Fata Morgana is full of clever plot twists.

Science fiction authors love time travel stories, because it affords them abundant opportunities to build plots full of clever plot twists and turns. Sometimes the surprises are really anything but shocking. But that’s not the case with the ingenious tale Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney have written under the title Fata Morgana. Perhaps someone more discerning than I am could suss out the plot twists in advance, but I was taken aback when the reality descended on me of what really happens in this well-paced story.

In several opening chapters, Boyett and Mitchroney paint a detailed and engrossing picture of the experience of an American bomber crew based in England during World War II. Those chapters read like a well-researched and capably written war story. I read a great deal about World War II, but what I found here was revealing. In fact, both the beginning and the end of this book, which deal with the bomber crew’s experiences during the war, are exceptionally good. And the clever plot twists add a layer of fun.

Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney (2017) 384 pages ★★★★☆

Clever plot twists enliven this story

But once you’re lulled into the rhythms of that war story, the action suddenly shifts, and the characters we’ve gotten to know so well find themselves in the shockingly unfamiliar circumstances of Earth’s dystopian future. There’s no discernible difference in style between these middle chapters and the text at the beginning and end of the novel. Still, I would think that the two coauthors worked separately, one focusing on the wartime action, the other on the future—if I hadn’t learned that, of the two, Boyett is a professional writer and Mitchroney a storyboard artist who has worked on the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Whichever of the two men did the writing, the book is stronger when it sticks to reality.

For further reading

If the World War II connection is what drew you to this review, you might check out my post, The 10 best novels about World War II (with 20+ runners-up).

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