Top Tier (4 to 5 stars)

One Day All This Will Be Yours, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

5 stars! If I had a time machine, I would use it to go back in time to read this story for the first time – again!

5 stars

I wanted to start this review with a joke about time travel, but sadly, none of you found it funny. Alright, I’ll admit that joke is a little worn down, having been told quite a few times – but you know what’s fresh? This novella!

Excuse me, I need to remove a bad joke, like, yesterday.

The funny thing is that one day before I started reading this book, I plotted down an idea I had while showering regarding a sci-fi story that includes time travel. (Maybe I’ll even write it one day.) Imagine my surprise when I started reading this story and immediately stumbled upon time travel, which goes to show just one thing: The time travel genre is not dead. But it feels like a zombie genre sometimes, because a lot of stories have been recycling the same tropes over and over (since back to the future). What this genre needs is fresh wind – and Adrian delivers.

Hazard Warning: Thinking about time travel can lead to serious brain hurt.

In fact, I’m going as far as saying that this is the kind of science fiction novel (or novella? The length falls in between, I think) that reminds me why I first got into science fiction. Grand ideas, world shaping, a splash of philosophy and wisdom (or at least common sense disguised as wisdom), a world where everything seems possible.

I’m not going to spoiler the story for you (you need to experience it for yourself), but Adrian reinvents the time travel genre by adding a lot of philosophy – and the fact that time machines are the ultimate weapons, way more devastating than all the nukes in the world combined.

All those stories and films where someone has a time machine and they’re going back to restore their own timeline? That’s like a blindfolded archer who’s been spun around a thousand times loosing an arrow and hitting the exact bull’s eye on a target someone removed the day before.

Why you can’t never restore your own timeline

In terms of this story, time is not only something ever-changing that can be manipulated – it’s also a resource, and a finite one at that. The story is postapocalyptic – or postepochalyptic – because humanity has, quite literally, run out of time.

Wait, how many timelines did I break before breakfast?

So, 5 out of 5 time machines for me. Full of fresh ideas, although I think I’ve detected some of Heinlein’s »All You Zombies« in there. (Oh, yes, that one has time machine crazyness all over the place.)

And if I myself had a wee time machine, I would use it to go back in time and read this story for the first time – again! (Sadly, though, I’ve lost my flux compensator. The question is not where, but when.)

By Stefan

father of two, not enough time to read everything I want to read

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