Monday, March 12, 2012

REVIEW: Towards Yesterday by Paul Jones

DESCRIPTION: What would you do if you suddenly found yourself twenty-five years in the past? For the nine-billion people of the year 2042 it's no longer a question ... it is a reality

When a seemingly simple experiment goes disastrously wrong, James Baston finds himself stranded alongside the rest of mankind, twenty-five years in the past. A past where the old are once more young, the dead live and the world has been thrust into chaos.

Contacted by the scientist responsible for the disaster, James is recruited to help avert an even greater catastrophe. Along with a team of scientists, a reincarnated murder victim and a frustrated genius trapped in her six-year old body, James must stop the certain extinction of humanity. But if the deluded leader of the Church of Second Redemption has his way, humanity will disappear into potentiality, and he is willing to do anything to ensure that happens.

A serial killer, a murder victim, a dead priest, and James' lives are all inextricably bound together as they plummet towards an explosive final confrontation, the winner of which will decide the fate of humanity.

My Thoughts: Jones writes one of the most original apocalypses that I've ever read. The kind of devastation that would be wrought by everyone slamming back into their past bodies (and everyone who had been born between those two points just disappearing) would be immense. Nearly unimaginable, frankly, but Jones does a great job of painting a world on the verge of completely unraveling. So good a job that I wanted him to spend a little more time taking the world apart rather than putting it back together, but that could be because I'm a little twisted. The book's four main characters, a scientist-turned-writer, a math genius who is also a murder victim, a priest who committed suicide and then was brought back, and the math genius's killer, are vividly drawn; I couldn't wait for them to collide. (My favorite character, though, is a scientist who gets slammed back into the body of her prepubescent self and is about as happy over it as you can imagine.) The book does drift into a few moments of fridge logic at the end, and the four didn't have quite the screamer that I wanted them to when they finally crossed paths, but Jones's writing is so crisp and evocative that the ride is still well worth it.

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