Stay with me for a moment. I will get to Annalee Newitz’s The Future of Another Timeline; I promise. It wasn’t long after Wikipedia launched that it became ubiquitous. In spite of the best efforts of many educators, Wikipedia has built a reputation for being (more or less) reliable. And yet, I regularly blow students’ minds by telling them about Wikipedia shenanigans, like edit wars. An edit war can break out for a lot of reasons, but the end result is the same: a page with content that is constantly shifting until an outside force locks it down. I bring up edit wars because they are at the heart of The Future of Another Timeline…but with time travel.
Tess and her colleagues, the self-named Daughters of Harriet, have been waging an increasingly heated conflict with men’s rights activists over a host of issues that basically boil down to whether or not women will have control of their bodies and reproduction. The MRAs, rallying around the actual crusades of Anthony Comstock, have been sneaking back in time to do nefarious things. Tess et al. are also running around the time stream to undo things or promote greater equality. Meanwhile, Tess has another mission: to stop something terrible from happening when she was a teenager. There are a lot of moving pieces in this book.
As the novel bounces through space-time and from narrator to narrator, we see teams forming, reversals, emotional highs, a dash of serial murder, victories, and a spectacular Spartacus reference. This book clearly has an agenda but, since it’s an agenda I agree with, I didn’t mind much when things suddenly fell into place for Tess and her friends. (Well, not too much, anyway.) Any time my right eyebrow started to lift in skepticism, something fun or interesting or profound would happen and my eyebrow would sink back into place.
I had a great time reading The Future of Another Timeline. Reading it felt like a shot of hope in the arm, considering the news in the United States and the United Kingdom lately. I would definitely recommend this book to people looking for a bookish pick-me-up.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.