This Is How You Lose the Time War came out in 2019 and won several awards, but there was a resurgence of interest in the novella last month, when the book was a main character on a social media platform for a few days. Suddenly it was sold out everywhere, and libraries that had it in their collections were racking up long reserves lists on it. I’m here to tell you that this book lives up to the hype. Any time is a good time to pick up a good book—when it’s new, when it’s old, when it’s neglected, when it’s all the rage.
This time-traveling, epistolary novella is written by Amal El-Mothar and Max Gladstone. Each author wrote the letters of one character, who was writing to the other character, written by the other author. They had agreed to a general storyline before they started writing the letters to each other’s characters, but each author found the tale grew, delightfully, in the collaborative process.
This Is How You Lose the Time War is a quick and dazzling read, and it’s best if you know as little as possible before you start in on it. It won a Hugo Award in 2020, and a Nebula Award in 2019, and a British Science Fiction Award in 2019 as well. And it’s one of the social media “It” books of 2023. Everyone seems to like it—chances are good you might enjoy it, too.
El-Mohtar Amal and Max Gladstone. This Is How You Lose the Time War. First ed. Saga Press an Imprint of Simon & Schuster 2019.