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Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Short Fiction

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  163 ratings  ·  44 reviews
An anthology of award-winning, eye-opening, genre-defining science fiction, fantasy, and horror from's first ten years

"A fresh new story going up at is always an Event." —Charlie Jane Anders

Since it began in 2008 has explored countless new worlds of fiction, delving into possible and impossible futures, alternate and intriguing pasts, and realms of
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by
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Tor is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year and are coming out with this anthology that showcases some of the best short stories written this decade! Tor is my personal favorite publishing house. Not only have they always been amazing to me, they are putting out some of the most diverse, important, world changing literature on the market right now.

“Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders - ★★
Lord, I feel so bad doing this. But I really didn’t like the first story of the col
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I love anthologies, but I’ve never read one anywhere near this size, so when I heard that TorDotCom was coming out with a collection of some of their best short stories for their tenth anniversary, I had to check it out. There are so many authors in this collection whose work I’d been dying to pick up, and short stories are such an efficient, wonderful way to get to know a few new authors.

The entire anthology is comprised of sci-fi and fantasy stories, with a touch of light horror here and ther
Elle (ellexamines)
Sep 07, 2018 marked it as on-my-shelf
There are forty stories in all within this collection, and basically, I'm terrified.

→Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders←
→Damage by David D. Levine←
→The Best We Can by Carrie Vaugn←
→The City Born Great by N.K. Jemisin←
→A Vector Alphabet of Interstellar Travel by Yoon Ha Lee←

→Waiting on a Bright Moon by J.Y. Yang← ★★★☆☆
✔I first read this here.

→Elephants and Corpses by Kameron Hurley←
→About Fairies by Pat Murphy←
→The Hanging Game by Helen Marshall←
Peter Tillman
Great to see the publisher's selection of the "Best of So Far" as a handsome hardcover, courtesy of the Santa Barbara public library. I'll have some comments on individual stories, but they are all (I believe) still available at the website. The biggest omission from the book is the wonderful story art! Update: winner of the 2019 World Fantasy Award for best anthology.
Some highlights:
My first reread was “Your Orisons May Be Recorded” by Laurie Penny, which I *loved* on first read
Rufus T.
This lockdown season I set my mind on getting up to date with who's who in the field of speculative fiction these days. For that purpose I got a few lofty anthologies of "best ofs". Mainly, it was Gardner Dozois' last "Best of the Best" anthology and this one, both released at about the same time and covering roughly the last decade of short fiction.

Overall impression: it's an average collection, no unreadable stories, but few that were really great and those from authors that I was already fa
Hélène Louise
I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read this anthology, as I frequently feeling lazy towards short stories: most of the time I have to make an effort to begin a new story and, for a very short one, I may be frustrated by its shortness if I liked it or disgruntled to have spent some time and efforts for nothing if I didn't. This was the very occasion to make acquaintance with some unknown authors, to read more of others I like, or to try again with some I didn't appreciated in the past ...more
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing has been my go-to for amazing short stories (of a variety of length) for a while now and this collection really highlights why. The stories are crazy and sweet and original and thought-provoking. And the authors (and the characters in the stories!) are all from diverse backgrounds.

Like most short story collections, there are highlights and less-highlights. For me, there were three standouts:

David Levine: Damage. I love science fiction that has robots/ships/mechanical things with human
Solid 3.0 overall. None of the stories in this collection from are unreadable but the only author whose story really stuck with me (of the ones who I haven't read before) was Ray Wood's "In the Sight of Akresa." A story of forbidden love and how much of a price someone is willing to pay when push comes to shove.
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
anthologies are always mixed in terms of quality, but this is a better anthology than most, with a solid hit rate. I loved getting to revisit The City Born Great, A Kiss With Teeth, and The Cage.

of the stories I hadn't read before, I particularly liked David Levine's Damage (We Love Ships Who Love Their Pilots In Complicated Ways), John Chu's The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere, Haralambi Markov's The Language of Knives (i am extremely over fiction about dead parents, but this one is really
Apr 29, 2020 rated it liked it
As with some collections, there will be stand-outs, favourites, duds and DNFs. And this collection from Tor is no different.

This is an ambitious collection spanning a decade of short stories that were published on the Tor website. I love short stories and I have enjoyed the ones I have read on the website, some included here, and so I had a good idea of what to expect.

Definitely a good read and there are a lot of great and good stories. The characters were intriguing, interesting, damaged; the d
Fred Hughes
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
The only reason for the low rating is that over 90% of the stories included are fantasy and I am a science fiction fan.

So if you are a fantasy reader this is the book for you. For science fiction readers; you need to go elsewhere
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
A lot of OK stories but as I read more and more I felt depressed. About ¾ of the way through I realized what was bothering me. The book surprisingly lacks diversity. This may seem odd but it is true. These stories have a stultifying uniform political correctness. Part of my disappointment also stems from the fact that most of the stories are in the fantasy (or magic realism camp) and not science fiction (which I would prefer). They are exclusively written from the perspective of college humaniti ...more
Liz (Quirky Cat)
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads
I received a copy of Worlds Seen in Passing through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I'm unable to share all of them on here, because of the character limit. If you're curious about the rest, check out my blog.

This has to be one of the most impressive collection of short stories I’ve read in a long time. This year marks the tenth year that Tor has been publishing fiction, and this was their way of celebrating their success. What a way to celebrate, right?
Worlds Seen in Pas
This was a very nicely balanced anthology that spans the many variations of styles to be found in speculative fiction. It is also a very decent size and the result is that even though I was disappointed by a couple of the stories by my favourite authors (whose inclusions were part of the my excitement in going for this book) the overall enjoyment was not impacted, especially as I found so many new authors and new stories from old favourites, among them:

About Fairies by Pat Murphy - a new author
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: big-recommends
Absolutely loved making my way through this anthology. All the stories were top-notch, and I enjoyed reading well-executed stories in subgenres I wouldn't normally think to pick up.

Just a few of the stories I particularly enjoyed:

"Six Months, Three Days" by Charlie Jane Anders
"'There are a million tracks, you know. It's like raindrops falling into a cistern, they're separate until they hit the surface, and then they become the past: all undifferentiated. But there are an awful lot of futures wh
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an excellent selection of's fabulous short fiction. Even though all these stories are available online, it was still nice to read them in print form (though I do have to say the type is quite tiny — it looked like 10pt font to me — which just makes the ~570 page length all the more impressive). I'd already read a few of the short stories before, but this anthology still exposed me to new tales and authors, especially some of the older stories from the years before I really started f ...more
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is such a solid anthology; I loved reading stories by old favorites and new voices alike. Not counting the stories by N.K. Jemisin and Ken Liu that I had read prior to this collection, my favorite inclusions were JY Yang’s “Waiting on a Bright Moon,” Kameron Hurley’s “Elephants and Corpses,” John Chu’s “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere,” Kij Johnson’s “Ponies,” and Laurie Penny’s “Your Orisons May Be Recorded.”
Dec 08, 2018 marked it as to-read
I've already read about half of these, but since some of those are among my favorite short stories and I am a huge fan of many of the other writers, I think I would be remiss not to read the rest.
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve been generally impressed with’s fiction, but I’m always running behind on their short stories. When I saw this “Best of” anthology up on Netgalley, I thought it was the perfect chance to catch up. And so far, Worlds Seen in Passing is my favorite short fiction anthology of 2018.

I was already familiar with some of the stories in the collection, either from anthologies collecting “best of the year” stories or from reading them on’s site. For the most part, I didn’t reread them
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was just a bit disappointed. Tor is known for great sci-fi and fantasy. It must be good to appear on their website... and to collect the very best from that... I had high expectations, perhaps too high.

There were some good little stories here, but surprisingly there were also a fair amount of clunkers. The quality seemed to pick up as the book went on, but it was a bit of a slog in the beginning. Some felt like excerpts from longer works, some ended with a fizzle, and at least one went on far
Jessie (Zombie_likes_cake)
When I add up the average (I always rate each single entry when I read a collection), I come out at only 3.2 but I still feel confident in giving this 4* since I think "Worls Seen in Passing" deserves it. Whereas collections written by a single writer can easier score an all great or none great score, an anthology is often too varied for that. One might say that is equally its potential strength and shortcoming. Variety is likely why the readers shows up in the first place, variety and diversity ...more
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this collection of stories that are connected to as a break in between larger epic works. It included some stories I read in other anthologies, some really good stories, and some I didn't enjoy as much. Favorite stories included:
Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders, a fascinating look at how two psychics in a relationship with each other approach the future, plus a snarky little jab at women vs. men.
Damage by David D. Levin, told from the perspective of a sentient fightin
Akemi G.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent anthology of contemporary SFF.
Here are a few stories I particularly like:

Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky
Whether AI is capable to love is a big theme in SF. And for that matter, do humans know what it is? Like, there was a movie that seemed to define love as irreversible attachment; I respectfully disagree. Love in the absence of free will is not love, no matter how sweet or passionate it may be.

This novelette is beautiful. Even with the controversial Oedipal issue.

The Best We C
Laura Newsholme
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a comprehensive collection this is with stories from such talented authors as N. K. Jemisin, JY Yang, Seth Dickinson and many others. Spanning ten years of, one would expect the stories to be excellent and they are. Obviously not each story will be to everyone's taste and there are some in the collection that I definitely enjoyed far more than others, but I don't think it would be possible to find a more all-encompassing collection that so successfully showcases the breadth of talen ...more
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Even if some of these stories won't be your cup of tea (and several weren't mine), it's hard to think of this book as anything other than a home-run-out-of-the-park. (or now Tor Dot Com in publishing iconography) has been steadily delivering fantastic speculative fiction for more than a decade now, and this look at some of the very best from that first decade is a must-have for any lover of speculative fiction. There are big names like Liu and Jemisin and VanderMeer but also plenty of fo ...more
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
I feel like I got away with something sneaky in purchasing this collection. How is it possible to pay such a small cost for such an enormous amount of excellent reading? There were only two stories I didn't like, and that was simply a personal thing, not because of a problem with the writing.

My favorites were:
The Hanging Game by Helen Marshall
Please Undo This Hurt by Seth Dickinson
Terminal by Lavie Tidhar
This World is Full of Monsters by Jeff Vandermeer

I'm not sure how the title was chosen for t
Jeffrey Doten
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Loved a lot of it, finding as I near the end I’m sort of sick of it. Most of it is excellent, but I’m beginning to think, ‘have I read this already?’ In some ways there’s not a lot of variation in subject or style. It’s mostly contemporary with a quirk kind of tales ( don’t ask me to back that up, that involve my digging back into this huge tome, that’s just my memory over time) I’m not quite finished it ( the Sasquatch story is next!) It’s very much a TOR team project, I recognize a lot of name ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Read or tried the entries from Carrie Vaughn, Ken Liu, and Tina Connolly.

Vaughn's The Best We Can was excellent; an astronomer trying to do her job in spite of all the bureaucratic red tape.

Liu's Reborn lost me on page 3 with the alien sex.

I have not read anything by Connolly before, picked The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections because of the excellent title. It turned out to be a food-based bit of magical-realism set in an anachronistic kingdom in upheaval. If ever there were a premise more
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I mostly picked and chose the stories I wanted to read since I saw a few I already like plus some I already know. This is a good sampling of Tor stories and a change of pace since I'm mostly familiar with their novellas. It's also a good evolution of sff since "the incident" 10 years ago that I feel prompted many publications to expand their outlook on the writers and stories represented as well as sparked new publications like Tor. Yes, worth picking up for those like me who love anthology coll ...more
Dan Polley
My favorites:

"Six Months, Three Days"
"The Best We Can"
"Waiting on a Bright Moon"
"Elephants and Corpses"
"About Fairies"
"The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere"
"Brimstone and Marmalade"
"The Shape of My Name"
"Eros, Philia, Agape"
"The Lady Astronaut of Mars"
"A Kiss with Teeth"
"The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections"
"Breaking Water"
"Your Orissons May Be Recorded"
"The Cage"
"Among the Thorns"
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