Here and Now and ThenHere and Now and Then
Year: 2019
Author: Mike Chen
Length: 336 pages


I’ve always found time travel to be an intriguing plot device. There are plenty of rules that come along with this phenomenon, but they can be somewhat flexible based on the situation that demands it. In Here and Now and Then (which is a brilliant title, by the way), the “rules” about time travel are reasonably strict, even if there’s a fair amount of hand-waving to explain away any changes made to the timeline. While this leads to a perfectly suitable ending, there were certainly a few alternative endings that I would have liked to have seen as well.

Set in two time periods over 100 years apart, the main plotline follows Quinoa “Kin” Stewart, a time traveler from the future who was stuck in the past with no hope of returning home. Taking some advice from comedian Mitch Hedberg, “If you find yourself lost in the woods…build a house. ‘Well, I was lost, but now I live here! I have severely improved my predicament.’” Unfortunately, the rescue team shows up almost 18 years too late, and now Kin has to shift gears to return to his original life timeline. This proves to be difficult and results in some great character development.

While Here and Now and Then does add some much-needed rules to the time travel trope that make perfect sense, it doesn’t spend too much time dwelling on the science and instead focuses on the relationships and character development. I will applaud the author’s restraint to not necessarily take the most obvious paths in the story, especially as this is his debut work. In the end, there is still an amount of suspension of disbelief, but at least it was an entertaining ride.

An excellent character-driven time travel story, I give Here and Now and Then 4.5 stars out of 5.

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