At the beginning of each month, we here at Tor.com will post the next two months of our schedule of original short fiction. Check back monthly to get excited for upcoming short stories, novelettes, and novellas on Tor.com! Below the cut you’ll find information on stories in November and December by Rudy Rucker, Terry Bisson, Sabrina Vourvoulias, and more.
November and December’s fiction contains Hollywood drama, dangerous trains, and addicted zombies.
“Where the Lost Things Are”
Written by Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson
Illustration by Chris Buzelli
Edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Thanks to “bluegene,” life is long. But out Route 42 near Goshen, it’s also kind of dull. Just the thing to encourage an expedition into the only actual other universe, the place where… but that would be telling.
Written by Dennis Etchison
Illustration by Jeffrey Alan Love
Edited by Ellen Datlow
“The Walk,” by Dennis Etchison, is a neat little horror story about the dog eat dog world of Hollywood in which a director and writer have very different ideas of how their collaboration should proceed.
“Prompt. Professional. Pop!”
Written by Walter Jon Williams
Illustration by Jon Picacio
Edited by George R.R. Martin
The Wild Cards universe has been thrilling readers for over 25 years. In Walter Jon Williams’s “Prompt. Professional. Pop!” shows that to make it in Hollywood, it’s not enough to be beautiful and talented, you’ve also got to take advantage of every opportunity that pops up.
“Where the Trains Turn”
Written by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
Illustration by Greg Ruth
Edited by Peter Joseph
I don’t like to think about the past. But I cannot stop remembering my son.
Emma Nightingale prefers to remain grounded in reality as much as possible. Yet she’s willing to indulge her nine year-old son Rupert’s fascination with trains, as it brings him closer to his father, Gunnar, from whom she is separated. Once a month, Gunnar and Rupert venture out to follow the rails and watch the trains pass. Their trips have been pleasant, if uneventful, until one afternoon Rupert returns in tears. “The train tried to kill us,” he tells her.
Rupert’s terror strikes Emma as merely the product of an overactive imagination. After all, his fears could not be based in reality, could they?
Published here for the first time in English, “Where the Trains Turn” won first prize in the Finnish science-fiction magazine Portti’s annual short story competition and then went on to win the Atorox Award for best Finnish science fiction or fantasy short story.
Written by Lish McBride
Edited by Noa Wheeler
Ava, Lock, and Ezra are on assignment—for the magical mafia, of course. Faced with a gingerbread house, they’re pretty sure that what’s inside isn’t nearly as sweet as the outside. It never is.
“Skin in the Game”
Written by Sabrina Vourvoulias
Illustration by Wesley Allsbrook
Edited by Carl Engle-Laird
Three kinds of people live in Zombie City-La Boca Del Diablo: the zombies, los vivos, and the ghosts. Officer Jimena Villagrán, not truly at home with any of these groups, patrols the barrio for stalking monsters. Magic con men and discarded needles make this beat hazardous enough, but the latest rash of murders threatens to up the ante by outing the horrors of Jimena’s personal history.
“Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North”
Written and illustrated by Charles Vess
Edited by Teresa Nielsen Hayden
An original wonder tale about the magic of Christmas establishing a new origin story for Santa Claus, from the beloved author and illustrator Charles Vess.