All of Tor.com Publishing’s Fiction from 2016

2016 was a big year for Tor.com Publishing; the imprint’s first full year in existence. On top of our long-established, award-winning short fiction program, Tor.com published 31 novelettes, novellas, and short novels, and we’d like to take this opportunity to round up all of them.

We are tremendously proud of our authors, illustrators, and editors for creating such wonderful works this year. We hope that you will nominate your favorites for the Hugos, Nebulas, and other upcoming awards which honor outstanding works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror—but most of all, we hope that you have enjoyed reading these stories as much as we have!

 


Novels

 

Infomocracy by Malka Older

older-infomocracyEdited by Carl Engle-Laird
Cover designed by Will Staehle

It’s been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything’s on the line.

 

Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson

olson-nightshadesEdited by Lee Harris
Cover designed by FORT; Photo © Getty Images

Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations, the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades—or vampires, as they’re more widely known. Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

 

Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

tchaikovsky-spiderlightEdited by Lee Harris
Illustrated by Tyler Jacobson; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

The Church of Armes of the Light has battled the forces of Darkness for as long as anyone can remember. The great prophecy has foretold that a band of misfits, led by a high priestess will defeat the Dark Lord Darvezian, armed with their wits, the blessing of the Light and an artifact stolen from the merciless Spider Queen. Their journey will be long, hard and fraught with danger. Allies will become enemies; enemies will become allies. And the Dark Lord will be waiting, always waiting…

 

Impersonations by Walter Jon Williams

williams-impersonationsEdited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Jaime Jones; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

A new novel set in the Praxis universe. Having offended her superiors by winning a battle without permission, Caroline Sula has been posted to the planet Earth, a dismal backwater where careers go to die. But Sula has always been fascinated by Earth history, and she plans to reward herself with a long, happy vacation amid the ancient monuments of humanity’s home world. But someone seems to be forging evidence about her past that would send her to prison…

 


Novellas

 

The Burning Light by Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler

beaulieuziegler-burninglightEdited by Justin Landon
Illustrated by Richard Anderson; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

Disgraced government operative Colonel Chu is exiled to the flooded relic of New York City. Something called the Light has hit the streets like an epidemic, leavings its users strung out and disconnected from the mind-network humanity relies on. Chu has lost everything she cares about to the Light. She’ll end the threat or die trying. A former corporate pilot who controlled a thousand ships with her mind, Zola looks like just another Light-junkie living hand to mouth on the edge of society. She’s special though. As much as she needs the Light, the Light needs her too. But, Chu is getting close and Zola can’t hide forever.

 

Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan

brennan-flameEdited by Miriam Weinberg
Illustrated by Greg Ruth; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

At the beginning—no, at the end—she appears, full of fury and bound by chains of prophecy… Setting off on an unexplained quest from which she is compelled to complete, and facing unnatural challenges in a land that doesn’t seem to exist, she will discover the secrets of herself, or die trying. But along the way, the obstacles will grow to a seemingly insurmountable point, and the final choice will be the biggest sacrifice yet. This is the story of a woman’s struggle against her very existence, an epic tale of the adventure and emotional upheaval on the way to face an ancient enigmatic foe.

 

The Lost Child of Lychford by Paul Cornell

cornell-lostchildEdited by Lee Harris
Cover designed by FORT; Photo © Getty Images

It’s December in the English village of Lychford—the first Christmas since an evil conglomerate tried to force open the borders between our world and… another. Which means it’s Lizzie’s first Christmas as Reverend of St. Martin’s when the apparition of a small boy finds its way to the church. Is he a ghost? A vision? Something else? Whatever the truth, our trio of witches (they don’t approve of “coven”) are about to face their toughest battle yet!

 

Runtime by S.B. Divya

divya-runtime

Edited by Carl Engle-Laird
Illustrated by Juan Pablo Roldan; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg’s Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada. Marmeg Guinto doesn’t have funding, and she doesn’t have support. But the Minerva Challenge is the only chance she has at a better life for herself and her younger brothers, and she’s ready to risk it all.

 

The Warren by Brian Evenson

evenson-warrenEdited by Ann VanderMeer
Illustrated by Victor Mosquera; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

X doesn’t have a name. He thought he had one—or many—but that might be the result of the failing memories of the personalities imprinted within him. Or maybe he really is called X. He’s also not as human as he believes himself to be. But when he discovers the existence of another—above ground, outside the protection of the Warren—X must learn what it means to be human, or face the destruction of their two species.

 

The Drowning Eyes by Lee Foster, formerly known as Emily Foster

drowningeyes-smallEdited by Carl Engle-Laird
Illustrated by Cynthia Sheppard; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

When the Dragon Ships began to tear through the trade lanes and ravage coastal towns, the hopes of the archipelago turned to the Windspeakers on Tash. The solemn weather-shapers with their eyes of stone can steal the breeze from raiders’ sails and save the islands from their wrath. But the Windspeakers’ magic has been stolen, and only their young apprentice Shina can bring their power back and save her people—if she gets help from Tazir, a grizzled captain who’s not interested in risking her ship, her crew, and her neck.

 

The Emperor’s Railroad by Guy Haley

haley-railroadEdited by Lee Harris
Illustrated by Chris McGrath; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

A thousand years after a global war devastated the environment and zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities—homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out. Until now…

 

The Ghoul King by Guy Haley

haley-ghoulkingEdited by Lee Harris
Illustrated by Chris McGrath; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

A story of the Dreaming Cities. The Knight, Quinn, is down on his luck, and he travels to the very edge of the civilized world – whatever that means, any more – to restock his small but essential inventory. After fighting a series of gladiatorial bouts against the dead, he finds himself in the employ of a woman on a quest to find the secret to repairing her semi-functional robot. But the technological secret it guards may be one truth too many…

 

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson

johnson-vellittboeEdited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Victo Ngai; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

Professor Vellitt Boe teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College. When one of her most gifted students elopes with a dreamer from the waking world, Vellitt must retrieve her. But the journey sends her across a world ruled by capricious gods and populated by the creatures of dreams and nightmares—and into her own mysterious past, where some secrets were never meant to surface…

 

Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw

khaw-hammersEdited by Carl Engle-Laird
Illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

John Persons is a private investigator with a distasteful job from an unlikely client. He’s been hired by a ten-year-old to kill the kid’s stepdad, McKinsey. The man in question is abusive, abrasive, and abominable. As Persons investigates the horrible McKinsey, he realizes that he carries something far darker. He’s infected with an alien presence, and he’s spreading that monstrosity far and wide. Luckily Persons is no stranger to the occult, being an ancient and magical intelligence himself. The question is whether the private dick can take down the abusive stepdad without releasing the holds on his own horrifying potential.

 

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal

kowal-memoryEdited by Lee Harris
Illustrated by Victo Ngai; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

Katya deals in Authenticities and Captures, trading on nostalgia for a past long gone. Her clients are rich and they demand items and experiences with only the finest verifiable provenance. Other people’s lives have value, after all. But when her A.I. suddenly stops whispering in her ear she finds herself cut off from the grid and loses communication with the rest of the world. The man who stepped out of the trees while hunting deer cut her off from the cloud, took her A.I. and made her his unwilling guest. There are no Authenticities or Captures to prove Katya’s story of what happened in the forest. You’ll just have to believe her.

 

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

lavalle-blacktomEdited by Ellen Datlow
Illustrated by Robert Hunt; Cover designed by Jamie Stafford-Hill

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping. A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

 

Pieces of Hate and Dead Man’s Hand by Tim Lebbon

lebbon-hateEdited by Lee Harris
Illustrated by Gene Mollica; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

During the Dark Ages, a thing named Temple slaughtered Gabriel’s family. A man with snake eyes charged him to pursue the assassin wherever he may strike next, and destroy him. Gabriel never believed he’d still be following Temple almost a thousand years later. Because Temple may be a demon, the man with snake eyes cursed Gabriel with a life long enough to hunt him down. Now he has picked up Temple’s scent again. The Caribbean sea is awash with pirate blood, and in such turmoil the outcome of any fight is far from certain.

 

A Whisper of Southern Lights by Tim Lebbon

lebbon-southernlightsEdited by Lee Harris
Illustrated by Gene Mollica; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

A standalone tale in the Assassins series. Death and destruction follow the demon wherever he treads, and Gabriel is rarely far behind, waiting for his chance to extinguish the creature known as Temple once and for all. But in Singapore during the Second World War, a lone soldier in possession of a shattering secret gets caught up in their battle. The knowledge he holds could change the course of their ancient conflict… and the fate of the world.

 

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

mcguire-doorwayEdited by Lee Harris
Cover designed by Fort; Photo © Getty Images

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

 

City of Wolves by Willow Palecek

palacek-citywolvesEdited by Carl Engle-Laird
Illustrated by Cliff Nielsen; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

Alexander Drake, Investigator for Hire, doesn’t like working for the Nobility, and doesn’t prefer to take jobs from strange men who accost him in alleyways. A combination of hired muscle and ready silver have a way of changing a man’s mind. A lord has been killed, his body found covered in bite marks. Even worse, the late lord’s will is missing, and not everyone wants Drake to find it. Solving the case might plunge Drake into deeper danger.

 

The Devil You Know by K. J. Parker

devilyouknow-smallEdited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Jon Foster; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

The greatest philosopher of all time is offering to sell his soul to the Devil. All he wants is twenty more years to complete his life’s work. After that, he really doesn’t care. But the assistant demon assigned to the case has his suspicions, because the philosopher is Saloninus—the greatest philosopher, yes, but also the greatest liar, trickster and cheat the world has yet known; the sort of man even the Father of Lies can’t trust. He’s almost certainly up to something; but what?

 

Everything Belongs to the Future by Laurie Penny

penny-futureEdited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Cover designed by FORT; Photo © Getty Images

In the ancient heart of Oxford University, the ultra-rich celebrate their vastly extended lifespans. But a few surprises are in store for them. From Nina and Alex, Margo and Fidget, scruffy anarchists sharing living space with an ever-shifting cast of crusty punks and lost kids. And also from the scientist who invented the longevity treatment in the first place.

 

A Song for No Man’s Land by Andy Remic

remic-nomanEdited by Lee Harris
Illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

He signed up to fight with visions of honour and glory, of fighting for king and country, of making his family proud at long last. But on a battlefield during the Great War, Robert Jones is shot, and wonders how it all went so very wrong, and how things could possibly get any worse. When the attacking enemy starts to shapeshift into a nightmarish demonic force, Jones finds himself fighting an impossible war against an enemy that shouldn’t exist.

 

Return of Souls by Andy Remic

remic-returnEdited by Lee Harris
Illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

Book 2 in the Song for No Man’s Land trilogy. If war is hell, there is no word to describe what Private Jones has been through. Forced into a conflict with an unknowable enemy, he awakes to find himself in a strange land, and is soon joined by young woman, Morana, who tends to his wounds and tells him of the battles played out in this impossible place. She tells him of an Iron Beast that will end the Great War, and even as he vows to help her find it, enemy combatants seek them, intent on their utter annihilation.

 

The Iron Beast by Andy Remic

remic-ironbeastEdited by Lee Harris
Illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

Book 3 in the Song for No Man’s Land trilogy. The Skogsgra and the Naravelle have launched their final offensive, and Private Jones and his companions are caught in the melee. Tens of thousands will die before the battle is over. They travel deep underground, to find and release the Iron Beast… the one creature that can end not one world war, but two. But at what cost?

 

Patchwerk by David Tallerman

tallerman-patchwerkEdited by Lee Harris
Illustrated by Tommy Arnold; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

Fleeing the city of New York on the TransContinental atmospheric transport vehicle, Dran Florrian is traveling with Palimpsest-the ultimate proof of a lifetime of scientific theorizing. When a rogue organization attempts to steal the device, however, Dran takes drastic action. But his invention threatens to destroy the very fabric of this and all other possible universes, unless Dran—or someone very much like him—can shut down the machine and reverse the process.

 

The Absconded Ambassador by Michael R. Underwood

underwood-ambassadorEdited by Lee Harris
Cover Illustrated and designed by Peter Lutjen

Rookie Genrenaut Leah Tang gets her first taste of space flight when the team scrambles to fix a story breach in Science Fiction World, the domain of starships, weird aliens, and galactic intrigue. On the space station Ahura-3, Ambassador Kaylin Reed is on the verge of securing a peace treaty to guarantee the end of hostilities between some of the galaxy’s most ferocious races. When Ambassador Reed is kidnapped the morning before the signing, it throws the station into chaos. So now it’s up to Leah and her team to save the day and put the story to rights.

 

Lustlocked by Matt Wallace

wallace-lustlockedEdited by Lee Harris
Cover designed by Peter Lutjen; Lizard photo © shutterstock, illustrations © Getty Images

Book 2 in the Sin du Jour series. The staff of New York’s premier supernatural catering company has their work cut out for them as the Goblin King (yes, that one) and his Queen are celebrating the marriage of their son to his human bride. Naturally the celebrations will be legendary. But when desire and magic mix, the results can be unpredictable. Our heroes are going to need more than passion for the job to survive the catering event of the decade!

 

Pride’s Spell by Matt Wallace

wallace-prideEdited by Lee Harris
Cover designed by Peter Lutjen; Photo © Getty Images

Book 3 in the Sin du Jour series. The team at Sin du Jour—New York’s exclusive caterers-to-the-damned—find themselves up against their toughest challenge yet when they’re lured out west to prepare a feast in the most forbidding place in America: Hollywood, where false gods rule supreme. Meanwhile, back at home, Ritter is attacked at home by the strangest hit-squad the world has ever seen, and the team must pull out all the stops if they’re to prevent themselves from being offered up as the main course…

 

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

wilson-honeyEdited by Carl Engle-Laird
Illustrated by Tommy Arnold; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

Set in the world of The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. Long after the Towers left the world but before the dragons came to Daluça, the emperor brought his delegation of gods and diplomats to Olorum. As the royalty negotiates over trade routes and public services, the divinity seeks arcane assistance among the local gods. Aqib bgm Sadiqi, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of Beasts, has more mortal and pressing concerns. His heart has been captured for the first time by a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. In defiance of Saintly Canon, gossiping servants, and the furious disapproval of his father and brother, Aqib finds himself swept up in a whirlwind romance. But neither Aqib nor Lucrio know whether their love can survive all the hardships the world has to throw at them.

 


Novelettes

 

The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde

wilde-lapidaryEdited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Illustrated by Tommy Arnold; Cover designed by Christine Foltzer

The kingdom in the Valley has long sheltered under the protection of its Jewels and Lapidaries, the people bound to singing gemstones with the power to reshape hills, move rivers, and warp minds. That power has kept the peace and tranquility, and the kingdom has flourished. But the Jeweled Court has been betrayed. As screaming raiders sweep down from the mountains, Lin, the last princess of the Valley, will have to summon up a strength she’s never known. If she can assume her royal dignity, and if her Lapidary Sima can master the most dangerous gemstone in the land, they may be able to survive.

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