Future Proof by David Atkinson, as reviewed by Abby Rose
Future Proof is one of the few books I have ever read for a second time, I might even read it a third time; such is the love I have for this story. I will try to avoid too many spoilers. The story starts out with Sam Harris, grossly overweight and about to be evicted from his flat for non-payment of rent. His social worker has manages to get him onto a mental-health recovery program in exchange for board and lodging. The science part of the story is kept low-key, but there’s enough there to satisfy the reader about what is going on.
Essentially, Sam is injected with a serum that is supposed to fix damaged genes, but effectively, what happens is that he is transported back to that point in his life where that gene was damaged – it’s an unusual time-travel technique. Still, the time-travel element is not the key part of the story. What shines from the pages is the relationship between Sam and Luci as they find and lose each other across the various trips back into Sam’s life, which makes for a wonderful story of love, heartache, and redemption.
The first time I read this book, I was swept along on the tide of the narrative as it crashed onto the various shores of Sam’s life and ebbed and flowed with the life he lived, could have lived, and where he monumentally messed up. You do feel like screaming at him occasionally, but that’s part of the joy of the storyline.
If you love the Will they – Won’t they genre, you’ll enjoy it.
The reach of this book, however, goes way beyond the romance between the two main characters; there are a host of support characters who add to the tale’s magic. It is a romantic book but not an all-out romance. It is not chick-lit, but chick-lit readers will love it. It’s not a masculine, out-and-out sci-fi book, but out-and-out sci-fi lovers will adore it.
On the second reading, I discovered the story’s hidden depths. The unique bond between Sam and Luci sinks under the surface of the main narrative and drives the emotions from underneath. The little tricks and devices the writer drops in to make you think about what you’ve just read and question parts of your own life that maybe didn’t work as you’d hoped. There is an underlying dark humor, which I didn’t appreciate on the first rushed reading, where I was just desperate to see where it ended. I also didn’t appreciate the subtle twists weaved into the writing beyond the ones I spotted the first time.
So, who would like this book?
It’s probably easier to define who would NOT like this book. It is the sort of yarn that everyone who enjoys great writing and wonderful characters will love. If I need to rule out the book for some, then if you are looking for hard-driven sci-fi with lots of technical jargon and processes, this is not for you. If you are into violence and gore, this is not for you. If you are into dark romance, then this is not for you. Still, for everyone else who wants to be swept away on a tide of emotion, love, and intrigue with a life-affirming ending, then this is definitely for you. Add it to
your TBR list, and you will not regret it.
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