How Tor.com went from being a website to the publisher of the most innovative sci-fi stories
In July 2008, sci-fi publisher Tor launched a new website called Tor.com to promote its upcoming releases. But the site was designed to go beyond Tor books. It was intended to cover books from other publishers as well as original fiction chosen by Tor publishers.
Since its inception, Tor.com has grown from a simple website to a full-fledged publishing operation. In addition to publishing shorter works of fiction, it also publishes a range of novels, short stories and even short novels, with books like that by Nnedi Okorafor Binti and Martha Wells All systems red earn considerable praise from the science fiction community. This week the site published the anthology Worlds in Passage: 10 Years of Short Fiction Tor.com, which celebrates the site’s best fiction over the decade of its operation.
Tor Creative Director Irene Gallo tells The edge that the original idea for Tor.com came from Fritz Foy, who managed technology initiatives for Tor’s parent company, Macmillan. (He’s now president and publisher of Tor.) Foy arrived at a Christmas party in 2007 with a stack of sci-fi and fantasy magazines, and he came up with a new site that would highlight genre novels, would publish short fiction films and generally talk about what readers were interested in. “I was really trying to speak directly to readers,” she explains. “From the start, we wanted it to be publisher and media neutral,” covering not only written fiction, but also science fiction television and film.
Over the years, Tor.com has experimented with short fiction in ways that its predecessors, like print publications, Asimov’s science fiction Where Facts and fictions of analog science did not. He posted stories on his website for anyone to read, as well as illustrations. He’s made individual stories available through online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple’s iBooks, and he’s put together anthologies of free e-books that put together the site’s best stories for the year, or on a specific theme. and topical, like Nonetheless, she persisted Where Fierce readings, an anthology for YA readers.
Gallo noted that the internet has changed a lot over the years since they started. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have changed the way people converse online, but the site has always been able to find a place among the noise online to tell great stories. “The more we focus on quality and good content, the more we realize people will like it, share it and talk about it,” she says.
In 2014, Macmillan announced a big change for Tor.com: the site would become a full-fledged imprint, and it would publish its own line of print books, focusing on works shorter than an average novel, but longer. than a traditional novel. novelist, alongside the fiction she was already publishing online. Traditionally published in science fiction magazines or through specialist publishers, Tor.com’s short stories and short films have a distinct advantage for an online audience: their shorter length allows them to be read in a session or two, making them perfect for digital reading or commuting. .
Gallo notes that the format change allows them to post very different stories from their bigger counterparts. Not all characters or worlds Needs a story of the novel type. The shorter length also allows writers to experiment, test out a character and a world to see how readers react. Martha Wells’ recent Murderous robot novels, The drums of the dark god by P. Djèlí Clark, and War cry by Brian McClellan are great examples of a little exploration in a much bigger world. Gallo noted that the news of Nnedi Okorafor Binti was originally conceived as one story. But after playing with the character and the world, Okorafor returned for two sequels. “For new writers,” says Gallo, “it could be a foot in the door. But for established writers, maybe it could play out in an arena they didn’t have [played in] Again. If you have a little idea that you don’t want to have to upgrade to something bigger, or if you write fantasy and want to try sci-fi, they can try it.
“I have very little patience for novels now. It’s terrible, ”says Gallo. “I’m like ‘come on!’ I still love reading novels, but now I expect every word to count or every paragraph to do something. But the imprint doesn’t focus exclusively on under-length works: it has published a few novels, like that by Joe M. McDermott The fortress on the edge of time Where Winter tide by Ruthanna Emrys. At the start of science fiction publishing, the typical length of a novel was around 60,000 words, rather than the 100,000 to 120,000 words they can reach today. Gallo notes that Tor.com will be releasing more novels in the future, and those shorter novels certainly match the types he’s released.
As to where the site goes over the next decade, Gallo says that will largely depend on how the internet continues to evolve. But as those things change, “I hope it comes down to doing the best job it can, and knowing it’s going to break through regardless of the type of delivery system that day.”