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Blog This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

By Lauren P | Book Reviews

This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

A book review by Lauren

“This Is How You Lose The Time War” is an epistolary science-fiction novella about a romance between two time-travellers, unable to meet and enemies in war. Exceptional and stunning, it combines an intricate understanding of human nature with emotional intensity and conviction and a vivid, sensual and unique command of language.

Its time-travelling, dimension-hopping narrative is indicative of the impressive scope of El-Mohtar and Gladstone’s thought which seeks to observe human nature in all its variegation and vastness in meditation upon what exactly it means to be a human in the universe. On this, one feels they never run out of things to say, continually developing new layers of meaning and insight. Yet as impressive as the intricacy of their thoughts is the novella’s emotional intensity; the overwhelming strength with which it imparts the lasting impression that to be a human being alive in the universe is something truly honourable and beautiful.

For in this novella these two elements, thought and feeling, move hand-in-hand: the depth of its expressions of love and joy are only possible due to the authors’ insight into their nature, approaching these feelings with an awareness that they are not simple but messy, absurd, hungry and undignified, yet by these same qualities, earnest, real and beautiful. Mirroring the content, the style of writing, too, is beautifully prismatic, utilising comedy and tragedy, literary allusions and pop culture references as it flows between successions of metaphors and symbols each as abstract, unusual and perfect as the last.


Published: Wed 26th Oct 2022

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