THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR (2019) by Amal El-Mothar and Max Gladstone
In the science fiction genre, stories are often written as replies
or comments to previous works.
Over time, new variations on established themes form an ongoing ”conversation”
inside the field – a bit like jazz music.
One such theme is ”time war.” It probably originated with THE LEGION OF TIME by
Jack Williamson (pulp-magazine serial in 1938, novel in 1952). Imagine two alternate, mutually
exclusive futures competing for their very existence.
They try to manipulate a
common past in order to determine their future... and the losing future will be erased
In THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR, we follow the two women Red and Blue – cyborg
agents, enemies in an extraordinarily complex time war that runs across
alternate timelines. The twist is that this bewildering conflict is only the
backdrop for Red and Blue’s growing obsession with each other.
As they exchange long secret messages, their mutual obsession grows into
infatuation. Forbidden love between soldiers in wartime! It’s very romantic and
very original, and written in gorgeous purple prose.
This is the kind of story you’ll have to read several times, because it is too
rich to digest in just one go. I loved THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR, and I look forward to what the two
authors are going to write next.
Heartily recommended for readers who enjoy
beautiful, imaginative writing.
See also in the same genre: THE BIG TIME by Fritz Leiber.