Book Recs: Tor Novellas

At the beginning of December, I decided (foolishly) to aim to have read 400 books in 2019 (being, at the time, only on about 325). I made it, exhaustedly sure, but I made it. And I did so by reading a lot of novellas on tor.com.

So, obviously, armed with that knowledge, I had to make a rec list. There are only my favourite 10 on here, but I also made a longer thread on twitter, with every single one I read over that time.

So enjoy!

inbtwn

The Library of Lost Things

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Matthew Bright
Goodreads
Rep: mlm mc & li

Welcome to the Library of Lost Things, where the shelves are stuffed with books that have fallen through the cracks—from volumes of lovelorn teenage poetry to famous works of literature long destroyed or lost. They’re all here, pulled from history and watched over by the Librarian, curated by the Collectors, nibbled on by the rats. Filed away, never to be read. At least, until Thomas, the boy with the secret, comes to the Library.

Why Should I Read It?

You know a novella is good when your immediate reaction on finishing is oh I want more. I was at once both wholly satisfied with this one and also desperate to read more of the world and characters. It’s good, basically.

inbtwn

His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light

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Mimi Mondal
Goodreads
Rep: Indian mlm mcs

I am not a fighter. I am a trapeze master.

An act of compassion puts a trapeze artist in India on a collision course with a terrifying supernatural power in His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light: a Tor.com Original from Dalit writer Mimi Mondal.

Why Should I Read It?

Of all the novellas I read, if you asked me to rec just one, this would be my go-to rec. It’s amazing.

inbtwn

The Shape of my Name

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Nino Cipri
Goodreads
Rep: trans mc

The Shape of My Name by Nino Cipri is a time travel story about what it means to truly claim yourself.

 

 

Why Should I Read It?

Technically, this is one of the novellas we read in November for our book club, and not one I read in that novella binge. BUT. Does that matter? It’s brilliant either way.

inbtwn

Elephants and Corpses

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Kameron Hurley
Goodreads
Rep: trans mc

The corpse-jumping body mercenary Nev is used to filling other people’s shoes. When his assistant Tera recognizes the most recent waterlogged cadaver they bought off the street, though, he finds that his new body is carrying more trouble than he bargained for.

 

Why Should I Read It?

I mean, surely the synopsis alone is enough to grab you on this one? The idea that there are people who can jump between bodies is so cool. And it is excellently realised in this novella.

inbtwn

The Water that Falls on You from Nowhere

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John Chu
Goodreads
Rep: Chinese gay mc
CWs: homophobia from a family member, sibling abuse

In the near future water falls from the sky whenever someone lies (either a mist or a torrential flood depending on the intensity of the lie). This makes life difficult for Matt as he maneuvers the marriage question with his lover and how best to “come out” to his traditional Chinese parents.

Why Should I Read It?

You may notice that this is one of two John Chu novellas I have on this list (with good reason! Namely that I love them). In this one, you have a world where you get rained on if you tell a lie, and it’s brilliant.

inbtwn

Variations on an Apple

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Yoon Ha Lee
Goodreads
Rep: bi mc, nonbinary li

For the fairest. Past, present, and future. Again.

 

 

 

Why Should I Read It?

This novella is like, imagine an Iliad retelling, but the city of Troy is a sentient human-like being and Paris is in love with them, and if that hasn’t sold you I don’t know what will.

inbtwn

Angel of the Blockade

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Alex Wells
Goodreads
Rep: blind bi mc, nonbinary li

Nata spends her time zipping through the black in her ugly yet bad-ass spaceship, taking pride in being the best smuggler the Imperial regime has never caught. When she takes on an expensive mystery cargo, however, the risk reaches far beyond her pride.

 

Why Should I Read It?

To be honest, the fact that it’s set in space was enough to sell me. But if you need more, it’s smugglers in space. That always makes everything a thousand times cooler.

inbtwn

Water: A History

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K. J. Kabza
Goodreads
Rep: wlw mc

The planet of Quányuán is arid to the point of being uninhabitable. Wetness is a concept left back on Earth. That doesn’t stop one elderly woman from stepping outside the safety of the colony whenever she can for the brief opportunity to fully experience the outside world.

 

Why Should I Read It?

Insofar as science fiction can ever be “quiet”, this is a quietly sci fi novella. What I mean is the story isn’t a big huge adventure in space, it’s about people experiencing normal human events….but in space. I don’t know if I’m making any sense here, just know I love it.

inbtwn

The Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Trade-Offs for the Overhaul of the Barricade

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John Chu
Goodreads
Rep: bi side character

Generation after generation, engineers have maintained the barricade, a shield that protects civilization against Turbulence, this strange force that destroys both minds and machines. As Turbulence grows ever more intense and the barricade begins to fail, can Ritter live up to the demands of his father, an engineer the equal of any hero in the Five Great Classical Novels, as they struggle to prevent this civilization from falling like every civilization has before it?

Why Should I Read It?

There is something about the world created in this novella that I just adored – I don’t know what exactly. That’s why, although the bi character is a side character (and also I may have been reading into things a little), I have to rec it.

inbtwn

Super Bass

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Kai Ashante Wilson
Goodreads
Rep: Black mlm mcs

Gian returns to Sea-john from the Kingdom’s wars certain that he has skills beyond killing, death and destruction. He needs to prove to himself that love is just as strong, if not stronger, than his hate. The Summer King gives him this opportunity.

 

Why Should I Read It?

Also one I read a while back and not in December, but it’s a novella that’s stuck with me, and really, it’s all you want out of anything you read is for it to do that. Isn’t it?

inbtwn

Are there any I’ve missed that you’d rec?

charlotte

8 thoughts on “Book Recs: Tor Novellas

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