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Tor’s March eBook Deals of 2024

The close of winter is a wild time. Hot eBook deals are springing up left and right!

Check ’em out!


The Wardenthe warden by daniel m. ford by Daniel M. Ford — $2.99

There was a plan. She had the money, the connections, even the brains. It was simple: become one of the only female necromancers, earn as many degrees as possible, get a post in one of the grand cities, then prove she’s capable of greatness. The funny thing about plans is that they are seldom under your control. Now Aelis de Lenti, a daughter of a noble house and recent graduate of the esteemed Magisters’ Lyceum, finds herself in the far-removed village of Lone Pine. Mending fences, matching wits with goats, and serving people who want nothing to do with her. But, not all is well in Lone Pine, and as the villagers Aelis is reluctantly getting to know start to behave strangely, Aelis begins to suspect that there is far greater need for a Warden of her talents than she previously thought. Old magics are restless, and an insignificant village on the farthest border of the kingdom might hold secrets far beyond what anyone expected. Aelis might be the only person standing between one of the greatest evils ever known and the rest of the world.

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To Hold Up the Skyto hold up the sky by cixin liu by Cixin Liu — $2.99

In To Hold Up the Sky, Cixin Liu takes us across time and space, from a rural mountain community where elementary students must use physicas to prevent an alien invasion; to coal mines in northern China where new technology will either save lives of unleash a fire that will burn for centuries; to a time very much like our own, when superstring computers predict our every move; to 10,000 years in the future, when humanity is finally able to begin anew; to the very collapse of the universe itself. Written between 1999 and 2017 and never before published in English, these stories came into being during decades of major change in China and will take you across time and space through the eyes of one of science fiction’s most visionary writers.

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Princess of Duneprincess of dune by brian herbert & kevin j. anderson by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson — $2.99

Raised in the Imperial court and born to be a political bargaining chip, Irulan was sent at an early age to be trained as a Bene Gesserit Sister. As Princess Royal, she also learned important lessons from her father—the Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV. Now of marriageable age, Princess Irulan sees the machinations of the many factions vying for power—the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, the Spacing Guild, the Imperial throne, and a ruthless rebellion in the Imperial military. The young woman has a wise and independent streak and is determined to become much more than a pawn to be moved about on anyone’s gameboard. Meanwhile, on Arrakis, Chani—the daughter of Liet-Kynes, the Imperial Planetologist who serves under the harsh rule of House Harkonnen—is trained in the Fremen mystical ways by an ancient Reverend Mother. Brought up to believe in her father’s ecological dream of a green Arrakis, she follows Liet around to Imperial testing stations, surviving the many hazards of desert life. Chani soon learns the harsh cost of Fremen dreams and obligations under the oppressive boot heel of the long Harkonnen occupation.

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Tsalmothtsalmoth by steven brust by Steven Brust — $2.99

First comes love. Then comes marriage… Vlad Taltos is in love. With a former assassin who may just be better than he is at the Game. Women like this don’t come along every day and no way is he passing up a sure bet. So a wedding is being planned. Along with a shady deal gone wrong and a dead man who owes Vlad money. Setting up the first and trying to deal with the second is bad enough. And then bigger powers decide that Vlad is the perfect patsy to shake the power structure of the kingdom. More’s the pity that his soul is sent walkabout to do it. How might Vlad get his soul back and have any shot at a happy ending? Well, there’s the tale…

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Dancer’s Lamentdancer's lament by ian c. esslemont by Ian C. Esslemont — $2.99

The first book of the Path to Ascendancy trilogy, Dancer’s Lament, focuses on the genesis of the empire and features Dancer, the skilled assassin, who, alongside the mage Kellanved, would found the Malazan empire.

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Impactimpact by douglas preston by Douglas Preston — $2.99

A brilliant meteor lights up the Maine coast… and two young women borrow a boat and set out for a distant island to find the impact crater. A scientist at the National Propulsion Facility discovers an inexplicable source of gamma rays in the outer Solar System. He is found decapitated, the data missing. High resolution NASA images reveal an unnatural feature hidden in the depths of a crater on Mars… and it appears to have been activated. Sixty hours and counting.

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Our Favorite SFF Short Story Collections

Some of the best science fiction is, and has always been, told in short form. Magazines in the early 20th century brought science fiction into mainstream consciousness, and collections like I, Robot and The Martian Chronicles defined the genre. Today’s short fiction writers are no less revolutionary and take advantage of this format to explore a wide range of voices in their protagonists, playing with the possibilities of story-telling. We’ve collected some of the our favorite stunning sci-fi collections here. Let us know what you would add in the comments.

By Julia Bergen


Image Placeholder of - 90To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

From the author of the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series (if you haven’t read it, get on that before the Netflix series comes out), this collection spans his writing career. It’s a great range of work, playing with form, space, and time. Cixin Liu is truly a master story teller, and even readers who aren’t hardcore SF readers will be enthralled. I dare you not to cry while reading The Village Teacher. I dare you.

Poster Placeholder of - 85How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin

This doesn’t just have one of the best names in science fiction and fantasy collections, it also has some of the best stories. Featuring both fantasy and science fiction, this collection delves into a wide range of subgenres including Afrofuturism, alternate history, and climate fiction. There’s a reason why N. K. Jemisin is the first author to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel three times in a row, and her short fiction is just as strong as her novels.

Image Place holder  of - 40Radicalized by Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow is a master at imagining the horrifying implications of things like technology, security, and privacy, and his chilling imagination is on full display in this collection of four novellas taking place in eerily possible futures. Come for the speculative romp, stay because you literally cannot look away.

Placeholder of  -11Exhalation by Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang’s 1998 short story, Story of Your Life, was the basis of the 2016 Academy Award-nominated film Arrival, and his 21st century short fiction continues to question the role and future of humanity. He uses beloved science fiction concepts, like time travel and artificial intelligence, but approaches them from a deeply humanistic viewpoint and with a skill level in story-telling that few can match.

Place holder  of - 90Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson

Now this is a SF collection that’s just plain fun. Brandon Sanderson is known for fantasy novels you need two hands to lift, but he’s just as good at shorter science fiction. In this collection he takes advantage of his world-building and character creation abilities to constantly surprise the reader and draw us in to a world like our own, but different in ways that only Sanderson could imagine.

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What Was It Like to Work on To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu? Ask the Translators!

Poster Placeholder of - 49Cixin Liu is the New York Times bestselling author of The Three-Body Problem, and we are so, so excited to see what he has in store for us with his latest work, To Hold Up the Sky. To celebrate this new release, we decided to interview some of the people who made it possible for us to read this book in English—the translators. From their greatest challenges to their favorite stories in the novel, check out what Carmen Yiling Yan, John Chu and Adam Lanphier had to say here!


What makes the stories in To Hold Up the Sky stand out to you as a translator?

Carmen Yiling Yan: What strikes me the most is the scope of imagination in these stories, the sense of astronomical scale. There’s truly a sense of wonder that I haven’t experienced in much other science fiction lately.

Adam Lanphier: I only translated The Village Teacher, so I’ll talk about that story. Among Liu Cixin’s Chinese readership, The Village Teacher tends to elicit superlatives, both positive (e.g. it’s his “most touching” story, “most humane,” “most real”) and negative (e.g. “softest,” “most sentimental,” “goofiest aliens”). I agree.

Trying to carry this story’s deft, earnest genre-play into English was a balancing act. For the story’s moral message to land, the village needs to be poignant, not lurid; the children need to be sympathetic, not schmaltzy; the teacher needs to be a hero, not a caricature. The aliens didn’t need much—goofy is goofy.

This is a special story to me, as it is to many of Liu Cixin’s fans. I worked hard to do it justice. I hope I succeeded.

What are the biggest challenges in translating science fiction?

Carmen Yiling Yan: One tricky aspect is getting the technical terminology right, especially on a topic that I’m not familiar with. For Full Spectrum Barrage Jamming, I was looking up army manuals and physics articles.

Adam Lanphier: I’ll tell you what isn’t the biggest challenge: the science. I am frequently surprised by how straightforward it is to translate detailed, technical passages, even speculative ones. The language of science is precise and objective, almost by definition; it’s simple to research (compared to history, say) and its terminology tends to strike a similar tone across languages. I imagine most languages have more ways to say “I love you” than “cold fusion.”

John Chu: One of the trickiest things about translating any story is that you’re really translating between cultures. As a translator, you are trying to have the same effect on the reader in the target language that the original author had on the reader in the source language. Two obvious areas that make things difficult are humor and profanity. As a translator, you have to find something that your reader will find just as funny or just as profane. Invariably, it’s not a ‘literal’ translation of what the original author wrote. What we find funny or profane is extremely culture-based.

In that light, I don’t know that the challenges in translating science fiction are all that different from translating a non-speculative story. There may be more elements to balance against each other. Science fiction has its share of technical language and made-up words, for example. Ultimately, it’s still about making the target language reader feel that same “sense of wonder”, for example, that the source language reader feels.

What are some marks of a story that’s been translated well?

Adam Lanphier: A well translated Chinese story, if it’s a story worth translating, will maintain a clear sense of space, direction, and location. In my experience, this is the ‘omelet test’ for translators of Chinese into English, as spatial language in Chinese, though precise, is unintuitive for English speakers and tricky to maintain convincingly in translation. What’s more, it often assume a reader’s familiarity with features of traditional Chinese architecture (e.g. a character might tell another to “go inside” when they’re already indoors, an abstract reference to the series of increasingly private courtyards that were once prevalent in Chinese buildings; one might render this as “go down the hall”) and society (e.g. an “outsider” may mean a stranger, a non-relation, a foreigner, or a layperson, depending on context. “Gentile” sometimes comes eerily close).

If I can’t whether we’re indoors or outdoors, or where a character’s other arm is, or where the magazine on the chair went, that’s a red flag.

Unless a Chinese story touches on biology or butchery, a good English translation will use the word “heart” no more than once every other page.

These are details. Like all translators, I’m a craftsperson, and like most, I’m a freelancer. I shouldn’t presume to offer a more thorough answer to your excellent, difficult question, whose meat I’ll leave Nabokov and Borges to fight over.

John Chu: I honestly don’t think you can tell whether a story has been translated well without doing an A/B comparison with the original text. For reasons not worth explaining, I’ve actually done this with _The Three Body Problem_ and _Death’s End_. (I’ve read _The Dark Forest_ in Chinese but not in English.) So I feel confident in saying that Ken Liu did a superb job with them. Lots of people think they want ‘literal’ translations and they really don’t. _The Three Body Problem_, particularly, is steeped in Chinese history and your typical American reader is not going to have as thorough a grounding in Chinese history as your typical Chinese reader. Ken does an excellent job making sure that someone who doesn’t have a Chinese history background reading in English has at least a similar understanding as a Chinese reader reading the original. There are any number of things in those books that don’t really translate directly, for example, puns. Ken always comes up with substitutes that fit seamlessly.

The things he did that make those translations work so well aren’t noticeable unless you compare back to the original. When you read the translation, what you’re reading is the combined effort of both the original author and the translator. And, honestly, when it comes to things like word choice and phrasing, it can be hard to figure out who did what. (Obviously, original author is solely responsible for stuff like plot.)

That said, the translator is always trying to give you the experience that someone reading in the original language gets. Whether the translator has done that is up to the reader.

What’s the top reason why English-speakers should read more translated fiction?

Carmen Yiling Yan: First and foremost, because there’s so much good stuff out there! Some of the best epic fantasies and historicals I’ve read have been in Chinese. And there’s entire trends and genres with no direct equivalence–I have a soft spot for escape room novels. People who don’t read translations are missing out.

John Chu: I think the wider the net you cast, the more likely you are to find interesting, excellent work. There’s amazing work being published every day and not all of it was originally written in English.

Order To Hold Up the Sky Here:

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Every Tor Book Coming This Fall

We’re dreaming of fall weather at Tor…the changing of colors, the crackle of a bonfire, the tastes of our favorite fall foods. And we can hardly contain ourselves as we wait for our fall books to finally make their way into our hands. Check out which books are coming to shelves near you this fall below:

September 8

Placeholder of  -68Architects of Memory by Karen Osborne

Terminally ill salvage pilot Ash Jackson lost everything in the war with the alien Vai, but she’ll be damned if she loses her future. Her plan: to buy, beg, or lie her way out of corporate indenture and find a cure. When her crew salvages a genocidal weapon from a ravaged starship above a dead colony, Ash uncovers a conspiracy of corporate intrigue and betrayal that threatens to turn her into a living weapon.

September 15

Image Placeholder of - 58To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move. As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .

Image Place holder  of - 7The Hellion by S. A. Hunt

Robin Martine has destroyed witches all across the country, but since her confrontation with the demon Andras, Robin has had to deal with her toughest adversary yet: herself. While coming to grips with new abilities, she and her boyfriend Kenway make their way to the deserts of rural Texas, where new opportunities await.

September 19

Poster Placeholder of - 19The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford

In a snowbound inn high in the Alps, four people meet who will alter fate. Together they will wage an intrigue-filled campaign against the might of Byzantium to secure the English throne for Richard, Duke of Gloucester—and make him Richard III. Available for the first time in nearly two decades, with a new introduction by New York Times-bestselling author Scott Lynch, The Dragon Waiting is a masterpiece of blood and magic.

October 6

Place holder  of - 25The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever—and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

October 13

Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow

Most days, Masha Maximow was sure she’d chosen the winning side. In her day job as a counterterrorism wizard for a transnational cybersecurity firm, she made the hacks that allowed repressive regimes to spy on dissidents, and manipulate their every move. The perks were fantastic, and the pay was obscene. When her targets were strangers in faraway police states, it was easy to compartmentalize, to ignore the collateral damage of murder, rape, and torture. But when it hits close to home, and the hacks and exploits she’s devised are directed at her friends and family–including boy wonder Marcus Yallow, her old crush and archrival, and his entourage of naïve idealists–Masha realizes she has to choose.

Dune: The Duke of Celadan by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Leto Atreides, Duke of Caladan and father of the Muad’Dib. While all know of his fall and the rise of his son, little is known about the quiet ruler of Caladan and his partner Jessica. Or how a Duke of an inconsequential planet earned an emperor’s favor, the ire of House Harkonnen, and set himself on a collision course with his own death. This is the story.

October 20

To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

In To Hold Up the Sky, Cixin Liu takes us across time and space, from a rural mountain community where elementary students must use physicas to prevent an alien invasion; to coal mines in northern China where new technology will either save lives of unleash a fire that will burn for centuries; to a time very much like our own, when superstring computers predict our every move; to 10,000 years in the future, when humanity is finally able to begin anew; to the very collapse of the universe itself.

November 17

Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

After forming a coalition of human resistance against the enemy invasion, Dalinar Kholin and his Knights Radiant have spent a year fighting a protracted, brutal war. Neither side has gained an advantage. Now, as new technological discoveries begin to change the face of the war, the enemy prepares a bold and dangerous operation. The arms race that follows will challenge the very core of the Radiant ideals, and potentially reveal the secrets of the ancient tower that was once the heart of their strength.

December 1

Hollow 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.

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