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Tom Doherty

A Message From Tom Doherty

Longtime Tor Senior Editor, colleague and friend David Hartwell passed away last night. Tom Doherty, President and Publisher of Tor Books shares his thoughts.

David Hartwell was a brilliant editor. I met David in the early 70’s when he was working for Berkeley and got to know him better as he was creating Timescape, an imprint at Simon and Schuster. I’ve worked with him closely for the last 33 years at TOR Books. In all that time, no editor was more influential in the shaping of science fiction and fantasy than he.

He was a founder of the New York Review of Science Fiction, a founder and chairman of the board of directors of the World Fantasy Convention, an administrator of the Philip K. Dick Award. A three-time winner of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor Long Form, David later withdrew his name from contention to give younger editors an opportunity to shine.

John Updike, in the New Yorker, aptly characterized David as a “loving expert.” David’s expertly selected list has been a solid rock in the foundation of TOR. In addition to bringing a vast selection of books to the field, he always found time to mentor younger editors as they learned the trade. David’s Year’s Best anthologies consistently placed high in the Locus reader polls. David’s legacy leaves an indelible mark on the literature and the culture of science fiction and fantasy—as an editor, a mentor, and a fan. He shaped our concepts, our tastes, and in some ways our expectations of these immense and beloved genres.

Fascinating to talk to on any aspect of science fiction, his perspective so fundamental to the building of our company, David was a very special man, and he was my friend. I and so many in the community will miss him.

Tom Doherty on Harry Harrison

Harry Harrison was an illustrator, anthologist, critic; a writer of power and scope voted Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He was published in 25 languages around the world.

In The Stainless Steel Rat and Bill, The Galactic Hero he created two of the great comic series of the genre. In Make Room! Make Room! he made us consider the consequences of over population and over consumption of the world’s resources. Before the term “steampunk” was coined he had written Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!. He believed science fiction was important, that it caused people to think about our world and what it could become.

For over 40 years, he was my friend.

Regarding Hellhole, by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

If I may paraphrase:

…when in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the stars, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of natures God entitles them…

This is such a story. It’s the kind that hooked me on science fiction so may years ago. An epic tale of our future, of technological advancement, world building across 74 star systems and of alien first contact; but human nature itself hasn’t changed much, power and wealth still concentrate and corrupt. The old empire ruled by its dowager empress has imposed crippling taxes on 54 deep zone planets. Their resources are drained to feed the desires of the empires decadent aristocracy but there are those who dream to live free to develop what they sought when they traveled to the stars. This is their story. If you try it I think you’ll get hooked just as I did.

Towards that, Tor Books is releasing the first 100 pages of Herbert and Anderson’s original novel, Hellhole, right here on

Tom Doherty is the publisher of Tor Books.

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