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Tor's 30th Anniversary

   

In This Issue

  From Kathleen Doherty, a very proud daughter!

  Tor Memories: Traveling with Ralph Arnote

  Office Space…the final frontier

  Before Production Went Paperless…

  Tor Back Then

  The Sacred Rock of Tor

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win on Goodreads:

  The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

  Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm

  Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

  A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

  Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer

  Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

  Spin by Robert Charles Wilson

Watch for more giveaways all month on Twitter!

Behind the Scenes at Tor—Three Decades in the Making!

Many of us who have been here since “the old days” still think of Tor as the Little Engine that Could.  Against long odds, Tom Doherty, his then-wife Barbara, and several good friends—all publishing professionals of long standing and experience—wrestled the company into being at a kitchen table and grew it into the outstanding publishing house it is today. 

Of course, a publishing company is more than balance sheets and bestseller lists, than production schedules and submissions logs.  Get a few Tor old-timers together and stories start to be told…stories we’re happy to share with you.  We hope you enjoy this behind-the-scenes peek at Tor’s past. 

 

From Kathleen Doherty, a very proud daughter!

I came to Tor via nepotism. I was working in Boston when my father, Tom Doherty, called and asked if I would like to give publishing a try. After a bit of back and forth, he eventually offered me $500 more per year than my then-current salary. I accepted the offer, moved back to NY, and immediately embarked on a year-long, cross-country expedition, opening special sales and educational accounts for Tor.

Continue reading >>

 

Tor Memories: Traveling with Ralph Arnote

By Beth Meacham, Executive Editor

Ralph was Tor’s first ID Sales director. He was one of the Old Guys—traveling book salesmen who knew everyone and had been everywhere. He had joined Tom at the beginning of Tor—Ralph did wholesale, and Tom did direct sales. Having two super salesmen at the core of a new publishing house was, I think, the key to Tor’s success.

Continue reading >>

 

Office Space…the final frontier

By Melissa Ann Singer, Senior Editor

When I started at Tor in the mid-1980s, there were perhaps a dozen full-time staffers and a handful or so of part-time and freelance staff. Our offices on 36th Street were a tiny, mostly windowless warren crammed to the rafters with staffers, desks, manuscript shelves, and piles and piles of paper. The clearest spaces were the copy room/mailroom and the accounting office, but even there every inch of space did double or triple duty. I don’t want to think how many fire codes we violated on a daily basis.

Continue reading >>

 

Before Production Went Paperless…

By Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Senior Editor

Those walls on 24th Street, the ones that didn't go all the way to the ceiling? Their load-bearing capacity was limited. Nancy Weisenfeld, Tor's first full-time managing editor, installed a set of bracket-and-standard shelves on the wall of her office, and like all managing editors, immediately filled those shelves with several thousand pages of manuscripts.

One day, while Nancy was briefly out of her office, the whole wall came down, covering her entire office with an alluvial flow of genre fiction. It happened that William Rotsler, the sometime novelist and prolific fanzine cartoonist, was in the office that day. The above cartoon ensued. The reader will note that while the part of David Hartwell is played by a generic Rotsler Blob, the glowering Beth Meacham is startlingly recognizable.

The cartoon, inherited from Beth, has lived framed above my office door for over two decades, as a reminder of several things—not least of which are Tor's roots in the kind of science fiction fandom that included people like Bill Rotsler.

See a larger image Bill Rotsler ’s cartoon >>

 

Tor Back Then

By Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Senior Editor

I joined Tor full-time at the end of 1988. But I’d already been working in the office every day for several months, providing dogsbody editorial assistance to Debbie Notkin and Beth Meacham and occasionally helping the production department. Even before that, I’d done freelance copyediting and proofreading for Tor for around a year. So my becoming a full-time employee wasn’t so much a sudden change as it was like the completion of a lengthy merger.

Continue reading >>

 

 

The Sacred Rock of Tor

By Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Senior Editor

For years, Tor had one computer: an IBM PC AT with an amber monitor.  Towards the end of its life, in the late 1980s, it could only be rebooted by smartly hitting its CPU on the side with a particular rock.  Several people shared the computer and each person had his or her own style of rock banging, and over time, the side of the CPU gradually bowed in due to repeated impacts.

Claire Eddy still has the rock, kept in a high place of honor in her office.

See a larger image of the Sacred Rock of Tor >>

 

 

In This Issue

History of Tor Books Panel, part 1

History of Tor Books Panel, part 2

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