A Quantum Mathematical Superhero: Tor Books Acquires S.L. Huang’s Cas Russell Series

In 2014, S.L. Huang introduced her heroine Cas Russell, a “retriever” whose quantum mathematics skills make her a superhero able to shoot around corners, drive anything anywhere, fall off buildings without hurting herself—think Trinity from The Matrix, but in our world. What she can’t do? Figure out her own past…

We’re pleased to announce that Tor Books has acquired the North American and audio rights to the first five books in Huang’s fast-paced, science fiction thriller series, and will be releasing a revised edition of Zero Sum Game (previously self-published) in September 2018!

But how did Cas Russell come to be? “I love, love, love superhero stories, but when I tilt my head, so many superheroes don’t feel very heroic at all,” Huang explained in a 2015 Sleeps With Monsters column. “The Avengers save the planet from aliens, but they destroy massive swathes of New York City. Professor X likes regular humans but mindwipes them with impunity. Superman uses his super hearing to notice one woman about to crash her car, and he saves her, but the world is so much more enormous than that, and how many people does he ignore? How does he choose? Like a number of other creators, I find the negative spaces in superhero stories fascinating. They’re the shadowy places that make me itch until I explore them.”

Acquiring Editor Diana Gill said, “I could not put this down—it’s [the] geek answer to Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne, but completely accessible to those of us without super math skills.” The Cas Russell books have been praised not only for deriving super powers from mathematics, but also as an #OwnVoices book series with a protagonist who is a woman of color, written by a woman of color.

S.L. Huang Cas Russell series

Photo: Chris Massa 2013

“Growing up, every other book on my shelves sported the distinctive mountains of the Tor logo,” Huang said. “And I had a lot of books! Tor was the first publisher name I ever learned, and I can’t even imagine who I would be today without all the hundreds (thousands?) of Tor books I’ve read in my life and the countless worlds I’ve visited through them. Getting to be a Tor author myself is like suddenly learning all my favorite fantasy lands are real—and that I get to be a part of them.”

S.L. Huang justifies her MIT degree by using it to write eccentric mathematical superhero fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016. She is also a Hollywood stuntwoman and firearms expert, where she’s appeared on shows such as Battlestar Galactica and Raising Hope. Her proudest geek moment was getting to be killed by Nathan Fillion. The first professional female armorer in the industry, she’s worked with actors such as Sean Patrick Flanery, Jason Momoa, and Danny Glover, and been hired as a weapons expert for reality shows such as Top Shot and Auction Hunters.

She’s currently on a film hiatus in Tokyo, but you can find her online at her website or on Twitter as @sl_huang.

The revised hardcover edition of Cas Russell’s first adventure, Zero Sum Game, will be available September 2018 from Tor Books.

Top image: Original Zero Sum Game cover art by Najla Qamber.


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