18 October, 2021

LitStack Recs: Changing My Mind & Tor.com

Tor.com

This week, I’m not going to recommend a book.  I’m going to recommend a website.torcom

Tor is the primary imprint (trade name) of the publishing company, Tom Doherty Associates LLC (now part of Macmillan Publishers USA).  Since 1980, it has been a feisty, genre-loving publisher of fantasy and science fiction works.

In 2008, Tor rolled out Tor.com; more than a website, it is also a major advocate for fantasy and science fiction, their readers, and their varied and enthusiastic communities (including geeks and nerds of many and varied loyalties).  According to its website, Tor.com “publishes original fiction, art, and commentary on science fiction and related subjects by a wide range of writers from all corners of the field; both professionals working in the genres and fans. Its aim is to provoke, encourage, and enable interesting and rewarding conversations with and between its readers.”

It is also “publisher neutral”, meaning that it will publish works from a wide swath of SF/F authors, regardless of where they choose to stable, or if they are independents.  Many of the works that appear on Tor.com also are published as e-books, and since 2012, every offering from Tor.com has been DRM-free, allowing stories to be shared between enthusiasts.  You really get the feeling that the folks at Tor.com are far more concerned with people and the arts than profitable business models and the bottom line.

Many, many short stories and novellas that have been shared on Tor.com have been nominated for many, many awards.  (According to the Worlds Without End website, as of March 27, 2014, Tor has received 316 nominations from 16 major SF/F awards, with 54 wins for 723 novels, written by 197 authors.)  The exposure an author receives from having their original fiction featured on Tor.com must be immeasurable, especially for new authors, or authors represented by a small, regional or independent publishing company.  And as far as readers are concerned, the works published are stellar.

Just today, for example (for the record:  April 6, 2016).  Not only were there commentaries on books, comic books, and films, re-read introspections, humorous newsy bits on pop culture and a sweepstakes offering (sponsored by Tor but for a book of short stories championed by a small, independent publishing company), but also two works of extraordinarily beautiful original fiction:  “Freedom is Space for the freedomSpirit”, a contemporary fantasy work from Glen Hirshberg, and “There Will Always Be a Max“, a post-apocalyptic science fiction story by Michael R. Underwood.  Both stories are accompanied by some lovely artwork (by Greg Ruth and Goñi Montes, respectively) to boot.

Go ahead – take a few minutes out of your day and read one or both of these stories.  Scroll up and down the articles from the main page.  Check out the archives, do some searching.  If I were a bettin’ person, I’d wager that a vast majority of you will bookmark the site before you leave.  And you should.  With Tor.com, you never know where they will take you tomorrow, and that’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.

—Sharon Browning

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