Senior editor Lindsey Hall signed three novellas with #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth, the first of which is Arch-Conspirator, a science fiction retelling of Antigone, coming in 2023 from Tor Books.
In this reimagining, Antigone—Tig—is particularly cynical, but who could blame her? What’s left of humanity survives inside a walled city, surrounded by the toxic remains of our planet.
The continuation of the human race depends on the recently-discovered ability to remove flawed genetic material—and replace it with desirable genes from the dead. It is every citizen’s right to have their genes archived upon their death, until Antigone’s uncle Kreon publicly condemns her brother, Polyneikes, to rot without extraction.
While Polyneikes decays, the physical world is dying too, and the citizens are becoming restless under Kreon’s rule. They don’t have many paths for survival, except for a ship called the Trireme, set to shoot into the stars in search of a new world to put down roots. Though it is hope embodied, it also represents the end of everything for Antigone and her siblings…and perhaps humankind as we know it.
The story is retold with soft and tender reprieves of humanity found in the touch of a lover, the resolve of a mother, and the hand of a sister. Fate and hubris play their tricks, but a commentary on how we strive to manipulate legacy and history rises to the surface as Roth deftly reaches into the DNA of Antigone and pulls out the most visceral elements, putting her signature speculative twist on a classic.
From author Veronica Roth:
“Antigone is fertile ground for adaptation—a play about laws versus ethics, order versus chaos, genetic destiny, and the power women exert even in a system that hems them in on all sides. I loved the challenge of finding the science fiction framework that most allowed those themes to emerge—and above all, the challenge of capturing one of the sharpest female characters I’ve ever read as she faces off with a man far more powerful than herself.
My shelves are full of Tor books and novellas. I feel honored to count one of my stories among them, and I’m excited to work with Lindsey and the whole Tor team!”
Editor Lindsey Hall added:
Veronica’s novella Arch-Conspirator destroyed me in the best way. It’s a story of family, sacrifice, and even though ‘tragedy’ & ‘Antigone’ have long gone hand-in-hand, I was on the edge of my seat throughout this sharp, stunning retelling, hoping against hope at every incredible twist and turn. In Roth’s original setting—a walled city where the last of humanity has only limited tech & the dregs of hope to fuel them—each of these characters finds a unique and vibrant new voice. I’m so excited to share this story with readers.
Veronica Roth’s next novel, Poster Girl, is a dystopian mystery about the search for a missing girl and the ill effects of mass surveillance on society, is out with William Morrow Books in Fall 2022