The latest novel from author Adrian Tchaikovsky (Shadows of the Apt, Children of Time) is called One Day All This Will Be Yours, and it is a story about a man. A farmer who lives alone on his farm at the end of time with nothing but his robots and his pet to keep him company. His pet is called Miffly, and she’s a dinosaur – an allosaurus to be precise. The last survivor of a time war that left causality and history shattered and broken, he spends his days carefully murdering anyone who time travels to his location at the end of time before going back and making sure that nobody from that particular shard of reality will ever invent another time machine. He likes his privacy, you see.
So when that privacy is rudely interrupted by a pair of time travellers who claim to be from a future that he was hellbent on making sure never came to pass? Well… steps need to be taken to take care of such things. That’s all well and good, but things start getting ever more complicated when he meets Zoe, a woman who is just as determined as he is to see things turn out the way she wants them to.
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This book was a genuine delight from start to finish and there is simply so much more that could be said about it, but to share any more details about the plot would be to dip into spoiler territory and that would be a shame. Like The Matrix, you can’t be told what the plot of One Day All This Will Be Yours is. You need to experience it for yourself.
Told entirely in the first person, our main character could easily be seen as a bitter, misanthropic loner hellbent on claiming what little of reality remains, but he’s so damn engaging that you can’t help but sympathise with him even as you acknowledge the deep thread of nihilism that runs through the story. History has been destroyed, causality no longer exists. There is no timeline any more, just bits and pieces of time, and he dips in and out of them without a care because nothing matters anymore, there’s no real consequences to anything. That could easily come across as, well, something of a downer, but the narrative never allows itself to get bogged down in that mire of right and wrong. There’s only our humble narrator and his belief that what he is doing is right.
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The introduction of the character of Zoe truly transforms the story. What had been an amusing little tale of a grumpy old man committing mass murder across history becomes something genuinely fascinating and laugh out loud funny thanks to their interactions and relationship. My personal favourite moment in the novel involves a pitched battle involving multiple Jack the Rippers, at least one Hitler, Achilles and Blackbeard and even a couple of Stalins to name but a handful of the colourful and potentially homicidal personalities involved. (Also, they quote The Princess Bride, which is pretty much my all time favourite book/movie, so that guarantees a five star review…)
This book made me laugh. It’s been a long time since a book made me actually laugh out loud, since I devoured it in a single straight sitting because I was so eager to see what happens next. I was sucked into the world of time tavellers, causality bombs, possible utopias, time machines and vintage tractors and the ending of the book left me genuinely hungry and hoping for a sequel because I want MORE of this.
One Day All This Will Be Yours will be available in both electronic and dead tree forms and it is worth every penny of your money and every second of your time. If I had to compare the writing style here to any other author, it would need to be the genre giant that is Douglas Adams. If you enjoyed the dry, sardonic wit that was found all through the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, then you owe it to yourself to check this book out. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t slip a “Don’t Panic!” reference in there somewhere.
I’m glad to see that Adrian has a fairly extensive bibliography for me to get stuck into. I think I’m going to enjoy devouring the rest of his works. I hope it lives up to the high bar that’s been set here.
One Day All This Will Be Yours is out on 4th March from Solaris.