In this debut sci-fi novel, two 20-something time travelers find romance and experiment with sex and drugs in the Roaring ’20s.
When Tom Evans sees a 1922 picture of Beth Howard in his local newspaper’s nostalgic “Backwards Glances” section, he falls in love at first sight and, using the power of his mind, travels back in time to meet her. Since alcohol is hard to come by just two years into Prohibition, Tom and Beth get to know each other in other ways—by drinking cocaine-spiked Coca-Cola at the local soda fountain, smoking mail-order marijuana cigarettes and experimenting with sex. Soon Beth confides that she’s a time traveler as well; for the first time, each has a companion with whom to share their experiences. Tom is finally ready to settle down and live a calmer life, but then conflict arises: Beth’s mother’s illness threatens to take her life, and bankruptcy threatens to take Beth’s family’s home. Armed with 21st-century medical technology and knowledge of the upcoming stock market crash, Tom thinks he can save Beth’s parents—but will he be able to do so without exposing his identity as a time traveler? Readers interested in the ins and outs of Prohibition-era life will appreciate the book’s meticulous research. However, Tom comes off as a cocky, insufferable character whose first-person narration gives the story a juvenile flavor. At one point, Tom’s response to some police officers’ homophobia turns into a pornographic prank. His frequent references to the size of his penis also distract from the story, while the novel’s sex scenes are told with the sort of graphic detail generally reserved for bodice-ripper romances.
A well-researched time-travel adventure lost amid its puerile distractions.