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Simmie Johnson was born the son of a slave. He was also a genius. After earning a PhD in physics from Tuskegee Institute, he wrote a paper outlining a theory for time travel, including plans for a time machine—called a chronocar—which was published in a scientific journal in the early 1900s . Since the technology required to build the chronocar did not yet exist, the paper and its brilliant writer faded into obscurity.
A century later, a young Illinois Tech student, Tony Carpenter, discovers the journal article and decides to build a chronocar so he can travel back to 1919 to meet the black scientist he hopes to emulate.
Unfortunately, time is not on his side.
Dr. Johnson is living in Chicago’s Black Belt with his beautiful daughter—and Tony arrives just in time for the bloodiest race riot in the city’s history. Can Tony use the chronocar to save his new friends, or will his attempt forever alter the future he hopes to return to?
“Gritty, hilarious, and tragic by turns, Steve Bellinger has written a time-bending tale of scientific discovery, love, racism, and spilled ginger ale. From the moment Tony Carpenter crash-lands his flawed time machine into Dr. Simmie Johnson’s 1919 parlor, things get too real, too fast. Bellinger skillfully intertwines the earnest, wacky optimism of youth with historical culture-shocks to create a gripping, timeless story.” — Greg Comer, author, "Winner Take None"
“Bellinger eloquently unspools the story of Tony, Ollie, and Dr. Simmie Johnson in their pursuit of scientific achievement, self-discovery, love, and friendship across time. The author expertly navigates two eras separated by a hundred years and an even larger cultural divide, where rigid racial mores help foster a host of unintended consequences.” — Jennifer Leeper, author, "Padre: The Narrowing Path"