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Wild Cards on Tor.com

Grow

For over 35 years, the Wild Cards universe has been entertaining readers with stories of superpowered people in an alternate history. In Carrie Vaughn’s “Grow”, ace Maryam Shahidi makes a big splash in the news after one of her "experiments" goes awry.

India World

One day, Rohit receives the opportunity of a lifetime; a job offer in India with promises of fulfilling the sense of purpose he's so desperately sought after in a country that seems to have forgotten him. Or so he thinks.

Arbitrium

Vashti is a pathogenic diplomat—an ambassador to the world of viruses, whom she communicates with through a machine that can translate their chemical signals into images, tastes, smells, sounds, and memories. She begins a negotiation between the US Government and a diplomatic contingent from Arenavirus, a virus which has just begun spreading a deadly mutation in Florida. If Vashti is successful, she and Arena will reach a diplomatic agreement; if not, the Arenavirus infection will continue to spread, and humans will have to race to try to find a vaccine or treatment. As she navigates the diplomatic discussions, Vashti is also trying to connect with her daughter Alma, who lives on the other side of the country in a technology-averse commune. By the time the negotiation ends, Vashti discovers that Arenavirus have learned some impressive and deadly tricks from their interactions with humans.

Hush

Jenny returns to her home planet in the midst of civil unrest. A stay-at-home order has been issued in the wake of anti-alien protests, and only she can escort her neighbor Katika, a Razuli girl, home safely.

The Last Truth

The first place winner of the LeVar Burton Reads writing contest, as co-presented by FIYAH Literary Magazine and Tor.com! A runaway and indentured thief, Eri must provide a new secret to open each new lock, at the cost of her own memory. Hundreds of locks later, Eri can barely recall her own past. An unanticipated alliance with a musician may prove the key to both their freedoms—if Eri doesn’t lose herself in the process.

The Tale of Ak and Humanity

Citizens are distraught to learn of the latest decree from their leaders: each person is to be evaluated as to whether they deserve to live. Those found "unnecessary for life" will be asked to "leave life within 24 hours." Panic is alleviated when citizens learn that Ak, "a luminous person," will be in charge of the panels that are to evaluate citizens. Surely, only the "human rubbish" would be eliminated.

Fruiting Bodies

An alien fungal infection has ravaged a faraway planet, turning all but six of the colonists into ravenous arinkiris. Inyama, a mycologist, is her species’ last hope. But it’s not expertise her fellow survivors want from her.

The Tinder Box

“One spark. Two sparks. Three. This is what it takes to ignite a revolution.” A reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairytale, “The Tinder Box” tells the story of a witch at the heart of an incipient rebellion—and all of those to come.

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