Adrian Tchaikovsky, One Day All This Will Be Yours (2021)

Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky

Title: One Day All This Will Be Yours

Format: E-book

Pages: 192

Series: –

After a couple of disappointing books by Tchaikovsky I approached this novella with certain trepidation. After all, one can become too thinly spread, “sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread,” even without One Ring (unless you want to confess, Mr Tchaikovsky?) I needn’t have worried, tough – this novella is short and sharp and scathing, with long pointed teeth and unrelenting snarkiness that brings to mind the best that stand-up comedy has to offer.

And this novella is indeed written very much in the style of stand-up comedy, with the protagonist wound up to the extreme, never shutting up, venting his anger and misanthropy in an unceasing torrent of words. It’s funny, it’s rabid, it’s sarcastic – but most of all, it’s to the point. You see, in Causality Wars the unnamed protagonist is the veteran of the humanity – and history – ceased to exist. With the onset of time travel rewriting the past became the favorite pastime of governments and agencies, and all the innumerable, contradictory changes to the history carried out by time soldiers resulted in shattering the past and erasing the present. It was still salvageable, more or less – until Causality bombs destroyed the substance of time. And so now, at the end of times, in the one stable point of a glorious indeterminate amount of time, our protagonist treasure hunts the sharp shards of the past, gathering farming equipment, growing veggies and killing random time travellers who inexorably land in his garden, in the farthest possible future. Until travellers from the actual, future, future turn up on his porch and call him Gramps. The gall! Gramps is not happy; he’s a nasty mean old geezer and wants to stay this way forever, so obviously the only thoughts he spared for his bride-to-be are how to most efficiently kill her before they can produce any of that horrible offspring.

Yes, don’t expect this novella to be scientifically plausible. It’s not. It’s a totally absurd, tongue-in-cheek mishmash of the most popular time travel tropes, juggled with admirable deftness and self-awareness by the angry old man in the center of the story. Time travel serves here only as a literary vehicle for funny and sharp critique of our human foibles and vices and prejudices. And if we can get an adorable, feathered, man-eating dinosaur as a bonus, all the better.

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s Tchaikovsky, maybe it’s just the Zeitgeist of our times – but this short novella is also quite openly political, particularly at the end. And while in Bear Head Tchaikovsky stooped to pick the low hanging fruit of criticizing right wing populism and Trump in particular, rushing his (however valid) message to the ultimate detriment of the novel’s quality, here he does something requiring a bit more artistry and forethought: he criticizes, in a meaningful, sneaky, caustic way, the whole no-quarter, my-right-is-the-only-right approach so prevalent in our times. Tchaikovsky pulls no punches in his descriptions of a populist left wing “unithink” utopia, in which all discordant, disagreeing, or simply different thoughts are forcefully eradicated to create an eternally harmonious world without worry. We do know that approach, unfortunately, reminiscent (for those old enough) of both witch hunts and the Communist ideas of “conscientious practice” of self-criticism. Wrapped in layers of tweeness and radiantly false smiles, seemingly bumbling and bubbling with graceless good intentions and inexhaustible enthusiasm, the future Utopians from One Day All This Will Be Yours turn out to be at least as ruthless, remorseless, callous and selfish as their desperate militant forebears responsible for the Causality bombs. True, their very survival is at stake, and they’re obviously going to stop at nothing to ensure it. (You better not look for logic in Tchaikovsky’s novella, because you’ll be sorely disappointed – the plot here is, after all, subordinate to the message.) And while Tchaikovsky keeps it all as funny and fluffy and sharp-toothed as the protagonist’s pet allosaur Miffly, the chilling thought remains: there are many and varied forms of intolerance and tribalism, of conformity and unanimity forced by ultimately malevolent – even if well-intentioned – measures. Yes, our protagonist is a ruthless homicidal maniac, hell-bent on keeping the status quo which is beneficial only for him – and his stand-up comedy schtick only underscores his egoistic feelings of entitlement. And yet we still find ourselves rooting for him, the venerated Founder who doesn’t want to shut up and play his allotted role, even while we keep asking ourselves questions about the limits of duty and freedom.

Alas, this Allosaurus is featherless; but makes for a fine family group with the pair and their dog 😉 Image courtesy of Britannica

I only have one criticism to offer, though it is twofold: the ending feels truncated and rushed; while it still delivers the payoff, it feels much more suitable to a short story than what in good (or bad, depending on your point of view) old days would’ve been a full-length novel. As for the novella itself, it never feels boring or redundant (ah, well, maybe a little, in places 😉) but I still felt it could’ve been stronger and punchier if it were shortened. Either way, though, One Day All This Will Be Yours is an observant, cutting piece of satire, which has somewhat restored my battered trust in Tchaikovsky 😉.

I have received a copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks.

Score: 8/10

50 thoughts on “Adrian Tchaikovsky, One Day All This Will Be Yours (2021)

  1. This sounds fantastic. It’s very different from what I’ve read by Tchaikovsky so far, though I know he’s versatile and has written in a number of different styles and genres. I too kinda need something to restore my faith in him these days, wish I’d requested this from NetGalley when I had the chance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s indeed completely different to anything I have ever read by him before. It’s a nice change of pace and style, and I appreciated it quite a lot, especially the snark. 😉

      I totally get why you didn’t request it though, that cover is not very inspiring! 🤣


  2. Great review, Ola!
    I‘m not sure if your comparison to present day politics fits. After all, he is the last man, not in a political discourse, not responsible to anyone around and after him (partly because there won’t be anyone). He’s fully legitimated with 100% votes.
    Democracy lives from discussion. He doesn’t have much of that.
    After all, he‘s a mass murderer, not a politician.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well that’s the whole problem – there’s a whole bunch of someones in the future whose existence (and apparently through the existence, also political structure) he’s directly responsible for. It reminded me of those art discussions of the need for artistic patricide – whether compromise between two exclusive visions is ever possible. He could have discussion, but he doesn’t want it nor sees any need for it, as the viewpoints and interests are so divergent.

      Btw, I know of many historical cases where one equaled the other… After all, genocide is mass murder, on a drastically bigger scale.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, he isn’t responsible for someone in the future, because there won’t be anyone (at least he thinks so before that Grandpa scene).
        But we have same high opinion of him being a self-righteous ass.

        Liked by 1 person

                1. 😹 🎁 🙀 Schrodinger’s paradox in emojis…
                  And yes, that’s just another iteration of this discussion, but because of Poincare’s discovery of chaotic systems I know that the introduction of even a smallest change will lead to drastically different outcomes so… what’s your favorite bit of history about Fulda? 😁

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. I’ll play along, disregarding the stability against changes as seen in Groundhog Day.
                    Let’s prevent Bonifatius (whose grave is in Fulda) crossing the English Channel. Everyone north of the Limes will still worship Odin. No Luther, no Thirty Year’s War.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Sounds lovely but untenable – there would certainly be a St Pancratius or Adalbert or other… I wonder what world we would live in if the Slavic pantheon was still around – they were not an overly nice bunch either 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Lots of Blood Eagles! I’m watching Netflix‘s Vikings series these days (Season 4), and not particularly fond of that religion. But then again, I‘d be safe, as I‘ve been born and raised south of the Limes.
                      As for other missionaries, the Orthodox Church might have come into that area. Maybe no schism, then? Followed by going in full to defend Konstantinople and win against the muslims there instead of Vienna.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Heh, somehow Vikings didn’t appeal to me; I much prefer Last Kingdom 😁

                      We’ll, that’s certainly an interesting discussion; I wonder if we’d have to cope with imperial ambitions of Russia in your scenario…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. One sort of imperialism or the other is too probable, because it’s too strong in the genes of nations. I wonder which change would be needed to get rid of it.
                      It could be religiously driven – surely not monotheistic, because the competitiveness is too inherent. Maybe Tibetan Buddhism?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. Hah, you wish. There is a militant splinter of Buddhism too, unfortunately, quite intent on genocide.
                      Ideology, religion, many thinkers argue that it’s one and the same in terms of function and results.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. That’s why I was talking about the Tibetan branch. Let’s just imagine all those shaved, beardless Russian monks clad in orange colored Zobel rags. One of them cut the Donar oak and all of the Odin loving folks suddenly learned to meditate and sing Om Mani Padme Hum, whirling the prayer drums.

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, this is Tchaikovsky different to anything I have read by him before – very snarky! And it’s short, too – so small time investment (especially compared to the Shadows of the Apt series)! 😊


  3. piotrek

    Ok, this is a widely praised argument that Tchaikovsky hasn’t lost it, I’m relieved! Definitely adding this to my Kindle wishlist, where it becomes my top “book I want to read despite its ugly terrible cover” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, that cover seriously makes me itch to try my hand at making something nicer instead!

      Yup, it’s a relief. Plus, it’s fun – I think you’d enjoy it quite a lot 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am glad you enjoyed this one more that the previous book! And lately I am repeating it everywhere, but I need more Tchaikovsky’s books. On the plus side, I have this ARC on my eReader, so maybe I would read it soon! 🤞
    And I cannot wait to meet the MC! (and the dinosaur!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This doesn’t really appeal to me, too transparant maybe? Is Children of Time your favorite of the man? (Maybe I already asked this, but I’ve seen so many reviews for his books lately, I’ve been considering what to read from him.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Children of Time in SF, but in general I will always love Shadows of the Apt the most. However, if you’re pressed for time, Children can be read as standalone – while Shadows make sense read as either first four or all ten books 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Funny and sarcastic? Yup, count me in 😉 . Also, I absolutely love dinosaurs. This might actually be the one, which could tempt me to pick up Tchaikovsky again. I even checked it out on Audible, but as usual it annoys me, when you have to pay the same price for novellas as for full length novels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s definitely one of his recent best – though quite not in the style that Tchaikovsky got us used to! 😉 …which, all things considered, might be a good selling point 😂

      Honestly, the pricing for novellas is just crazy; if not for NG I’d probably not read them until they were available in my library – and it’s not only Tchaikovsky’s novellas, but all of them!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Happy to see that you enjoyed this one given your experience with his last book – and I’m also kind of kicking myself for not checking this out more thoroughly at the time. That’s what wish lists are for.
    Also, an aside, I couldn’t help laughing at your Bilbo reference about butter being spread too thinly – only because I was just visiting Maddalena’s Space and Sorcery blog and left a comment for one of her reviews and used this very quote.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, the cover didn’t look too enticing and I too had my doubts when I saw this on NG 😉 Happy to prove right the old adage, don’t judge a book by its cover! 😉

      Maybe it’s the sign of times? We’re all spread a bit too thinly by this pandemic, I think 😉 – but Tchaikovsky seemingly more than most! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Love the sound of this one! Something that has a unique tone with a comedic, especially sarcastic, vision and that doesn’t exist with the only intention of bashing something in modern politics. Great review, Ola! Glad to see you haven’t lost hope in Tchaikovsky just yet! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

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