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WINNER OF The Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella, the Reddit Stabby Award for Best Novella AND The British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novella
2020 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award
The Ray Bradbury Prize
Kitschies Red Tentacle Award
Kitschies Inky Tentacle
Brave New Words Award
'A fireworks display from two very talented storytellers' Madeline Miller, author of Circe
Co-written by two award-winning writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant 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, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There's still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That's how war works. Right?
'An intimate and lyrical tour of time, myth and history' John Scalzi, bestselling author of Old Man's War
'Lyrical and vivid and bittersweet' Ann Leckie, Hugo Award-winning author of Ancillary Justice
'Rich and strange, a romantic tour through all of time and the multiverse' Martha Wells, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of The Murderbot Diaries
In this exquisitely crafted tale, two special agents from competing factions forge an unexpected relationship through messages left behind as they wage a secret war across space and time. Red, who represents a society dominated by technology and artificial intelligences, and Blue, the product of a biological mass consciousness, must never can never meet, even as they work to secure the future for their masters. Instead, they communicate in hundreds of different ways, their words hidden beneath layers of subtlety and deception, in direct defiance of every rule they've ever followed. As taunts and challenges gradually give way to endearments and secrets, the two women must determine their true roles in the unending time war. 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 (The Honey Month) and Gladstone (the Craft Sequence) 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.