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All of Tor.com’s Original Short Fiction Published in 2023

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Original Fiction Year in Review 2023

All of Tor.com’s Original Short Fiction Published in 2023

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Published on December 18, 2023

We have so much to celebrate as we look back on 2023!

In July, Tor.com marked its 15th anniversary, having published more than 600 original stories from authors around the world while exploring the universe (as Stubby is wont to do) of speculative fiction, from dark fantasy to space opera, from horror to dystopia, from folk tales to alternate history.

This year, we added 31 original stories—at turns haunting, hilarious, moving, chilling, and thought-provoking—to our considerable collection, publishing 19 short stories and 12 novelettes.

We are tremendously proud of—and grateful for—our talented authors, illustrators, and editors, who brought us so many incredible stories this year. We hope you will nominate your favorites for the Hugos, Nebulas, Stokers and other upcoming awards that honor outstanding works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror—but most of all, we hope you’ve enjoyed reading these stories as much as we have!

 


Short Stories

 

How To Cook and Eat the Rich” by Sunyi Dean

Edited by Lindsey Hall
Illustrated by David Habben
Published January 18, 2023

A man is offered the opportunity to partake in an exclusive, subscription-based eating club for those who wish to dine on human flesh. But he may have bitten off a little more than he can chew.

 

The Counterworld” by James Bradley

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Mary Haasdyk
Published February 1, 2023

A grieving mother wakes up to find all traces of her lost son have been erased as if he had never existed. Only in the hallway mirror is she able to see a glimpse of the reality she remembers having lived—the reality she wants back.

 

The Dark House” by A.C. Wise

Edited by Ellen Datlow
Illustrated by Elijah Boor
Published March 15, 2023

A photographer’s obsession with an unsettled subject exposes two friends to a darkness that won’t be contained by frames…

 

The River and the World Remade” by E. Lily Yu

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Changyu Zou
Published March 29, 2023

When the waters rose, the people who stayed on the River learned they weathered the storms best together, but what happens when one of their own becomes curious about the Land?

 

Salt Water” by Eugenia Triantafyllou

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by J Yang
Published April 12, 2023

While all her friends’ fish are changing into mermaids, is 12-year-old Anissa’s fish becoming something else?

 

Counting Casualties” by Yoon Ha Lee

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Julie Dillon
Published April 26, 2023

Commander Niaja vrau Erezeng is up against an enemy that doesn’t just destroy all the beings, ships, and planets in its path, but also consumes their greatest arts, somehow scratching them from existence everywhere…

 

The Puppetmaster” by Kemi Ashing-Giwa

Edited by Jennifer Gunnels
Illustrated by Francesca Resta
Published May 10, 2023

A banished warrior teaches her treacherous uncle that once made, some oaths cannot be broken…and some monsters cannot be chained.

 

Pretty Good Neighbor” by Jeffrey Ford

Edited by Ellen Datlow
Illustrated by H. F. Evergreen / Fesbra
Published May 24, 2023

There are worse things than a local gangster’s cronies lurking in New Jersey’s wetlands…

 

The Star-Bear” by Michael Swanwick

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Bill Mayer
Published June 7, 2023

A Russian émigré poet living in Paris is visited by a mysterious bear with an agenda…

 

After the Animal Flesh Beings” by Brian Evenson

Edited by Ann VanderMeer
Illustrated by Reiko Murakami
Published June 21, 2023

A post-human civilization of synthetic beings, fixated on the concept of children, grapples with the meaning of life…after life ceases to exist.

 

What It Means To Be A Car” by James Patrick Kelly

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Scott Bakal
Published July 26, 2023

An AI car is caught between its ruthless employer and the people she hurt…

 

The Three O’Clock Dragon” by John Wiswell

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by J Yang
Published August 23, 2023

Prosperity City’s corrupt mayor never guessed his greatest opponent would be a fire-breathing dragon and her unconventional platform…

 

The Job at the End of the World” by Ray Nayler

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Keith Negley
Published August 30, 2023

A weary resilience worker should know better than anyone: no one is safe when the world is always ending…

 

The Tale of Clancy the Scrivener” by Ramsey Shehadeh

Edited by Ann VanderMeer
Illustrated by Weston Wei
Published September 20, 2023

After a fraught, improbably long life, a post-apocalyptic archivist resigned to cataloging ephemera from the “old world” times finds his life upended by an orphaned girl…

 

Not The Most Romantic Thing” by Carrie Vaughn

Edited by Ann VanderMeer
Illustrated by Eli Minaya
Published October 11, 2023

On one of their earliest Visigoth assignments, Graff and Ell stumble into each other’s secrets (and one significant surprise) while conducting a recovery mission on a mining asteroid scheduled for imminent pulverization…

 

The Canadian Miracle” by Cory Doctorow

Edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Illustrated by Will Staehle
Published November 1, 2023

A contentious election and radicalized locals interfere with Canadian recovery workers’ efforts at the site of a catastrophic flood in near-future Mississippi.

 

Some Ways to Retell a Fairy Tale” by Kathleen Jennings

Illustrated by Erin Vest
Published November 8, 2023

There’s more to “once upon a time” than meets the eye…

*A version of this story appeared in TEXT.

 

Sun River” by Nisi Shawl

Edited by Aislyn Fredsall
Illustrated by Xia Gordon
Published December 6, 2023

Princess Mwadi of Everfair teams up with American actress Rima Bailey on a reconnaissance mission in Egypt in an attempt to thwart the European spies intent on destabilizing Everfair and its business interests…

*A version of this story appeared in the anthology, Clockwork Cairo: Steampunk Tales of Egypt, published by Twopenny Books.

 

The Sound of Reindeer” by Lyndsie Manusos

Edited by Ellen Datlow
Illustrated by Jorge Mascarenhas
Published December 13, 2023

Ada’s holiday trip to meet her girlfriend’s family becomes a bit more fraught than usual when she discovers the family’s unusual Christmas Eve tradition…

 


Novelettes

 

Time: Marked and Mended” by Carrie Vaughn

Edited by Ann VanderMeer
Illustrated by Eli Minaya
Published January 11, 2023

Graff isn’t quite human. His people move through the galaxy collecting memories and experiences, recording their lives and passing them on. Then, one day, he breaks: he discovers a chunk of his memory is missing. This should be impossible—he’s never forgotten a moment in his life. Now, he has to learn to forget, and to remember, and this has consequences for all his people, his culture, and his whole world.

 

Even If Such Ways Are Bad” by Rich Larson

Edited by Ellen Datlow
Illustrated by Sara Wong
Published February 8, 2023

A two-person crew embark on a mind-bending deep space mission inside a living wormship capable of burrowing through space. What lies on the other end is unknown—as is what they will do once they get there.

 

Ceffo” by Jonathan Carroll

Edited by Ellen Datlow
Illustrated by Sara Wong
Published June 28, 2023

On a trip to Italy, a woman stuck in a crumbling relationship discovers the city she loves holds a secret that could change her life…

 

Detonation Boulevard” by Alastair Reynolds

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Ben Zweifel
Published July 12, 2023

In a cosmic rally race winding 12,000 kilometers across Io’s treacherous surface in just 60 hours, all while dodging the competition, fatigue, and violent lava geysers—there’s only one way Cat knows how to win: Just. Drive.

 

Headhunting” by Rich Larson

Edited by Ellen Datlow
Illustrated by Elijah Boor
Published August 9, 2023

A private eye plagued by hallucinations is hired to retrieve a mummified monk’s head stolen from a cathedral–but why would someone want it?

 

The Passing of the Dragon” by Ken Liu

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Mary Haasdyk
Published September 13, 2023

A woman who fears she’s failing as a painter and as an artist seeks inspiration from one of her favorite poets and finds something even more wondrous, but also more impossible to capture on canvas…

 

FORM 8774-D” by Alex Irvine

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Zoe van Dijk
Published September 27, 2023

It’s just business as usual at the Bureau of Metahuman, Mutant, and Occult Affairs until an employee for the government agency begins to wonder if work is following her home…

 

Jack O’Dander” by Priya Sharma

Edited by Ellen Datlow
Illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love
Published October 4, 2023

The sister of an abducted child is haunted by a sinister figure who may or may not be real…

 

The Locked Coffin: A Judge Dee Mystery” by Lavie Tidhar

Edited by Jonathan Strahan
Illustrated by Red Nose Studio
Published October 25, 2023

A new Judge Dee mystery!

While visiting the mysterious castle of Maidstone for an investigation, Judge Dee and Jonathan discover the only thing more menacing than a vampire child is twin vampire children…

 

On the Fox Roads” by Nghi Vo

Edited by Ruoxi Chen
Illustrated by Alyssa Winans
Published October 31, 2023

While learning the ropes from a crafty Jazz Age bank robber, a young stowaway discovers their authentic self, a hidden gift, and that there are no straight lines when you run the fox roads…

 

A Heart Between Teeth” by Kerstin Hall

Edited by Kaleb Russell
Illustrated by Cristina Bencina
Published November 15, 2023

A new novelette set in the realms of Kerstin Hall’s acclaimed The Mkalis Cycle series. The 813th realm of Mkalis has fallen to a cruel and mercurial god, but Tahmais, its would-be successor, finds an unlikely ally in her quest to reclaim it at any cost…

 

Ivy, Angelica, Bay” by C. L. Polk

Edited by Ruoxi Chen
Illustrated by Alyssa Winans
Published December 8, 2023

When Hurston Hill is threatened by a suspiciously powerful urban development firm, Miss l’Abielle steps up to protect her community with the help of a mysterious orphaned girl in this charming follow-up to “St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid,” featured on LeVar Burton Reads.

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