Reviewed by: Gary Sorkin, Pacific Book Review
“Never drink coffee on a roller coaster,” was the thought that cycled through my mind as I was reading My Half of Tomorrow, a brilliantly written science fiction tale by John L. Dunegan just released by the publisher iUniverse. My comment means we all know that holding a cup of coffee would spill if you’re riding a roller coaster, right? In this particular case, author John L. Dunegan writes very smoothly, but after a dream-like introductory scene, for many pages thereafter he begins his story with lengthy character development scenario. Page after page of simple farm life tales of ordinary people made me wishing he’d “get on with the sci-fi” aspect, clearly knowing that he’s building up for some event, but anxiously anticipating getting to where he was leading. So I made myself a cup of coffee, and at around page 80, it happened. Just like a roller coaster ratcheted up and over the first arch, the book gained momentum and began a ride. I say this because the combination of the caffeine from the coffee and storyline’s speed and twists caused the “perfect storm” of enjoyment in my mind! I finished the book in one sitting as I truly couldn’t put it down!
John L. Dunegan presents an original concept in time travel to the readers within his book. He claims not to have the H. G. Wells’ gadget of a time machine; nor the USS Enterprise traveling at multiple warp speed; nor even some hoop people jump through into the past. Those fictional storylines have all been played out and overdone. He promised in the preface a new idea, a creative twist - and he delivered on his promise. Having a technical background in real life, John L. Dunegan embellishes the storyline with just enough physics at just the right times to keep the reader figuratively strapped into his seat, compelled to read what will happen – next; or rather, to rephrase without giving away any of the story because of the time altering aspect, has already happened.
The investment of time reading all of the book’s initial character development pays off when the events and circumstances of My Half of Tomorrow unfold. By then, the reader feels as if they know the characters so well and are able to empathize with their concerns, curiosity and decisions. The pseudo-scientific credibility of the fantasy aspects are truly a sci-fi enthusiast’s dream come true, totally in tune with those who appreciate dwelling on the thoughts and situations which may prove to be unintended consequences when dealing with the unknowns of time travel. Even the title is cleverly articulated, as the reader soon learns.
By design, I did not mention any of the significant threads of the machinations of My Half of Tomorrow, as I wish for all those that choose to read this to enjoy the surprises fresh and first hand. My recommendation is to make a good cup of coffee, clear your schedule, sit back and enjoy! This is an ideal book for young adults to mature connoisseurs of well written novels, but for the true sci-fi gluttons, this an absolute must read, positively not to be passed up. Also, try not to spill the coffee when you get past page 80.