The City of Bicycles: Get to Know the World of Witchmark


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Witchmark, C. L. Polk’s debut novel, is a fantasy set in an original world that loosely resembles our own around the turn of the 20th century. Kingston, the capital city in which the story unfurls, is an old town on the brink of transformation by recent inventions, bright lights and modern applications electrified by the new national Aether network. Below, Polk describes the history of this booming era’s favorite method of commuting: the bicycle.

Combining magic, mystery, intrigue, and romance, Witchmark was one of our favorite books of 2018, and now it’s our Valentines Day gift to you! Sign up for the Tor.com Newsletter by 11:59pm on Friday, February 15th for a FREE ebook download!

 


 

The City of Bicycles

Kingston has 2.1 bikes for every citizen over the age of eight—the legal age to cycle alone. How did it succeed?

Is there anything more ...

Multiple Choices and No Good Answers: Sylvain Neuvel’s The Test


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Few things can disrupt a schedule more than a good book; my first encounter with Sylvain Neuvel’s fiction cost me a whole day. When I picked up his debut, Sleeping Giants, I had no intention of reading the entire book in a single sitting, and yet I did. Those three hundred pages, packed as they were with giant robots, ancient secrets, conspiracies benevolent or sinister, shocking deaths, and stunning revelations, kept me glued to my chair all through a sunny June afternoon. I immediately ordered the second book of The Themis Files; it too disappeared a day.

The nine hundred or so pages of Sleeping Giants, Waking Gods, and Only Human took their characters around the world, off the world, and through more than twenty eventful years. So it’s a surprise to see that Neuvel’s latest book is a novella largely set in a single room on ...

Read the First Five Chapters of Seanan McGuire’s Middlegame!


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Can’t wait until May 7th to get your first peek at Seanan McGuire’s new book, Middlegame? We’ve got just the ticket…

Head on over to Tor.com Publishing for a FREE download of the first five chapters right now! Want to know more? Here’s a handy synopsis:

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ...

The Haunting of Tram Car 015


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Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities—handling a possessed tram car.

Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.

P. Djèlí Clark returns to the historical fantasy universe of “A Dead Djinn in Cairo” with the otherworldly adventure novella The Haunting of Tram Car 015—available February 19th from Tor.com Publishing.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

The office of the Superintendent of Tram Safety & Maintenance at Ramses Station had all the decor befitting someone who had been elevated—or likely pushed along the lines of patronage—into such a vaulted position. A sprawling vintage Anatolian ...

Instruments of Our Own Destruction: Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett


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Vigilance, a new novella by Robert Jackson Bennett, is a love story between America and its guns—and as with all toxic relationships, someone’s going to get hurt.

In a near-future America undergoing a fast, steep decline—a nation where the young have left for safer and brighter ports, while an older generation hangs on by its fingernails to the old vision of what America could be—a right-wing news organization has found the exact thing to prey on their fear. This America, much like our own, is both fascinated by and numb to the horrors of mass shootings: people are still willing to watch the coverage, and not yet sick of it enough to turn away from the brutality. So John McDean, one of the lead marketers for Our Nation’s Truth television network, has turned shootings into a reality TV show: Vigilance.

Bennett spares no detail in painting a picture of ...

A Tool Can Also Be a Weapon: How Stories Can Change Reality


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“If you’re ever in Cody, Wyoming, just ask for Wild Bob!” –Slaughterhouse-Five

One of the critical function of stories is to enforce an order and structure on a random sampling of events, personalities, interactions, and coincidences. These can be factual stories—a journalist trying to put together a coherent picture from hours of interviews and follow-ups—or they can be fiction, wherein an author attempts to wrangle their erratic thoughts into something somebody might buy, or possibly even read.

There are a lot of different words for stories. One is “narrative.” We hear that word a lot these days. Who’s controlling the narrative? What’s influencing it? Is it like the Gulf Stream, a thoughtless phenomenon plowing through the atmosphere, something we cannot control, only witness? Or is it a story—an order being enforced on current events by a vast array of people, almost all of whom probably have an ...

Hidden Depths: Revealing C.S.E. Cooney’s Desdemona and the Deep


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The spoiled daughter of a rich mining family must retrieve the tithe of men her father promised to the world below….

Award-winning author C.S.E. Cooney indulges in luxurious, dizzying fantasy with Desdemona and the Deep, forthcoming July 23rd from Tor.com Publishing. Check out the cover below!

On the surface, her world is rife with industrial pollution that ruins the health of poor factory workers while the idle rich indulge themselves in unheard-of luxury.

Below are goblins, mysterious kingdoms, and an entirely different hierarchy. A goblin market narrative that’s also a steep drop into an uncanny, richly painted underworld, C.S.E. Cooney combines 1920s luxury with deeply felt questions of identity and justice that strike at the heart of who we are, human or otherwise.

Cover art by Alyssa Winans; Design by Christine Foltzer

 

C.S.E. Cooney lives ...

Challenging Your Average Human Lifespan — Revealing Longer by Michael Blumlein


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We’re excited to share the cover for Longer, a new novella from Michael Blumlein that asks big questions about mortality, aging, the persistence and changeability of love, and the search for meaning in our lives.

Gunjita and Cav are orbiting in space performing R & D pharmaceutical studies for Gleem Galactic. They are wealthy enough to participate in rejuvenation: rebooting themselves from old age to jump their bodies back to their twenties. You get two chances. The third time is a calculated risk.

Gunjita has “juved” for her second and last time, but Cav is reluctant to join her. Instead he’s obsessed with the unidentified object that they encounter out in space. Is it alive? He believes that it just might be. The prospect of first contact is possible, but their marriage may not survive the challenge…

Longer is available May 28th from Tor.com Publishing.

...

Meet Murderbot in Chapter One of Martha Wells’ All Systems Red


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“As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”

We’re pleased to encore the first chapter of Martha Wells’ award-winning novella All Systems Red, the first entry in the bestselling science fiction series, The Murderbot Diaries. One of our favorite books of 2018, All Systems Red is now available in hardcover from Tor.com Publishing!

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid—a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left ...

Vigilance and The Test “Near-Future” Sweepstakes!


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Vigilance and The Test sweepstakes

We want to send you a copy of two near-future thrillers from Tor.com Publishing: Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett, available January 29th, and The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, available February 12th!

From Vigilance:

The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize. Read more in our free excerpt.

From The Test:

Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress. When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death. How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice? Read more in our free excerpt.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase ...

A Travel Guide to the Worlds of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children Series (Updated!)


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In Every Heart a Doorway, the first novella in the stellar Wayward Children series, author Seanan McGuire explores what happens when children who disappeared into magical worlds returned to the real world. Its prequel story Down Among the Sticks and Bones explores one of these worlds in detail, telling the story of how Jacqueline and Jillian became Jack and Jill. The consequences of leaving your home world for the real one come to roost in the third novella, Beneath the Sugar Sky, a theme explored from a different angle in the fourth novella, In An Absent Dream.

Maguire’s portal worlds are connected to our own through magic doors. Not just any child can cross the threshold; something innate in their being or in the other world draws them in. What follows is an account of every single portal world mentioned, even in passing. Most of the worlds we ...

Rovina Cai Beneath the Sugar Sky illustration characters
Rovina Cai Beneath the Sugar Sky illustration baker
Rovina Cai Down Among the Sticks and Bones illustration windmill
Rovina Cai Every Heart a Doorway illustrations house

The Test


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Britain, the not-too-distant future. Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test. He wants his family to belong.

Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress. When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death. How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice?

Award-winning author Sylvain Neuvel explores an immigration dystopia in The Test—available February 12th from Tor.com Publishing.

Warning: The following excerpt depicts gun violence.

 

 

1.

The Life in the United Kingdom Test

Question 1: Who is the patron saint of Wales and on which date is his feast day?

I know the answer! It’s Saint David, on March first. I met Tidir, my wife, on March first. It is our meeting anniversary. I remember that day. She came in for a root canal and I fell in love. Not ...

Download a Free Ebook of The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander Before January 19, 2019!


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The Only Harmless Great Thing Brooke Bolander

Each month, the Tor.com eBook Club gives away a free sci-fi/fantasy ebook to club subscribers.

We’re excited to announce that the first pick for 2019 is Brooke Bolander’s devastating novelette The Only Harmless Great Thing.

This heart-wrenching alternative history by Brooke Bolander imagines an intersection between the Radium Girls and noble, sentient elephants.

In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, Topsy, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island.

These are the facts.

Now these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted. Prepare yourself for a wrenching journey that crosses eras, chronicling histories of cruelty both grand and petty in search of meaning and justice.

The Only Harmless Great Thing Brooke Bolander

The Only Harmless Great Thing is available from ...

Vigilance


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The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize.

The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.

Robert Jackson Bennett’s Vigilance is a dark science fiction action parable from an America that has permanently surrendered to gun violence—available January 29th from Tor.com Publishing.

 

 

1

Alone in the elevator, John McDean shuts his eyes, listens to the hum of the machinery, and mentally recites his research.

His Ideal Person is between sixty-four to eighty-one years old. Their average net worth is $202,900, and they are male, Caucasian, and increasingly burdened with medical debt.

Living conditions, he thinks.

...

Green Magic and Romance: Revealing Emily Tesh’s Silver in the Wood


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If you like the Green Man mythos but wish it were gayer, if you’re into monster hunting and rainy days and libraries, if you love what Naomi Novik loves, Tor.com Publishing has got your back in 2019. We’re proud to announce that we’ve acquired Emily Tesh’s lush, romantic debut novella Silver in the Wood. Because we love you and we know what it is to be impatient, we’ve also got its stunning cover right here for you to see!

The deal, for World English rights, was negotiated by Kurestin Armada at P.S. Literary Agency.

Naomi Novik calls it “a true story of the woods, of the fae, and of the heart. Deep and green and wonderful.”

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, ...

Fairness and Feathers: Reading Seanan McGuire’s In An Absent Dream


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Welcome back to the Wayward Children reread! Today, in our final installment, we head to the Goblin Market seeking fair value for our travails. Spoilers ahead for In An Absent Dream. It’s available now, and I encourage you to pick up a copy (on sale for six sharp pencils and a quince pie, if you can find the right market stall) and read along!

Jack Wolcott would tell you that lightning carries power—but thunder is how that power travels beyond the reach of vision. It wakes you in the middle of the night, turns your head, draws you to the window to find out what happened. Count the seconds of suspense between light and sound, and discover how close you stand to that flash of danger and possibility.

I’ll read about lightning all day, but there’s a special place in my heart reserved for stories of thunder. What happens after ...

A Monster with a Name: Revealing the Cover to Jennifer Giesbrecht’s The Monster of Elendhaven


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The Monster of Elendhaven Jennifer Giesbrecht

Tor.com Publishing is offering some cruel, sexy energy in September 2019.

The Monster of Elendhaven—Jennifer Giesbrecht’s dark fantasy about murder, a monster, and the magician who loves bothwraps its glassy fingers around you on September 24, 2019.

The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.

These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they ...

The Monster of Elendhaven Jennifer Giesbrecht

A Wish Your Heart Makes: In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire


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Seanan McGuire is a master at her craft. In her hands, the English language melts and molds to her whim. She twists and twines and turns the words until each sentence carries within it myriad meanings. The Wayward Children series is epic poetry in short prose form, and In an Absent Dream—the fourth book in the series—is no different.

When we first met Lundy in Every Heart a Doorway, she was a child running Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children. She was much older than her young years belied, as she was aging backwards due to a curse from her portal world. Like Down Among the Sticks and Bones tells the story of Jack and Jill leading up to Every Heart, In an Absent Dream does the same for Lundy.

Eight-year-old Katherine Victoria Lundy is a quiet, bookish, rule follower, an average girl who is “pretty and ...

Visit the Goblin Market in Illustrated Scenes from Seanan McGuire’s In An Absent Dream


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With Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire introduced us to a vivid intersection of portal worlds containing magic, mystery, and occasional mayhem. Within its pages, readers were introduced to Lundy, a therapist at Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children. With In an Absent Dream, we step back in time and walk through the doorway that first transported Lundy to the Goblin Market—a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies.

Artist Rovina Cai has been with the Wayward Children books from the beginning, illustrating select scenes from each book—Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and Beneath the Sugar Sky—and we’re happy to have her on board again. Her illustrations for In an Absent Dream may be our favorite yet, bringing to life McGuire’s darkly magical world…

 

Illustration by Rovina Cai; Click to enlarge.

If a carnival and a ...

A Life of Dark and Stormy Nights: Rereading Seanan McGuire’s Down Among the Sticks and Bones


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Welcome back to the Wayward Children reread! Today, our Door opens onto the Moors, a Gothic land of mist and moonlight. Spoilers ahead for Down Among the Sticks and Bones.

If you want to travel to another world, you must yearn for something—something lacking in your life on Earth. Something that a world with the right rules, the right values, might provide. But not only that—there must be something you want, equally strongly, to leave behind…

Every Heart a Doorway offers hints of these things so gratefully discarded. For most of the students, it’s some variation on the universal child’s cry: “You just don’t understand me!” That misunderstanding, never trivial, is more serious for some kids than others. The disconnect is only exacerbated for the returned children and their parents, now literally from different realities.

Jack and Jill suffered particularly from that lack of understanding. In the first book, ...