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All the Tor Essentials from 2021

Our Tor Essentials line was created to give readers new editions of science fiction and fantasy titles that have stood the test of time, and to bring back ones current SFF fans might have missed out on in the past. Check out every Tor Essentials title coming out in 2021 here!


Poster Placeholder of - 39The Wood Wife by Terri Windling

Leaving behind her fashionable West Coast life, Maggie Black comes to the Southwestern desert to pursue her passion and he dreams. Her mentor, the acclaimed poet Davis Cooper, has mysteriously died, bequeathing her his estate and the mystery of his life—and death. Maggie is astonished by the power of this harsh but beautiful land and captivated by the uncommon people who call it home—especially Fox, a man unlike any she has ever known, who understands the desert’s special power. As she reads Cooper’s letters and learns the secrets of his life, Maggie comes face-to-face with the wild, ancient spirits of the desert—and discovers the hidden power at its heart, a power that will take her on a journey like no other. On sale now!

Image Placeholder of - 48The Best of R. A. Lafferty by R. A. Lafferty

Acclaimed as one of the most original voices in modern literature, Raphael Aloysius Lafferty (1914-2002) was an American original, a teller of acute, indescribably loopy tall tales whose work has been compared to that of Avram Davidson, Flannery O’Connor, Flann O’Brien, and Gene Wolfe. The Best of R. A. Lafferty presents 22 of his best flights of offbeat imagination, ranging from classics like “Nine Hundred Grandmothers” to his Hugo Award-winning “Eurema’s Dam.” Introduced by Neil Gaiman, the volume also contains story introductions and afterwords by, among many others, Michael Dirda, Samuel R. Delany, John Scalzi, Connie Willis, Jeff VanderMeer, Kelly Robson, and more. On sale now!

Place holder  of - 98Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner

Now available in a Tor Essentials edition, the Hugo Award-winning, uncannily prophetic Stand on Zanizbar is a science fiction novel unlike any before. It remains an insightful look at America’s downfall that allows us to see what has been, what is, and what is to come. With an introduction by cyberpunk pioneer Bruce Sterling, author of Distraction and Islands In the Net. On sale now!

Image Place holder  of - 51Shadow & Claw by Gene Wolfe

The Book of the New Sun is acclaimed as Wolfe’s most remarkable work, hailed as “a masterpiece of science fantasy comparable in importance to the major works of Tolkien and Lewis,” by Publishers Weekly and “one of the most ambitious works of speculative fiction in the twentieth century,” by the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume, the tale of young Severian, an apprentice to the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession—showing mercy toward his victim. The Claw of the Conciliator continues the saga of Severian, banished from his home, as he undertakes a mythic quest to discover the awesome power of an ancient relic and learn the truth about his hidden destiny. On sale now!

Placeholder of  -27Sword & Citadel by Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe has been called “the finest writer the science fiction world has yet produced” by The Washington Post. The Sword of the Lictor is the third volume in Wolfe’s remarkable epic, chronicling the odyssey of the wandering pilgrim called Severian, driven by a powerful and unfathomable destiny, as he carries out a dark mission far from his home. The Citadel of the Autarch brings The Book of the New Sun to its harrowing conclusion, as Severian clashes in a final reckoning with the dread Autarch, fulfilling an ancient prophecy that will alter forever the realm known as Urth. On sale now!

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, with the chance to serve on “Away Missions” alongside the starship’s famous senior officers. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to realize that (1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s senior officers always survive these confrontations, and (3) sadly, at least one low-ranking crew member is invariably killed. Then Andrew stumbles on information that transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives. On sale 10/12!

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Every Tor Book Coming This Winter

We’re closing in on the end of 2020 (BIG SIGHS OF RELIEF), and with that comes some brand new books to curl up with this season. Check out which ones are hitting shelves near you this winter here:

December 1

Place holder  of - 18Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke

Poison was only the beginning…. The deadly siege of Silasta woke the ancient spirits, and now the city-state must find its place in this new world of magic. But people and politics are always treacherous, and it will take all of Jovan and Kalina’s skills as proofer and spy to save their country when witches and assassins turn their sights to domination. Hollow Empire is Book 2 in The Poison Wars series. Check out City of Lies, on sale now!

January 5

Image Place holder  of - 93Deuces Down by George R. R. Martin

Deuces Down is the next Wild Cards anthology collection about George R. R. Martin’s alternate superhero history. In this revised collection of classic Wild Cards stories, the spotlight is on the most unusual Wild Cards of them all—the Deuces, or people with minor superpowers. But their impact on the world should not be underestimated, as we see how they’ve affected the course of Wild Cards’ alternate history. Check out the remainder of the Wild Cards series, on sale now!

January 12

Placeholder of  -76Into the Light by David Weber and Chris Kennedy

The Shongairi conquered Earth. In mere minutes, half the human race died, and our cities lay in shattered ruins. But the Shongairi didn’t expect the survivors’ tenacity. And, crucially, they didn’t know that Earth harbored two species of intelligent, tool-using bipeds. One of them was us. The other, long-lived and lethal, was hiding in the mountains of eastern Europe, the subject of fantasy and legend. When they emerged and made alliance with humankind, the invading aliens didn’t stand a chance. Check out Book 1 in the Out of the Dark series, Out of the Dark, on sale now!

January 19

Image Placeholder of - 41Vengewar by Kevin J. Anderson

Two continents at war, the Three Kingdoms and Ishara, have been in conflict for a thousand years. But when an outside threat arises—the reawakening of a powerful ancient race that wants to remake the world—the two warring nations must somehow set aside generations of hatred to form an alliance against a far more deadly enemy. Check out Book 1 of the Wake the Dragon series, Spine of the Dragon, on sale now!

Poster Placeholder of - 54The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
Leaving behind her fashionable West Coast life, Maggie Black comes to the Southwestern desert to pursue her passion and he dreams. Her mentor, the acclaimed poet Davis Cooper, has mysteriously died in the canyons east of Tucson, bequeathing her his estate and the mystery of his life–and death. As she reads Cooper’s letters and learns the secrets of his life, Maggie comes face-to-face with the wild, ancient spirits of the desert–and discovers the hidden power at its heart, a power that will take her on a journey like no other.

January 26

Dealbreaker by L. X. Beckett

Rubi Whiting has done the impossible. She has proved that humanity deserves a seat at the galactic table. Well, at least a shot at a seat. Having convinced the galactic governing body that mankind deserves a chance at fixing their own problems, Rubi has done her part to launch the planet into a new golden age of scientific discovery and technological revolution. However, there are still those in the galactic community that think that humanity is too poisonous, too greedy, to be allowed in, and they will stop at nothing to sabotage a species determined to pull itself up. Check out Book 1 of The Bounceback series, Gamechanger, on sale now!

February 2

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

A famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild, Prince Kiem is summoned before the Emperor and commanded to renew the empire’s bonds with its newest vassal planet. The prince must marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire. But Jainan suspects his late husband’s death was no accident. And Prince Kiem discovers Jainan is a suspect himself. But broken bonds between the Empire and its vassal planets leaves the entire empire vulnerable, so together they must prove that their union is strong while uncovering a possible conspiracy. Their successful marriage will align conflicting worlds. Their failure will be the end of the empire.

A Summoning of Demons by Cate Glass

Catagna has been shaken to its core. The philosophists insist that a disastrous earthquake has been caused by an ancient monster imprisoned below the earth, who can only be freed with magic. In every street and market, the people of Catagna are railing against magic-users with a greater ferocity than ever before, and magic hunters are everywhere. As Romy and the others attempt to carry out their mission, they find themselves plunged into a mystery of corruption and murder, myth and magic, and a terrifying truth: the philosophists may have been right all along. Check out the first two books of the Chimera series, on sale now!

The Best of R.A. Lafferty by R.A. Lafferty

Acclaimed as one of the most original voices in modern literature, a winner of the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, Raphael Aloysius Lafferty (1914-2002) was an American original, a teller of acute, indescribably loopy tall tales whose work has been compared to that of Avram Davidson, Flannery O’Connor, Flann O’Brien, and Gene Wolfe. The Best of R. A. Lafferty presents 22 of his best flights of offbeat imagination, ranging from classics like “Nine-Hundred Grandmothers” (basis for the later novel) and “The Primary Education of the Cameroi,” to his Hugo Award-winning “Eurema’s Dam.”

February 9

Engines of Oblivion by Karen Osborne

Natalie Chan gained her corporate citizenship, but barely survived the battle for Tribulation. Now corporate has big plans for Natalie. Horrible plans. Locked away in Natalie’s missing memory is salvation for the last of an alien civilization and the humans they tried to exterminate. The corporation wants total control of both—or their deletion. Check out Book 1 in the Memory of War series, Architects of Memory, on sale now!

February 16

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Evelyn Caldwell’s husband Nathan has been having an affair — with Evelyn Caldwell. Or, to be exact, with Martine, a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn’s own award-winning research. But that wasn’t even the worst part. When they said all happy families are alike, I don’t think this is what they meant…

Silence of the Soleri by Michael Johnston

Solus celebrates the Opening of the Mundus, a two-day holiday for the dead, but the city of the Soleri is hardly in need of diversion. A legion of traitors, led by a former captain of the Soleri military, rallies at the capital’s ancient walls. And inside those fortifications, trapped by circumstance, a second army fights for its very existence. In a world inspired by ancient Egyptian history and King Lear, this follow-up to Michael Johnston’s Soleri, finds Solus besieged from within as well as without and the Hark-Wadi family is stuck at the heart of the conflict. Check out Book 1 of The Amber Throne series, Soleri, on sale now!

Fairhaven Rising by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

Sixteen years have passed since the mage Beltur helped to found the town of Fairhaven, and Taelya, Beltur’s adopted niece, is now a white mage undercaptain in the Road Guards of Fairhaven. Fairhaven’s success under the Council has become an impediment to the ambition of several rulers, and the mages protecting the town are seen as a threat. Taelya, a young and untried mage, will find herself at the heart of a conspiracy to destroy her home and the people she loves, and she may not be powerful enough to stop it in time. Check out the remainder of the Saga of Recluse series on sale now here!

Tor Finalists for the World Fantasy Awards

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A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS and THE LAND ACROSS are finalists in the Novel category, and QUEEN VICTORIA’S BOOK OF SPELLS and DANGEROUS WOMEN are a finalists in the Anthology category.

Two Tor authors are being awarded the Life Achievement Award: Ellen Datlow and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and Irene Gallo is a finalist for the Special Award–Professional for art direction for Tor.com.

Tor.com also has two finalists in the Novella category and one in the Short Story category.

Here is the complete list of Tor’s finalists:

This year’s judges are Andy Duncan, Kij Johnson, Oliver Johnson, John Klima, and Liz Williams. Winners will be announced at the 2014 World Fantasy Convention held in Washington, D.C. in November.

Fantasy Collection Sweepstakes

Fantasy Collection Sweepstakes

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About our newsletter: Every issue of Tor’s monthly email newsletter features original writing by, and interviews with, Tor authors and editors about upcoming new titles from all Tor and Forge imprints. In addition, we occasionally send out “special edition” newsletters to highlight particularly exciting new projects, programs, or events. Read a sample here >>

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March #TorChat Lineup Revealed

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells

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This month, #TorChat is exploring the nineteenth century and the world of gaslamp fantasy! Join us as editor and moderator Ellen Datlow chats with Catherynne Valente, Kaaron Warren, Leanna Renee Hieber, and Jeffrey Ford on March 20th at 4 PM Eastern.

Tor Books (@torbooks) is thrilled to announce the March #TorChat, part of a monthly series of genre-themed, hour-long chats created by Tor Books and hosted on Twitter.

This month, #TorChat is looking back on the nineteenth century and the subgenre gaslamp fantasy. Gaslamp fantasy, according to the new anthology Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, can take place any time during the 1800s, and is primarily set in England or in places where the British had a strong cultural presence. Rather than being a narrow subgenre, however, gaslamp fantasy is actually rather broad, and can include steampunk, historical fiction, detective tales, gothic fiction, and so much more.

Joining us to talk about this emerging genre are four authors who contributed to Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells. Catherynne M. Valente is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen works of fiction and poetry, including the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship Of Her Own Making and the gaslamp fantasy short story “We Without Us Were Shadows;” Kaaron Warren, the award-winning author of Slights and the short story “The Unwanted Women of Surrey;” Leanna Renee Hieber, an actress, playwright, and the author of “Charged,” as well as the novel The Strangely Beautiful Tales of Miss Percy Parker; and Jeffrey Ford, the multiple award-winning author of The Shadow War and the story “The Fairy Enterprise.” Together, they’ll discuss what, exactly, gaslamp fantasy is, and why the subgenre is here to stay.

The chat will be loosely moderated by Ellen Datlow, who has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for over thirty years. We hope fans of gaslamp fantasy, as well as those interested in learning more about it, will follow the chat and join in using the Twitter hashtag #TorChat!

About the Authors

ELLEN DATLOW (@EllenDatlow) has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for over thirty years. She was fiction editor of OMNI magazine and SciFiction and has edited more than fifty anthologies, including the annual The Best Horror of the Year; Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror; Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy; Blood and Other Cravings; Teeth: Vampire Tales; and After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia (the latter two young-adult anthologies with Terri Windling). She has won nine World Fantasy Awards and has also won multiple Locus Awards, Hugo Awards, Stoker Awards, International Horror Guild Awards, and the Shirley Jackson Award for her editing. She was named recipient of the 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award, given at the British Fantasy Convention, for “outstanding contribution to the genre.” She has also been honored with the Life Achievement Award given by the Horror Writers Association, in acknowledgment of superior achievement over an entire career. Her latest anthology is Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, co-edited with Terri Windling, which publishes on Tuesday, March 19th.

JEFFREY FORD (@jeffreyford8) is the author of eight novels (most recently The Shadow Year) and four collections of short stories (most recently Crackpot Palace). He is the recipient of the World Fantasy Award, Shirley Jackson Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award, and Nebula Award. His story “The Drowned Life” was recently included in The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, 2nd ed. Also his story “Blood Drive” appeared in the YA apocalyptic and dystopian anthology After, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (Tor), and “A Natural History of Autumn” appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He lives in Ohio with his wife and sons.

LEANNA RENEE HIEBER (@Leannarenee) is an author, actress, and playwright with a BFA in Theatre and a focus in the Victorian Era. A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Leanna works periodically on shows like Boardwalk Empire. A Goth girl with an enormous collection of corsets, she resides in New York City with her real-life hero and their beloved rescued lab rabbit. Her debut novel, the B&N best-seller The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, won two Prism Awards, multiple regional and genre awards and is currently in development as a musical theatre production. Her fourth, Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, was selected as a Scholastic “highly recommended” title. Leanna’s short fiction has been featured on Tor.com, in Willful Impropriety, and in the new anthology Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, publishing on March 19th. Her upcoming Gaslamp Fantasy series, The Eterna Files, launches in 2014 from Tor Books.

CATHERYNNE M. VALENTE (@catvalente) is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen works of fiction and poetry, including Palimpest, The Orphan’s Tales series, Deathless, and the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship Of Her Own Making. She is the winner of the Andre Norton Award, the Tiptree Award, the Mythopoeic Award, the Rhysling Award, and the Million Writers Award. She has been nominated for the Hugo, Locus, Nebula, and Spectrum Awards, the Pushcart Prize, and was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award in 2007 and 2009. Sjhe lives on an island off the coast of Maine with her partner, two dogs, and enormous cat.

KAARON WARREN (@KaaronWarren) is the author of the short-story collection The Grinding House, which won the ACT Writing and Publishing Fiction Award and two Ditmar Awards. Her second collection, Dead Sea Fruit, also won the ACT Writing and Publishing Fiction Award. Her third collection, Through Splintered Walls, was recently published by Twelfth Planet Press. Her critically acclaimed first novel, Slights, won the Australian Shadows Long Fiction Award, the Ditmar Award, and the Canberra Critics’ Award for Fiction. Since then she’s had two other novels published, Walking the Tree and Mistification, both short-listed for a Ditmar Award. Warren’s stories have been picked for The Year’s Best Horror and Fantasy and Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year, as well as The Year’s Best Australian Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy anthologies. Warren lives in Canberra, Australia, with her husband and children.

About #Torchat
#TorChat is a genre-themed, hour-long chat series created by Tor Books and hosted on Twitter. Guest authors join fans in lively, informative and entertaining discussions of all that’s hot in genre fiction, 140 characters at a time, from 4 – 5 PM EST on the third Wednesday of every month. Each #TorChat revolves around a different genre topic of interest, often of a timely nature, and strives to provide a new media opportunity for readers to connect with their favorite authors.

About Tor Books
Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books. Founded in 1980, Tor annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher. In 2002, Tor launched Starscape, an imprint dedicated to publishing quality science fiction and fantasy for young readers, including books by critically acclaimed and award winning authors such as Cory Doctorow, Orson Scott Card, and David Lubar. Between an extensive hardcover and trade-softcover line, an Orb backlist program, and a stronghold in mass-market paperbacks, books from Tor have won every major award in the SF and fantasy fields, and has been named Best Publisher 25 years in a row in the Locus Poll, the largest consumer poll in SF.

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What is Gaslamp Fantasy?

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells

Queen Victoria's Book of Spells edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Written by Terri Windling

Our latest anthology, Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, is a book dedicated to tales of Gaslamp Fantasy: a genre of stories set in magical versions of 19th century England.

We’ve chosen the term Gaslamp Fantasy for our book rather than the other common appellation, Victorian Fantasy—for in fact these stories can take place at any time during the 1800s, from the Regency years early in the century to Queen Victoria’s long reign (1837-1901). Although commonly set in England itself, Gaslamp tales can also unfold in Britain’s former colonies—anywhere that British culture has been, or remains, a dominant force. Steampunk fiction (which blends 19th century fantasy settings with science fiction elements) is only one form of the diverse range of fiction that makes up the Gaslamp Fantasy genre. There’s also historical fantasy (without Steampunk trappings), dark fantasy with a deliciously gothic bent, romantic tales, detective tales, enchanted tales set in English boarding schools, and Fantasy of Manners: a brand of magical fiction that owes more to Jane Austen, William Thackeray, and Anthony Trollope than to C.S.Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Why, it might be asked, are so many of us in the fantasy field so fascinated by the 19th century? Perhaps because the culture of the period was itself awash in fantasy. At no other time and place in Anglo-American history were magical stories as widely read by the general public; never was there more interest in all elements of the supernatural. Bestselling works of fantasy literature were published for readers of all ages, “fairy art” hung on the walls of respectable galleries, and a passion for supernatural romances swept through the theatre, ballet, and opera worlds from the 1830s onward. Throughout the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution created enormous societal upheaval, disrupting old rural ways of life and transforming the British countryside. Fantasy provided both an escape from these pressing issues and a way to address them through the metaphoric language of myth and symbolism.

Today, as our own Technological Revolution causes sweeping societal change and upheaval, many of us turn to fantasy for the very same reasons: to escape the modern world…and, perhaps, to understand it just a little bit better when we return.

If you are interested in exploring this genre further, here are some wonderful novels we can recommend, from both the Adult and Young Adult Fantasy shelves:

  • Homunculus by James P. Blaylock
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Mortal Love by Elizabeth Hand
  • Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter
  • Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja
  • Lost by Gregory Maguire
  • Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
  • The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
  • The Prestige by Christopher Priest
  • Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
  • Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
  • Possession by A.S. Byatt

For a longer list of recommended reading, see the back of Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells.

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