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Showing posts by: Patrick Nielsen Hayden click to see Patrick Nielsen Hayden's profile
Wed
Apr 23 2014 7:00am

Tom Doherty On This DayOn this day in 1935, one of the great figures in science fiction publishing was born: Tom Doherty, president and publisher of Tor Books.

His career in books began in the late 1950s, when he worked as a salesman for Pocket Books, eventually rising to National Sales Manager. He was an avid SF and fantasy reader from an early age, and he paid particular attention to our genres even when he was responsible for selling all kinds of books. His first contact with science fiction’s social world was probably in the early 1960s, when his selling territory included Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of the longtime SF writer (and reviewer for Analog) P. Schuyler Miller, with whom Tom became friends.

[Read more]

Tue
Jan 21 2014 12:00pm

What Makes This Book So Great Jo Walton Tor.comToday is publication day for Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great (U.S. / U.K.), a selection from her posts on Tor.com written between 2008 and 2011. So Tor.com management asked me if I’d like to write a post called “What Makes Jo Walton So Great,” and of course I agreed. What I forgot was that I’ve already essentially written this piece, once for Boskone in 2009 and once again, revised and expanded, for Wiscon in 2013.

So I’ll just go ahead and repeat myself, because Jo Walton is, in fact, so great. As I said before:

“She’s a terrific writer, but she’s also an even rarer thing, a truly gifted salonnière, someone who starts conversations that other people want to join, and makes it all seem as easy as breathing. In person or online, where there’s Jo Walton, there’s good talk, often between people who would never have otherwise known or appreciated one another. Jo is herself a great appreciator and a tabulator of who ought to get to know whom. In the best sense of the word, she is the most naturally fannish professional writer I have ever known.”

[All of which is fully on display in What Makes This Book So Great.]

Sun
Jun 9 2013 12:30pm

Scottish novelist Iain Banks died today, just two months after announcing his terminal cancer diagnosis to the world. He leaves behind a legion of friends, family, and fans, many of whom have reached out in recent weeks to share their admiration and sorrow. His final novel, The Quarry, will be released on June 20th.

Beginning with his controversial (and commercially successful) debut The Wasp Factory (1984), Iain Banks published many non-SF novels, some of which featured fantastic elements, and many of which were enormous bestsellers in the British Isles. 1992’s The Crow Road, a modern-day Scottish family saga with elements of murder mystery, was adapated into a BBC mini-series in 1996.

Under the byline “Iain M. Banks”, he was also the author of one of the most influential bodies of science fiction in the last thirty years, most notably the “Culture” series that began with Consider Phlebas (1997). Set in a far-future interstellar society comprising multiple species of intelligent life, the Culture stories are both unabashed space opera and insightful examinations of anarchy, power, and meaningful action in a post-scarcity universe. Through their verve, color, and indefatigable intelligence, the Culture stories have had an immeasurable impact on modern British science fiction.

In the social world of British SF, Banks will be remembered as a larger-than-life figure—irrepressible, fearlessly outspoken, a boisterous lover of life’s many pleasures, and given to unsung acts of kindness and generosity. Read his books and remember him.

Thu
May 30 2013 9:00am

What Makes This Book So Great by Jo WaltonBack in 2008, when we were first preparing to launch Tor.com, I knew I wanted Jo Walton to be a regular writer for the site. And I knew that Jo, unusually among working writers, is not only a prolific reader of science fiction and fantasy but also an avid re-reader as well. So I suggested she write us a regular series of posts about, not newly-published fantasy and SF, but rather what she’s been re-reading lately.

As you’ll have observed if you’ve been reading Tor.com, this worked out very well. Jo is a voluble, insightful, and engaging chronicler of her own re-reading, and her posts have provoked some of the most interesting comment discussions this site has been privileged to host. (Thank you, brilliant commenters!) So gradually we began to think about assembling a collection of some of the best of Jo’s posts on Tor.com. Selected from the first three years, What Makes This Book So Great, forthcoming in January 2014, is the result.

[See the full cover below]

Fri
Jul 6 2012 10:00am

Now that it’s being discussed in the New York Times, I guess we can talk about John Scalzi’s next project with Tor Books: a new Old Man’s War book called The Human Division. (Readers of The Last Colony and/or Zoe’s Tale will have an immediate inkling of what the title means; for those who haven’t, any explanation would be a spoiler.)

[More about the new book, and the cover revealed!]

Tue
May 22 2012 8:19pm

Finalists have been announced for the 2012 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short science fiction story of the year, and at Tor.com we’re delighted to see that Charlie Jane Anders’ brilliant Tor.com story “Six Months, Three Days” made the list. “Six Months, Three Days” was a finalist for the Nebula Award and is on this year’s Hugo ballot as well, so this is its third major award nomination. Woo!

The Sturgeon is given out annually by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, along with the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best SF novel of the year. Finalists for this year’s Campbell Memorial Award are listed here.

Sat
Aug 13 2011 6:44pm

It’s hard to believe that Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention, is happening in Reno, Nevada just a few days from now. It occurs to us that more than a handful of Tor.com contributors, commenters, artists, and just plain readers are liable to be rattling around the giant casino hotels hosting this year’s Worldcon.

So at the suggestion of Jo Walton, we’re announcing an entirely informal Tor.com meetup, in the Terrace Lounge at the Peppermill Hotel, on Wednesday evening at 9 PM. Jo will be there, along with one or both Nielsen Haydens, Irene Gallo, and probably other Tor.com staff such as Liz Gorinsky, and who knows who else. Spot us by our sensitive fannish faces, introduce yourself, and join us for a drink. Think of it as a warmup for the strenuous Worldcongoing to come...

Mon
Jul 11 2011 1:00pm

Yesterday, July 10, 2011, the eminent SF and fantasy editor and sartorialist David G. Hartwell turned 70. At a party at his home in Pleasantville, New York, literary entrepeneur Henry Wessells surprised David with a beautifully-bound book entitled A Festschrift for David Hartwell On The Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday, “Printed not Published in an edition of one copy” and featuring original fiction and nonfiction in David’s honor by Brian Aldiss, Rudy Rucker, Michael Bishop, Eileen Gunn, Michael Swanwick, and the mysterious “Shirley U. Jestson.”

Tor.com is pleased to present what may or may not be a “reprint” from that unique volume, depending on whether you consider an edition of one copy to constitute “publishing”—a 2500-word symmetrina by Michael Bishop, entitled “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes.”

Tue
Jul 5 2011 1:26pm

Welcome news from Gollancz, that most distinguished of SF publishers:

The third edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, the definitive reference work in the field, will be released online later this year by the newly-formed ESF, Ltd, in association with Victor Gollancz, the SF & Fantasy imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, whose support will enable the text to be available free to all users. This initial “beta” version, containing about three-quarters of the total projected content, will be unveiled in conjunction with Gollancz’s celebrations of its 50th anniversary as a science fiction publisher.
The first edition of the Encyclopedia, whose founder and general editor was Peter Nicholls, appeared in 1979, and contained over 700,000 words. A second edition, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, appeared in 1993 and contained over 1.3 million words. Both editions won the Hugo Award from the World Science Fiction Convention, in addition to numerous other honours. The beta version of the third edition will contain some 3 million words, including about 12,000 entries and well over 100,000 internal links. The entries cover every area of science fiction, including authors, illustrators, movies, music, games, and fanzines. The text will be completed, through monthly updates, by the end of 2012.

The third edition has been overseen by John Clute and David Langford, along with editor emeritus Peter Nicholls and managing editor Graham Sleight, plus a cast of thousands, ranging from contributing editors wrangling entire categories to experts writing a few entries on people, stories, and subjects of their particular speciality. Both previous editions of the Encyclopedia Galactica of SF were outstanding (and immeasurably useful!) works of scholarship, so it’s great to hear that most of the third edition will be available soon, and for free.

Sun
May 22 2011 8:31am

As Irene said, congrats to all of last night's Nebula Award winners—but a special, brief, highly partisan WOO HOO to Kij Johnson, whose “Ponies” is the first story from Tor.com to win a major award. You can read it here.

Sun
Apr 24 2011 6:30pm

2011 Hugo Award nominationsThe finalists for the 2011 Hugo Awards have been announced.

The Hugo Awards have been given since 1953, and every year since 1955, by the annual World Science Fiction Convention (the “Worldcon”). The first Worldcon occurred in New York City in 1939, and Worldcons have been held annually since then except during World War II. This year’s Worldcon, Renovation, will be held in Reno, Nevada from August 17 through 21, 2011; its Guests of Honor will be Ellen Asher, Charles N. Brown (in memoriam), Tim Powers, and Boris Vallejo.

Renovation logo

Hugo Award finalists are selected by members of the previous Worldcon and of the upcoming one; winners are selected by members of the upcoming one. All Attending, Young Adult, and Supporting members of Renovation can vote on the final ballot.  For more information about voting in the Hugo Awards, or becoming a member of Renovation, please click here.

The winners will be announced Saturday, August 20th, 2011, during the Hugo Awards Ceremony at Renovation in Reno, Nevada.

The nominees for the 2011 Hugo Awards are:

[Nominees below the cut]

Tue
Feb 1 2011 9:30am

Tor.com original stories now for sale

Once again, a pile of Tor.com's original stories are becoming available as 99-cent digital chapbooks on various e-book platforms, including the Kindle store, Apple’s iBooks store, Barnes & Noble’s e-bookstore, the Google Books store, the Kobo store, and the Sony Reader store.

As a result, almost every original story published on Tor.com, from our mid-2008 launch up until today, is now available through these e-book channels, complete with the original Tor.com art on their “covers.” Going forward, new original Tor.com fiction will appear simultaneously on the site (in inline HTML and audio, both free) and from the major e-book retailers (in versions designed for the current generation of e-readers and reader programs). In other words, you can read it for free here and you can buy a handsome edition for your e-book reader. Or both!

Tue
Jan 18 2011 5:23pm

Among Others by Jo WaltonAs a senior editor at Tor Books and the manager of our science fiction and fantasy line, I rarely blog to promote specific projects I’m involved with, for reasons that probably don’t need a lot of explanation. But every so often a book compels me to break my own rule. And Among Others by Jo Walton, officially published today, is such a book.

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 15 2010 1:06pm

The Trains That Climb The Winter TreeMr. Michael Swanwick, of the Philadephia Swanwicks, deals out the scoop on “How to Write a Collaborative Story,” sharing the tale of how Tor.com’s 2010 winter holiday tale “The Trains That Climb the Winter Tree” came to be written by Mr. Swanwick with Ms. Eileen Gunn (late of the East Cambridge Ostrogoths), and later published by Tor.com. Like everything ever posted to a blog by a professional science fiction writer, Mr. Swanwick’s narrative is 100% true. Because they wouldn’t let it go on the Internet if it wasn’t true.

Tue
Dec 14 2010 9:30am

Our Christmas story for 2010, “The Trains that Climb the Winter Tree” by Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn, is shocking, lyrical, inventive, and as you might guess, a little mad. It will appear on Tor.com on Tuesday, December 21, but if you’re a registered member of the site you’ll be getting it tomorrow—a week early—personally emailed to you by the elves and wood sprites who labor in our vast network operations center deep beneath the sub-basement of the Flatiron Building.

Becoming a member of Tor.com costs nothing and confers upon you a long and impressive list of powers and privileges. Young John W. “Biff” Scalzi joined Tor.com in July 2008 and now he is a full-time novelist with an attractive family, a large house, a popular weblog, and dictatorial command over the armies of the Science Fiction Writers of America. Coincidence? We think not. Aren’t you sorry you still aren’t a member? Sign up or log in to view the story at this link.

Fri
Dec 10 2010 11:26am

It’s the time of year when news of the contents of various annual Year’s Best short-fiction collection begins to emerge. So far, we’ve heard word of three Tor.com stories appearing in three different annuals:

The Fermi Paradox Is Our Business Model by Charlie Jane AndersCharlie Jane Anders’ “The Fermi Paradox Is Our Business Modelwill appear in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2011 (Prime), edited by Rich Horton.

 

The Starship Mechanic by Jay Lake and Ken ScholesJay Lake & Ken Scholes’ “The Starship Mechanicwill appear in The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Volume 28 (St. Martin’s Press), edited by Gardner Dozois.

 

The Man With The Knives by Ellen KushnerAnd “The Man with the Knives,” by Ellen Kushner, originally published as a stand-alone chapbook and reprinted on Tor.com on December 1, will appear in The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Five (Night Shade Books), edited by Jonathan Strahan.

 

Congratulations to all the authors involved!


Patrick Nielsen Hayden is a senior editor at Tor Books and, with Liz Gorinsky, one of the two fiction editors of Tor.com. Read more about him on the Tor.com About Us page.

Wed
Aug 11 2010 11:15am

On August 17, Tor Books will publish the first half of William H. Patterson Jr.’s two-volume authorized biography of Robert A. Heinlein, Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1, 1907-1948: Learning Curve. In commemoration of this, we’ve convened a kind of online panel discussion of Heinlein and of the biography—of his work, his methods, and his legacy, and of what light the biography sheds on all of those.

[Read more]

Mon
Jul 19 2010 12:34pm

Starting tomorrow, twelve of the first thirteen original stories published on Tor.com will be available on a bunch of e-book platforms, including the Kindle store, Apple’s iBooks store, Barnes & Noble’s e-bookstore, the Kobo store, and the Sony Reader store, for 99 cents each. These are in effect little e-chapbooks, complete with the original Tor.com art on their “covers,” designed to work properly with the current generation of e-book devices and reading programs.

The stories going up are:

  • “After the Coup” by John Scalzi
  • “Down on the Farm” by Charles Stross
  • “Shade” by Steven Gould
  • “The Girl Who Sang Rose Madder” by Elizabeth Bear
  • “Catch ’Em in the Act” by Terry Bisson
  • “Jack and the Aktuals, Or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory” by Rudy Rucker
  • “A Water Matter” by Jay Lake
  • “The Film-makers of Mars” by Geoff Ryman
  • “Firstborn” by Brandon Sanderson
  • “Errata” by Jeff VanderMeer
  • “Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction” by Jo Walton
  • “A Weeping Czar Beholds the Fallen Moon” by Ken Scholes

A thirteenth story, Cory Doctorow’s “The Things That Make Me Weak And Strange Get Engineered Away,” will join these soon on several of these platforms.

As these stories become available for sale, they’ll remain freely available on Tor.com. We’ll be taking down the downloadable versions—the ePub and PDF files, and so forth—but the stories will still be complete on the site, along with their downloadable audio. This is all an experiment on everybody’s part, Amazon’s and Apple’s and B&N’s and everyone else’s, and ours as well. So bear with us as we fire up the Tesla coils in the sub-basement of the Flatiron Building. (Distant thuds, screams, the sound of enormous wings...)

Thu
Jul 15 2010 11:31am

On August 17, Tor Books will publish the first half of William H. Patterson’s much-anticipated two-volume authorized biography of Robert A. Heinlein, Robert A. Heinlein In Dialogue with His Century: Volume I, Learning Curve, 1907-1948. In commemoration of this, Tor editor Stacy Hague-Hill has asked several of the great and the good of modern SF to identify their own favorite Heinlein novel and explain why. I’ve read all the pieces she got back, and they may intrigue and surprise you. They’re going up on the Tor/Forge blog, one a week, beginning with David Brin’s.

Wait, “Tor/Forge blog”? Then what are you reading right now, you very reasonably ask? What you’re reading is Tor.com, a unit of Macmillan USA set up to be a venue for original fiction, comics, and discussion of the entire field of SF and fantasy, in all media and from all sources. Tor.com is run by a small group of Macmillan employees, not all of whom work for Tor Books. Tor/Forge’s blog is run entirely by Tor employees, and it exists to unabashedly promote and draw attention to books published by Tor, Forge, and other imprints of the Macmillan-owned-publishing-company-known-officially-as-Tom-Doherty-Associates-LLC-but-unofficially-to-most-people-as-just-plain-Tor-Books. (Say that fast six times while standing on your head.) A lot of the Tor/Forge blog’s content is mirrored from the monthly Tor Books email newsletter (which you can subscribe to here), but it also features material, such as the pieces making up Stacy’s weekly Heinlein series, that’s unique to the blog itself.

Meanwhile, you ask, isn’t Tor.com planning to do something of its own to tie in with the imminent publication of Patterson’s massive Heinlein biography? Why yes, in fact, we are. And we’ll tell you about it as the book’s release approaches. Watch the skies.

Tue
Jul 13 2010 3:31pm

Rachel Swirsky, whose Tor.com stories from 2009 wound up as finalists for (variously) the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards, is attending Launch Pad, a NASA-funded workshop in which SF writers get a crash course in modern astronomy, via guest lectures from working scientists and also via hands-on use of the University of Wyoming’s telescopes. And she’s live-blogging the experience in a series of fascinatingly detailed guest posts to Jeff VanderMeer’s blog

Tor.com has covered Launch Pad before—David Levine wrote up his experience attending the workshop in 2008.

(But are there really people who think the moon isn’t visible during the day? What, do they never look up? Oy.)


Patrick Nielsen Hayden is a senior editor at Tor Books and, with Liz Gorinsky, one of the two fiction editors of Tor.com. Read more about him on the Tor.com About Us page.