The Future of Another Timeline

Tor. Sept. 2019. 377p. ISBN 9780765392107. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780765392121. SF
High schooler Beth just wants to enjoy punk rock and live her teenage life. But in 1993, she witnesses a murder that threatens to upend normalcy forever. Tess is a geologist from 2022, fighting with a group called the Daughters of Harriet to keep women’s rights alive—all across the time line. Arrayed against Tess and her group are misogynistic anti–time travel activists who follow the edicts of Anthony Comstock. When Tess’s and Beth’s paths cross, they are forced to come to terms with a past and future that are malleable, caught in a war for control, and where one tiny change can have significant consequences. Amplifying many of the touchstones of youth, family, and friendship gives readers a new twist on the butterfly effect.
VERDICT In her sophomore work, Newitz (Autonomous) comes back to an Earth that highlights the truths of our past and possibilities of our future. The fantastical elements do not hide the all-too-real horrors women could face, but intelligence and hope are woven into every level. Shrewd commentary and a host of sources highlight Newitz’s strength in prose.

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