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Tor.com Original

The Mysterious Study of Doctor Sex

Each of the Empire's houses keeps secrets, even from themselves. For the bookish academics of the Sixth, every secret is a mystery, and every mystery is a puzzle to be solved or a paper to be published. Deep in the bowels of their house, one such secret is about to reveal itself. The study of the famed academic Donald Sex, sealed since the moment of his death, is about to open, and archivists are ready to dissect what he left behind. They are not ready for the macabre surprise that awaits them. Enter Palamedes Sextus and Camilla Hect, age thirteen.

Everything’s Fine

Eric’s day is off to a rough start: his regional managers are in town, he’s running late to work, the moon seems to be falling apart, and he just can’t seem to get his tie right. At least he has his priorities straight: it’s the little things that matter. The world may be plunging into chaos, the neighborhood children might be mutating into abominations, but that doesn’t mean he can let his standards slip. If he and his co-workers can survive their nightmare walk to the office, then Eric has a plan for success...

Juice Like Wounds

In the course of every great adventure there are multiple side-quests. All too often these go unreported—perhaps because the adventurers in question fail to return to the main narrative due to death or other distractions, and sometimes because the chronicler of the events decide to edit out that part of that particular history for reasons of their own (historians are never infallible)—but occasionally we get another window into our heroes' world. In Juice Like Wounds we once again get to meet Lundy, and some of her companions. Lundy's main adventure is detailed in In an Absent Dream (which is nominated for a Hugo Award, this year!) and you should definitely read that. Before or after this tale is up to you. Remember: side quests are fun. For the reader, at least...

The Necessary Arthur

Some days you find out that the world is nothing like what you think it is. An archaeologist named Tamara working near Hadrian’s Wall is approached by a very annoyed-looking, silver-haired woman with an incomprehensible message: The game is moving on, the time has come to play a hand, and Tamra is on point. Time to find the Necessary Arthur and get down to business!

The Ones Who Look

Ethical Empire built the gate to heaven, and their employees hold the keys. By offering custom-built afterlives through full-brain uploads, they answered the needs of a society pushed to the brink by climate change and cascading antibiotic failure. But for Zoe, who works daily to assess the sins of users and decide who's worthy of salvation, heaven is not so simple. Despite the urging of the angels on her shoulder, she is determined to uncover heaven's secrets, no matter the cost.

The Night Soil Salvagers

The Night Soil Salvagers no longer need to perform the service they have provided for longer than memory can account for. Instead, they pass the nights in playful and profound acts of artistry, music, trickery, gardening, and honoring the city they know and belong to more so than anyone. Uncover the heart of this mysterious community through the tales they tell each other, the tales that others tell of them, and the scores of their Dadaesque nocturnes, as they strive to lessen the burden of the city on the Earth.

Two Truths and a Lie

Stella thought she’d made up a lie on the spot, asking her childhood friend if he remembered the strange public broadcast TV show with the unsettling host she and all the neighborhood kids appeared on years ago. But he does remember. And so does her mom. Why doesn’t Stella? The more she investigates the show and the grip it has on her hometown, the eerier the mystery grows.

We’re Here, We’re Here

Joining a boyband gave Tyler everything he ever dreamed of. A close-knit group of friends, the chance to model a beautiful masculinity, and a vocal implant that lets him sing even better than he did before transitioning. But deep on tour, Tyler realizes he wants more from one of his bandmates, yearns for a love that would never fit the image that has been carefully crafted for him. His manager wants him to be the heartthrob: available, wholesome, and pure. And since his manager gave Tyler his voice, he can always take it away again.

The Tourist

A young academic has been granted permission to travel to a mining outpost on a small planetoid far from the sun to study the culture of a small squatter population that lives in total darkness.

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