Texas Hold’em

San Antonio, home of the Alamo, is also host to the nation’s top high school jazz competition, and the musicians at Xavier Desmond High are excited to outplay their rivals. They are also jokers, kids with strange abilities and even stranger looks. On top of that, well, they are teenagers, apt for mischief, mishaps, and romantic misunderstandings.

Michelle Pond, aka The Amazing Bubbles, thinks that her superhero (and supermom) know-how has prepared her to chaperone the event. But when her students start going wayward, she’ll soon discover the true meaning of “Don’t mess with Texas.”

Part of George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards universe, Texas Hold’em features the writing talents of David Anthony Durham, Max Gladstone, Victor Milan, Diana Rowland, Walton Simons, Caroline Spector and William F. Wu. Available October 23d from Tor Books.

 

 

Bubbles and the Band Trip

Part 1

The brakes gave a farty ...

Read an Excerpt from Dale Bailey’s In the Night Wood

In The Night Wood Dale Bailey

Failed father, failed husband, and failed scholar, Charles Hayden hopes to put his life back together with a new project: a biography of Caedmon Hollow, the long-dead author of a legendary Victorian children’s book, In the Night Wood, and forebear of his wife, Erin. Deep in mourning from the loss of their young daughter, they pack up their American lives, Erin gives up her legal practice, and the couple settles in Hollow’s remote Yorkshire mansion.

In the neighboring village, Charles meets a woman he might have loved, a child who could have been his own daughter, and the ghost of a self he hoped to bury. Erin, paralyzed by her grief, immerses herself in pills and painting images of a horned terror in the woods.

In the primeval forest surrounding Caedmon Hollow’s ancestral home, an ancient power is stirring, a long-forgotten king who haunts the Haydens’ dreams. And every ...

Read an Excerpt from Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries—and she is the only creature who can break its spell…

Author Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense in A Discovery of Witches, the first book her All Souls trilogy published by Viking. A television adaptation premieres tonight in the UK, and is coming to the US in early 2019. In ...

Read an Excerpt From The Phoenix Empress, Sequel to The Tiger’s Daughter

Once they were the heirs to a prophecy that predicted two women would save an empire.

Now Shefali is dying—and her wife is unaware of the coming tragedy. Shizuka is too busy trying to reunite a fractured empire and right the wrongs of her ancestors.

As the Imperial Army gathers against a demonic invasion, Shizuka must do all she can with an empire on the brink of civil war.

K. Arsenault Rivera’s The Phoenix Empress, sequel to The Tiger’s Daughter, is available October 9th from Tor Books.

 

O-Shizuka

one

There are people who have never heard Barsalai Shefali speak. There are people who do not know the joy of a violet-gold sky, people who have never bitten into a ripe mango and felt its juice run down their chin, people who have never heard Tanaka Kyosuke’s Petals Landing on a Maiden’s Hair. Some things in life are ...

Zero Sum Game

Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good. The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight, and she’ll take any job for the right price.

As far as Cas knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower…until she discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master.

Cas should run, like she usually does, but for once she’s involved. There’s only one problem…

She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.

S.L. Huang’s Zero Sum Game is available October 2nd from Tor Books. Read the first 3 chapters below!

 

 

one

I trusted one person in the entire world.

He was currently punching me ...

State Tectonics Audio Excerpt

The future of democracy must evolve or die…

We’re excited to share an audio excerpt from the cyberpunk political thriller State Tectonics, the conclusion Malka Older’s The Centenal Cycle. Listen to the clip below, as read by Christine Marshall.

The last time Information held an election, a global network outage, two counts of sabotage by major world governments, and a devastating earthquake almost shook micro-democracy apart. Five years later, it’s time to vote again, and the system that has ensured global peace for 25 years is more vulnerable than ever.

Unknown enemies are attacking Information’s network infrastructure. Spies, former superpowers, and revolutionaries sharpen their knives in the shadows. And Information’s best agents question whether the data monopoly they’ve served all their lives is worth saving, or whether it’s time to burn the world down and start anew.

State Tectonics is available September 11th from Tor.com Publishing. You can find ...

Read a Lost Chapter from A Room Away from the Wolves

A Room Away from the Wolves is a ghost story set in a refuge for troubled girls deep in the heart of New York City. This boardinghouse is called Catherine House, named after the young woman who died a century ago, questionably and tragically, leaving her home open to future generations of girls. The house is filled with magical secrets and living memories, the downstairs rooms still decorated the way they were when Catherine was alive.

The original draft of A Room Away from the Wolves had an over-ambitious component that fell out of the story. There used to be some interspersed chapters written in a third-person, often omniscient voice that didn’t match the bulk of seventeen-year-old Bina’s narration. My intention was to use these pieces as a way to see the world from other eyes, but I came to realize that I didn’t need those eyes. In fact, the ...

Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Port of Shadows, a New Black Company Book from Glen Cook

The soldiers of the Black Company don’t ask questions, they get paid. But being “The Lady’s favored” is attracting the wrong kind of attention and has put a target on their backs—the Company’s historian, Croaker, has the biggest target of all.

The one person who was taken into The Lady’s Tower and returned unchanged has earned the special interest of the court of sorcerers known as The Ten Who Were Taken. Now, he and the company are being asked to seek the aid of their newest member, Mischievous Rain, to break a rebel army. However, Croaker doesn’t trust any of the Taken, especially not ones that look so much like The Lady and her sister…

Glen Cook returns to the Chronicles of the Black Company with Port of Shadows, a military fantasy adventure available September 11th from Tor Books.

 

 

Long Ago and Far Away: Oblivion Fall

The ...

Read the Preface from Worlds Seen In Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction

Since it began in 2008, Tor.com has explored countless new worlds of fiction, delving into possible and impossible futures, alternate and intriguing pasts, and realms of fantasy previously unexplored. Its hundreds of remarkable stories span from science fiction to fantasy to horror, and everything in between. Now Tor.com is making some of those worlds available for the first time in print.

Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction collects some of the best short stories Tor.com has to offer, with Hugo and Nebula Award-winning short stories and novelettes chosen from all ten years of the program. Read the preface to the anthology below from editor Irene Gallo.

 

Tor.com celebrated its tenth anniversary on July 20, 2018—the forty-ninth anniversary of the first manned moon landing. It started out innocently enough. In 2006, our publisher, Fritz Foy, while attending the Tor Books holiday party, ...

Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Brandon Sanderson’s New Stephen Leeds Novella, Lies of the Beholder

Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. It’s his hallucinations who are mad.

A genius of unrivaled aptitude, Stephen can learn any new skill, vocation, or art in a matter of hours. However, to contain all of this, his mind creates hallucinatory people—Stephen calls them aspects—to hold and manifest the information. Wherever he goes, he is joined by a team of imaginary experts to give advice, interpretation, and explanation. He uses them to solve problems… for a price.

His brain is getting a little crowded and the aspects have a tendency of taking on lives of their own. When a company hires him to recover stolen property—a camera that can allegedly take pictures of the past—Stephen finds himself in an adventure crossing oceans and fighting terrorists. What he discovers may upend the foundation of three major world religions—and, perhaps, give him a vital clue into the true nature of his aspects.

A ...

Listen to an Excerpt from Glen Cook’s Port of Shadows

The soldiers of the Black Company don’t ask questions, they get paid. But being “The Lady’s favored” is attracting the wrong kind of attention and has put a target on their backs. And the Company’s historian, Croaker, has the biggest target of all…

We’re excited to share an excerpt from the audiobook edition of Port of Shadows, the newest dark fantasy in Glen Cook’s Chronicles of the Black Company series. Check out the clip below, read by Brian Troxell.

Port of Shadows is available September 11th from Tor Books. You can find the audio edition with Macmillan Audio, or get the print and ebook editions at the links below!

Transcend Borders in the New Anthology Shades Within Us

An American father shields his son from Irish discrimination. A Chinese foreign student wrestles to safeguard her family at the expense of her soul. A college graduate is displaced by technology. A Nigerian high school student chooses between revenge and redemption. A bureaucrat parses the mystery of Taiwanese time travellers. A defeated alien struggles to assimilate into human culture. A Czechoslovakian actress confronts the German WWII invasion. A child crosses an invisible border wall. And many more.

Edited by Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law, Shades Within Us features stories that transcend borders, generations, and cultures. Each is a glimpse into our human need in face of change: to hold fast to home, to tradition, to family; and yet to reach out, to strive for a better life. Available September 8th from Laska Media.

Below, we’re pleased to share both the introduction to the anthology, written by Eric Choi and ...

Read an Exclusive Excerpt from V.E. Schwab’s Vengeful

A super-powered collision of extraordinary minds and vengeful intentions—author V. E. Schwab returns with Vengeful, the thrilling follow-up to Vicious, available September 25th from Tor Books.

Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.

But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.

With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity—and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.

 

 

Genesis

Six Weeks Ago
The Merit Suburbs

The night Marcella died, she made her ...

We Sold Our Souls

In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success—but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in obscurity.

Two decades later, former guitarist Kris Pulaski works as the night manager of a Best Western—she’s tired, broke, and unhappy. Everything changes when a shocking act of violence turns her life upside down, and she begins to suspect that Terry sabotaged more than just the band.

Kris hits the road, hoping to reunite with the rest of her bandmates and confront the man who ruined her life. It’s a journey that will take her from the Pennsylvania rust belt to a celebrity rehab center to a music festival from hell. A furious power ballad about never giving up, even in the face of overwhelming odds, Grady Hendrix’s We Sold Our Souls is an ...

Timeless

Centuries ago, in the city of Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders, the city of drow, nestled deep in the unmerciful Underdark of Toril, a young weapon master earned a reputation far above his station or that of his poor house.

The greater nobles watched him, and one powerful Matron—Malice—decided to take him as her own. She connived with rival houses to secure her prize, but it was ultimately the roguish Jarlaxle who caught him. Thus sparked the birth of two key moments in Menzoberranzan: the coupling of a noble and weapon master that would produce Drizzt Do’Urden… and the friendship between Zaknafein and Jarlaxle.

Author R. A. Salvatore reveals the Underdark anew through the eyes of of this unlikely pair—offering a fresh take on the intrigue and opportunities to be found in the shadows, and providing a fascinating prelude to the journeys that have shaped the modern-day Forgotten Realms. There, ...

The Stars Now Unclaimed Audio Excerpt

Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified. Her mission: to recruit children with miraculous gifts in the hope that they might prevent the Pulse from once again sending countless worlds back to the dark ages. Hot on her trail is the Pax—a collection of fascist zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the galaxy and who remain untouched by the Pulse.

Now Jane, a handful of comrades from her past, and a telekinetic girl called Esa must fight their way through a galaxy full of dangerous conflicts, remnants of ancient technology, and other hidden dangers…

We’re excited to share an audio excerpt from Drew Williams’ The Stars Now Unclaimed, as read by Brittany Pressley.

The Stars Now Unclaimed is available August 21st from Tor Books. You can find the audio edition with Macmillan Audio, or get the print and ebook editions at the links ...

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds

Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. It’s his hallucinations who are mad.

A genius of unrivaled aptitude, Stephen can learn any new skill, vocation, or art in a matter of hours. However, to contain all of this, his mind creates hallucinatory people—Stephen calls them aspects—to hold and manifest the information. Wherever he goes, he is joined by a team of imaginary experts to give advice, interpretation, and explanation. He uses them to solve problems… for a price.

His brain is getting a little crowded and the aspects have a tendency of taking on lives of their own. When a company hires him to recover stolen property—a camera that can allegedly take pictures of the past—Stephen finds himself in an adventure crossing oceans and fighting terrorists. What he discovers may upend the foundation of three major world religions—and, perhaps, give him a vital clue into the true nature of his aspects.

A ...

Mecha Samurai Empire

Makoto Fujimoto grew up in California, but with a difference–his California is part of the United States of Japan. After Germany and Japan won WWII, the United States fell under their control. Growing up in this world, Mac plays portical games, haphazardly studies for the Imperial Exam, and dreams of becoming a mecha pilot. Only problem: Mac’s grades are terrible. His only hope is to pass the military exam and get into the prestigious mecha pilot training program at Berkeley Military Academy.

When his friend Hideki’s plan to game the test goes horribly wrong, Mac washes out of the military exam too. Perhaps he can achieve his dream by becoming a civilian pilot. But with tensions rising between the United States of Japan and Nazi Germany and rumors of collaborators and traitors abounding, Mac will have to stay alive long enough first…

The follow-up to United States of Japan, ...

Ball Lightning Audio Excerpt

A new science fiction adventure from the author of the Three-Body Trilogy, Cixin Lu’s Ball Lightning is a fast-paced story of what happens when the beauty of scientific inquiry runs up against the drive to harness new discoveries with no consideration of their possible consequences.

We’re excited to share an excerpt from the audiobook below, translated by Joel Martinsen and read by Feodor Chin.

When Chen’s parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of this mysterious natural phenomenon. His search takes him to stormy mountaintops, an experimental military weapons lab, and an old Soviet science station.

The more he learns, the more he comes to realize that ball lightning is just the tip of an entirely new frontier. While Chen’s quest for answers gives purpose to his lonely life, it also pits him against soldiers and scientists ...

State Tectonics

The future of democracy must evolve or die.

The last time Information held an election, a global network outage, two counts of sabotage by major world governments, and a devastating earthquake almost shook micro-democracy apart. Five years later, it’s time to vote again, and the system that has ensured global peace for 25 years is more vulnerable than ever.

Unknown enemies are attacking Information’s network infrastructure. Spies, former superpowers, and revolutionaries sharpen their knives in the shadows. And Information’s best agents question whether the data monopoly they’ve served all their lives is worth saving, or whether it’s time to burn the world down and start anew.

Malka Older concludes her cyberpunk political thriller series The Centenal Cycle with State Tectonics—available September 11th from Tor.com Publishing.

 

 

Chapter 1

The Dhaka street swarms with people, objects, and all of the existing data about all of these people and ...