Authors: Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone –
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio –
Genre: Science-Fiction, Epistolary –
Overall rating: 5/5 –
Writing: 5/5 –
Duration: 4:25 (short) –
Narrators: Cynthia Farrell, Emily Woo Zeller –
Narrator/performance: 5/5 –
Impressions: n/a –
Performance errors: 0/5 –
Complexity/reading level: 4/5 –
Since my mobile app has been taking books off my shelf, I am putting them back here, at least a short mentions. One of my lost babies is “This Is How You Lose The Time War”, a very original but also rather challenging epistolary novella. According to the Wikipedia, it won the BSFA Award for Best Shorter Fiction, the Nebula Award for Best Novella of 2019. The piece received adequate praise and recommendations are often seen circulating across social media platforms.
The book reminds of a a certain genre of Japanese video games, to be honest. The characters are almost too powerful for their own good. To balance this, they seem to try to concentrate on grace, beauty and passionate pursuit of whatever they are pursuing, in fact or on heart, it is never clear. There is a very limited number of actual characters (possibly only two but can it really be true?). It is a creation of two independent authors, writing back and forth. This gives the book a fresh outlook, like a sketch or a quickly finished painting. Much is open to interpretation and speculation. There is a lot of beauty but also of destruction, extreme treatment and liminal states. The book is certainly worth your time – though it must be paid full attention.
The cover is a champion among book covers. It would stick in your mind for a long time. It is true to the story and its aesthetics yet it remains casual, approachable. It is slightly imperfect, captivating the eye. A very neat piece of work.