There is a war going on, eternal and meticulous, between two factions that can move through time and space. Across many strands and possibilities. Their agents alter histories through the smallest of gestures, a nudge here, a whispered suggestion there. In this war, agents act alone, and there's no fraternizing with the other side. When Red stands amidst a victory on a war-torn world, she finds a letter from the enemy. It's coy, taunting, playful. Blue believes she's gotten the upper hand, and in another strand at another time, she's about to make her move when she gets a reply. This is beautiful tale across time and space is an intimate and poetic in the best of ways.
Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters—and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic book from award-winning authors Amal El-Mohtarand Max Gladstone.
In the ashes of a dying world, Red finds a letter marked “Burn before reading. Signed, Blue.”
So begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents in a war that stretches through the vast reaches of time and space.
Red belongs to the Agency, a post-singularity technotopia. Blue belongs to Garden, a single vast consciousness embedded in all organic matter. Their pasts are bloody and their futures mutually exclusive. They have nothing in common—save that they’re the best, and they’re alone.
Now what began as a battlefield boast grows into a dangerous game, one both Red and Blue are determined to win. Because winning’s what you do in war. Isn’t it?
A tour de force collaboration from two powerhouse writers that spans the whole of time and space.
About the Author
Amal El-Mohtar is an award-winning author, editor, and critic. Her short story “Seasons of Glass and Iron” won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards and was a finalist for the World Fantasy, Sturgeon, Aurora, and Eugie Foster awards. She is the author of The Honey Month, a collection of poetry and prose written to the taste of twenty-eight different kinds of honey, and contributes criticism to NPR Books and The New York Times. Her fiction has most recently appeared on Tor and Uncanny Magazine, and in anthologies such as The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories and The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales. She is presently pursuing a PhD at Carleton University and teaches creative writing at the University of Ottawa. She can be found online at @Tithenai.
Max Gladstone is the author of the Hugo-nominated Craft Sequence, which Patrick Rothfuss called “stupefyingly good.” The sixth book, Ruin of Angels, was released September 2017. Max’s interactive mobile game Choice of the Deathless was nominated for the XYZZY Award, and his critically acclaimed short fiction has appeared on Tor and in Uncanny Magazine, and in anthologies such as XO Orpheus: Fifty New Myths and The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales. John Crowley described Max as “a true star of 21st-century fantasy.” Max has sung in Carnegie Hall and was once thrown from a horse in Mongolia.
"This Is How You Lose the Time War is rich and strange, a romantic tour through all of time and the multiverse, and you shouldn’t miss a moment.” — Martha Wells, Hugo Award-winning author of The Murderbot Diaries
"This book has it all: treachery and love, lyricism and gritty action, existential crisis and space-opera scope, not to mention time traveling superagents. Gladstone's and El-Mohtar's debut collaboration is a fireworks display from two very talented storytellers." — Madeline Miller, award-winning author of Circe
“Poetry, disguised as genre fiction. I read several sections out loud — this is prose that wants to be more than read. It wants to be heard and tasted.” — Kelly Sue DeConnick, author of Captain Marvel
“An intimate and lyrical tour of time, myth and history, with a captivating conversation between characters—and authors. Read it.” — New York Times bestselling author John Scalzi
“A time travel adventure that has as much humanity, grace, and love as it has temporal shenanigans, rewriting history, and temporal agents fighting to the death. Two days from now, you've already devoured it.” — Ryan North, New York Times Bestselling and Eisner Award winning author of How To Invent Everything: A Survival Guide For The Stranded Time Traveler
"A twisting, sapphic time travel fantasy love story that never stops surprising: El-Mohtar and Gladstone have written the ultimate in enemies-to-lovers romance.” — Booklist, Starred Review
*"Exquisitely crafted... Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit, revealing layers of meaning as it plays with cause and effect, wildly imaginative technologies, and increasingly intricate wordplay. El-Mohtar and Gladstone pack their narrative full of fanciful ideas and poignant moments, weaving a tapestry stretching across the millennia and through multiple realities that’s anchored with raw emotion and a genuine sense of wonder. This short novel warrants multiple readings to fully unlock its complexities. — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Seditious and seductive, lush and lustrous, allusive and elusive, THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR is one of those rare stories where one struggles to decide whether to heap more praise upon its clever structure and prose or its brilliant ideas and characters.” —Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings and The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
Tenderness, danger, daring, wit — Time War has them all... In other words, these pages are strewn with myriad delights. — Nisi Shawl