Who hasn’t dreamed of a time machine that could zap us into our past, or maybe our future? “Back to the Future” fans know about the risk—doing something that might change the course of history, setting the butterfly effect into motion. In Here and Now and Then (Mira Books), Mike Chen takes the theory one step further: What if time-jumping stranded you in the past? Would you break the rules to create a new existence? And if you returned to your future, could you reconcile it with your previous life?
How far would you go to save your family?
It’s 2142, and the Temporal Corruption Bureau (TCB) is hard at work safeguarding the past from history alteration. Kin Stewart is a secret Temporal Crimes field agent who travels back in time to intercept other time travelers trying to change history. He’s skilled at what he does, but even his expertise didn’t protect him from the damage done to his ticket back home—his retrieval beacon—during his mission. Marooned in 1996 San Francisco, Kin must create a new life for himself, and inadvertently falls in love, breaking TCB protocol.
Kin has a good life with his wife Heather and 14-year-old daughter Miranda. But his headaches are getting worse. Although he’s feigned PTSD instead of revealing the truth, Kin suspects his time travel is the cause—the body isn’t meant to live in two time periods—even though he can barely remember who he was in 2142. Content where he is, Kin pushes away all deteriorating thoughts of returning, but after 18 years of being stranded, an agent appears in a late rescue mission to take him home.
To save his original family, Kin must return to the future and hope the rest of the TCB doesn’t discover he’s broken the rules. Back in 2142, Kin must re-familiarize himself with his life—his job, friends, and especially his fiancé Penny. How did he not remember her? His two lives have somehow merged, blurred memories from the future intertwining with his new past. And he can’t stop worrying about Heather and Miranda.
His new assignment as a researcher for the Timeline Monitoring team compels Kin to investigate what happened to his family 150 years prior. What he discovers breaks his heart. He must alter the future of his family. But how far is he willing to go?
Mike Chen has laid the foundation for a host of moral dilemmas society might face in our near future. Progress results in both positive and negative consequences—cause and effect. How will humans protect themselves from the detrimental impact of technological advances? Even with safeguards in place, there is always the risk that things won’t go as planned. Chen explores the question of the greater good—do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? And what happens when it becomes personal, the heart overriding logic and rules?? This thought-provoking read makes us consider what lies ahead and how far we’d go to protect the ones we love.
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Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. He has contributed to major geek websites (The Mary Sue, The Portalist, Tor) and covered the NHL for mainstream media outlets. A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, Mike lives in the Bay Area, where he can be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals.