Book Review: Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen

Here and Now and Then

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Book Review: Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
(Expected publication: January 29th 2019 by Mira Books)

I got the digital ARC from Netgally, and this one is a gem.

On his website, Mike Chen, an engineer by education, writes, “…my head was constantly filled with stories. Today, I’ve found my niche, blending science fiction elements and themes with a more grounded and intimate story. In my stories, there are no epic wars or fate-of-the-universe events; instead, they’re tales of family and friendship and humor that just happen to have some time travel or an apocalypse.”

This exactly describes his book, “Here and Now and Then.” This is such a wonderful book that words fall short in its praise, and I loved this book. This book has a prologue, is written in third person, and relates to time travel (isn’t time travel a special case of portal?). In a way it breaks all the prescriptions that float around on writing, and proves the single point that a good story is a good story. It is well written, fast-paced, keeps the readers on the tenterhooks, and still able to bring in smiles and poignant moments while saving the last twist for the very end.

The main character is Kin Stewart from 2142, who (because of issues with his time travel equipment) gets trapped in past (1996) for eighteen years, where he marries and has a daughter, Miranda. But when he comes back to his time line of 2142, he finds the mother of Miranda dies, and absence of parents has an adverse effect on his daughter’s life. And then he finds a way for her. As the byline of the book goes, “To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere—and any-when…”

And it’s not only that he finds a way for his daughter, but ultimately his daughter also finds a way for him. The way the story progressed, I worried if the ending was going to be a sob story. But it has a wonderful twisty ending that I did not anticipate.

The book does not make any extra effort to impress the reader. It does not make science fiction look arcane voodoo. It does not have names like Thshikjna or Rmthjcxzs. It does not have weird places in space with strange physical properties.

It’s a book to cherish. Yes, it’s happy ending. I love happy endings. And I look forward to more books from Mike Chen.

Copyright © Anup Mukherjee

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