5 Stars: The Unlived Life of Max
Time Traveling a science fiction hook that gravitates me to crack open a book and nerdly discuss the possibility of changing the past and the implications of a new timeline. I remember riding on my teacher's motorcycle from Dobbs Ferry to New York City July 4th weekend ( 1985) to watch "Back to the Future" I was blown away by the concept of Marty going back in time incidental endangering his very own existence. What makes that movie a perfect screenplay, plot diagram, and enjoyable on repeat viewing is that it sets up the rules without too much complication or technobabble. Life II by Scott Spotson works because the rules are simple. One can only travel back during their lifetime, not into the future. The sequels to Back to the Future changed the rules or broke the rules to move the story forward, it fails, and it's outdated. Scott Spotson time-travel adventure is an author writing what he knows to be inevitable for the characters involved not predicting the future of our world, making the reader invested in the success of the main character.
42-year-old Max Thorning is stuck in "Life I" I think for some of us of this age group we grew up thinking life would be more than what we have and haven't figured out how to build upon it. We end up living the unlived life we dream about before something inside us removed those lofty dreams. The something inside Max is guilt; guilt holds us back in Max's case the death of a young woman. Back when Max was sixteen, a party turned into drinking and driving that cause a classmate's death compounded by other events of Max's life to make him into a shell of a man barely functioning stuck in the unlived life. Do you or I feel this sometimes that one event change the direction of the life we consciously set out? Feeling that world lied to us the MTV generation as we enter middle age and become uninspired by the daily mundane of marriage and money problems. As for Max, he discovered a 1958 book titled "Account of Time Travel on Earth Using Wave Theory" and sets out to investigate some of the photos of him that appeared in the book which leads him to meet Dr. Time. Max's goal is to prevent a horrible mistake thus the title "Life II."
As Max enters "Life II" the possibilities that Scott makes you think about for example taking advantage stocks and companies that are sure bets or tragedies like the Oklahoma City Bombing and 9/11, can one person prevent them? Should he? Would you? I wrestled with the weight of Max's knowledge; all things don't go to plan because changing one event will affect something else. The character Max I didn't find likable until I understood that his great quality is that he is unselfish with his actions, this is to the credit of the writer giving us a main character the needed chapters to grow.