Timeline

  1. 4 out of 5

    Silvana

    4.5 stars rounded up. This might go straight to my Hugo ballot. Super fun. I held back from writing a review because I wanted to write something smart, explaining the time travel aspect of this book, how AnnaLee weaved all those elements of feminist movements, historical personage, and so on. I mean, this book deserves it. Yet my brain has entered a vacay mode, so I'll just write what I felt when reading it. It felt great. Exhilarating, even. The pacing was good and the POV transition was seamles 4.5 stars rounded up. This might go straight to my Hugo ballot. Super fun. I held back from writing a review because I wanted to write something smart, explaining the time travel aspect of this book, how AnnaLee weaved all those elements of feminist movements, historical personage, and so on. I mean, this book deserves it. Yet my brain has entered a vacay mode, so I'll just write what I felt when reading it. It felt great. Exhilarating, even. The pacing was good and the POV transition was seamless. I love that the book is so PC but not forced or superficial. It's basically a story about a group of women and non binary people who are doing time 'edits' to avoid a future of bioengineered patriarchy, worse than the Republic of Gilead. How would it feel to completely lose any agency over your own future, and even your limbs, if you have a vagina? And then there was a lot of discussion about significant political change through collective action and community activism, juxtaposed with the Great Man perspective that involves changing an (historically important) individual's course of life. Which one has the greater effect? More efficient? Mind you, change is a complex process. All of these are debated, and I revelled in it. Is it a perfect book? Nah, the villain albeit repulsive was not that impressive and/or menacing. The ending could be longer. Still, a really cool book. It is a compact one too, fewer than 300 pages but had a lot going on, which I really appreciate. Whether you like it or not, I think this is one of those books that would create conversation long after you read it. Update: Whoa, just found out about this video of Grape Ape https://youtu.be/5Avc8qqRVc0 It sums up some of the themes of the book, and you can see Annalee and their friends having fun in it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I would give this novel five stars for just the cool research put into this time-travel novel, but fortunately, there's a lot more going on here than just clever interpretations of history. Or rather, alternate histories mixed in among branches of a time war. Ah, but who are the combatants? Is the whole novel about altering history so some faction or another comes out on top? Or is it an intensely personal journey with a lot of emotional punch behind it? Why can't it be both? And it is. Of course, I would give this novel five stars for just the cool research put into this time-travel novel, but fortunately, there's a lot more going on here than just clever interpretations of history. Or rather, alternate histories mixed in among branches of a time war. Ah, but who are the combatants? Is the whole novel about altering history so some faction or another comes out on top? Or is it an intensely personal journey with a lot of emotional punch behind it? Why can't it be both? And it is. Of course, I was hooked on all the girl power and the early Punk scene. This is my jam. Give me anything that says freedom and I AM ALIVE, throw me into a mosh and spout the original meaning of an=without archy=goverment without all the BS about bombs and murders and crap, and I'm there. And, indeed, I was here for almost the entire novel. I may not be a woman but I'm totally in the whole debate. We all need to be heard. We all need to be respected. And that's kinda the point. When it came to people like Comstock, the real one that boasted about how many women he convinced to commit suicide when all they wanted was abortions, we can't find a more detestable villain. Or at least, I can't. But worse, there are still a lot of people who think like this. And that's also a big plot push in the novel... misogyny taken to amazing extremes. Is it any wonder that Punk is the real hero, here? When totalitarian jerkwads are a force of history? Disempowering all women across the board? Okay, maybe this is a common enough plot thread in modern SF. Or not even SF. But the proof is in the execution. And believe me, there are quite enough executions in this novel. :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gabi

    You are one. We are many. You can not make us feel your shame. (I don't know if this even works out of context, but the moment was so powerful, it stuck in my head) My first 5-stars of the new year! I wanted to be a bit more stinted with 5-star ratings, cause I couldn't compile a best-books-of-the-year list last year due to so many books that fascinated me. But even though there were elements here that irked me (the rather casual take on murder and so many people smoking), I had so many moments whe You are one. We are many. You can not make us feel your shame. (I don't know if this even works out of context, but the moment was so powerful, it stuck in my head) My first 5-stars of the new year! I wanted to be a bit more stinted with 5-star ratings, cause I couldn't compile a best-books-of-the-year list last year due to so many books that fascinated me. But even though there were elements here that irked me (the rather casual take on murder and so many people smoking), I had so many moments where the story really, deeply moved me that I had tears in my eyes. My main criteria for 5 stars is that I have to be emotionally touched, so I just can't give less. It was interesting to read this book back-to-back with "The Female Man" (both were January BotMs in different groups). The topic both times is timetravel and feminism, but the execution was so different. Where I felt nothing while reading "The Female Man", Newitz' book gripped me tightly. Their characters are relatable, likeable and I felt with and for them. There are so many beautiful moments of like-minded people working together, being there for each other, uplifting each other where I just got teary eyed and longed to be there with them myself. The emotional, character dependent passages were just perfect. Newitz' approached the timetravel technicalities with a (to me at least) new concept of geology and wormholes that have been here on Earth since forever. I liked this idea that's more based in mystic than in technology. Also the 'nothing can be changed in the past' credo doesn't apply to this novel. On the contrary, the story is in parts about a group of timetravelers whose goal is in fact to change events in the past to create a better present. Their efforts are counteracted by another group with contrary ideas. The main topic is the right of selfdetermination concerning reproduction. I guess dependent on where the reader is coming from the story works or doesn't. It certainly isn't for everyone. I don't even want to read it with a critical nitpicking eye, but with my heart. And there it struck hard and cut deep. ETA: I listened to it in the audiobook version, where I didn't like the voice of the narrator. And still the book made such an impression on me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Allison Hurd

    I don't remember the last time I was this ambivalent about a book. It was really good! It was horrific. I'm so glad I read it! I can't believe I made it through. Delightfully hopeful! Harrowing like Handmaid's Tale but on a much bigger scale. In the end it made me feel and had me invested, so I guess that's great but for the love of sanity only read it if you have fluffy things nearby, be they pets, or popcorn books. CONTENT WARNING: (just a list of topics, but I'll issue a general warning for mo I don't remember the last time I was this ambivalent about a book. It was really good! It was horrific. I'm so glad I read it! I can't believe I made it through. Delightfully hopeful! Harrowing like Handmaid's Tale but on a much bigger scale. In the end it made me feel and had me invested, so I guess that's great but for the love of sanity only read it if you have fluffy things nearby, be they pets, or popcorn books. CONTENT WARNING: (just a list of topics, but I'll issue a general warning for most common triggers) (view spoiler)[ rape, slavery, sexual slavery, extreme misogyny, anti-semitism, racism, jingoism, child abuse, pedophilia, serial killers, drug use, mental illness, suicide, abortion (graphic), transphobia, queer antagonism, loss of a loved one, body horror (including harm to eyes), infant death (hide spoiler)] Things that were amazing: -The concept. What if we accept that time travel is real but hard enough that things aren't always chronologically inconsistent? What if, as the memes say, we are NOT in the darkest timeline, we're just in A dark timeline? What does change look like? What is victory? -The cast. Ahh I loved this so much. It felt like sitting with all of my friends, which also made it more horrifying because HEY DUDES STOP MESSING WITH MY FRIENDS but when they weren't being brutalized somehow, it was a loving embrace of what I will call "feminine friendship". -The relevance. She moved FAST on this book to get it out now when it's so obviously indicative of our times. -The historical flavor. There were so many neat seasonings in this story. Lots of love for the 90s, the World Fair, and much, much older civilizations that were very fun. -The tones. The first half kept me on a razor's edge between "fine, just scared," and "complete and utter terrified panic." The second half was much more hopeful. Things that were just good: -The mechanics. Don't look too hard. It's magic. There are enough rules and caveats to make it clear that the effect of time travel has severe limitations, just let it go at that. -Some clumsy parallels. Look, we don't get perfection AND perfect timeliness. With a bit more effort some of the obvious straw men-esque baddies and conflicts could have been massaged into the story a bit more smoothly. There were a lot of scenes where I gathered that she was saying "look, this is the sort of behavior I'm talking about, but it's not necessary for me to really go into detail and/or I don't want to go into that detail." -The plot. Again, very intent on its message rather than feeling organic and prescribing to general storytelling techniques like following rising tension. Also kind of confusing at parts, but they were just stand ins for discussing other, more interesting ideas, so I just focused on those ideas and let it be. -The...message? So, I think the takeaway here is...very obvious and...um...well kind of objectionable. Real spoilers here. (view spoiler)[ It seems like the author is saying that collective action does most of the work, but sometimes stopping a few people helps a much larger group of people. Where stopping is "murder some folks." I am not opposed to violence, per se, but assassination and/or vigilante justice is something we ought to universally revile. That was weird to me. (hide spoiler)] Ultimately glad I read it and found it a well done dose of feminism, though I think I disagree with a few points and also was very upset while reading most of it. Please read it so we can be scared, hopeful, angry, confused, and philosophical together!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    This book has a message and it's not subtle about it. The time travel technique is interesting. There are rocks across the world that you can use to time travel and mankind has always known. However, this isn't explored as much because the author has a message about men vs women. Characterization feels like there is a woke bingo that is being used instead of creating a fully realized character. The main character, Tess, any understanding I had of her was gone once a twist was revealed. This twis This book has a message and it's not subtle about it. The time travel technique is interesting. There are rocks across the world that you can use to time travel and mankind has always known. However, this isn't explored as much because the author has a message about men vs women. Characterization feels like there is a woke bingo that is being used instead of creating a fully realized character. The main character, Tess, any understanding I had of her was gone once a twist was revealed. This twist left me feeling disgusted with Tess and not sure if I was supposed to. And I don't believe Harriet Tubman would have ever been elected to the Senate. There was too much racism and fear of African Americans after the civil war to happen. Even if, for some reason that I couldn't understand, women were give the right to vote long before they really did. This was wish fulfillment.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Blaine

    That’s when I decided the point of travel was not to observe history, but to change it. The Future of Another Timeline is set in a world in which humanity discovered five machines of unknown origin around the world that allow people to travel backwards through time (they can return to their present, but they cannot travel forward). The rules and methods of the time travel are involved, well thought out, and original. The novel is told mostly though alternating first-person narratives, and it has a That’s when I decided the point of travel was not to observe history, but to change it. The Future of Another Timeline is set in a world in which humanity discovered five machines of unknown origin around the world that allow people to travel backwards through time (they can return to their present, but they cannot travel forward). The rules and methods of the time travel are involved, well thought out, and original. The novel is told mostly though alternating first-person narratives, and it has a lot of moving parts. One story is the focused, personal tale of Beth, a high school senior with a troubled family life and a best friend who has gotten her involved in a murder spree. The other story is the story of Tess and the edit wars. There is a group of men called the Comstockers who are trying to make edits in the past that would lead to reduced women’s rights now and in the future. Countering them is a group of women called the Daughters of Harriet who are alternatively trying to make edits to expand women’s rights. The book has a lot to say. Some of it is not particularly subtle. The villains are the gamer gate, incel, men’s rights types, as one-dimensional as they are loathsome (in the book and in real life). The heroes are decidedly feminine (though intersectional and inclusive) and feminist. But some of the book’s ideas are more nuanced. There are arguments for and against the Great Man theory of history. There’s an argument that history is not static. Society collectively, constantly rewrites the past by noticing previously overlooked aspects, placing events in new contexts. The big things remain, but the stories change, or have new points of emphasis. The blending of these different stories and ideas—Beth’s personal tale, Tess’s adventures, history, and philosophy—is a bit uneven. But the plot moves quickly, and the book has the spirit of the punk music treasured by the main characters (for a sample, please check out the video created for the novel’s fictional feminist punk band, Grape Ape https://youtu.be/5Avc8qqRVc0. Entertaining, thoughtful, and with a great ‘I am Spartacus’ moment. Recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Notkin

    There is so much to like about this book! In fact, how much to there is to like about this book is why, in the end, I wasn't happy with it. Let me explain: 1) This is a book about a 1992 teenager with a troubled family and a group of close girlfriends who take rape and sexual harassment punishment into their own hands. 2) This is a book about a group of time-traveling women from 2022 who are editing the timeline to erase the effects of anti-sex misogynist Anthony Comstock from their future. 3) This There is so much to like about this book! In fact, how much to there is to like about this book is why, in the end, I wasn't happy with it. Let me explain: 1) This is a book about a 1992 teenager with a troubled family and a group of close girlfriends who take rape and sexual harassment punishment into their own hands. 2) This is a book about a group of time-traveling women from 2022 who are editing the timeline to erase the effects of anti-sex misogynist Anthony Comstock from their future. 3) This is a book about a vastly original and rather opaque system of time traveling through a limited number of ancient, incomprehensible machines (or maybe organisms?) with very specific limitations. That's a lot to put into one ordinary-sized novel. When you add in the appearance of a woman from a future in the 26th century whose women would be relieved to live in The Handmaid's Tale, and a particular failure of the time machines that leaves travelers covered in early forms of life from the Ordovician Period, and a time-travelers' archive in Jordan that preserves some history of other erased timelines, and a group of men devoted to fighting everything the time-traveling women are trying to do, and a history where Harriet Tubman was a senator, and ... If Newitz wasn't a skilled craftsperson, the book would be completely unreadable. Because they are, it's often compelling, and some of the threads (timelines) are engrossing. And almost all science fiction writers will agree that time travel is very hard to write about. But in the end, they tried to cram too many complications into too small a package, and the result is like a meal in a trendy restaurant: you leave wondering why adding just one more ingredient didn't make your meal any better. I'm almost tempted to re-read it sequence by sequence (the teenager's story from beginning to end, the time-traveler's story from beginning to end, the other viewpoints separately) and see if I like it better.

  9. 5 out of 5

    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 to 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    This story follows two characters, teenage Beth in 1992 California, and time travelling Tess based in 2022. The chapters alternate between the two characters, and as expected, their connection is eventually revealed. When I started this one I had some moments of "WTF am I reading?" The early chapters following Beth are angry and violent, and I wasn't sure where it was all going. Eventually though, Beth's story ended up being the most engaging of the two. Tess's story is less linear in its developm This story follows two characters, teenage Beth in 1992 California, and time travelling Tess based in 2022. The chapters alternate between the two characters, and as expected, their connection is eventually revealed. When I started this one I had some moments of "WTF am I reading?" The early chapters following Beth are angry and violent, and I wasn't sure where it was all going. Eventually though, Beth's story ended up being the most engaging of the two. Tess's story is less linear in its development, and not just because she is travelling through time, trying to edit events for a more positive outcome in the future for women generally. Her alternative personal motivation remains hidden from the reader for much of the story, and when it is revealed, I felt like I wanted a bit more of her history missing from the narrative. As far as the time travel mechanism is concerned, you'll have to use some mental hand waving. But really the story is about relationships, and about the possibility of changing futures for the better through small collectively built actions. The Future of Another Timeline is most certainly and unflinchingly political, and a story full of anger. At the same time, it is also surprisingly optimistic and hopeful. As a result, I was left feeling rather content and hopeful myself.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    Tess is a member of the Daughters of Harriet, a group of time travelers who frequently revisit the past to protect women's rights for the future. She finds herself back in 1992 at a riot grrrl concert she actually attended as a seventeen-year-old, which sets in motion a complicated chain of events.  First, she decides to try and edit a personal event that was a major turning point in her life. Second, she must travel further back in time to stop another group of time travelers known as Comstocker Tess is a member of the Daughters of Harriet, a group of time travelers who frequently revisit the past to protect women's rights for the future. She finds herself back in 1992 at a riot grrrl concert she actually attended as a seventeen-year-old, which sets in motion a complicated chain of events.  First, she decides to try and edit a personal event that was a major turning point in her life. Second, she must travel further back in time to stop another group of time travelers known as Comstockers who are hellbent on undoing all of the good the Daughters of Harriet have done for women's rights. In 1992, Beth leaves the riot grrrl concert with friends and before the night is over, a friend's abusive boyfriend is dead and they've agreed to hide the body.  In the months that follow, their anger grows with each encounter with men who treat females as objects.  On top of that, Beth's life is complicated by a big decision and an awkward home life with a mentally ill father. Alternating between Beth's narrative in 1992 and Tess's narrative across multiple time jumps, The Future of Another Timeline had a ton of promise but eventually fell flat for me. While both narratives were compelling, after a certain point I was more invested in Beth's story. I think this had to do with the fact that Tess's story became bogged down in time travel rules and chasing an enemy who was completely one-dimensional. That said, I was surprised by the amount of violence in Beth's narrative and feel like there needed to be more insight into the justification behind it because it was all too rushed with little explanation. Overall, the plot was extremely interesting but the delivery was sorely lacking. If you're a reader who enjoys sci-fi/time travel/alternate history with a focus on women's rights, this is one you may want to look into. For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elle (ellexamines)

    this sounds INCREDIBLE.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    The Future of Another Timeline begins with three quotes. One is attributed to Senator Harriet Tubman, R-MS, in 1893. If your immediate reaction is to understand why this is inaccurate, but sincerely wish that Harriet Tubman had attained the rank of Senator, this novel is for you. Annalee Newitz combines feminism, punk rock, time travel, history, alternative history, and the small and large ways that a human being can affect others' lives into a heady yet accessible brew. While other women and no The Future of Another Timeline begins with three quotes. One is attributed to Senator Harriet Tubman, R-MS, in 1893. If your immediate reaction is to understand why this is inaccurate, but sincerely wish that Harriet Tubman had attained the rank of Senator, this novel is for you. Annalee Newitz combines feminism, punk rock, time travel, history, alternative history, and the small and large ways that a human being can affect others' lives into a heady yet accessible brew. While other women and non-binary people are very much involved, the novel focuses on Beth, a teenage Riot Grrrl punk living in an abusive household in the early 1990s, and Tess, a scientist and time traveler. Time travel is possible in this world through The Machines, which are scattered throughout the world, and always has been. However, it is only accessible to people who have sufficient money and/or education and are willing to put in years of hard work. Essentially, Tess and the feminist Daughters of Harriet are at war with the Comstockers, bitter misogynist disciples of Anthony Comstock. American History students will remember Comstock as an anti-obscenity crusader in the late 1800s who hated women, sexuality, fun, and most especially women who controlled their own sexuality and had fun. Time travelers are able to "edit" timelines, including "editing" people out through violence or other means. The Comstockers want to edit out influential women and advances in womens' rights, then render it impossible for anyone else to make a change. The characters of Beth and Tess contrast micro and macro effects of time travel and women's rights. Annalee Newitz knows her history, and there is an appendix in which she explains historical references in her novel. Newitz manages to keep several balls and a couple chainsaws flying in the air, and to make it all make sense to the reader. The Future of Another Timeline will not be for everyone. Some people will be confused. Some will be offended, or quite simply pissed off. But for others, this novel will be an absolute delight. I am a Generation X feminist who grew up with Riot Grrrls. I always chose female historical figures for my reports because my teachers always harped on men and wars (and Harriet Tubman was a recurring favorite). I adore alternative histories. I for one could not have loved this novel more if there had been a crisp new $100 bill tucked in between every chapter. Many thanks to BookishFirst.com for providing an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    https://youtu.be/5Avc8qqRVc0 “What I Like to See," by Grape Ape 🎶 I bumped this book up to the top of my reading list after I stumbled upon the Grape Ape music video that the author and their friend created. Smart choice on my part because I loved it. This book had many of my favorite elements; time travel, alternate historical timelines, LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, and a storyline about facing childhood trauma. If you enjoy feminist speculative fiction, this book should be on your reading list. It https://youtu.be/5Avc8qqRVc0 “What I Like to See," by Grape Ape 🎶 I bumped this book up to the top of my reading list after I stumbled upon the Grape Ape music video that the author and their friend created. Smart choice on my part because I loved it. This book had many of my favorite elements; time travel, alternate historical timelines, LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, and a storyline about facing childhood trauma. If you enjoy feminist speculative fiction, this book should be on your reading list. It was a wild ride.

  15. 4 out of 5

    FanFiAddict

    Another week, another DNF. Based on other reviews, there is a definite audience for this novel, but I am not included. While I enjoyed Newitz's time travel component, nothing else really grabbed me in order to direct me to the finish line. Another week, another DNF. Based on other reviews, there is a definite audience for this novel, but I am not included. While I enjoyed Newitz's time travel component, nothing else really grabbed me in order to direct me to the finish line.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I received an advance ebook through NetGalley. Punk rock, feminism, LQBTQ+ rights, time travel. A stellar combination in theory, but the execution really disappointed me. The Future of Another Timeline tells the story of Tess and Beth in mostly alternating chapters. Tess is a time traveler from the near future desperately trying to counter a misogynistic cult that wants to destroy women's autonomy. Beth is a teen in the early 90s California punk scene navigating unhealthy relationships with friend I received an advance ebook through NetGalley. Punk rock, feminism, LQBTQ+ rights, time travel. A stellar combination in theory, but the execution really disappointed me. The Future of Another Timeline tells the story of Tess and Beth in mostly alternating chapters. Tess is a time traveler from the near future desperately trying to counter a misogynistic cult that wants to destroy women's autonomy. Beth is a teen in the early 90s California punk scene navigating unhealthy relationships with friends and family in addition to normal teenage stuff. First, the good. This book is validation for the fear and anger many women, people of color, and members of the LQBTQ+ community have experienced, particularly in the last few years. For me, it was during the Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearings when I realized how fragile my autonomy and safety really were. Women have only had the right to vote for 100 years. We've only been able to legally obtain birth control since 1972, to have credit cards in our own names since 1974, to serve on juries in all 50 US states since 1975, or not get fired from work for being pregnant since 1978. The spectre of that world casts a long shadow, and this book recognizes that there are people out there who are actively trying to take away key elements of our right to self-determination. Where does time travel come in? In many ways, history is constantly being reinvented and perverted for a variety of ends. This book speaks to that paradoxical nature of history as both immutable and yet always changing-- in this case, because people are literally going back in time to try to change the course of history. I am excited that these powerful things are being discussed in mainstream sci-fi. However, I really wish the story was stronger. There are some big issues: • As much as I agree with the politics of this book, I would have really preferred a strategy where the politics are subordinate to a compelling story and fully-fleshed characters who show us rather than tell us. Autonomous, the author's other novel, is an excellent example of this. It becomes very clear that patent law and the pharmaceutical industry are bad, and we learn this by seeing the characters engage with their world and each other rather than primarily from exposition dumps (see below). I think it's a more effective strategy for exploring these ideas and attracting readers who aren't automatically on board with the politics of the book. • Extensive exposition dumps early in the book rather than strategically sharing information with the reader. After a really stellar introduction, I instantly felt alienated and bored because the main character had to brain dump so much on me about her secret society, how time travel works, etc. There is so much telling instead of showing, and it somehow managed to make time travel and secret societies yawn-inducing. • Cardboard villains. The opposition are mostly nameless caricatures with no apparent goals besides enslavement and subjugation of women. I suspect it would be very hard to humanize villains like this, and maybe that should have been an indicator that these aren't compelling villains. • So much seemingly unnecessary and violent murder here. Perhaps a satire of how misogynists see feminists? • The extremely specific and yet handwavy nature of time travel. In this world, there are several time travel bases around the world that have existed for thousands of years and researchers make regular use of these to study the past. There are human laws and seemingly technological restrictions dictating the use of the portals, but most of these are broken throughout the book without consequence but are still brought up repeatedly. • Calling time travel researchers geoscientists. This seemed like a poor choice in terminology--other geoscientists like geologists, geochemists, and biostratigraphers still appear have distinct fields of study in this world, so it was just confusing and it was unclear why another word (chronographer? chronoscientist?) wasn't used. It also kind of seemed like there was a distinction between people who studied human events (sort of like anthropologists or ethnographers) and people who were more invested in the technicalities of time travel. Not fleshing this out seemed like a curious oversight and an indicator of tenuous world-building.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    oh hell yes to this whole thing. Come my friends and let's go time traveling to stop people from making edits to the timeline as they try to destroy women's rights. If this ain't the most diverse and inclusive feminist novel I have ever read...this ain't no white feminist b/s. It's actually feminist! They specify multiple times in this book that the changes are to be done to protect cis women, trans women and non-binary! We alternate between two POVs (Tessa originally from 2022 + Beth originally oh hell yes to this whole thing. Come my friends and let's go time traveling to stop people from making edits to the timeline as they try to destroy women's rights. If this ain't the most diverse and inclusive feminist novel I have ever read...this ain't no white feminist b/s. It's actually feminist! They specify multiple times in this book that the changes are to be done to protect cis women, trans women and non-binary! We alternate between two POVs (Tessa originally from 2022 + Beth originally from 1992) as they go to multiple other time periods. I feel like we constantly do time travel novels but it's always "be careful not to change ANYTHING" but this one is literally the opposite. The whole idea of purposely changing somethings but with the goal being a very specific change is...like that would be SO HARD! Rep: Chinese, Korean, Black, Jewish, transgender, F/F romance & non-binary!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I started this book first thing on New Year's Day, made it about thirty pages in, and then didn't pick it up again until Sunday morning on the 5th. I don't know if it was feeling too heavy or what, but I needed to be in the right headspace for it. (It was probably the men's right's activists that did it, followed closely by a disturbing murder.) Then I basically binge-read the whole book yesterday morning. To sum the book up badly (and I will do better further below), The Future of Another Timeli I started this book first thing on New Year's Day, made it about thirty pages in, and then didn't pick it up again until Sunday morning on the 5th. I don't know if it was feeling too heavy or what, but I needed to be in the right headspace for it. (It was probably the men's right's activists that did it, followed closely by a disturbing murder.) Then I basically binge-read the whole book yesterday morning. To sum the book up badly (and I will do better further below), The Future of Another Timeline is about feminists using time travel to save the world from men's rights activists. It's very strange, but ultimately, good. To get more complicated about it, this is definitely speculative fiction. I have not read Newitz's other book, Autonomous, but I've heard the plot, and it seems they* have a thing for complex characters mixed in with complex worldbuilding. The time travel here is one of the most unique I've seen. Most of the time, time travel is something that is invented, and that comes from the present day or the future. Here, time travel is as much of a given as gravity or the existence of air. There are five machines that were discovered by humanity that are essentially geological formations, and no one knows where they come from. The result of this is a humanity that is comfortable with the idea of time travel, and that is pretty fascinating. (What really got me was that travelers go everywhere, so even humans from long, long, long ago are used to people from thousands of years in the future just popping up.) Also a result is a constantly shifting timeline, as people make "edits" to the timeline (even though they aren't really supposed to) according to various agendas. *I'm glad I checked on this. I originally picked this book for my month of reading books by or about badass ladies, but it seems after this book was published, Newitz has come out as nonbinary and is using they/them pronouns now. Our two main characters are Tess, a traveler from 2022 who is also a member of a group called the Daughters of Harriet (Tubman, who in this reality was a Senator), and Beth, a teenager in the early 1990s caught up in the punk scene. Tess is the main actor in terms of the time travel plot, as she and her friends get mixed up in an edit war with a group of Comstockers (men from the future who want to promote Anthony Comstock's censorship agenda, paving the way for a dystopian world where men have control of women's bodies). Beth acts as sort of a litmus character, as we see through her story how the different edits actually affect people (there's also a lot more to her story as well, but I don't want to spoil it). I would definitely recommend this one. It's a great time travel story, if nothing else, but it's also an empowering story for women and nonbinary people (there's a nonbinary character in here called C.L. who is a part of the Daughters of Harriet).

  19. 4 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    3.5 Our pasts, presents and futures are connected. In a world where time-traveling Machines have always existed, two timelines are competing for dominance. In 2022, Tess and the Daughters of Harriet have been trying to correct the timeline against a secret society of misogynistic assholes determined to erode women and trans rights. In 1992, Beth and her friends are pulled into the world of riot grrls and murder in an ever escalating path. Slowly the two times begin to intersect and flow. This was a 3.5 Our pasts, presents and futures are connected. In a world where time-traveling Machines have always existed, two timelines are competing for dominance. In 2022, Tess and the Daughters of Harriet have been trying to correct the timeline against a secret society of misogynistic assholes determined to erode women and trans rights. In 1992, Beth and her friends are pulled into the world of riot grrls and murder in an ever escalating path. Slowly the two times begin to intersect and flow. This was a fascinating feminist time travel story, with a host of queer characters stacked against a powerfully misogynistic minority determined to use their pull and sway to remove women's rights. The incel culture plays a huge role in naming women and determining their place (or utter lack thereof) in the society of the future and the past. I enjoyed a lot of the differences in history, with Senator Harriet Tubman and many other things, and the various ways the Daughters of Harriet remember the changing timelines and corrections by remembering things that had been. I remember a time when abortion was legal. Again, a fascinating look at women's rights—and women's roles in society throughout the centuries. While I was less than entranced with Beth's story—because honestly I just didn't care for most of her story, although at times I wanted more and other times I wanted less—I was all in for Tess's story. I loved the idea of a non-violent way of change, of using communal action to pursue change instead of power and force and threats. Of the concept of sacrifice, of changing yourself and the world, one step at a time. At the big picture and the very real people who are affected by decisions made up high for the better good. If I enjoyed it so much, then why the 3.5 stars? Because I felt like it could have been developed just a little bit better. The villain wasn't as fleshed out as they could have been—until the end they were a boogeyman. While their actions were horrific and the future they had created was dismal and brutal, I wished that more of Elliott had been developed just so that I could hate him that much more (and I already hated him quite a bit). Also, I wanted more of Aseel and more of the ladies of 1893 and more of the Daughters of Harriet and...decidedly less of Beth. Yes, her life was horrible but I honestly didn't care for much of her timeline until she finally left for college and began to face what was happening. I just...I dunno. Much of her timeline was frustrating, mainly because she faced very few consequences for her actions, and her intersections with Tess were frustrating and felt forced into the main storyline. Anywho, this is a different story and definitely one to explore if you want to read a queer feminist time-traveling rallying cry against the dangers of allowing the incels and douche-canoes to have a voice and a platform. And the dangers of white feminism—which was handedly explored and given a proper thumping. I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emily Vanderwerff

    I was WILD about this book. The only thing I can really critique is that the last couple of pages are a bit jarring and out of nowhere tonally. But then the very last historical footnote is a gut punch, so hey, I came right back around. I suspect I will be alone in preferring the mostly time travel-less Beth storyline to the time travel-full Tess storyline, but it's so well observed and so intuitive about teen girl relationships. Please read this one. I was WILD about this book. The only thing I can really critique is that the last couple of pages are a bit jarring and out of nowhere tonally. But then the very last historical footnote is a gut punch, so hey, I came right back around. I suspect I will be alone in preferring the mostly time travel-less Beth storyline to the time travel-full Tess storyline, but it's so well observed and so intuitive about teen girl relationships. Please read this one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Oleksandr Zholud

    This is part time-travel, part alt-history part (angry) feminist novel. It was published in 2019 and can be nominated for Nebula, Hugo and other SFF Awards. I read is as a part of monthly reading in January 2020 at SFF Hot from Printers: New Releases group. The beginning of the book wasn’t very encouraging (spoiler of the first 3% of the story, just to tease or discourage you, the reader!). There is Tess, travelling for year 2022 to 1992 to Irvine, Alta California to visit a concert of girl punk This is part time-travel, part alt-history part (angry) feminist novel. It was published in 2019 and can be nominated for Nebula, Hugo and other SFF Awards. I read is as a part of monthly reading in January 2020 at SFF Hot from Printers: New Releases group. The beginning of the book wasn’t very encouraging (spoiler of the first 3% of the story, just to tease or discourage you, the reader!). There is Tess, travelling for year 2022 to 1992 to Irvine, Alta California to visit a concert of girl punk group Grape Ape (as a person outside the US and not well versed in pop-history I googled plus read the full book: the name in our timeline belongs to the 1970s cartoon. There is a youtube video clip made by the author ) and check the activity of another group of time travelers. In the future there are the Daughters of Harriet (named after Harriet Tubman, a 19th century American abolitionist and political activist), located in 2022 and the Comstockers (named after Anthony Comstock, a 19th century American anti-vice activist, United States Postal Inspector, who introduced severe censorship of ‘obscene’ publications, including sexual education, abortion etc.), located further in the future. Here come the first thing I dislike: we are clearly set that there are good women (including a transgender), who fight for the greater equality and evil men (additionally all white blonds), who oppose them. In any time travel story one should at least check whether a group in more distant future is more aware about something to happen. Do doubt here about own righteousness (and I don’t like people without doubts irrespective of their views!) To complicate the story, there on the concert in 1992 are a group of girls, which include a younger version of Tess. This timeline is narrated by Beth and from foreknowledge of Tess something bad is about to happen… the teaser is over. The story improves as it progresses, gives a lot of background of struggles for women rights, from voting to abortion, suggests an unusual time travel method. It is definitely well written and the characters grow on you. At the same time it is clearly a political novel, promoting issues (which I agree are important) takes precedent over the well-set believability, starting from the fact that while time travel is common knowledge, there are no worries that someone may use it from getting tomorrow stock exchange indices to killing political (or other) opponents.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kristin B. Bodreau

    This was an excellent story about feminism, community action, revolutions through small acts and human rights. The characters were interesting, though a little one note. The main cast had superficial differences, but at the core were the same archetype. The “villains” were also a bit of caricature. However, it’s a great opener for discussion and thought on the evolution of women’s rights, how small acts create a ripple, female friendship and the importance of reproductive freedom. What is also wa This was an excellent story about feminism, community action, revolutions through small acts and human rights. The characters were interesting, though a little one note. The main cast had superficial differences, but at the core were the same archetype. The “villains” were also a bit of caricature. However, it’s a great opener for discussion and thought on the evolution of women’s rights, how small acts create a ripple, female friendship and the importance of reproductive freedom. What is also was, was a reminder of why I really don’t like time travel stories. A lot of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff happening here with no real explanations. You can travel with the clothes on your back, but not weapons or electronics. But apparently you can create a little loophole if your clothes ARE electronics… I am not a fan of hand wavy rules. There was a lot of that happening here. And the time machines are ancient and built inside rocks and nobody knows how they got there or who is responsible for them, or really completely how they work but they’ve somehow been in use by humans for thousands of years…? Time travel stories also tend to remove some of the sense of urgency. What’s a time crunch if you can just send someone back in time? This also had a lot of potential for emotional punch with what we know of the future through Moreshin’s character, but it never quite delivers. If you don’t mind the inherent issues with any time travel story, and you like books about feminism, then you’ll probably enjoy this one. Oh, and there’s a little bit of a teenage murder spree. That’s always fun. I do like books about feminism, and murder sprees can be occassionally delightful, but plot holes make me crabby.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alex Bright

    4 Stars "Queens are not supposed to have hands. They get in the way of breeding." I waffled between 3.5 and 4 stars, but ultimately chose to give Annalee Newitz's feminist speculative time-travel romp a 4 because I felt propelled through her story at an urgent pace. It was fun, thoughful, and even painful at times. The two main characters are the teenage Beth (in 1992/93) and 40-something Tess whose "home" time is 2022. Beth experiences life as a youth in a world where edits to the timeline have c 4 Stars "Queens are not supposed to have hands. They get in the way of breeding." I waffled between 3.5 and 4 stars, but ultimately chose to give Annalee Newitz's feminist speculative time-travel romp a 4 because I felt propelled through her story at an urgent pace. It was fun, thoughful, and even painful at times. The two main characters are the teenage Beth (in 1992/93) and 40-something Tess whose "home" time is 2022. Beth experiences life as a youth in a world where edits to the timeline have created far fewer reproductive rights for women. Tess, in turn, is part of a female and non-binary collective waging war against male time-travelers who wish to solidify male dominence throughout history. Each half of the story is fascinating for its own reasons. I was drawn to Beth's life, her story uncomfortably familiar to me given that I was a teen in the 90s as well. Personally, I think it was the better told of the two stories. The characters and history of Tess's timeline were the selling point of the other side -- they were very well-researched, and the philosophical concepts were interesting. What irked me a little, what kept me on the edge of suspension of disbelief, was the explanations of time-travel and the Machines. I realize the science-fiction in this story is secondary to the social commentary, but Newitz's wonderfully in-depth detailing of how it all worked frustrated me. It stopped short of answering a question ALL time-travel narratives need to answer for me: How are paradoxes addressed in the grand scheme of things? It niggled at me fairly often, and I never got a satisfactory answer. Still, it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read Annalee Newitz’s previous novel, Autonomous, earlier this year and would honestly be hard pressed to think of a book that I finished that I hate more. Newitz had good ideas, but executed them in horrendously bad, and at times offensive, ways. And yet I was glad to read it because I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun ranting about a book. So I’ve been looking forward to The Future of Another Timeline partly to see if Newitz has gotten better as a writer and partly because I was I read Annalee Newitz’s previous novel, Autonomous, earlier this year and would honestly be hard pressed to think of a book that I finished that I hate more. Newitz had good ideas, but executed them in horrendously bad, and at times offensive, ways. And yet I was glad to read it because I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun ranting about a book. So I’ve been looking forward to The Future of Another Timeline partly to see if Newitz has gotten better as a writer and partly because I was hoping for another train wreck. The results are a little more mixed than I’d hoped. The book focuses on an alternate history in which five time machines have been discovered across the world and allow people to go backward (but never forward for each person) through time. In the year 2022, Tess is a member of a group called the Daughters of Harriet who jump through time trying to edit history to be less oppressive towards women, non-binary people, and trans people. Tess and crew learn of an opposing group of men who are trying to change history to enslave women, leading to a war of edits to constantly shifting timelines. Meanwhile Beth is a teenager in 1992 with a connection to Tess who finds herself a spiral of teenage angst, parental abuse, and murder with friends. Newitz’s prose was the best part of Autonomous. It flowed well and rarely dragged along. I can say the same for The Future of Another Timeline. The first person perspective lends itself well to this story and while there are times it drags a bit, it never quite bores, even in its duller moments. The worst I can say about it is that Newitz has a habit of writing characters’ thoughts that no one would actually say/think. Like Autonomous, The Future of Another Timeline has some really good ideas, but once again Newitz doesn’t quite seem to know what to do with them. The idea of factions warring with time machines, constantly changing the timeline while the people who made the changes remember what happened even when others don’t, is a fascinating premise for a story and one that I would like to see done better some day. As told by Newitz, it falls flat. Tess and friends jump all over time trying to make their edits, but take their time (fitting) so much that it’s impossible to feel any kind of urgency. Tess goes back to 1992 to scope out a concert, Tess goes to the 1890s to help women’s rights, Tess goes back to 92 to scope out Beth, back to 1890s to help out with the women’s rights thing. Back and forth with only the vague goal of stopping the rival men’s group as a mostly unseen antagonist. Whenever the men’s group does show up, their dialogue is the kind of incel thing that some men have certainly said, but comes off as so over dramatic and cartoony that it’s hard to take them seriously. The pacing never quite seems to get a good speed going and frequently lurches to a halt whenever something exciting or urgent appears to happen. By the time I was 80% of the way through, it felt like a halfway point. The thing that finally makes the conflict get some urgency to it is told to all of the characters by a minor character who figured it out off-screen. And yet even then none of them act that concerned about it, despite their lives and futures being at stake. The character Beth has the more interesting chapters, which doesn’t bode well for a book about time travel when she’s firmly stuck in the early 90s. The relationship she has with her friends, parents, and enemies provides some much needed drama while Tess’s story drags its feet and the conflicts she gets embroiled in, while nothing new as far as high school stories go, are interesting enough that I looked forward to her chapters whenever I was stuck on Tess’s time non-shenanigans. The way everyone around Beth, as well as Beth herself, at times feels like the kind of ridiculous, edgy, and shallow interactions that you’d see on something like 13 Reasons Why, but her story was the one I found the most interest in, partly because it’s paced much better than Tess’s story. Newitz is obviously sending messages that beer into propaganda with this book, the focus on women’s rights and getting rid of the patriarchy being the prominent ones. I’m all for feminist literature and media and the goals Tess and her friends are aiming for are noble. But there’s an obnoxious ham fisted was to the way Newitz delivers these messages. The three types of characters we get in this book are women/non-binary people who are noble and selfless and want to change the world, men who are snarlingly evil and dream of a world in which all women are sex slaves, and women who go to the extreme in punishing men for their crimes. There are a couple men who support the main women, but are such minor players that it’s hard to think of them as characters. There are also some women who support the mustache-twirling men who get maybe two brief sections to show how compliant they are in oppressing other women and then drop out of the book. With the exception of Beth and arguably Tess, none of these characters develops or grows beyond the archetypes that they fit into when they are introduced and when you have a novel full of cardboard cutouts, it’s hard to take away any meaningful message. Newitz goes on and on about women’s rights and occasionally brings up rape, parental abuse, and toxic friendships, all of which are sectioned off to Beth’s side of the story. The message is good, but how it’s being delivered is not profound or beyond what you could get by just reading political Facebook posts. Good feminist literature can deliver its themes and messages like music, but Newitz is just making noise. I don’t hate The Future of Another Timeline like I did Autonomous. Unlike Autonomous, I wasn’t offended by anything in this book. It’s not a terrible book, but it also fails in telling an interesting science fiction story or delivering a powerful message. At best it’s a mildly-interesting high school drama with a few interesting, in not well explored, science fiction ideas.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elowen

    An unapologetic feminist time-travel story with surprising twists and turns. As usual with books I love it's hard to analyse what I loved about it exactly. The characters, definitely, both the main and the secondary. The snippets of unusual history, the use of unusual historical backdrops, and the sharp observations about the mechanics of history, politics and resistance. This book is by no means a light read. It is violent and dark, but also optimistic. I loved the idea of the "Great Man" theor An unapologetic feminist time-travel story with surprising twists and turns. As usual with books I love it's hard to analyse what I loved about it exactly. The characters, definitely, both the main and the secondary. The snippets of unusual history, the use of unusual historical backdrops, and the sharp observations about the mechanics of history, politics and resistance. This book is by no means a light read. It is violent and dark, but also optimistic. I loved the idea of the "Great Man" theory vs. the theory of collective action. CW (it's a list of the ones I remember, but this book doesn't hold back so tread with caution) (view spoiler)[ sexual harassment, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, murder, suicide, abortion, loss of loved one, (attempted) rape, transphobia, misogyny, racism (hide spoiler)]

  26. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Review to follow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pujashree

    This book is so much fun and surprisingly uplifting in the current climate. The love of research and researchers is at the very heart of this story, and badass scholar spies fighting toxic patriarchy across timelines is so cleverly executed. I learned so much about some pretty obscure rebel girls of history and not once does it feel infodumpy. I really want this to become a movie so I could watch the excellent coalition of ladies through various time periods being delightfully disruptive.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    In a world where time machines have always existed as part of human history, used by researchers, there are always some who covertly edit the timeline. Big events can't really be altered, but small ones can, and enough small ones can add up to a huge change. Tess is currently involved in a secret edit war against a group of men who want history to continually subjugate women, and worse, they want to destroy time travel so the change persists forever... and also wants to make some changes in her In a world where time machines have always existed as part of human history, used by researchers, there are always some who covertly edit the timeline. Big events can't really be altered, but small ones can, and enough small ones can add up to a huge change. Tess is currently involved in a secret edit war against a group of men who want history to continually subjugate women, and worse, they want to destroy time travel so the change persists forever... and also wants to make some changes in her past which involves an angry punk rock phase and murder. Disclaimer: I won an advanced reader's copy of this book through a Twitter giveaway. I don't this it affected my review. Also, theoretically the book might differ in small ways from how it actually winds up being published (although I'm not sure I've ever heard a recent example where that's been anything more dramatic than fixed typoes or minor phrasing changes that don't affect the plot). The initial setup of the book, where ancient, possibly alien devices have allowed time travel since the dawn of humanity (under certain strict conditions to keep it rare and mostly restricted to academics, yet not secret from the wider world), and everybody's minor edits to history tending to reach (but not guaranteeing) an equilibrium that prevents major changes, was really quite interesting, something I've never quite seen before. I'm not sure it entirely works smoothly without contradiction, but that's something you can say about a great number of time travel stories (maybe even the vast majority) and it being at least novel more than makes up for any possible weirdness in it. The format also does a good job keeping the attention up, alternating between the story of the time traveller's efforts to sway history towards more human rights and events from the time traveller's past... events which might be subtly shifting along with her own interference. Although there are a few weird things along the way which caused confusion, there are also some surprising twists I liked. I'm not sure which of the two storylines I was more interested in, which is also a generally good thing, both the time traveling adventures and the story of punk rock teens falling into murder of people they felt 'deserved it' were both compelling for different reasons. It's also an unabashedly feminist work, and, there will inevitably be some people who don't like it because of that. I can practically see some of the complaints, not all of which are technically without a seed of merit. For example, it's not actually wrong that this is a book where almost every male character who's getting any development is either outrageously misogynistic or some variety of creepy scumbag... sometimes just to a tiny degree, sometimes almost to what I'd almost describe as a caricature if I hadn't encountered too many idiots who thought exactly like that. The rare exceptions aren't even heroes actively fighting against the bad guys, but just a character's potential romantic interest or employer who doesn't take as much advantage as most people would. So, all in all, not really fundamentally worse than plenty of books in previous decades of science fiction that often went unremarked. I can see people reacting badly because of it, but I also feel it should be looked at in the context of a world where people are working to take women's rights away. I mean that both within the story (for, that being the central plot, there's obviously going to be far more 'bad men' characters, particularly in variations of the timeline that have already gotten more institutionalized misogyny) and in a real world where there are far too many men out there making efforts towards that in a present-day context. If you're a man offended there aren't more good men fighting the good fight, be one, or continue to be one, in the real world. More of a problem, for me, at least, was that the antagonists too often seemed to be 'easy targets' of a sort? Both in a sense of 'easily defeated' and in many cases 'so obviously bad guys where a more nuanced portrayal might have been more interesting.' Even the major threat people are fighting comes down to a confrontation that doesn't really feel like the culmination of a battle between two factions as a small group confronting a small group of idiots. I think that's my biggest complaint with the book, really, the ending just sort of fizzles out for me, both the major threat and the more emotional core of the plot with the character's personal timeline shift. One comes to a head and is 'resolved' (to the extent they can be) too easily, the other just doesn't feel like the story satisfied. It's hard to describe exactly what went wrong with it, I just wanted more, but instead it felt like the author just stopped telling the story of one character and threw on a dramatic ending for another (partly relying on vague and convenient 'how time travel works in this universe' rules) when I wanted the two branches to intersect more. Still, ending are just one element, and often even when they're not what you wanted, they still don't always sour what came before... getting there, exploring the variations in the timeline, the interesting bits of history and historical figures (some actually real with alternate history details thrown in, some pastiches of real people) the characters and the general plot made up for it. I'd probably put it in that tragic '3.5 stars' range where I'm forced by Goodreads to decide which way to go when neither 3 or 4 feels quite right. However in this case the novel premise (which still gets me thinking of how it might be used in other stories set in the same 'world') alone probably pushes it to the 'closer to 4 stars' range.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    A timey-wimey tale as a geoscientist makes her way up and down through time in this alternate world where time travel exists. Her intent, along with many other women in different time periods all working together, is to restore women’s legal right to abortion (and bodily autonomy). They are attempting to locate a particular instance in history where forces began decisively turning against women. (Not that societies have ever been supportive of women for many centuries.) There is also a men’s gro A timey-wimey tale as a geoscientist makes her way up and down through time in this alternate world where time travel exists. Her intent, along with many other women in different time periods all working together, is to restore women’s legal right to abortion (and bodily autonomy). They are attempting to locate a particular instance in history where forces began decisively turning against women. (Not that societies have ever been supportive of women for many centuries.) There is also a men’s group, much like today’s ridiculous men’s rights activists, thwarting the effort. Main character Tess is also attempting to intervene in the life of a young woman in the 1980s, a young woman who is living with abusive parents and whom Tess appears to have known then. Author Newitz switches between each woman’s story, beautifully capturing the 1980s punk music scene, and the different time periods Tess travels in. I enjoyed this book a lot, as there were so many fantastic female characters and there was time travel, and importantly, so many people of colour speaking and doing. We’ve always been here, and it was great to see PoC part of the action and living, something I still find unusual enough to note when I read any kind of fiction.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I quite enjoyed this ambitious time travel story with a feminist bent, but you do have to accept a lot of ... clutter maybe? in it. The characters are pretty flat too - I reckon you could strip out about two thirds of the plot and have a great book. Even so, it has great energy and lots of great ideas. She’s a super-inventive writer, would read again.

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