Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen

I love books involving time travel! This is a genre-bending and unique tale of love, and I loved every heartbreaking second of it.

About the Book

Publisher: Mira Books  |  Release Date: January 29, 2019  |  Pages: 336
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Here And Now And Then coverTo save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere—and any-when…

Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in I.T., trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.

Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.

Their mission: return Kin to 2142 where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember.

Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.

A uniquely emotional genre-bending debut, Here and Now and Then captures the perfect balance of heart, playfulness, and imagination, offering an intimate glimpse into the crevices of a father’s heart, and its capacity to stretch across both space and time to protect the people that mean the most.

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My Review

Friends, this book took me completely by surprise in the best of ways! I had been in a reading slump for 20 days and nothing that I picked up could hold my attention, but when I picked up Here and Now and Then it was like I had been waiting for this book. This is a genre-bending and unique tale of love, and I loved every heartbreaking second of it.

“People aren’t supposed to have lives in two eras. You know that, right?”

The story is so much more than just a science fiction story about a man stuck between two times: it’s about the love our main character feels for his family and being torn between two lives. Kin is from 2142 but was stranded during a mission in 1996. Despite there being strict rules about maintaining the timeline, he goes against them when it becomes obvious that he won’t be rescued. Eighteen years later he remembers nothing of his past life in 2142 but snippets he wrote down in a journal about time travel and the bureau he worked for, but nothing of the life he left behind. He has a wife and daughter and is happy. But rescue finally comes and it is time for him to leave the only life he knows – the one that should never have existed – for the one he left behind. But he will do anything to protect them, including leaving them without a word.

“The future versus the past. He couldn’t choose between his new life and his old life. Not now. Not like this.

I really enjoy time travel stories and this is one of the best ones I’ve read so far. This is more than a time travel story, it is a tale about a man that will do anything for the people he loves. The book hooked me in from the first sentence and drew me in. I’ll admit that while I loved Kin (short for Quinoa, he was born when it was a fad to name children after foods) from the start, it took me a little bit of time to warm up the other characters. But once I did I wanted to protect each of them with all of my heart.

At the heart, Here And Now And Then is a speculative look at what our world could look like in 150 years. The technologies and advancements of the future are discussed through time travel: Markus always stopping for fast food because they don’t have food like that in the future, needing special technology to look into the social media of the past for research, bringing a pair of chopsticks because in the past they still use forks. Despite there being injections available to prolong life, there are still people that prefer to live without. It feels so authentic to life now that I didn’t need to suspend any disbelief and it almost felt like I was reading a contemporary because the heart of this story is really the characters and their relationships.

This a definitely a character-driven story, but the world-building is effortless. Chen doesn’t get bogged down with the details of describing the landscape but provides just enough information about the future for the reader to suspend disbelief. Without these little asides to draw out the differences, 2142 feels very similar to the present and makes the story all the more believable. Except of course the whole time travel thing, but then again he does work for a secret government agency.

“But thanks to the wisdom of a tv show, Kin realized he didn’t always have to put up such a fight against circumstances. He might even come to like life in 2142 if he just gave things a chance. He felt different because he was different.”

I was surprised at how philosophical the book felt to me (especially since some of the Zen quotes actually come from Doctor Who) and I was totally here for it. For some reason I began to think about Nietzsche and how we are never really the same person from moment to moment — our memories change and our cells die and live. Honestly it got me thinking about how lucky it is that if we live multiple lives we don’t remember them. I loved that this book made me think, but I do want to say it isn’t overly philosophical… I just like to think about these things.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book and wholeheartedly recommend it! There is so much I can say about the story but really I think this is one where going in as blind as possible is best. If you like character driven stories and science fiction that feels effortless, you need to read this book!

REPRESENTATION: racially diverse world, gay side character (m/m), PTSD
CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS: loss of a loved one, death, grief

Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC via NetGalley for review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon publication. 


spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

 

38 Comments

  1. Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    January 22, 2019 at 3:39 PM

    Looks like the book really worked out you, that’s awesome! I think I came into it expecting something a little less soap opera-y so I didn’t enjoy it quite as much you did. 🙂 And I love that it got you spiralling into a philosophical mood haha

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 25, 2019 at 9:54 AM

      Aww I am sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did! It didn’t feel too soap-opery for me, but I can see how it would to some readers because its really more about love and the relationships than the science. And LISTEN it doesn’t take much to send me on a philosophical tangent!

  2. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM

    January 22, 2019 at 4:02 PM

    This sounds superb – the title itself is quite captivating. Character-driven novels are my favorite, so I’ll definitely be adding this one to my TBR.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 25, 2019 at 9:57 AM

      I really like the title (and cover!) of this book; I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did Kelsey!

  3. Alexia Cambaling

    January 22, 2019 at 4:47 PM

    I don’t tend to read books with time-travel in it but this sounds really good! I like science-fiction so speculation about how our world might look like sounds right up my alley. Might pick this one up soon!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 25, 2019 at 9:59 AM

      This might be a good gateway to time-travel stories, Alexia! It isn’t super heavy on the science but is belieable at the same time and the story is more about the characters and their relationships. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Tammy

    January 22, 2019 at 5:40 PM

    This sounds amazing! For some reason I didn’t really have this on my radar, but I’ll definitely consider it now, especially since it’s so character driven 😁

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 25, 2019 at 9:59 AM

      YAY I got a book onto your radar for once!!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did if you do pick it up, Tammy!

  5. waytoofantasy

    January 23, 2019 at 6:24 AM

    This sound like such a great read! Somehow I hadn’t really heard of this one. Adding it to my list!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 25, 2019 at 10:02 AM

      It was such a good book and it made me feel lots of feelings! I hope you love it as much as me!

  6. Isabelle @ BookwyrmBites

    January 23, 2019 at 6:59 AM

    oooooh this was already on my TBR, but now I absolutely have to read it! it sounds like what I was hoping The Psychology of Time Travel would be (that one was decent, but slightly disappointing though I can’t pinpoint exactly why) – I really love books that make you think without hitting you over the head with overt philosophy haha.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 25, 2019 at 10:03 AM

      Oh YAY, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts when you read it!!! And I also love books that make me think.

  7. Justine @ Bookish Wisps

    January 23, 2019 at 7:01 AM

    It earned a 5 Star from you 😍😍. I had been anticipating this book since I’ve heard it. I am excited. Hope it’ll be available earliest here which I doubt, nevertheless would patiently wait haha! And I am glad this book took you out of your slump.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 25, 2019 at 10:05 AM

      I knowwwww, I feel like I don’t give 5 star ratings very often and find that even books I love sometimes I get 4 stars LOL! I am so glad to be out of my slump now and what a book. I hope you can get it soon!

  8. Kathy @ Books & Munches

    January 24, 2019 at 2:01 AM

    I’m not one for science fiction but this actually sounds like something I might maybe enjoy? Effortless world-building and character-driven.. Sounds about right, I think? And I’ve never read anything time-travel related before so that’d be a first!

    Adding this to my TBR and.. maybe.. I’ll someday get to it.

    Lovely review, Kaleena!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 25, 2019 at 10:29 AM

      Honestly this book felt like a contemporary with science fiction elements? Like take out the fact the dude time-travels and it’s legit an adult contemporary, so I think this is a good book for people that generally don’t gravitate towards science fiction!

      Thank you so much, Kathy, and I hope you enjoy this book if you decide to pick it up!

      1. Kathy @ Books & Munches

        January 27, 2019 at 11:43 PM

        Sounds exactly right for someone like me, then! It’s on my spreadsheet AND on my Goodreads-tbr so let’s hope I don’t lose track of it, haha.

  9. SavVy The Book Royal

    January 24, 2019 at 11:21 AM

    I’ll have to check this one out. I’ve been wanting to read time travel stories because I lvoe the topic of time travel but have been super hesitant. This one seems like a good place to start, especially since you said it’s character driven (i love that in books.)

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 28, 2019 at 10:45 AM

      I also love character driven books, and this one is so good! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did and thanks for stopping by!

  10. Papertea and Bookflowers

    January 24, 2019 at 12:30 PM

    I love when a book takes you completely by surprise! I’ve had that same experience with Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng. Didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.

    Here and now and then sounds really intriguing. I’m not a big sci-fi reader, but one of my goals for this year is to read more sci-fi and I love time travel, so I’ll definitely put this on my list. Especially because character-driven stories are my jam.
    Great review! Oh and I love that this has a philosophical touch.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 28, 2019 at 10:46 AM

      Everything I Never Told You is a book I still need to read, but I really loved Lilttle Fires Everywhere!

      I think this book will be a good one if you aren’t into heavy sci-fi because it is so character driven. I hope you enjoy it if you pick it up!

  11. Michelle

    January 24, 2019 at 11:25 PM

    This sounds so good?? I haven’t read many time travel stories and most of them weren’t good :’) but this sounds like I would really enjoy it, I love how you get snippets from 2142 without it being too much, because it’s not like Kin can tell anyone he’s from the future!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 28, 2019 at 10:57 AM

      I agree, time travel stories are hit and miss. I’ve read some good ones but this one surprised me so much! The snippets of 2142 are really cool to see how the world has changed in the almost 150 years, but really Kin and his loved ones are the center of the story, and I really liked that!

  12. Lili Star Reads

    January 25, 2019 at 6:17 AM

    Yay I’m glad you are out of your reading slump! Here and Now and Then sounds like it will be super emotional with the leaving family behind!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 28, 2019 at 11:02 AM

      ME TOO THE SLUMP WAS HORRIBLE!

      It was indeed super emotional, but such a beautiful story, too!

  13. Norrie

    January 25, 2019 at 12:57 PM

    Lovely review!
    Quite intriguing premise. I kinda think this would give me similar feels like Dark Matter and i’d be just constantly worried about the main character 😀

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 28, 2019 at 11:06 AM

      I keep forgetting that I need to read Dark Matter, and this reference makes me more excited! Worry… perhaps.

      1. Phantom Paper

        February 4, 2019 at 8:28 AM

        I just got Dark Matter(finally!) from the library! Now I’m curious, too 😁

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          February 5, 2019 at 6:00 PM

          Let me know how you like it!!!

  14. Charvi

    January 27, 2019 at 6:32 AM

    I’m so happy to see that you loved this book!
    I love books with time travelling and this one is very high on my TBR 😍
    I requested an ARC and hopefully I’ll get approved 😬🤞

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 28, 2019 at 11:26 AM

      Crossing fingers that you get approved for an ARC, if not I think it comes out tomorrow and I hope it will be available where you live soon! Happy reading, Charvi!

      1. Charvi

        January 29, 2019 at 10:11 PM

        Thanks, Kal! OMG IT DOES? I gotta check that out XD

  15. TTT: The LATEST ADDITIONS to my ever-expanding “want to read”-list; AKA why Goodreads and blogs are bad for you. – Books & Munches

    January 28, 2019 at 10:04 PM

    […] and Now and Then is one I added thanks to Kaleena’s review! I usually don’t read a lot of science fiction, but she totally convinced me this might just […]

  16. This Week’s New Book Releases And Reviews – 2019/5. – Swift Coffee

    January 30, 2019 at 3:23 AM

    […] ‘Here and Now and Then’ by Kaleena at Reader Voracious […]

  17. January in Review – Reader Voracious Blog

    February 3, 2019 at 8:58 AM

    […] Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen – this debut was such an enjoyable and sad read for me! I love time travel stories but was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this one, especially because it felt like more of a contemporary with sci-fi elements more than anything.  [YARC] | 📖 Read my full review […]

  18. Phantom Paper

    February 4, 2019 at 8:27 AM

    I found myself rooting for Team Heather while reading 😁 I appreciated the emotional depth of the book but felt it didn’t fulfill my sci-fi fix. I’m happy for you that you enjoyed it much more though!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      February 5, 2019 at 5:59 PM

      I am honestly surprised that I liked it as much as I did because it wsn’t really a sci-fi story to me, and it is rare that I enjoy contemporary family stories, but I just fell for the 1996 family and their quoting Doctor Who. 🤣

      1. Phantom Paper

        February 6, 2019 at 3:40 AM

        I’m kinda surprised, too, haha. You’re Team Heather, too?! Yay!

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