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Celebrating Valentines with our Favorite SFF Ships

Celebrating Valentines with our Favorite SFF Ships

The term “shipping” has a lot of different meanings: riding a boat, getting a package from Point A to Point B, to name a few. But in the world of fandoms, shipping has an entirely different contextthe wanting/support of two people in a romantic relationship, be is canonly blessed by the creator or subtext brought to full fruition through the wonders of Ao3.

With all the love we’re feeling in the air (or something like that…), we decided on a mission around the office―to discover the Tor staff’s favorite science fiction and fantasy pairings and SHARE THEM WITH THE ENTIRE WORLD! From Delilah Bard and her knives, to Drarry and beyond, things got…wild.

WARNING: Here there be spoilers. Enter at your own risk


Lila and her knives-1Lila and her knives from The Shades of Magic series

Let me start off by saying I would die for/at the hands of Lila Bard, that #StabbyKingBitch. Sure, Lila cares very deeply for Kell, they’ve been through a lot together and she owes him a lot for taking her to Red London and introducing her to magic. But her knives have been with her even longer, are always at her side, and are firmly the things she loves most in the world. Schwab’s series gives us many a scene in which Lila is sharpening/tending to the knives she has, or lustfully admiring new ones with that playfully wicked glint in her eye. There is no love that ever transcends what Lila knows to be true — that at the end of the day, she only has herself, and she has to be able to defend that. Lila has found true independence and strength with her knives, and with them in her hand, she became the person she wanted to be. Could you ask for a better love story than that? I think not.

Christina Orlando, Books Editor & Publicity Coordinator, Tor.com

networkMurderbot and ART from The Murderbot Diaries

Can the grumpy one love the other grumpy one? The answer is a resounding “yes” in Martha Wells’ crushingly relatable protagonist, who just wants to close the door to have a feeling in private. Wells finds an astonishingly deep well of humanity in her proudly non-human narrator, and the books only get better when ART (the terrifyingly intelligent transport vessel who serves as the series’ answer to HAL 9000) comes on the scene and the two begin their grudging partners-to-“wait are we dating now?” partnership. ART understands what all of us in the internet age already know: love is watching the person (or Murderbot) you love watch their favorite media so you can roll around in the refracted joy. Network Effect (May 2020), the first novel-length entry in the series, is the most satisfyingly romantic of them all.

Ruoxi Chen, Associate Editor, Tor.com Publishing

A-Memory-Called-Empire

Three Seagrass and Mahit Dzmare from <>A Memory Called Empire

Spoilers.*
Sometimes you’re an overwhelmed young ambassador in the heart of a hostile space empire that might just manifest destiny you right out of a home, but you can still find a little comfort in poetry and smooches with your political attache.

a bunch of raccoons in a trench coat, Senior Marketing Manager, Tor Books 

UNSPOKEN-1Csorwe and Shuthmili from The Unspoken Name

A flinty orc priestess jock with great arms who survived some sensationally bad wizard parenting and a Seems Delicate, Actually Ineffably Powerful femme sorceress who has zero (0) sense of self-preservation and very pretty hair? Uh, sign me up, every time. Csorwe and Shuthmili share troubled pasts and upbringings as young women raised to a greater purpose at the cost of their personal happiness. The Unspoken Name knows how to bring the hurt down on you like a hammer, but their romance—and their slow discovery of how to value themselves and each other—will leave you happily wallowing in a sea of joyful, queer comfort.

Ruoxi Chen, Associate Editor, Tor.com Publishing

sunmoon
The book Unconquerable Sun and the book Relentless Moon.

Both of these Tor books are coming out in the same month, they’re both sci-fi and they have sun and moon in the title! They have so much in common! They should kiss. Wait, hold on, I have an Instagram idea.

Renata Sweeney, Senior Marketing Manager, Tor Books 

ceruleansea

Linus Baker and Arthur Parnassus from The House in the Cerulean Sea

Linus and Arthur in The House in the Cerulean Sea have a quiet, soft sort of love, like a mug of perfectly warm hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. There’s a secret touch of cinnamon that adds a subtle spiciness. Honestly, this ship is charming, heartwarming, and delights me to no end. Sometimes a family is a by-the-book caseworker, the master of an orphanage, and six magical children. Applicable tropes: #slowburn #pining #fluff #foundfamily

Rebecca Yeager, Ad Promo Manager, Tor Books

goodomens
Crowley and Aziraphale from Good Omens

One is an ex-angel who “did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards.” The other is a Principality that gave away the sword guarding the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve because he was afraid of them getting cold. Together, they make the dumbass Ineffable Husbands of my literary dreams whose well-meaning but disastrous shenanigans will make this ship sail until the end of times.

Rachel Taylor, Marketing Manager, Tor Books

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Villains You’ll Love to Root For

Sometimes you’re just not in the mood to read about the farm boy turned chosen one. Sometimes the idea of a Hero’s Journey bores you to tears. Thankfully, not all genre fiction is quite so black and white, with good triumphing over evil. If you’re in the mood for a book with more shades of gray, we have a list of villains you’ll absolutely love to root for:

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Place holder  of - 95 Everybody loves a good supervillain, and Victor Vale certainly seems to fit the bill. Ten years after a terrible accident tore Victor and his best friend Eli apart, Victor is out of prison and out for revenge. But while the world sees Eli as a virtuous hero and Victor as his dangerous nemesis, the truth is that things might not be so clear cut. If you’re a fan of moral ambiguity and villains who just might be a little right, you’ll love Victor.

Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee

Image Placeholder of - 36 Bells Broussard always assumed he was going to be a hero…until he discovered a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, and suddenly he and his friends are being framed as villains. Sometimes doing the right thing is just plain stupid, and Bells is the perfect example of that. He wants to save the world, but in the second book in C. B. Lee’s Sidekick Squad series, Bells realizes that the only way to do that might be to do some evil first. Can you do right by doing wrong? Bells and his friends will find out!

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

Image Place holder  of - 72 Was the Wicked Witch of the West really wicked, or was she just misunderstood? We all know Dorothy’s side of the story from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but now we know Elphaba’s story too. Maguire’s novel portrays the famous Wicked Witch of the West as a smart and prickly girl whose life is one of tragedy and horror. Every story has two sides, and now that we’ve read Elphaba’s, we kind of agree with the sentiment behind “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!”

A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

Placeholder of  -16 There are no men in all of Westeros who are as revered and reviled as Jaime Lannister. If history is told by the winners, you’d think the Lannisters’ publicity team would do a better job spinning Jaime’s much-maligned murder of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen as an act of heroism to protect King’s Landing from a wildfire explosion. But, alas, Jaime is forever known as The Kingslayer and few trust his vows, even when he tries to be good. The fact that readers still root for Jaime after he pushed an eight-year-old out of a window is a testament to Martin’s skill at creating complex, compelling characters. If Brienne believes in Jaime, then so do we.

Trouble on Triton by Samuel R. Delany

Poster Placeholder of - 69 Okay, so Bron Helstrom isn’t exactly a villain. But in Delany’s 1976 meditation on utopia, Bron’s definitely not a good guy, either. In fact, he’s incredibly self-absorbed, with little care for the feelings or experiences of those around him. He’s constantly dissatisfied, even though he lives on a world where everything he wants is available to him. As Bron becomes involved in a disastrous relationship with the brilliant Spike, you can’t help rooting for things to turn out alright—even though you know there’s no way that’s going to happen.

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Much like Dexter Morgan before him, teenage sociopath John Cleaver finds a different outlet for his disturbing homicidal urges: demon hunting. Is John delusional, or is he evil? Or is his neighbor really a supernatural creature of the worst kind? It’s a battle between inner demons and actual demons in this series from Dan Wells, and readers are forced to side with a character who would be a villain in any other book.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

If it’s at all possible to love a demon, we love Crowley. Originally Crawly, the serpent who tempted Eve with the apple, the evolved Crowley knows how to mix and mingle with humanity—and how to tempt them to do evil. He’s an agent of evil, with one exception: he doesn’t actually want the world to end. As heaven and hell gear up for the end times in Pratchett and Gaiman’s masterful team-up Good Omens, Crowley proves that even villains can have depth. He and his counterpart, the angel Aziraphale, will do their damndest to keep the world running smoothly.

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