Tor.com content by

Elizabeth Knox

Fiction and Excerpts [2]
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Fiction and Excerpts [2]

A Visit to the House on Terminal Hill

, || Tom Teal and Albert Barnes are government employees tasked with visiting a hard-to-reach house and convincing its inhabitant, a member of the Zarene family that controls the whole valley, that a large dam project is a good idea. But the Zarenes have their own way of doing things, and they don't take kindly to outsiders….

Mortal Fire (Excerpt)

, || Sixteen-year-old Canny Mochrie's parents go away on a vacation, so they send her off on a trip of her own with her step-brother Sholto and his opinionated girlfriend Susan, who are interviewing the survivors of a strange coal mine disaster and researching local folklore in 1959 Southland, New Zealand. Canny is left to herself to wander in a mysterious and enchanting nearby valley, occupied almost entirely by children who all have the last name Zarene and can perform a special type of magic that tells things how to be stronger and better than they already are. With the help of a seventeen-year-old boy who is held hostage in a hidden away house by a spell that is now more powerful than the people who first placed it, Canny figures out why she, too, can use this special magic that only Zarenes should know, and where she really came from.

A Visit to the House on Terminal Hill

Tom Teal and Albert Barnes are government employees tasked with visiting a hard-to-reach house and convincing its inhabitant, a member of the Zarene family that controls the whole valley, that a large dam project is a good idea. But the Zarenes have their own way of doing things, and they don’t take kindly to outsiders….

This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Farrar, Straus and Giroux assistant editor Susan Dobinick.

[Read “A Visit to the House on Terminal Hill” by Elizabeth Knox]

The Psychology of Invisible Monsters

An invisible monster is what you can’t see coming. It has unknown qualities. With an invisible monster you don’t know when you’re in danger and when you’re safe —even if you retreat to your fortress you can’t be sure you haven’t locked the monster in with you. No one is an expert on the invisible monster, but everyone has the same relationship to it. It could just as well be peering over your shoulder as mine. We throw our spilt salt over our shoulders just in case it’s there.

But the things the invisible monster represents are things we don’t want to acknowledge. Like our fear. Like our paltry measures to make ourselves safe. That desire we have to make others responsible for any decisions that might lead to calamity. And there’s our suicidal aloofness, our soldiering-on. There’s our tribal love of holding our lives lightly in the eyes of others, all the “no worries” stuff. Nothing is any trouble. And we don’t have enough words for our troubles—all those nameless invisible monsters.

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The Unexpected Exotic: Settings in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Books are often characterised according to their settings in ways that are ready-to-hand. For example, a story is perceived as edgy and gritty because it’s set in a city. While it’s true that ideas and art usually come from cities, from concentrations of people working and talking together, it doesn’t necessarily follow that fiction set in cities are any more socially engaged than books set elsewhere.

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Mortal Fire (Excerpt)

Check out Elizabeth Knox’s Mortal Fire, out on June 11:

Sixteen-year-old Canny Mochrie’s parents go away on a vacation, so they send her off on a trip of her own with her step-brother Sholto and his opinionated girlfriend Susan, who are interviewing the survivors of a strange coal mine disaster and researching local folklore in 1959 Southland, New Zealand. Canny is left to herself to wander in a mysterious and enchanting nearby valley, occupied almost entirely by children who all have the last name Zarene and can perform a special type of magic that tells things how to be stronger and better than they already are. With the help of a seventeen-year-old boy who is held hostage in a hidden away house by a spell that is now more powerful than the people who first placed it, Canny figures out why she, too, can use this special magic that only Zarenes should know, and where she really came from. Printz Honor author Elizabeth Knox has created another stunning world of intrigue in Mortal Fire.

[Read more]