Nebula Winner: This Is How You Lose the Time War • 2019 • Time travel novella by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

☆ (DNF at around 50%)

Synopsis:  Red and Blue are two time travelling agents from some far future warring parties. They travel to different strands of timelines to install advantages that come to fruit later. At some time, they start interacting by writing letters encrypted in different ways like in the entrails of a fish, the flow of lava, or the annual growth rings. This exchange starts to develop to a romance, though they haven’t seen each other.

Review: I wanted to like this, as I’ve read a couple of stories and books from the authors. This epistolary romance started very promising and was always full of images and flowery in prose. Each exchange went to a completely different setting in time and place, describing shortly what the sought after advantage was and concluded with an ever new way of transferring the contents of a letter. Every setting lasted for only some 3 pages. I had difficulties getting into the setting and came to the conclusion that it didn’t matter at all. It was never of consequence, the overall war of the two agents didn’t much matter, and I couldn’t relate to them. I’m no fan of romances, so I was exhausted after a short while and decided to simply skip over the second half, found nothing further and DNFed it.

Meta: isfdb. I started reading it as part of the Hugo and Nebula Award finalists.


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3 Responses to Nebula Winner: This Is How You Lose the Time War • 2019 • Time travel novella by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

  1. pdtillman says:

    Agree with you on this one. Also DNF, to my surprise, as it’s gotten good notices. Did it go on to win something?

    Thanks for posting all this stuff. I came across your site with the notice that Strahan is picking up the torch from Dozois. YAY! But the first few of his picks I read (online) aren’t too impressive, to me anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gehmeyr says:

      Thanks! Just hit the follow button 😁
      The novella won the Nebula, but the award season is still running. I guess, my taste is just not everyone’s, but I don’t mind.


  2. Pingback: Mini reviews of short books – Re-enchantment Of The World

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