Tor Books: “Golden Age Is Now”

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From Shelf Awareness:

For Devi Pillai, v-p and publisher of Tor Books, the golden age of science fiction and fantasy is now–not 50 or 70 years ago. “We’re living at a time when a critical mass of well-established writers are hitting their stride at a phenomenal level of storytelling skill, while at the same time, a large class of scarily talented newcomers is shaking up the field in every imaginable way,” she explains. “We are seeing so many diverse books–from authors of much more diverse backgrounds and also in terms of what’s in the books themselves, and of the kinds of challenging ideas writers are taking chances on.”

In the same vein, Fritz Foy, president and publisher of Tom Doherty Associates, parent company of Tor Books, says, “Unlike my counterparts in comic books, I tend not to label eras as golden age or silver age. There is a lot of excellent science fiction and fantasy being published right now by a wide variety of publishers, and I believe it is always exciting to have strong competition, which only makes the books better and delivers quality goods to consumers.”

. . . .

During its revered history spanning 40 years, Tor Books has launched the careers of many science fiction and fantasy greats and has published a range of authors in many categories, including Isaac Asimov, Andre Norton, Orson Scott Card, Ursula K. Le Guin, Cory Doctorow, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Harold Robbins, Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi and V.E. Schwab, among many others.

Nevertheless the market is shifting and offering new challenges and opportunities for Tor Books. Foy explains: “As science fiction and fantasy sees increased mainstream success and exposure in other media, there are exciting opportunities for continued readership and market share growth.”

Pointing to “a world in which Game of Thrones rules TV,” Pillai emphasizes that “science fiction and fantasy storytelling has become significantly more mainstream. We’re not just selling to a small niche of devoted genre buffs. The audience for science fiction and fantasy is now actually several audiences, so given the changes in the genre audience, we need to do things differently than we would have 20 years ago, or even five years ago.”

Tor Books aims to expand on its storied traditions that include “the absolute strong focus of editorial excellence, developing new authors, and broadening perspectives about sci-fi and its many subgenres,” Foy says.

Link to the rest at Shelf Awareness

20 thoughts on “Tor Books: “Golden Age Is Now””

    • Me thinks they’ve been smoking whatever Mike S has been selling them – it’s good stuff so long as you don’t inhale …

  1. I love Tor Books. I know people working there, I interact with the fandom surrounding their site on a regular basis. But this sounds less like an article, and more like a press release written by Tor’s marketing department.

    • A marketing dept high on weed.

      Yes, this is a golden age for SF…
      …because of all the authors bypassing TOR.

      And they want to take credit for that?
      High on weed.

    • Verily it ’tis.
      And 13 year olds aren’t awash in cash.

      Now I’m wondering about teenagers on KU…
      Is Amazon roping them in while they’re young?

      • Ohhh. That’s a great point. And indie authors are usually at the $4.99 and below price point. With their $14.99 price points and the disappearance of mass market paperbacks, I wonder if Big Pub has accidentally severed their authors from the next generation of fans.

        • Tor in particular went a step further: by blocking new releases from libraries, they’re blocking bookworm kids from their authors.

          It’s like quicksand, they more they struggle to protect their reader spend obsession, the deeper they sink.

          Here’s another thought: note how Amazon discounts Prime to students and lets them ride on their parents’ accounts. Now, add in Prime reads. They don’t even have to sign up to KU until they’re hooked.

  2. has published a range of authors in many categories, including Isaac Asimov, Andre Norton, Orson Scott Card, Ursula K. Le Guin, Cory Doctorow, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Harold Robbins, Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi and V.E. Schwab, among many others.

    Tor published Harold Robbins? Wat. I really, really wanna know what books of his they published now. I thought his books were Outsider A from Background X tries to establish himself in Hostile Industry Z while having sex with woman A through ZZ. Often simultaneously.

    • Found it. His spicy prose seems to have been limited to the Forge side of Tor. That makes a bit more sense.

    • I’d want to know how many of their repeat authors got started this decade. Or this century. Some on that list are running out the clock on the 70 part of life + 70.

      Who are they trying to snow, anyway? Readers or dreamers? Maybe their german bosses?

      • There aren’t any big names, really, that got their start this decade. That’s an ongoing problem with every publisher, though. As far as in the 2000s, though, they’ve broken some of the biggest names. John Scalzi, Brandon Sanderson, Cory Doctorow, and Martha Wells all published their first scif-fi/fantasy novels after 2004. NK Jemison publishes with them as well, and her first book came out in 2010.

        • Baen has brought up a few repeat top sellers in recent years. Even this decade. So it’s not everybody.

          Anyway, Tor’s management has seen a recent shake up with Doherty getting phased out.

          It’s led to things like this:

          …where they reverse cause and effect, pretending their poor sales are because of library lending instead of accepting people are going to the libraries because of their high prices.

          There have been reports that the imprint might get downsized or even shut down. This disguised press release suggests tbe rumors might have some basis.

          • As much as I love Baen–they’re about the only publisher I’ll buy new from–I think their most recent Big Name Author find was Larry Correia, and he got started in ’07.

            I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though.

  3. I love Monster Hunter. I like how Tor snuck in credit for John Scalzi Not that I’m a big fan of his, but they didn’t discover him.

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