I get the feeling that Syncing Forward started out as a decent sci-fi novella, then had about thirty thousand words of family drama inserted into it.
I spent a good portion of the first two thirds of this story shaking my head in confusion wondering why I was being told any of this, and the final third yelling at the character for being such an asshole.
Martin James is some kind of internal investigator at a mega pharmaceutical company, who is injected by terrorists with a drug that slows his body down so much that each day flies by in a matter of minutes from his point of view. If you haven’t figured it out from that sentence I just typed, you will most definitely have it pounded into your skull by the end of the novel that THIS IS A METAPHOR FOR TIME FLYING BY AND HOW YOU WILL MISS THOSE PRECIOUS MOMENTS WITH YOUR FAMILY IF YOU FOCUS TOO MUCH ON OTHER THINGS.
For the first two thirds or so of this novel, we watch Martin’s family grow up without him, as he is stuck in his slow moving state, unable to interact with the world. Every so often they are able to ‘sync him back’ so he can be a regular guy for a few hours or days, and over and over and over again we get to see how sad and shocked he is at how much time has passed, and how his baby girls are grown up now, how his wife has moved on to someone else, and how so and so is dead, and he never reconciled, and now his girls are married, and on and on. There are quite a few characters who serve zero purpose in the story other than to make Martin feel sad when they die.
When we finally get to some action, in the mindbogglingly distant world of ONE HUNDRED YEARS in the future. Martin is such an emotional wreck who can do nothing but complain and whine and stamp his feet, despite everyone trying their best to help him, that it’s hard to do anything but hate the guy and hope his life falls apart even more.
It is during this point in the novel that the character says the line in the title of this post. Yes, that is an actual thing he says and is a pretty good descriptor for the whole tone of the book.
I liked the twist on time travel, one I hadn’t seen before. The author also had some pretty neat ideas about the future, and some creative technology, and I wish they’d focused on that more. Instead they spent the majority of the novel building the protagonist into an utterly unlikable twat, so when we finally get to the action it’s not as fun, because we are forced to experience it through his tear-filled eyes.
I wish this book had been utter crap, because then I wouldn’t have had to finish it. But it was good enough to keep me going, wanting to find out what happened at the end. Not recommended unless you feel the need to hate-read something.