At their best, such [science-fiction] stories combine the appeal of good historical fiction with futuristic speculation, which is certainly the case with Annalee Newitz’s provocative second novel ... The question of whose history gets suppressed and whose doesn’t is one of the central questions of the novel, making it eerily timely for our own cultural debates ... Newitz’s meticulously researched portrait...includes fascinating sketches of real-life historical figures ... Sometimes Newitz’s complex conditions for time travel sound like arbitrary game rules ... While this unnecessarily complicates the first half of the novel, Newitz more than makes up for it with her vivid portrait of the raucous South Side of Chicago during the World’s Fair.
The Future of Another Timeline is an absolute tour de force that wholeheartedly embraces the radical potential science fiction holds as a political genre ... The book is a good book, in terms of craft and execution, but it’s also a fucking important book—an urgent book, a clear-seeing book, a book with ethics to argue as well as the passion to do so ... Newitz’s comprehensively intersectional engagements with feminist activism are made real ... The Future of Another Timeline is multifaceted and unbelievably thorough in representing resistance. Gender, class, race, ethnicity, and ability are all influences on a given individual’s approach and understanding. The portions of the novel set at the Chicago Midway in 1893 are some of the most vibrant in their grappling with the problems of activism ... Newitz balances the terrors of living as a woman under patriarchy with the blistering, relentless, revolutionary possibilities of collective action ... There is hope, though, and a fight to be fought. The novel’s arguments come to rather glorious light through that process of struggle ... On all possible levels, The Future of Another Timeline succeeds: as an illustrative argument about intersectional feminist alliances, as a treatise on activism and coalition-building across time and culture, and as a work of precise, finely constructed, beautiful science fiction.
It's a time travel story — there's no other way they go. It stumbles in the prose sometimes. Gets wrapped up in referential nerdery. But Newitz grounds things in character details and the focused, dual, coordinated concerns of Beth in 1992 and Tess everywhen else. They color (and in some cases spackle over) the science in emotion ... And then Newitz gives the whole twisty mess a solid driver in an edit war ... But Newitz isn't content to end with nicely put-together or solidly plotted or any of the other faint-praise bull that generally gets heaped on troped-up genre novels. It's tough enough to write a time travel book that maintains its own internal logic throughout and doesn't descend into a series of ex machina miracles to put a neat bow on the last page, so that's where most writers stop. But not Newitz ... Another Timeline is a revolutionary novel in that it is about revolutions ... To burn down the past and start over again new. That Newitz can contain these both inside the skin of a single novel is not genius, it is necessity.
Newitz’s good fight is unabashedly a feminist one, with an emphasis on racial and gender intersectionality ... The Future of Another Timeline might be the most political novel in a year that drops a Handmaid’s Tale sequel The Testaments, but it certainly disproves that issue-based science fiction needs to be less fun than supposedly 'apolitical' adventures. It has a high quantity of fist pumping moments ... It’s so good in so many ways that I doubt we live in a timeline where it’s snubbed for a Hugo.
Newitz’s rules for time travel can get pretty convoluted ... Given the potentially vast canvas she’s laid out for themself, Newitz makes another smart decision, focusing on a handful of convincingly realized characters and only a couple of meticulously researched time periods ... their relationship keeps the narrative tightly focused on character, something that too many time-travel writers overlook in their zeal to parade their historical research. Newitz has plenty of impressive research to show off, too ... If Comstock himself emerges as a kind of cardboard melodrama villain spouting righteous clichés – well, it seems that’s pretty much what he was, historically. The notion that he and his followers want to lock down their own distorted view of history, largely in order to keep women in their place, lends a kind of chilling immediacy to Newitz’s tale. As a time-hopping and suspenseful historical adventure, it’s a delight, but as a commentary on who owns history – or thinks they ought to own it – it’s a scary and timely reminder that all future timelines begin with what we do right now.
The Future of Another Timeline boasts an unabashedly queer feminist agenda. With their thorough research and incorporation of key historical figures and events, Newitz crafts a tale that illuminates just how fragile women’s rights are ... Feminist readers will readily join Tess on her mission, but readers who aren’t already on board may feel further alienated. The urgency of women’s issues in our own time, however, necessitates this heavy-handedness ... Although it bears flaws in its character development, The Future of Another Timeline is a relevant social commentary disguised as a cautionary tale.
... simultaneously sillier and more serious than any of [Newitz's] other work. It’s like The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy ... The premise that Newitz sets up is fairly madcap — a time-traveling Wikipedia-style edit war between Men’s Rights Advocates and Social Justice Warriors. While there’s plenty of light, fast-moving action here, the story also has a pulsing, claustrophobic, dystopian heart ... Newitz’s Comstockers are far too real and present to be mere satire. That’s because so much of their ideology is lifted verbatim from men’s rights message boards, murderous incel cults and 'Dark Enlightenment' self-parody ... The upshot is a book full of heart, consequences, stakes, action and surprises. Newitz blends exquisitely rendered historical research with a complex science fiction, the time-travel premise whose internal logic is well-thought-through, throwing up all kind of hard puzzles for her characters to solve ... This is a hell of a book from start to finish and could not be more timely.
Newitz makes a clear effort to be inclusive, and the book features some prominent characters of color, as well as a trans woman whose cis female partner takes up the point of view narration for a few chapters ... Newitz clearly enjoyed her research ... It’s worth taking the time to savor the richness of detail in her exploration of proto-feminism ... Along with the book’s lingering, loving focus on oft-ignored history, she gives us a fairly realistic picture of the life of a practicing scientist ... In truth, the details that made time travel possible in the setting remain opaque to readers for most of the book, as does the question of why time travelers are known both as Travelers and as Geologists. But the descriptions of the day-to-day practice of science ring true–including the scientific attitude of openness to new hypotheses as they emerge ... a timely piece of fiction that makes explicit its primary contentions: it pits the Great Man theory of history against the Collective Action theory, and if its ending feels prefigured, it still offers a genuinely unexpected twist along the way.
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.
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 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.
...mind-rattling ... Newitz’s fascinating extrapolation is an intelligent, gut-wrenching glimpse of how tiny actions, both courageous and venal, can have large consequences ... Smart and profound on every level, this is a deeply satisfying novel.