Thursday, May 16, 2013
Toward Yesterday by Paul Antony Jones
If you like: Flash Forward * cults * second chances
Toward Yesterday begins in 2042. Cars drive with AI and simplifying technology abounds, but the persistent human dilemmas continue. People are still depressed, there is still divorce, and religion and science continue to be at odds. Suddenly, everything changes. Everyone instantaneously finds themselves transported and confused. Soon they learn that they are in the exact location they were 25 years earlier. The disorientation and confusion lead to immediate chaos.
Though the overarching plot of Toward Yesterday is engaging, there are some missed opportunities in the narrative. Moving back in time 25 years resurrects those who had died during the period between the two points in time. It also means that anyone born after the reset date does not reappear. Much of the story is devoted to the main characters being reunited with lost loved ones, or coming back to life themselves. The flip side is largely ignored. What about all of the parents with children that no longer exist? Yes, some characters mention coworkers who did not make it back, but the devastating grief that young parents would have experienced en masse is not explored. At the same time, a multitude of people have returned from beyond the vale of death. Distinctly different experiences are fleetingly described by two characters, but it is otherwise ignored. The different experiences of each of the revivified had great potential impact on the religious segment of the story, but these connections are never explored.
Those at the center of Toward Yesterday are given a second chance at life. Though they retain all of their memories and knowledge from the previous timeline, their youth has been restored by 25 years. The knowledge gained through a full life combined with the vigor of youth will allow many to make smarter choices as they relive their golden years. At the same time, there are a multitude of childlike adults, who have experienced the freedoms of adulthood, and now must suffer through their adolescence a second time. The story truly excels when its characters are reunited with those loved ones who have died. The chance to say everything that was left unsaid, and gain the gift of more time together provides immeasurable pleasure. Any reader who has lost someone will instantly connect with the experiences of these reunions.
If you would give up everything to be reunited with those you love, read Toward Yesterday.
Jones, Paul. Toward Yesterday. 2011. Kindle Edition.