Upcoming Time War Events + THE MYTHIC DREAM

Hello from Ottawa, where I’ve been for the past four days but which I shall leave again in six! All for good reason, though — thanks to your enthusiasm the events for This Is How You Lose the Time War have all been wonderfully successful across seven cities, and here are just a few more! And, most excitingly, Max Gladstone will be joining me for the US side of these, so if you’ve been craving the crossed swords of our signatures in your copy, here’s your chance!

September 11 – NYC – McNally Jackson (SEAPORT), 7PM: This is McNally Jackson’s newest location, and we’re thrilled to be appearing in it! Come one, come all!

September 12 – NYC – Erewhon Literary Salon, 7PM: This is a more intimate event and venue for which you have to RSVP, as it takes place in Erewhon Books’ offices after hours. There’s a strong possibility that both Max and I will read from other work here, too — I’m eager to share “Florilegia; or, Some Lies About Flowers” from the newly released Mythic Dream anthology, for instance (on which more below!).

September 13 – Westerly, RI – The Savoy Bookshop, 7PM: This bookstore is magnificent. It’s a dream to spend time in, much like Westerly itself. I’ve been visiting it since my dear friend CSE Cooney (author of the incredible novella Desdemona and the Deep, in which Labyrinth meets Hadestown) moved there earlier this decade; it’s since become the home of Betsie Withey, the brilliant artist who makes the hair flowers I am never without, and Jessica P. Wick, writer, reviewer, bookseller, dear friend and co-editor with me of Goblin Fruit for the better part of ten years.

September 22 – Toronto – Word on the Street Festival – 11AM: Come hear me and L.X. Beckett discuss alternate futures and romances thereof!

And after that — HOME, home home home again! For a little while at least!

PS: UK friends, hearken to me: due to a strange twist in spacetime, London’s Forbidden Planet Megastore has copies of This Is How You Lose the Time War that are signed by BOTH Max and me! Get them while supplies last!

In other news…

The Mythic Dream is the third and final anthology collaboration between Hugo Award Winning editors Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien, following on the tremendous success of The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales and Robots vs. Fairies. Syfy had it on their list of 10 Books Not to Miss in September, and small wonder; it contains stories by John Chu, Leah Cypess, Indrapramit Das, Jeffrey Ford, Sarah Gailey, Carlos Hernandez, Kat Howard, Stephen Graham Jones, T. Kingfisher, Ann Leckie, Carmen Maria Machado, Arkady Martine, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, Rebecca Roanhorse, JY Yang, and Alyssa Wong. I can’t wait to devour it!

My contribution is a retelling of the Blodeuwedd story from the Mabinogion — and if that sounds familiar, it’s because I already engaged with that myth once in “The Truth About Owls.” But I frankly can’t quit it, so this is a more adult, queered, actual retelling, one that’s a bit angry with Alan Garner’s The Owl Service. It’s called “Florilegia; or, Some Lies About Flowers,” and it closes out the anthology.

Get your copy from any of the following or from your favourite local independent!

Barnes & Noble

And, finally, I appeared on CBC’s All in a Day yesterday to talk about the TV option on This Is How You Lose the Time War.

You can listen to that here, and the longer segment from the book launch back in July here, if you’re so inclined! Alan Neal’s an absolutely brilliant interviewer, an infuriatingly talented journalist, and dug up ~things from my past~ that predate my life on the internet, so go on, get yourselves some of that good blackmail material.

Happy September, friends!

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Worldcon 2019 Schedule

Friends! I’m very briefly back home in Ottawa after several weeks on the road, during which I taught at the Locus Awards weekend and Clarion West, did book launch events in Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, and Ottawa, and attended the wedding of two dear friends to each other (which I pride myself on having catalyzed, with their blessing). More on all that anon — when I got back from the wedding I was so exhausted that I slept for 10 hours straight two nights in a row, and have even been napping, an activity at which I have never been proficient.

I have photos to share, and thoughts, and bafflingly exciting book news — but first! My Dublin 2019 Worldcon schedule, because it looks fantastic! I’ve got a great mix of panels, an autographing session and a kaffeeklatsch — that last one’s an opportunity to just hang out in a small group with me and chat, but you have to sign up for it in advance and it’s first-come, first-served, so best to get on that early if you’re interested.

Not beyond Tolkien

Format: Panel
16 Aug 2019, Friday 22:00 – 22:50, Wicklow Hall 2B (CCD)
(This was inspired by a Twitter thread of mine that went viral! I’m so happy!)

There has been much discussion of how elements of Tolkien’s work have become staples in fantasy and how certain tropes are Tolkienesque, but what about the things Tolkien did that have become rare or unusual? ‘Tolkienesque’ has become shorthand for general high fantasy, but the panel will discuss the aspects of his work that did not spread widely beyond him.

Justin Call, Ms Sultana Raza, Dr Nick Hubble (Brunel University London) (M), Amal El-Mohtar

Time travel novellas after the end of history

Format: Panel
17 Aug 2019, Saturday 16:00 – 16:50, Liffey Room-1 (CCD)

Time travel is as fascinating to writers now as it has always been, but its portrayal has evolved in recent years. How do the preoccupations of time travel writers today differ from those of the past? Do they see new futures, and how do they reimagine the past? How have changes in the publishing landscape encouraged these new time travel plots and experiments?

Dr Tiffani Angus (Anglia Ruskin University), Kate Heartfield, Kelly Robson (SFWA) (M), Amal El-Mohtar

Authors and social media: friends or foes?

Format: Panel
17 Aug 2019, Saturday 20:00 – 20:50, Wicklow Hall-1 (CCD)

Join us as we explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of the relationship between authors and social media. Where should you be? What should you do? And how much is too much? From Twitter to Facebook, via Instagram:  how to make social media work for you and avoid digging your own digital grave in the process.

Francesca T Barbini (Luna Press Publishing) (M), Gareth Powell, Georgina Kamsika, Amal El-Mohtar

Autographs: Sunday at 12:00

Format: Autographing
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 12:00 – 12:50, Level 4 Foyer (CCD)

(Bring stuff for me to sign! Ideally stuff I’ve written or had writing in, but I’ll keep an open mind.)

The Golden Age of Animated SF

Format: Panel
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 14:00 – 14:50, Wicklow Room-3 (CCD)

We are in a Golden Age of Animation. Animated form and content have been pushed in ambitious ways, both through storytelling and technology. in film (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), TV (Avatar: The Last Airbender) and streaming services (Love, Death & Robots), but few have received recognition. We discuss what titles are doing well, how animation (both traditional and CGI) and live-action have influenced each other, and what fans should look out for.

Michelle Coleman (University of Nottingham), Edward Kramer (Wizards of Hollywood Productions), Amal El-Mohtar

Kaffeeklatsch: Amal El-Mohtar

Format: Kaffeeklatsch
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 16:00 – 16:50, Level 3 Foyer (KK/LB) (CCD)

(As I said above, you’ll need to sign up for this in advance! The convention will have more information on how to do this closer to the date, but in years past it’s been a matter of turning up at the registration desk. Keep an eye on the website for more info!)

That’s it for now — more soon, including appearances in London, Glasgow and New York City!

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Friends! Today’s the day!

You’ve waited. You’ve suffered agonies of time. But now you can suffer its pleasures too.

This Is How You Lose the Time War is my novella collaboration with Max Gladstone, and it launches in North America today (UK folks get it on the 18th, though there as here some copies have skillfully wiggled out of their temporal constraints). This means your pre-orders (and enamel pins + postcards!) should be arriving very soon. If you haven’t pre-ordered it? Your instructions follow. Read by dreaming:

I cannot thank you enough for all the pre-ordering, pre-reading, pre-reviewing, pre-squeeing you’ve already done. This weekend at Readercon—where thanks to the incredibly generous efforts of Meg Frank, Alyshondra Meacham, and many volunteers, we had a fabulous party—we learned that this strange and sinuous little book has already gone into a second printing because you demonstrated the demand for it. The book wasn’t even out yet when we learned this! Max and I are both humbled and dazzled and just generally wandering around stupefied with gratitude and joy.

So I want to thank you, as the prophets say. Thank you, deeply, for all of it.




PPS: *cough* thank you

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Time War Pre-Order Swagstravaganza!


Time War Header 2

Do you live in the US or Canada?*

Have you pre-ordered This Is How You Lose the Time War in the format of your choice?

Then good news! We want to give you STUFF!

Starting right now and running until July 15, send proof of your purchase to winthetimewar@gmail.com and choose your allegiance! Will you fight for Red and the Agency, or Blue and Garden? We’ll send you an enamel pin (ENAMEL PIN!!!!) and postcard from the side (obviously the winning side) of your choice!

Can’t choose? Deliberately won’t choose? Deliberately will choose both? WELL. Send us proof of TWO purchases and you’re a DOUBLE AGENT who’ll get both pins and both postcards!

If you’re one of the first 25 to write in, you’ll also get an extra copy of the book signed by both Max and me, along with a hand-written note!

Have you NOT pre-ordered it yet? What a magnificent opportunity to do so! Here are some places you can do that!

Barnes & Noble
Chapters Indigo

If you’re in Ottawa, I would heartily encourage you to pre-order through Perfect Books, my favourite local independent, a place that I treasure (and where I worked for five years). The stock there will definitely be signed.

So go forth, friends! Fight the Time War! And win by any means necessary.

*Details forthcoming on whether this can be extended to the wider world, but in the meantime, you can secure your pre-order in the UK too wherever books are sold! Two of those places are Waterstones and Amazon.co.uk, though we’ll always root for your local independent.


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This Is How You Lose the Time War Reviews and Interviews

I’ve just come back from Åcon X, an absolutely wonderful relaxacon in the Åland Islands, and in the midst of adjusting from jet lag and beginning a new month there’s been a flurry of activity on the Time War front that I wanted to aggregate all in one place.


I’m delighted to see that This Is How You Lose the Time War has thus far received three starred reviews, from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Starred reviews in these cases mean that the book’s profile is raised with librarians and industry book-buyers, which is great news!

Also Entertainment Weekly included it in their Summer Preview list, in the banner and everything! And over in the UK Stephen Bush kindly reviewed it for The Big Issue, saying “It sounds complex but the execution is engagingly simple. The intergalactic and historic sweep – our two spies play off against each other in the far future, exchange book recommendations in a 18th century teahouse and write letters to one another in the Mongol Empire – services rather than overwhelms what is in essence a story about falling in love under a repressive dictatorship.”

Shout-out to everyone who’s been telling me that they’re enjoying it while reading it, by the way — your words are a balm and a joy!


Max and I have been talking about the novella in a few places, and we’ll be talking in quite a few more before the month is out! For now, here are two joint interviews and one solo:

  • over at Clarkesworld, Chris Urie interviews us together
  • over at Bookish, Max and I sort of interview each other, by which I mean we don’t so much ask questions as effuse at each other about the process of writing the book.
  • Cheryl Morgan was at Åcon last week too, and was kind enough to interview me for Ujima Radio’s Women’s Outlook in Bristol. I’m told the interview starts a half-hour in; I haven’t had a chance to listen yet due to shenanigans, but it was a warm, enjoyable conversation and I’m looking forward to revisiting it.

Giveaways and Review Copies

Would you like to win a free copy of This Is How You Lose the Time War? You can be in with a chance if you read this excerpt at Bookish First and leave your first impressions! The raffle’s only going on for five more days, and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 11.

If Bookish First doesn’t ship to your region and you’re just burning at the prospect of linear time plodding between you and the release date, never fear: you can request an advance e-copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

When is that release date again?

It’s July 16 in North America and July 18 in the UK! You can pre-order it from wherever you prefer to get books, including any of the following:

Barnes & Noble
Chapters Indigo

If you’re in Ottawa, I would heartily encourage you to pre-order through Perfect Books, my favourite local independent, a place that I treasure (and where I worked for five years).

Soon: Tour dates, Exciting Seekrit Development, all manner of stuff!





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O Grey River, Your Waters Ramble Wild

Two years ago, the area in which I live saw a lot of flooding. My family’s home is behind the 100-year flood line, and we were very, very lucky — with a lot of help from family and friends, a lot of sandbagging, the house withstood the river’s rising, and the water receded quickly once it peaked.

Now it’s happening again, worse. More communities are affected; the water’s expected to rise higher, faster, and to stay at that height for weeks, not days.



We’ve done more this year in preparation. There’s Tyvek-covered plywood against the windows in case the river rises up to them and brings debris down on them. There are… about 500 sandbags? My fingertips are still numb from the tying and lifting and hauling of them, and the less said of the rest of my body’s soreness the better.



My sister and I arrived around 4:00 PM yesterday, got started with a crew around 5:00, and then didn’t stop (except for frequent breaks in 5-10 minute increments) until about 1:00 AM. And all the while the river pursued its own relentless work: the height of the waves, the speed of them, the rush and roar of them, water spreading in tongues and fingers towards us like hunger, like anger.

We’ve done all we could, and there’s comfort in that. My body couldn’t do more. The rest is the river, which I wish would, in fact, rest. I want to sing to it all the songs of drowning I know, all the songs of flooding and loss in a kind of kinship, a reverse alchemy; I want to tell it, with all the sincerity of my numb and bruising heart, calm your waves and slow the churn / And you may have my precious bones on my return.


The wind is a wilderness in the tree branches; the house feels like an anchored ship, with squirrels on the mast instead of seabirds. (Squirrels can swim, it turns out! And thank goodness–my heart was in my mouth as I watched one jump into the water before clambering up a trunk.)

My nephew, all of three years old, has been watching all this with equanimity. He kept our morale up well into the night through sheer obliviousness, playing with his grand-mother and watching the waves dashing against the sandbags with a “one … two … splash!”, delighting in what might very well destroy the house we’re in. But so are we all, to some extent; the absolute helplessness of this, watching and listening to the water, and loving it in spite of all. One lives near the water because one loves it; one can’t love it less as it surrounds and breaks and flexes its strength. One can only love it from different places, with more awe and trembling, more surrender, more pain.

There’s so much more to say — about politics, about climate change, about the despicable intersection of those things — but I haven’t the energy for it. The river washes everything out. To everyone in Constance Bay, in Pontiac, in Gatineau, in every affected community — all my heartfelt best wishes and solidarity. To everyone not affected — if you have the time and wherewithal to volunteer somewhere and fill sandbags, you can’t begin to know how appreciated that is. Constance Bay has, I hear, the army and the Red Cross; in Pontiac, this morning, there was a single person at city hall working to fill bags.

Effort and energy ebb and flow like the waves we’re trying to keep at bay. But time is short, weather’s chancy, and every little bit helps — not only in practical terms, but in feeling, in support. We’re all shoring up our hearts as well as our foundations.


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In Memoriam: Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe passed away on Sunday night, and my dear friend CSE Cooney wrote about him, his mentorship and their friendship.

I met her because of him, and met him because of her, and I’ll let her say all the rest. I’m so grateful to have met him. He was very kind to a posse of fey girls trouping around him with poetry chapbooks over a decade ago, and that’s how I’ll remember him: kind, and merry, and thoughtful, and deeply tender towards my friend.

My deepest condolences to all who knew and loved him.

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Cover Reveal for THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR + Pre-Orders!

Well, it’s been a while! Poor dusty old blog — let me get a damp rag and just — there.

I’ve been on the road so much this year, and busy with many things in between bouts of travel, but one of those things has recently reached a milestone, so behold — Barnes & Noble revealed the cover to This Is How You Lose the Time War, my epistolary time-travel spy vs. spy novella collaboration with Max Gladstone!


We’re both delighted with it. Greg Stadnyk took a complicated roller-coaster ride across multiple intersecting realities and zeroed in on the heart of the matter: Red and Blue, equals and opposites, fighting and dancing and rippling things around them.

I wrote a bit about the genesis of it here, when B&N first announced the project, and it’s wild to take stock of how far we’ve come and how long there’s still to go — six whole months! — but in the meantime, you can pre-order it!

Barnes & Noble
Chapters Indigo

If you’re in Ottawa, I would heartily encourage you to pre-order through Perfect Books, my favourite local independent, a place that I treasure (and where I worked for five years).

I really can’t wait for you to meet Red and Blue. I love them so much, and I hope you will too.

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I’m in a Music Video!

This is such a delightful thing. Ottawa’s own Moonfruits launched a new music video yesterday, and I’m one of many extras in it!

The song, “Le Maire” (The Mayor), is from the Moonfruits’ folk concept album called Ste. Quequepart (Saint Someplace), about villagers disgruntled with their mayor, who’s been asleep for three years. It’s fantastic, and I’ll have more to say about it on Drip eventually, because I want to talk about it and a 1971 Lebanese play called Sah Annom (something between Congratulations on Having Woken Up and Good Morning) where the town’s mayor is only awake three days every month.

In the meantime, do listen to “Le Maire”! Even if you don’t understand French, it’s tremendously addictive. And if you do understand French, the lyrics are AMAZING.


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Crosspost: Infinity Interrupted

Over on Drip, I wrote up a non-spoilery account of my experience of watching Avengers: Infinity War last night. It’s a public post, so you don’t need to be subscribed to see it.

Here’s a taste:

I had no expectations of this film. I’d loved Spider Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther beyond all reckoning, and didn’t think any of the things I loved about those movies would feature in this one. I’d also read Emily Asher-Perrin’s Tor.com post titled “Why I Don’t Care if Anyone Dies in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR” and nodded along. I was looking forward to seeing the cosmic crew again, enjoying some quipping, blinking at a lot of pretty lights, and appreciating at least one shot of a thoroughly muscled man trying to hold on to two things pulling in separate directions.

As it turned out, I was unprepared for how much I would, in fact, care, and be affected and impressed.

I was even less prepared for the interruption of a climactic battle by someone in the theatre’s back row screaming about having seen a knife.

We’re OK, but it was a really weird night. 

In other news, a quick reminder that I’ll be in Montreal for a panel on Sunday, under the auspices of the Blue Metropolis festival. Come hear Su Sokol, David Demchuk, Melissa Yuan-Innes and I discuss Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and its relevance to modern SFF! 4:00 PM at Hotel 10’s Salle Jardin, just up the street from the train station.


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