City Book Review: Past Versus Future


I wrote an editorial review for Past Versus Future.  It was a pretty good book!  Here’s my review:

Past Versus Future posits that the big bang was merely one bang in a series of many. Like a cosmic reset button, each bang brings with it a whole new universe where civilizations rise and fall, where species venture beyond their solar systems and explore whole galaxies. And before the most recent bang that resulted in our universe, there existed a remarkably similar universe—complete with an Earth look-alike called Terra.

In Mark Grimshaw’s Past Versus Future, a hodgepodge army of ancient monsters travels into the future and steps into a modern-day New York City equivalent (hence the title). This evil army goes on to wreak havoc across Terra, forcing the survivors to come together and fight for the future of their world.

The odds are stacked in the enemy’s favor. Horde of cloned soldiers? Check. Medieval Jason Vorhees with a giant sword? Check. Flying Godzilla? Double-check. But thanks to characters Erica Bareilles and Rose Apperin, who together are essentially the living embodiment of deus ex machina, readers will have a great time rooting for the good guys.

There’s an origin story in here for nearly every supernatural character (buckle up, for there are many), and while the delivery is sometimes a little silly, the ideas are captivating and original. These vignettes also provide a nice change of pace from what is otherwise nonstop, comic-book action. All told, the novel covers an unimaginable span of time on par with Cixin Liu’s Death’s End. That’s not to say readers will find complex metaphors here, however; this epic is more likely to please fans of the alien invasion movie Independence Day.

If I were magically transported through time and space to the planet Terra, I’d have little trouble assimilating. Indeed, it seems the only differences between Terra and our own world are entirely superficial. They have twelve months in a year, but with unfamiliar names like Resember and Karch. People yell through moose-horns instead of bullhorns and use heavy weaponry called engine-guns. Mileage will vary depending on the reader, but if you got a kick out of the McDonald’s scene from Pulp Fiction, you’ll probably get a kick out of this running gag, too.

Grimshaw’s debut is undeniably rough around the edges, and his comic-book writing style won’t please everyone, but I felt the plot and scope made it well worth my time. Further, I can’t deny that the jokes (which rely almost are entirely on the “Call a Rabbit a Smeerp” TV trope) got a few laughs out of me. I recommend this to fans of sci-fi looking for something bombastic and fun.