As I was scrolling through Goodreads I realised that I’ve read, and want to read, quite a few Tor.com novellas. For those of you who don’t know, Tor.com is the science fiction and fantasy publishing imprint of the Macmillan publishing house. They publish both emerging and well-established authors in both novella and novel format.
As I plan to read lots of novellas from them I thought that I’d review five that I’ve already finished to give you a flavour of what Tor.com are all about.
Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
Sitting at just 131 pages, this beautiful horror novella packs a real punch. The story opens with this line:
‘I was twelve the first time I saw my dead father cross from the kitchen doorway to the hall that led back to the utility room.’
Creepy, right? Well it continues to get creepier and creepier as you get further into the story. Jones’s writing is haunting and incredibly atmospheric and I loved the ownvoices Native representation – the young boy lives on a reservation with his family. I loved the feeling of this story even though I did get a little confused in the middle!
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
This fantasy novella is only 112 pages long and has one of the most stunning covers I’ve ever seen. The story follows the rise of a young royal from the far north as she is sent south for a political marriage with only her servants at her side. Sounds great in theory, however, this didn’t work for me. I found it dry and dare I say dull?
I know this is an unpopular opinion though as the Goodreads page is full of praise and high-star reviews so I’m considering a re-read one day to make sure my feelings are the same! If you’re interested I would recommend checking out the Goodreads page first.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Where do I begin with this? This novella, and the rest of the series if I’m honest, are some of my all-time favourite books. I’ve read Every Heart a Doorway three times, and every time I love it even more than before.
At 173 pages, this fantasy novella has the perfect balance of magic, character development, mystery and doors to hidden worlds. The writing is beautiful and rich and makes the world you’re in feel so fleshed out that it’s hard to believe you’ve only read 170 pages! Another great thing about this story is that there is great gender and sexuality representation too.
Ahhhh, it’s just my favourite okay. If you haven’t read it yet I urge you to do so as soon as you can.
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
In short, this is a fun novella. In the early 20th Century, the United States concocted a plan to import hippos into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source – that is FACT. Mad.
Once Gailey found out this bizarre fact she imagined a world in which that actually happened. Cut to River of Teeth, set in 1890s America where the bayou is overrun with feral hippos and teams of mercenary hippo wranglers run the town. Fantastically strange, and good fun – I would recommend!
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
This stunning novella sits at just 112 wonderful pages. It’s hard to sum up so here’s the beginning of the synopsis:
There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.
It’s queer, fae, magical, and full of sentient trees – literally the book of my heart! The sequel in this duology came out a few days ago and I’ve already downloaded it to my Kindle as I can’t wait any longer.
Tor.com novellas are brilliant. They publish unique, interesting stories that pack such a punch for so few pages. The best part is that they’re usually available on kindle for a small fee (or free if you time it right!) making them much more accessible.
Have you read any Tor.com novellas? What’s your favourite?