The future of another timeline is a time travel book. It is also a book about the ongoing struggle for equal rights. It starts in 1992, from the perspective of a time traveller who has returned to an important moment in her past, and an opportunity to change something about her past.
The book is told in alternate chapters between Tess- the traveler, and Beth – the girl for whom 1992 is her current life. There are 5 Machines, that enable time travel, provided certain conditions are met. They are mysterious, not made by humans, and not all elements are understood.
Study of time travel and use of the machines is a geoscience, because they are literally caves. Beth has ambitions to study the geosciences, Tess has a career in it. Tess is also trying to make edits in the timeline to grant women better rights, there are opposing groups seeking to do the opposite.
It gradually becomes clearer that the 1992 of Beth is not the 1992 of our timeline, even accounting for the story mechanisms. Tess regularly reconvenes with a group of like minded women in her time to report on the changes they have engineered. When successful, only the editor (and other travellers present when the edit is made) remembers the previous reality.
Tess has two goals in her story – to ensure that women’s rights are cemented and maintained and to persuade Beth to give up her friendship with Liz, a girl that Tess tells Beth is bad for her. Tess spends much of the book at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair- this is where the pivotal moment is triggered from.
It’s a clever story, and one of the pivotal events in Beth’s story shows how the edits work- in earlier chapters it happens very differently from how she remembers it in later chapters. It also asks what would you do, and give up, to ensure that you can change your past?
I bought this book a two years ago, and skimmed through. This time i picked it up and read through. I found the ideas interesting and the changes that occur, good and bad, resulting from action show the costs of action.