Kia's a week shy of her seventeenth birthday, which is about how old her cousin Gio was six years ago when he just up and went away. Kia's a little bit in love with Giovanni (and who wasn't, really?) but she hasn't thought about him this much since the day he disappeared. It's not until a run-of-the-mill work shift at Baba Eddie's botánica goes awry that she begins to understand why he's on her mind…
Dark Fantasy, Fantasy || From multiple World Fantasy Award winner and Nebula, Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, Sturgeon, and British Science Fiction Award nominated author M. Rickert comes a gorgeous and terrifying vision of the Mothers of Voorhisville, who love their babies just as intensely as any mother anywhere. Of course they do! And nothing in this world will change that, even if every single one of those tiny babies was born with an even tinier set of wings.
Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy || Mineappolis writer Abra Staffin-Wiebe brings us a new take on an old Russian fairy tale: the quest for a blessing from the elusive firebird. In this iteration, young Ekaterina celebrates her fourteenth birthday, and a rare firebird sighting sets in motion a chain of events that will change her life forever.
Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy || Tor.com blogger, fantasy writer, and insatiable reader Mari Ness makes her Tor.com short fiction debut with a beautifully told tale of complicated and conflicted love, a translation and transformation of a very old story that is sure to be familiar to every fan of folklore and history.
Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy || Stories about mortals travelling into hell have been omnipresent in our literary canon for almost as long as we've had one, but young writer Su-Yee Lin has still managed to find modern resonance and new territory to explore in this lyrical and evocative vision of a trip to a place that is never quite what we expect it to be.
Horror, Science Fiction || Critically acclaimed and Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominated author Benjamin Rosenbaum makes his first appearance on Tor.com with an epistolary story—of a sort. Rosenbaum is a software developer by trade, which gives him precisely the right background to think through the implications of how fantastical tropes might alter a familiar technology that many of us use every day. Not to mention the fact that he and his family play a ton of Pandemic, and that all of his friends had already written zombie stories, and he was feeling a bit left out. Whatever the genesis, the result is a delightful and cheeky look into an all-too-plausible future.
Fantasy, Humor || Just in time for Halloween, we have a funny, sweet, and slightly skewed short story by Aaron Corwin, an up-and-coming writer from Seattle. All Mathilde wanted for her birthday was a pony. Instead, she got a demon. Sometimes growing up means learning that what you think you want is not always what you need.
Romantic, Science Fiction || Being a teenager is tough. Being part of the first generation of teenagers to share their body and soul with one of the aliens who just barely destroyed the earth: way tougher. This compact but powerful short story from Ben Burgis, a relative newcomer to the speculative fiction world, places everyday teen angst on a landscape of intergalactic and interspecies conflict, to chilling effect.
Science Fiction, Steampunk || "The Commonplace Book" concerns certain social and technological developments in New York's sixth Borough of Lytton, a timeless locale facing great change at the hands of new motion picture technology and the advent of machine intelligence. And, most of all, from inventors and iconoclasts Lady Adelaide Babbage and Mr Maximilian Willoughby, struggling in parallel with a hopeless inability to conform in fashion or manner to the standards of the day, and the construction of identity in the face of the knowledge that the creation of AI islike any other artalso the creation of self.
Historical, Science Fiction || I am American. We are all Americans. The year is 1942. A Japanese-American girl's life is turned upside down by Executive Order 9066, and she must cope with a life confined to the barbed wire of an internment camp in the Arizona desert. There, she struggles to weigh her continued loyalty to her country (which has betrayed and ostracized everyone she loves) against a closely guarded family secret that could change the course of history.