Max Gladstone & Amal El-Mohtar Team Up for a Tale of Romance and Temporal Warfare

If you pay attention to things like the Hugo and Nebula awards or lists of the best sci-fi and fantasy books of the year, you know the names Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar. The celebrated authors of novels (Max’s six-books-and-counting Craft Sequence was recently nominated for the inaugural Best Series Hugo) and short stories (Amal’s “Seasons of Glass and Iron” won both the Hugo and Nebula this year) have long desired to collaborate on something, and today, we’re happy to announce that they’ve teamed up on a novella, and it sounds just fantastic, and Saga Press is going to publish it.

This Is How You Lose the Time War is a story of Red and Blue, two time traveling agents from warring futures, each working their way through the past to ensure that their future will succeed, who begin to exchange letters, seeded through the past—and fall in love.

Much like Saga Press senior editor Navah Wolfe (who edited Amal to those aforementioned awards for “seasons,” which appeared in The Starlit Wood): “I fell head over heels in love with this novella from the first exchanged letter between Red and Blue. This concept is a delight, and as I’m sure will come as no surprise, there could not be two writers better suited to pull it off.”

Here’s a more detailed description, which gives a few more hints at the story:

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

And 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.

Except discovery of their bond would be 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?

The authors are not unexpectedly over the moon about their collaboration.

“Max and I grew this novella out of our desire to collaborate with each other and blend our very different writing methods and styles, and every step of its development has been pure delight,” Amal said. “I’m especially thrilled to be working with Navah at Saga, as she witnessed the story’s beginnings and has been cheering it on ever since.”

“This was one of those sharp rare projects where every step felt like a lock’s tumbler falling into place,” Max said. “It was such a privilege to write with Amal—to be surprised by her work and to surprise in turn. Now the book’s landed with Navah, one of the last tumblers has fallen—and soon we’ll be able to open the door and invite the readers into our story.”

(Max adds his emailed comment should be noted to have been accompanied by “some degree of maniacal cackling.”)

Granted, in publishing, “soon” is a relative term; This Is How You Lose the Time War is expected to arrive in the fall of 2019.

If only there were some way to send text back through time. (Hey, that sounds like a good idea for a story…)

DongWon Song of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency negotiated the deal with Saga.

What’s your dream author collaboration? 

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