Adrian Tchaikovsky’s latest novella starts at the end of all things. A time-soldier from the last ever war finds himself at the end of time, resolute in the knowledge that as soon as time travel was possible, its use as a weapon became inevitable. With the idea of ‘going back and killing Hitler’ becoming a perpetual cycle (or string – however you like to see time is up to you) of military one-upmanship, it wasn’t long before time itself became broken (or was it always?).
Realising with an anarchic nihilism the futility of war (time-war especially), the sole surviving time soldier retires to become a farmer at the place at the end of time. But with so many shattered timelines, there are endless possibilities that someone on some parallel world could still invent time travel and thus inadvertently set into motion a new time-war. Knowing that the causality wars needed to stop (or never start), the farmer decides to become the self-elected sheriff of time travel with a singular mission to eliminate all other time travellers from existence.
Packed with deliciously dark humour, One Day All This Will Be Yours is a first-person diary of sorts that explores the theoretical repercussions of time travel on the universe, while gently hinting at the toll it takes on the people participating in it.
If this were a larger novel, exploring the grandfather paradox and themes of causality could have resulted in confusing knots of explanation. However, unburdened by a verbose word count, and with an intelligent, cohesive set of time travel rules, the plot doesn’t become convoluted. Exercising restraint and efficiency instead of morose pontification, Tchaikovsky delivers a comical and riotous account of what fun can be had when you’re a sociopathic lone survivor with a time machine.
After all, when there are no repercussions to your actions, why not race dinosaurs, debate with Einstein or go drinking with Blackbeard? Sod it, shall we just kill Hitler again?
One Day All This Will Be Yours by Adrian Tchaikovsky is out now. Buy your copy here.