WOW! This blew my mind. This story is so unexpected, I literally didn't know what was going to happen until it did. If you crave conceptual time travel narratives along the lines of This is How You Lose the Time War, please, please, read For All Time.
Tamar and Fayard suddenly begin having strange dreams and visions, set in different centuries and places. It's as if they spent other lives meeting and falling in love, as if their souls seek each other in every era and continent. But it couldn't possibly be real because Tamar is really sick and Fayard should be figuring out college.
There's so much to this story and I wish I could tell you more, but then I'd spoil it for you.
This is a blossoming romance set among the rubble of incomprehensible destruction. This is not Doctor Who fan-fiction, nor is it the concrete, expository science fiction we're used to. This is for the dreamers who want to look through broken windows into another reality.
When you venture into the pages of a time-traveling, plague-ridden dystopian nightmare, you come to expect a visceral exploration of what it takes ot survive in an unforgivable world.
What you don't expect is to become deeply invested in the love story that unfolds in flashbacks and written so intimately that it almost feels like intruding.
We've all read books about the very real dangers of exploitation and radicalization online and in technology whose bottom line is an unrealistic neo-Luddism. Dexter Palmer's Version Control is antithesis of those books: it braids together surveillance capitalism, dating apps, time travel, and an intimate, often sad portrait of a marriage together into a powerful exploration of possibility and truth. It's funny and sharp, and I loved every page.
Tom Barren is a screw-up. He knows this because he's lived two difference lives in 2016 and he's incompetent in both. In fact, if he hadn't tolen his father's time machine and traveled back to 1965, we would all be driving hover cars and wearing biodegradable clothing. Instead, he corrupted the timeline, killed billion of people and caused the utopian version of 2016 to never exist.
He did, however, create a new loving family for himself and discover his soulmate. Now the Tom's of ever possible today must decide which yesterday to save and which tomorrow they'll create.