REVIEW: One Day All This Will Be Yours by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Welcome to the end of time. It’s a perfect day.
Nobody remembers how the Causality War started. Really, there’s no-one to remember, and nothing for them to remember if there were; that’s sort of the point. We were time warriors, and we broke time.
I was the one who ended it. Ended the fighting, tidied up the damage as much as I could.
Then I came here, to the end of it all, and gave myself a mission: to never let it happen again.
Dear Mr. Tchaikovsky,
This is the first work of yours I’ve read and I had a lot of fun doing it. Take time travel, end of times, a misanthropic bastard, a large pet, some villain exposition, “get off my lawn” grumpiness, an arranged marriage (yes), and the grandfather paradox, put them in a blender, hit “high” and voila – “One Day All This Will Be Yours.”
The initial chapters give us the setting. Our Narrator (who never has a name) is the survivor of a war that broke time – the only survivor. He’s not only crept to the edge of hell and looked deep into its eyes, he was in hell, wallowed around, and might have been the one to set off one of the Causality Bombs that blasted time, light, the Universe, basically everything into dust. Now he lives the life of a happy son of the soil, growing his crops in his own little Utopia, all by himself except for some robots, various things he pilfers during his time travel trips back to shards of existence, and his pet Miffly. He does have a mission though – to keep all that from ever happening again.
To do that, he’s become ruthless and uses his soldierly skills. This is his piece of paradise, damn it, and he’s not going to let anyone fuck with it. Ever. Then one day something he never envisaged, never planned for, and doesn’t know what to do with happens. Now what? Oh yeah, it’s time to up his game.
I don’t want to give away any more of the game as it’s fun to encounter the next zig or zag that will spin the story in a different direction. Our Narrator is one determined badass with a black sense of humor, lots of tech, and a pet who enjoys having her neck scratched. I kept up with the time inversions and philosophical mind bending fairly well though a couple of times it left me choking in the dust. There were a few things that might not have quite added up and some “well history is totally bent and broken so what does it matter” hand waving to urge me past a thorny “but wait …?” moment. Oh, and in the first few chapters, there’s a lot of telling and not showing.
I also saw a few ways to avoid the conundrum Our Narrator finds himself in that were easier than what he resorts to. But I was having so much fun – honestly, the idea of Hitler being chased around a field by an allosaurus had me in stitches – that I grinned and kept reading. The ending though – hmmm, that didn’t thrill me. I really wanted one thing to happen but another did. Perhaps in the end, Our Narrator can put all his hard won expertise to work and emerge triumphant over twee. After all, he is a misanthropic bastard. B
P.S. – I will never, ever try and invent a time machine.