This Is How You Lose the Time War - Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

This Is How You Lose the Time War

By Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

  • Release Date: 2019-07-16
  • Genre: Science Fiction
Score: 4.5
From 408 Ratings




“[An] exquisitely crafted tale...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...This short novel warrants multiple readings to fully unlock its complexities.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review).

From award-winning authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone comes an enthralling, romantic novel spanning time and space about two time-traveling rivals who fall in love and must change the past to ensure their future.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandment finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, becomes something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean the death of each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win. That’s how war works, right?

Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.


  • Fantastic

    By blueheck
    A wonderful piece, it hooks you from start to finish with its vivid prose and poetry blended into a series of letters. I desperately want to know more about Red and Blue’s respective worlds, but I suppose I’ll have to sate my imagination with what’s sumptuously laid out for us. What a great novella! Will be recommending to my friends soon. :D
  • made me cry. 10/10.

    By just a user 😉
  • Beautiful.

    By Budpil
  • Strangely worth the read

    By Lazersmat
    This was one of the stranger books I’ve read, but I’m glad I got through it. The structure is really compelling, unfortunately you spend so much time lost that it only sort of works. It’s just the right length and that helps its cause.
  • New favorite book

    By sailor-pluto
    Most beautiful and wonderful book I have ever read. I feel like it’s a part of my soul now. God. Wish I could read it again for the first time. Absolutely stunning.
  • Ok

    By RLOMD
    It was ok. Long winded, too bloody at times. Predictable. But saying that, it was exactly what I needed to read right now. It gave me hope in sickness.
  • So worth reading

    By eyeyey.3
    Oh my god. The prose and world hooked me in and kept delivering line after line. When I said I literally gasped out loud chapter after chapter at the end, I mean it. I was fangirling over these characters from the first lines. Definitely one of my favorites!
  • Stunning

    By Jamiejames PDX
    A breathless, passionate Escher drawing turned into an immensely compelling and satisfying story.
  • Wonderful

    By anusidd
    Such a pleasurable read. Both challenging and accessible. I highly recommend
  • Nebula Award Winner About Two Time Warriors

    By Prairie_Dog
    “This is How You Loose the Time War” by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone won the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 2019. It is an interesting work, with a back and forth narrative, told partially through “letters.” The story centers around two time agents, who represent the two different factions in a war that extends through both time and space in a multiverse that may include our own. The first of these is known as Red, and she is the elite operative of the Agency, which is a post-singularity high-technological civilization. The second is Blue, which is an agent of Garden, a civilization based on biology, described as “... a single vast consciousness embedded in all organic matter.” These two mutually inimical forces are fighting throughout the past to insure that the future will be theirs. They influence things both small and large through the braids of time streams, all to give them eventual advantage. After a particularly devastating battle on a alien world, Blue decides to gloat by leaving a letter for Red in the midst of the battlefield. This begins their correspondence.... The novella is very “Timey-Wimey” as Doctor Who fans might say. At first I wasn‘t sure I liked the story, but it grew on me. By the end I had decided it was a worthwhile narrative with some clever twists.