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Here and Now and Then

Review

Here and Now and Then

It’s 2014, and Kin Stewart is an average family man. He loves his wife, Heather, and struggles to relate to his teenage daughter, Miranda. But Kin’s biggest problem? He doesn’t belong in this timeline.

Kin Stewart is actually a time-traveling secret agent from 2142 who has been sent back to 1996 to eliminate a time-traveling criminal. But before he does, the criminal irrevocably damages Kin’s equipment, leaving him stranded outside of his era. As weeks become months, Kin’s brain acclimates to its time period, and he forgets more and more of 2142 and who he used to be. Months become years, and details of the future blur into memories. He makes a life for himself, gets a good job in IT, and loves fighting over soccer and sci-fi TV shows with his family.

"HERE AND NOW AND THEN is a glorious read that filled my heart and kept me turning pages, all the way to its poignant and satisfying conclusion."

Until his retrieval team shows up...18 years too late. Kin was an error in the program, the past 18 years of his life a glitch that never should’ve happened, a contingency for which they’ll build fail-safes when they’re updating their programs. Kin is returned to 2142, to his life and his job...and to Penny, the woman he was about to marry before he spent 18 years in the past building a life with someone else.

Kin wants to make a life with Penny, but he can’t forget Heather or Miranda. He doesn’t want to. As he works to reconcile his past and present, his agency uncovers the problem that is Miranda: she never should’ve existed. And the more Kin struggles to protect his daughter from his timeline, the more he ends up endangering Miranda in hers.

Mike Chen has woven a powerful, tightly paced and plotted book that succeeds equally as a sci-fi story and a clever, character-driven novel. He moves deftly through the contingencies of time travel to craft a beautiful work that ultimately is about the self, and how far you would go to protect your loved ones. There’s action and energy in these pages, but a softness as well. Within a wild, bright premise, Chen tugs at the tender threads of family: the helplessness of wanting to protect them in the wake of something so indifferent and so much bigger than you. He explores the physicalities and consequences of time travel so intently and accessibly. He makes the paradoxes personal, the magnitude intimate. This is breathable, believable sci-fi.

I loved every character and found myself impressed and intrigued by every turn of the plot. Chen has created a compelling, sensitive, innovative story, and I eagerly look forward to reading more from him. HERE AND NOW AND THEN is a glorious read that filled my heart and kept me turning pages, all the way to its poignant and satisfying conclusion.

Reviewed by Maya Gittelman on February 1, 2019

Here and Now and Then
by Mike Chen

  • Publication Date: January 29, 2019
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mira
  • ISBN-10: 0778369048
  • ISBN-13: 9780778369042