Sci-fi Novella Review: One Day All This Will Be Yours by Adrian Tchaikovsky

I’ve had some fantastic success lately with Adrian Tchaikovsky’s novellas, so I figured it’d be worth my while to go back to the well with One Day All This Will Be Yours, which came out last spring accompanied by a rash of glowing reviews in my circles. Unsurprisingly, this one was yet another win. 

One Day All This Will Be Yours stars the sole survivor of the Causality War that destroyed time. He sets himself up a quiet little farm on the first piece of unbroken time that he can find—complete with all the resources he could pillage from various surviving bits of the past—and then goes about preventing another Causality War by trapping every time traveler he can find and feeding them to his pet allosaurus. 

The setup sounds like it could be ripe for something with real gravitas. . . until you get to the allosaurus. Because One Day All This Can Be Yours is not going for gravitas. It’s a dark comedy. Which is not to say that it can’t be serious—the exposition of the events leading up to the Causality War is terrifying in its realism, especially for a reader in March of 2022, and Tchaikovsky draws explicit parallels to both large-scale war and climate crisis. There’s no doubt that the novella touches on serious topics. But it does so with a droll, detached narrative style that distances the readers from the true horrors of both the Causality War and the lead’s subsequent actions. It wants you to see the horrors, but in a way that makes you laugh rather than cry. It’s the Dr. Strangelove of time travel novellas. 

And it works. It hits the satirical points while telling a story that’s always entertaining and sometimes hilarious. Not every joke lands, and there are a couple episodes that feel slightly repetitive, but the novella length keeps the story from overstaying its welcome, and enough of the jokes land to make for a highly enjoyable reading experience and a book that’s easy to recommend. And, for all that the plot isn’t taken especially seriously, it really does nail the ending. 

Recommended if you like: dark comedies, social commentary. 

Can I use it for Bingo? It’s Published in 2021, is written in First Person, and has the makings of a Comfort Read, despite the heavy topics involved. And I suppose it’s technically a Backlist Book at this point, because Adrian Tchaikovsky doesn’t stop writing. 

Overall rating: 16 of Tar Vol’s 20. Four stars on Goodreads. 

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