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.
So many novels that try to discuss the internet and technology culture do so in a way that feels like the author's never actually used the internet. Is it impossibly difficult to write well about the ways in which we live and have relationships through online platforms that exploit personal privacy and data for capitalist gains? I don't know. I also don't know if we're ever going to run out of books that treat the internet (you know, the global infrastructure used by billions of people for decades) and its users and communities with condescension or alarmism. But Dexter Palmer's Version Control is antithesis of those books: it braids together surveillance culture, dating apps, time travel, and an intimate, often sad portrait of a marriage together into a powerful exploration of possibility and truth. It's really funny and very 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.