Genre: Time Travel
Publication Date: 04/03/2021
At the end of time, there is a man. The last survivor of a war that has destroyed history. Alone for eternity, the man eats, sleeps, farms, and feeds his pet Allosaurus. He also does everything he can to keep a single vow: Never again shall there be a war through time . . .
This is probably going to end up being a shorter review than I usually write, because this is a book that’s all but impossible to discuss without going into spoilers. And trust me, this is a book you’ll want to go into blind. So if you want the best possible experience of this book, stop reading this review and go read the book instead. You won’t regret it.
For those of you who’ve stuck around, I’m still not going to go into spoilers because this book really must be experienced first-hand. But there might be a few hints that I can’t help but let slip. You have been warned.
One Day All This Will Be Yours is Adrian Tchaikovsky’s finest novella yet, and I daresay it’s up there with his full-length works like Cage of Souls or Children of Time. If you’ve enjoyed any of his previous works, you will absolutely love this. Tchaikovsky is at the forefront of modern British SF, but his work has a very Golden Age feel to it. It’s fiction that is in love with science, knowing what rules to follow and when to break the facts open and mine the fictional goodness within. The novella form in particular is a great medium for thought experiments and weird little side projects like this, and even if physical novellas are highly priced, One Day All This Will Be Yours is worth every penny.
Time travel is an idea that doesn’t get explored much in fiction, certainly not when compared to space travel or any other SF trope. Time travel generates headache-inducing logical problems and endless paradoxes, and this is an idea that Tchaikovsky runs wild with. His account of what a Time War would look like is as compelling as it is existentially horrifying, and (once you make the jump to accepting time machines as fact) chillingly plausible. I absolutely love what Tchaikovsky does with his Causality War. As a fan of Hard SF, it’s nice and crunchy, and surprisingly easy to follow. As a lover of the strange and fantastic, it’s incredibly vivid in both idea and execution.
But the biggest selling point isn’t the temporal warmongering, or the great characterisation of a misanthropic war veteran, or the prose so sharp it’ll give you a paper cut. No, what’s best about this book is how charmingly bonkers the whole thing is. This is hands-down one of the funniest books I’ve read in years, whether it’s the dry wit of the narrator’s daily life or the rib-tickling accounts of visits to history’s pivotal moments. The stand-out piece of the whole novella is a scene involving numerous historical figures pulled together in a manner that had me genuinely laughing out loud.
One Day All This Will Be Yours is an exemplary work for one Britain’s most interesting writers, and a firm contender for a spot among the best books of the year.