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Monday, March 1, 2021

One Day All This Will Be Yours by Adrian Tchaikovsky Review

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AUTHOR INFORMATION: Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire before heading off to Reading to study psychology and zoology. For reasons unclear even to himself he subsequently ended up in law and has worked as a legal executive in both Reading and Leeds, where he now lives. Married, he is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor, has trained in stage-fighting, and keeps no exotic or dangerous pets of any kind, possibly excepting his son. Catch up with Adrian at www.shadowsoftheapt.com for further information about both himself and the insect-kinden, together with bonus material including short stories and artwork. Author Website: 

FORMAT: Published 2021 by Solaris, an imprint of Rebellion Publishing Ltd,. Length - 192 pages. Cover art by Gemma Sheldrake

REVIEW: Absolutely brilliant. The story’s narrator, the sole survivor of the War To End All Wars, lives on a farm at the end of the world. He’s a time warrior and occasional murderer of errant time travellers. Whenever someone gets there, he makes sure they’ll finish their journey in the belly of his pet Allosaurus, Miffly. And after that, he makes a time-travel to destroy his unwanted guest’s culture ability for travelling in time.

He has good reasons to act this way, and he believes he’s doing it to save the future. But it’s also possible he’s just a misanthropic bastard who enjoys being the last surviving human being and has no intention to share the rest of history with anyone. 

I probably told you more about the plot than I should have, so I’ll stop right now. One Day All This Will Be Yours offers a wildly irreverent take on a time travel-gone-wrong trope. It turns the grandfather paradox inside out. It’s hilarious and clever, and Tchaikovsky’s thoughts about the destructive potential of time-travel made me rethink the coolness of the concept.

People have described a lot of things as an ultimate weapon, a doomsday measure, a holiday at the final resort. None of them were, not really. Even nukes are just a better way of killing people that leaves a longer-lasting stain on the carpet. City-devouring intercontinental missiles and orbital railgun strikes: these things are on a straight line of development from slings and thrown rocks. But time machines really are the ultimate sanction. And just like the nukes of an earlier era, by the time the war started, everyone had them, and everyone had signed a lot of important pieces of paper swearing they wouldn’t use them. Because we knew that as soon as anyone actually used a time machine with hostile intent, that would be it.

One Day All This Will Be Yours has a great pace, compelling (if deliberately overdrawn) characters, serious questions to ask, and tons of cynical humor that almost made me roll on the floor. It hides plenty of surprises, brilliant ideas, and quotable lines. Without spoiling much, I can mention for example that the narrator loves his farm and travels in time to pick up an older model of a tractor or, when in the right mood, to party with Jackie Onassis, Lord Byron, or Nero. 

I expect KJ Parker’s fans will love the flippant tone of the book and the narrator. I planned to avoid comparisons, but kept this one. I feel One Day All This Will Be Yours will resonate with a much broader audience than most of Tchaikovsky’s books. It shares Parker’s acerbic (and delightful) wit and take of human nature, but it copies nothing. It simply shows how versatile Tchaikovsky is as a writer. And here he’s in the prime form. 

I absolutely loved it. With its frenetic pacing, irreverent tone, and fresh ideas, it ensures a great reading experience. A true gem.


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