Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.
Anyone who has participated in the Wednesday Weekly Blog Challenge or who has followed this blog for a few years will probably not be surprised by this answer at all.
If I could visit the past for one day, I’d want to spend it with a Neanderthal family. Ideally, we’d get to see some mammoths and other now-extinct species walking past us in the distance, too!
I’ve been fascinated by prehistory and Neanderthals in particular since I was a kid. You can learn a lot about someone by studying their skeletons and the artifacts they leave behind, but there are many facts that can never be preserved that way.
I’d want to know so many things about them: what language(s) they spoke, what names they gave to their children and why, which forms of entertainment they enjoyed in their free time, how any myths they had might be similar to or different from today’s myths, why they thought their ancestors moved to Europe and some parts of Asia from Africa, what religious and cultural beliefs they might have had that were different from ours, why they died out, and so much more.
(Yes, I am assuming that I’d have a universal translator or something that would facilitate communication between us. Even if they somehow spoke the same languages that Homo sapiens did, it surely would still need to be translated as nobody knows what those languages might have sounded like!)
It would be a dream come true to get to know them better for a day.
After encouraging his savant daughter to build a theoretical time machine, Eduardo Solmar scrambles to complete the project after Elishia mysteriously vanishes. His tampering with time reveals more about his future and the dangers of ripping the fabric of the space-time continuum.
Content Warning: Murder and grief.
If you’ve ever wished you could change the course of events of one single day, this might be right up your alley.
The character development was handled nicely, especially considering the fact that this was a short story and the author had limited time to show how memorable his characters were. I’m always thrilled to find authors who can pull that off with this form of writing. It isn’t easy, but it’s so rewarding when it does happen. Eduardo and Elishia both had unexpected layers to their personalities that were slowly revealed throughout their journey to build and use a time machine. I enjoyed getting to know them and would be thrilled to see a sequel if one is ever written.
While this was the sort of short story that works best if the twists in it are revealed quickly, it would have been helpful to have a little more world building along the way. I could easily picture Eduardo and his daughter Elishia because of how much effort was put into describing their physical appearances as well as their personalities. If only I could say the same thing about the setting! There was space here to dive into that topic, and I would have gone with a full five-star rating if the author had done so. Everything else about this tale was exciting and interesting.
With that being said, the ending was fantastic. It caught me off-guard at first, but I soon put all of the pieces together. I actually enjoyed feeling that mild sense of confusion while it lasted because of how nicely foreshadowed it ended up being and how well it suited the arc of the plot once I thought about it for a few moments. This was the sort of conclusion that the science fiction genre was meant for, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with it.
Solaria made me yearn for warm, summer days and for seeing if science fiction’s theories about time travel will someday turn out to be anything like what actual time travel might be like.
Two teenagers share a secret superpower: clock jumping.
Confined to his house by the authorities, remote viewer Briann enters into the life and times of a Japanese girl, Nina.
But as Briann’s feelings for Nina grow, he must overcome his fear of this unpredictable power and make one final jump before his time runs out forever.
A time travel short story about first love and tough choices.
Special powers were meant to be used,right?
Briann and Nina’s growing relationship made me smile. I’m not generally someone who gravitates towards romantic science fiction plots, but these two made a great couple. I liked the fact that they’d already decided they wanted to be together by the time I met them. That was a refreshing take on the romance angle of it all! They also understood each other in ways that most other people did not, and their unfailing support of one another made me hope they’d get their happy ending.
There were times when I found the world building a little confusing, especially when it came to Briann’s society. Everything people did there was tightly controlled, from what they ate to who they socialized with, to what forms of entertainment they used. I was intrigued by the many rules that had been created about how lower-class families like his were allowed to behave and wished the plot had gone into greater detail about that. If this portion of the storyline had been written as tightly as the rest of it, I would have felt comfortable giving it the full five star rating.
Briann and Nina’s abilities themselves were explained well. The first scene went into plenty of detail about the precise steps they took to travel to see each other. It even went so far as to describe the breathing pattern Briann adopted just before the jump happened. This isn’t something that’s always explained well in some time travel stories, so it makes me happy when authors do get specific about how it all works.
Anyone who loves time travel tales should check out Clocking Time.
Content warning: death of a parent, police violence and gun violence. I will be discussing the last two items in this list in my review.
See You Yesterday is a 2019 science fiction film about C.J. and Sebastian, two high school students who are best friends, fellow science enthusiasts, and inventors.
Their latest invention is a backpack that allows the person wearing it to travel back into time. The technology wasn’t perfect. It could only go back into the recent past and could only be used a certain number of times. They were still figuring out how to change those limitations when the events of this film took place.
After C.J.’s older brother, Calvin, was murdered by the police, she and Sebastian decided to use their unfinished invention to travel back in time and save her brother before time ran out for him for good.
C.J. was the protagonist of this tale. As an incredibly intelligent and driven young woman, she believed she could solve any problem that came her way by seeking the scientifically correct answer to it.
Sebastian was C.J.’s best friend. He was just as intelligent as C.J. but tended to be more cautious about trying new things until he’d gathered all of the date he needed about how they worked.
C.J. and Sebastian’s science teacher
Mr. Lockhart was C.J. and Sebastian’s supportive science teacher. He didn’t believe in time travel, but he did believe that his two smartest students would do incredible things with their lives. Supportive teacher, but doesn’t believe in time travel.
Anyone who is a fan of this actor’s previous work will find a delightful Easter Egg about it at some point in this tale.
Calvin was C.J.’s overprotective but loving older brother. He admired his sister’s intellect and believed that she’d one day make life better for their entire family because of it.
This was such a good story that I’m planning to watch it again!
Obviously, there were strong social justice themes in this movie. The blurb and trailer for it will give that fact away immediately to anyone who somehow missed it. C.J.’s invention was really cool in and of itself, but the thought of it being used to right terrible wrongs only made me more curious to see if and how she’d reach her goal of saving her brother’s life.
C.J.’s character development was beautifully handled. There were excellent reasons for her sometimes stubborn behaviour and unshakeable belief that science can be used any problem if one works hard enough to understand what happened and how it can be changed. I’ll leave it up to other viewers to discover these things for themselves, but it was delightful to see how her past and present shaped who C.J. was and who she was becoming.
There were a couple of fantastic plot twists later on in the storyline. They made perfect sense given everything C.J. had gone through earlier. While I did see them coming due to how familiar I am with tropes in the young adult and science fiction genres, I’d be pretty curious to find out if other audience members had the same reaction to them. Either way, they enhanced the viewing experience nicely.
My brain is beyond eager to discuss the ending in this post, but I’ll need to carefully dance around what actually happened in it in order to avoid spoilers. What I can say is that it fit the themes of this tale well and it had a powerful message for audience members about how we should respond to police and gun violence.
Ending on such thoughtful terms was such a great decision. I’ve read that the director isn’t planning to make a sequel, so it looks like the audience will have come up with our own theories about what might happen next.
A Note on the Violence Tags in My Review
Some of the violence was implied. Other acts of violence were shown directly to the audience, albeit in a sensitive and thoughtful manner. There were the briefest hints of blood in a couple of scenes, but in general this was a pretty blood-free story (especially given the subject matter).
See You Yesterday is something that I’d recommend just as highly to adult viewers as I would it’s original young adult audience.