Tor.com Original Short Stories Part I [Recommendations]

the martian obelisk1

I’m a big fan of the publisher Tor. They are one of the best publishers of fantasy and science fiction out there. While the books are good, sometimes not a lot attention is given by readers to their incredible short stories. The site usually releases various short stories. These are a few recent releases which enjoyed and I would recommend to any sci-fi/fantasy reader. This will be Part I of an ongoing series recommending and giving some quick thoughts on these short stories.

These Deathless Bones by Cassandra Khaw | Horror | Released July 2017

“A horror tale about the Witch Bride, second wife of a King, and the discord between her and her young stepson.”

deathlessbones_full
illustrated by Sam Weber

Those bones must use some very good shampoo, right?! This short read is like fairy tale/horror story. I absolutely loved it! It’s dark with a nice twist to it. This one reminded me of the tales the monster gives Connor in A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

“There were many things I wasn’t supposed to do, or be. I wasn’t supposed to be someone’s second chance, someone’s happily ever alternate.”

 

The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata | Science Fiction | Released July 2017

“A powerful science fiction story about an architect on Earth commissioned to create (via long distance) a masterwork with materials from the last abandoned Martian colony, a monument that will last thousands of years longer than Earth, which is dying.”

martian_obelisk_full
 

This is a great story that, for me, has a message about the duplicity of hope and despair. It gives you the details you need to know without being confusing (like other short stories or novellas), it was to the point and with a message I very much liked. Some would say that the world in this story is not far off from a possible future we might experience.

“We are a brilliant species, Susannah thought. Courageous, creative, generous—as individuals. In larger numbers we fail every time.”

Waiting on a Bright Moon by JY Yang | Science Fiction | Released July 2017

“Xin is an ansible, using her song magic to connect the originworld of the Imperial Authority and its far-flung colonies— a role that is forced upon magically-gifted women “of a certain closeness”. When a dead body comes through her portal at a time of growing rebellion, Xin is drawn deep into a station-wide conspiracy along with Ouyang Suqing, one of the station’s mysterious, high-ranking starmages.”

waitingonabrightmoon_full
illustrated by Victo Ngai

Waiting on A Bright Moon is much longer and much more in depth than the previous short stories. While in the Martian Obelisk there was a bit of world building, this has much more of it. At the beginning, it can be confusing because you are told things with no background information to orient you. There are also flashbacks that I didn’t notice at first but can confuse some readers. Although not as straightforward as the others, this is a good sci-fi story that I think could be the basis for a good book. This one is not for the easily confused or the ones that want their explanations on a silver platter right at the beginning. It also has a good choice of protagonists.

“What changed your mind?” “Nothing, actually. I just thought I don’t want to live with this kind of fear and doubt all my life. Where even expressions of love have to be taken with suspicion.”

 

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