Culture & Criticism Since 2003
Elan Mastai has made his name writing for the screen, but as his fiction debut All Our Wrong Todays shows, he’s got the chops to write for a book-driven audience as well. All Our Wrong Todays is a stunning work that adeptly broadens the sci-fi genre by giving these faces true believability. Rather than creating a book that is all-out fantasy, Mastai instead has built a cast that walks and talks like us. In turn, we come to be captivated by his ensemble because we can relate to what drives them. In the story, a young man living in the perfect world – one with no poverty or hunger or pain – is propelled via time-machine into the twisted universe of the year 2016. The rest of the story encompasses his journey to try and make it out of this hellish future. As my readers know, I am a critic who does not like to give away plot lines or call spoiler alerts. Instead, I believe my job is to tell you why a writer hit the mark and why a book is a must-read. In terms of Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays, we have been presented a story that sets out to illuminate the perilous course on which we’ve embarked. The darkness and despair on these pages is quite real. We know it’s real – because each and every one of us is living it today. Nonetheless, Mastai also offers us a strong message of hope: Even though this a “fantasy,” its ultimate mission is to call us to action, calling us to save ourselves before it’s too late. Want to know where all this technology leads? Want to know where totalitarian governments eventually end up? All these roads lead to “all our wrong todays.” They lead in a circle all the way to Dante’s fatal circle of fire. Mastai’s prose explodes into the shape of a movie and the picture is clear: Either the world changes its collective ways or we push each other over the edge of no return.