This story opens in 1888 with the son of a slave, Simmie Johnson, working his way to Alabama where he hopes to attend Tuskegee College. Simmie is gifted and scientifically inclined, but trouble courts him with every step.
Fast forward to 2015, Tony Carpenter, a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology, comes across an old science journal written by a Dr. Simmie L. Johnson more than a century before. Coupled with the teachings of Nicola Tesla, Tony builds the time machine described by Johnson and sets out to find him in the past. Unfortunately, things don’t go exactly as planned, and Tony finds himself in a series of dilemmas.
Due to some language and violence, this is recommended for mature or older teens. It portrays the ugly realities of racial violence in the Reconstruction era as well as the continued troubles during Jim Crow. Through the character of Tony, current racial tensions are explored and compared. Those familiar with the landscape of Chicago will enjoy the early 20th century descriptions of the city.
Science fiction, admittedly, is not my preferred genre, and I don’t feel qualified enough to expound upon the time-travel details–of which are copious. It is a well-edited story that holds interest and has quite a shocking ending.