Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about but haven’t yet read. Most of the time they’re books that have yet to be released, but not always. It’s based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme, which was originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week my Can’t-Wait-For Book is Welcome to Forever by Nathan Tavares!
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Published on: 5th March 2024
A sweeping, psychedelic romance of two men caught in a looping world of artificial realities, edited memories, secretive cabals and conspiracies to push humanity to the next step in its evolution.
For fans of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Ubik, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Evangelion.
Fox is a memory editor – one of the best – gifted with the skill to create real life in the digital world. When he wakes up in Field of Reeds Centre for Memory Reconstruction with no idea how he got there, the therapists tell him he was a victim in a terrorist bombing by Khadija Banks, the pioneer of memory editing technology turned revolutionary. A bombing which shredded the memory archives of all its victims, including his husband Gabe.
Thrust into reconstructions of his memories exploded from the fragments that survived the blast, Fox tries to rebuild his life, his marriage and himself. But he quickly realises his world is changing, unreliable, and echoing around itself over and over.
As he unearths endless cycles of meeting Gabe, falling in love and breaking up, Fox digs deep into his past, his time in the refugee nation of Aaru, and the exact nature of his relationship with Khadija. Because, in a world tearing itself apart to forget all its sadness, saving the man he loves might be the key to saving us all.
Tavares’ debut, A Fractured Infinity, was one of my favourite releases of last year, so I lit up when I learned he was publishing a new book! (Which, how did I not know he was working on something new?! I only found out when the arc showed up on Netgalley! My book-sleuthing skills are getting dusty, clearly!)
Memory is such an enormous part of our identity that any story that wants to play with the idea of it – storing it, losing it, changing it, reconstructing it! – can get my attention. Fox’s world sounds like a potential dystopia – gotta be wary of any government/system that’s into editing memories, although I suppose it’s possible to use that kind of thing for good (erasing trauma, maybe? If you remove the memory of the trauma, would the psychological effects disappear? That would be kinda awesome, not gonna lie). And what about Fox himself? Is a memory editor an ethical thing to be, in his world? Gotta be braced for a morally grey, or maybe indoctrinated, MC here. But it also says Fox is ‘gifted with the skill’, so does that mean it’s not something learned, but something innate, like a psychic ability? Possibly, possibly…
I’m very curious about a few of the tiny mentions in the blurb – ‘the skill to create real life in the digital world’; what does that mean? Does most of life take place in virtual reality in Fox’s world? Or something similar? We’ve seen that in sci fi many times, but I’d be plenty interested in Tavares’ take on it. And then there’s ‘a world tearing itself apart to forget all its sadness’ – is that the goal of this potentially-a-dystopia then, keeping everyone HappyTM always, all the time? GREATLY SUSPICIOUS.
And what’s a ‘refugee nation’? Is the whole nation seeking refuge somehow? As in, is the landmass itself moving away from where it used to be? Or just the human population?
There’s so many bits and pieces that sound potentially REALLY interesting – and of course, it’s kind of hard to resist the appeal of seeing the same two people fall in love over and over (or try to) with their memories compromised. I don’t know why that seems romantic – rationally, it should be a bit tragic, probably? – but somehow, it is!
I think we just like the idea that some people are destined to be together, and will be, no matter what gets thrown in their way.
ANYWAY, I hope I’ve given you plenty of reasons to preorder Welcome to Forever, because I am DEFINITELY going to need people to read this so I have someone to shriek with about it!