Canada Reads 2019

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

In Elan Mastai's speculative novel, a man time-travels into what we think of as the present day.
Elan Mastai is the author of the sci-fi novel All Our Wrong Todays. (David Leyes)

All Our Wrong Todays is on the Canada Reads 2019 longlist. Canada Reads 2019 is about finding one book to move you. The final five books and the panellists defending them will be revealed on Jan. 31, 2019.

The 2019 debates will take place March 25-28, 2019 and will be hosted by Ali Hassan

About All Out Wrong Todays

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we'd have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren's 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed... because it wasn't necessary. Except Tom just can't seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that's before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and — maybe, just maybe — his soulmate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? (From Penguin Random House)

The inspiration behind All Our Wrong Todays

"There were three main sources of inspiration for this book, spread out over decades. The first comes from my grandfather, who was a chemist. He really believed in his core that science was the answer to all the problems of the future. He also had an extensive collection of 1950s and 1960s sci-fi novels. I loved staring at these garish paintings of robots and rocket ships and futuristic cities. But I was aware of this disconnect — that our reality, our world, didn't happen the way the books depicted it to be.

Part of the genesis of this idea was thinking of someone from my grandfather's generation arriving in 2016 and being horrified that the science-first, utopian future they were imagining was just around the corner never happened.- Elan Mastai

"The second main inspiration was Expo 86 in Vancouver. Expo 86 was the last World's Fair ever hosted in North America. The expos really defined our vision of the future, but it feels like after Expo 86, we stopped dreaming of the same futures, or at least they started to seem a lot less likely. Those ideas were very present for me. I think as I got older, I was wondering what happened to that future we were promised.

"Then in more recent years, I noticed the rise of dystopian pop culture, whether in YA novels or TV or films. Part of the genesis of this idea was thinking of someone from my grandfather's generation arriving in 2016 and being horrified that the science-first, utopian future they were imagining was just around the corner never happened. It occurred to me that I could combine these ideas: someone from this utopian version of the present coming to our actual present."

Read more in Elan Mastai's interview with CBC Books.

From the book

I leave my condo on the 184th floor of a 270-floor tower connected to seven other towers by a lattice of walkways, with a transport hub at the base of the octagonal complex. My father pulled some strings because the building is owned by the same property conglomerate that manages my parents' housing unit, so at least my place faces away from Toronto's densest building clusters and I have a decent view of Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment biosphere preserve in the distance, the spires of downtown Buffalo glinting morning sunlight along the arced horizon.

A lot of people take their own vehicles to work but, seriously, three-dimensional traffic sucks. Whatever the cool factor of a flying car, it's mitigated by the gridlock hovering twenty stories above every street.

From All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai ©2017. Published by Penguin Random House.

Interviews with Elan Mastai

Elan Mastai's first novel, All Our Wrong Todays explores alternate realities and the idea of what went wrong with humanity's dreams for the future. 18:25
Elan Mastai talks about his novel "All Our Wrong Todays", which is already optioned for the movies. 2:52