THE FUTURE OF ANOTHER TIMELINE
by Annalee Newitz
September 2019 – Tor (US)
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?
Annalee Newitz is an American journalist, editor, and author of fiction and nonfiction. They are the recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship from MIT, and have written for Popular Science, The New Yorker, and the Washington Post. They founded the science fiction website io9 and served as Editor-in-Chief from 2008–2015, and then became Editor-in-Chief at Gizmodo and Tech Culture Editor at Ars Technica. Their book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction was nominated for the LA Times Book Prize in science. Their first novel, AUTONOMOUS, won a Lambda award.
“Time travelers battle for the future in this feminist sci-fi thriller. We begin in 1992, where (or is it when?) “traveler” Tess has appeared at a punk concert in California. She’s on the lookout for “anti-travel activists” who want to shut down the mysterious “Machines”, structures of unknown origin that somehow facilitate time travel. Tess discovers that a group of misogynist crusaders, centered around the ideas of 19th-century conservative moralist Anthony Comstock, are trying to change events in the past so that women are stripped of all human rights. Tess and her friends, who are diverse in both race and gender, chase these “Comstockers” through time to stop them from fulfilling their evil plans. Meanwhile, teenager Beth, who is really living in 1992, escapes her oppressive home life to revel in the California punk scene with her best friend, Lizzy. But what is Beth supposed to do when she meets a traveler from the future who warns her to stay away from Lizzy? And why is that traveler, Tess, making detours in time to find Beth when she has a conspiracy to thwart? Newitz (Old Media, 2019, etc.) does well enough with the time-travel premise, but where this book really shines is in its page-turning plot and thoughtfully drawn characters. The Comstockers’ plan, with its rhetoric plucked straight from present-day “men’s rights” online forums, is truly terrifying. Between careful attention to Tess’ development, Beth’s chapters, and the near-constant jumps through time, the story charges along until Newitz suddenly ties it all together with breathtaking finesse. The humdinger of an ending is a perfect cherry on top. An ambitious adventure that keeps the surprises coming.”―Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review
“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.”―Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
“Newitz’s carefully built narrative of time travel and conflict is rooted in the drive and joys of intersectional feminism, sex positivity, and acceptance…This riot of a book will have readers delighting both in the thrilling battle over timelines in an intricate, alternative world and in the joys of inclusive feminist solidarity.”―Booklist, STARRED review
“[Newitz] 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.”―Library Journal, STARRED review