Oliver Dougherty

Tor Publishing Group

My Manuscript Wish List®

I joined Tor Publishing Group in 2019, and I’m thrilled to be building my list. I’m acquiring adult speculative fiction (including science fiction, fantasy, and cross-genre books) at novel and novella length, especially secondary world, character-focused, and theme-focused stories.

I’m particularly interested in acquiring books that have richly imagined worlds that explore power structures and hold intersectional understandings of experience (N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy, Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts, Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire, Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun) and books by BIPOC, disabled, neurodivergent, queer, and trans authors.

Here’s what I’m looking for:

–Stories where interpersonal intrigue drives narrative tension, like Ann Leckie’s Translation State and Victoria Goddard’s The Hands of the Emperor. I want to be wholly invested in the character’s emotional arcs, to be flipping through the pages because I need to know how they’ll feel by the last page. Special request: time loops. I adore the forced character study that time loops so frequently become.

–Smart protagonists, introspective protagonists, protagonists who are trying to think three steps ahead. Think Elijah Kinch Spector’s Kalyna the Soothsayer. Hand in hand with my love of smart protagonists is my love of political and court intrigue. Give me the layered subtext, give me the 4D chess where no one’s even drawn a weapon yet. Especially when said court and politics are related to empire, class, and investigating systems in some way, like Seth Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant and Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor.

–Weird sentience. Hive minds, unusual POVs, non-humanoid or non-terrestrial beings. Looking at you, Arrival, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, Hiron Ennes’s Leech, and Sue Burke’s Semiosis.

–Protagonists who are middle-aged, older, or elders. I desperately want to see more coming-of-age stories about retirement, more protagonists who have been an expert at something for decades and now use their expertise for something new, protagonists with a rich understanding of the wider context of what’s going on.

–Complex morality, villains as main characters. Emily Tesh’s Some Desperate Glory explored this beautifully, as did (to look outside of genre) everything left unspoken in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day.

–Books that center the prose as much as the world. Gorgeous, poetic language can make me fall head over heels. I’m a sucker for a beautiful sentence. Bring me a book with excerpts that could be taken to an open mic, like Hiron Ennes’s Leech.

–Cross-genre books. I’m a fan of science fantasy and when spec fic dips its toes into atmospheric horror or romance.

–Queernormative worlds, gender subversions, polyamorous characters. I want worlds where the main conflict isn’t homophobia or transphobia, where there’s space for characters to get weird with gender and express identity without systemic pushback. And I would love to see more polyamorous relationships of all formations.

I am actively seeking submissions from authors of underrepresented backgrounds, especially BIPOC authors.


Fun facts about me:

Tabletop rpg player, figure drawing artist, and former Michigander who completely pampers their cats

Submission Guidelines

Oliver Dougherty only accepts agented submissions at this time.