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Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529405231

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 18th July 2019

Genre: Fiction & Related Items

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Hugo Award for Best Novella
Nebula Award for Best Novella
Reddit Stabby Award for Best Novella
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

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?

‘A fireworks display from two very talented storytellers’ Madeline Miller, author of Circe

‘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


Well deserves every second you dedicate to it
Calles de Tinta
The worldbuilding is superb . . . This Is How You Lose the Time War wonderfully delivers on its premise
Den of Geek
Beautifully conceived and written in shifting tones with clockwork precision underpinning its Möbius convolutions, one of the most fascinating books of the year so far
Geek Chocolate
Spectacular . . . 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, creator of Captain Marvel
An intimate and lyrical tour of time, myth and history, with a captivating conversation between characters - and authors. Read it
John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling author of The Collapsing Empire
If Iain M. Banks and Gerard Manley Hopkins had ever been able to collaborate on a science fiction project, well, it wouldn't be half as much fun as this novella by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. There is all the pleasure of a long series, and all the details of an much larger world, presented in miniature here
Kelly Link, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and Pulitzer Prize finalist for Get in Trouble
This book has it all: treachery and love, lyricism and gritty action, existential crisis and space-opera scope, not to mention time travelling superagents. Gladstone's and El-Mohtar's debut collaboration is a fireworks display from two very talented storytellers
Madeline Miller, internationally bestselling author of Circe and Song of Achilles
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
Lyrical and vivid and bittersweet. An absolutely lovely read from two talented writers
Ann Leckie, Hugo Award-winning author of Ancillary Justice
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 and Nebula Award-winning author of The Murderbot Diaries
Exquisitely crafted . . . Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit . . . 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
I'm very rarely a reader of romances - but I think now that's only because there is so rarely a romance like How To Lose the Time War. I've lost the day to it, and my only regret is that it's over . . . It's a smart, inventive, lyrical story that dances a pas de deux down the edge of a razor, and I'm very glad to have read it
Stephanie Saulter, author of Gemsigns
Intimately operates within an immersive space opera
Entertainment Weekly
The intergalactic and historic sweep . . . services rather than overwhelms what is in essence a story about falling in love under a repressive dictatorship
The Big Issue
Soars and succeeds in its vivid detail, and in its vast imaginative sweep . . . Vivid, savage, tender, cruel, it is worthy of many readings
Stephen Cox, author of Our Child of the Stars
An epistolary masterpiece, a masterclass in allusion, a deep dive into character, a perfect manipulation of form and syntax and tone, a bending of the genre to create something that is intrinsically science-fiction and yet absolutely, gorgeously unique . . . This book stunned me
Old Firehouse Books
A message that the world needs to hear
Cheryl's Mewsings
Fast-paced and intricately plotted
Temi Oh, author Do You Dream of Terra-Two?
Sweet, hopeful, and unashamedly beautiful
Lush, glorious, passionate . . . I don't know how I'm going to move on past this book - but do I need to? I feel profoundly changed, cracked open and weeping, my heart in my hand, a songbird in my chest
For Every Helen of Troy
If you took that sappy story of unrequited love, Keanu Reeves and a time-traveling mailbox, strapped it up in body armor, covered it with razors, dipped it in poison and set it loose to murder and burn its way across worlds and centuries, what you'd end up with is This Is How You Lose The Time War, the experimental, collaborative, time-travelling love-and-genocide novel by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Compulsively readable . . . this book was one of my most anticipated reads this year since I found out about it, and it really did not disappoint one bit
Reads Rainbow
Strange and lovely . . . unique
I Should Read That
A story told through lyrical writing you very rarely see in fantasy these days . . . A genuine tour de force from a pair of writers at the top of their games
Streetlamp Halo
A wonderful tapestry of detail
A short, but punchy book that was highly emotional. I loved it a lot. The whole idea behind it is brilliantly ironic. I loved the writing, and I wished it was longer
Umut Reviews
Breathtaking. Brilliant in a way I'm not sure a review can illustrate. It has to be read to be believed
To Other Worlds
A gorgeous love story playfully yet powerfully spanning time and space in a weave of imagery and delight
Claire North, author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
This is the time-travelling queer epistolary romance I didn't know I needed . . . With precise, cut-glass prose - poetic and pragmatic at once - deeply compelling characters, and a tensely rewarding conclusion, This Is How You Lose the Time War is one of the most striking works of fiction I've read this decade. I'm going to be thinking about it - returning to it - for months, at least. Read it, because I can't recommend it highly enough
Exquisitely pitched . . . I don't remember the last time I cried rereading a book, but this one manages it
Strange Horizons
It's more than good. It's astonishing. You should read it.
Espresso Coco
Two hundred and one pages of can't-put-down goodness
Emily Holyoak
An intense, poetic work
The Times Literary Supplement
We might call it an "epistolary time-travel spy love story", but that doesn't really convey the book's poetic quality - it's one of a kind
The Guardian, 'Best of the Year’
An intellectually rewarding read with prose of a high standard. And it's a must-read for time travel tragics like moi
Dark Matter Zine
Poetic and lovely
Lucy’s Novel Purpose
A brilliant reading experience. For something different and beautiful this is exactly the kind of story you've been waiting for
A Run Along the Shelves
An epistolary novel about two time travellers battling one another for control of the future who fall in love
Adrian McKinty, Daily Express