Stephanie Stein


My Manuscript Wish List®

I have recently joined the editorial team at Tor Books, where I’m looking to build an inclusive list of epic fantasy and science fiction for adult readers.

My favorite reads are stylish, confident, immersive, built on a bleeding cool premise, and savvy about the tropes of the genre they’re in. Across all genres, I’m always on the hunt for work that aims to carve out space inor argue withthe rest of the canon, especially from LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, neurodiverse, disabled, or other marginalized perspectives.

In fantasy, I’m looking for epic sagas and sword-and-sorcery adventures, emphasis on the and sorcery. Give me hard magic systems heavy on categorization and rules, gods and dragons, mages and mythmaking, all in richly imagined worlds. What do you get the commercial fantasy reader who’s already read everything? I want the next must-read for fans who think they’ve seen it all. I’m a fan of Sanderson, Weeks, Rothfuss, Jemisin, Guy Gavriel Kay, RF Kuang, Fonda Lee, Naomi Novik, and VE Schwab. I’m also interested in the intersection where lush historical fiction crosses fantasy (Susanna Clarke, Circe, Babel).

In SF, take me to space: I’m looking for universes that are teeming with human diasporas and creatively imagined alien life. I love space battles, the Prime Directive, mecha anime, and science that will break my brain and reconfigure it (Arrival, The Future of Another Timeline). Current obsessions include the Imperial Radch, The Expanse, Red Rising, the Wayfarers series, and the Vorkosigan Saga.

I’m also partial to romance/romantasy that uses speculative elements to heighten the emotional stakes. Think immortality, time slips and time loops, cheating death or journeying to the underworld, or soulmate tropes. I will always be looking for queer love stories, and prioritize slow-burning tension. If it reads like fanfic–with emotional immediacy and a clear love for its characters–or if it used to BE a fanfic, I will probably adore it.

A few of my favorite things to see across genres:

  • Settings and plotlines that imbue a book with an elevated sense of structure and atmosphere: think magical schools (The Poppy War, The Name of the Wind) or space academies (Red Rising), secret societies, tournaments and competitions, or courts full of fealty and hierarchy and betrayal.
  • Writing that plays with language, POV, and/or form to drive its themes (The Fifth Season, the Imperial Radch). Epistolary fiction like The Tiger’s Daughter or This Is How You Lose the Time War, and frame stories fueled by strong narrators’ voices and complex motives.
  • Stories from other genres told expansively in SFF settings: retellings, disaster epics, heists, mysteries, mob movies. “X, but in space/but with magic”–yes, please.
  • Compelling villains you find yourself rooting for just because you want to see what they’ll do next (think Grand Admiral Thrawn). Send me new Problematic Faves… and set them against hypercompetent protagonists that the plot finds new and exciting ways to challenge (Murderbot, The Witcher).
  • I love a strong thread of humor: banter and snark, a sly or wry voice, or meta/self-/genre-aware comedy a la Redshirts, The Princess Bride, or your wisecrackingest friend’s D&D campaign. And if you could somehow find me a successor to Terry Pratchett, I would happily make a deal with any demon you like.

I come to Tor from a decade in middle grade and YA publishing at Harper Children’s, where I had the pleasure of working with acclaimed and bestselling authors like Ava Reid (A Study in Drowning), Andre Norton Award finalist Shveta Thakrar (Star Daughter), and Sarah Underwood (Lies We Sing to the Sea). For the Tor list, I’m still interested in “cross-under” adult fiction with broad appeal to adult and YA readerships. If you’re not sure whether a book would fit best in the adult or YA market, send it to me and I’d love to help you decide!

Fun facts about me:

Former Southern Californian, barista, and World of Warcraft player who still can’t figure out winter, drinks too much iced coffee, and stays up too late playing video games.

Submission Guidelines

Agented submissions only, but unagented writers may book consultations (see below).

Agents, please email your pitch and the manuscript to me at Tor. If you are an agented author with a manuscript that matches what I’ve listed here, please have your agent submit it via email. If you are an author who is currently looking for an agent, best of luck; I hope your agented manuscript submission crosses my desk one day!


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