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Tor Tor i(A37102 works by) (Organisation) assertion (a.k.a. Tor Books)
Born: Established: 1980 New York (City), New York (State),
United States of America (USA),
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Tor Books is one of two imprints founded by New York-based Tom Doherty Associates, LLC in 1980. At the time Doherty was with science fiction imprint Ace but decided it was time to strike out on his own. Tor was founded with the intent to publish science fiction, fantasy, horror and thrillers in mass market paperbacks, but in its first year only shipped just four books, and two of these were movie tie-ins: Flash Gordon and Popeye. The following year, however, Tor had great success with Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic League.

Doherty sold Tor to St. Martin's in 1986 but the deal allowed him to maintain editorial control. When St. Martin's became part of the German publishing conglomerate Holtzbrinck in 1999, both it and Tor became fellow Holtzbrinck imprints with Henry Holt, and Farrar Straus Giroux. These two publishers had been bought out by Holtzbrinck in 1985 and 1994 respectively. Holtzbrinck also purchased 70 per cent of the Macmillan Group in 1995, before buying out the remaining shares in 1999. This takeover, which still allowed Macmillan to remain as the brand name, saw Tor subsequently become a Macmillan imprint.

Doherty's association with Tor continued after the Holtzbrinck acquisition, and indeed the company has been able to retain a large degree of independence since. This has been in part due to the unusual editorial process which ignores traditional publishing house consensus decision-making. According to Doherty this process sees all the editors sit down together and decide which authors to sign and how much to spend on promotions and advances. The result, [he] argues, is an unwillingness to try something new or unusual. Tor decided to do things differently. "We don't do things by committee and we don't expect anyone to take care of us," Doherty says. "We can stray outside the genre as long as they sell. We've got to be self-supporting"' (Mangu-Ward, n. pag).

Tor's independence was threatened in 2006, however, when Holtzbrinck forced it to stop making its books available as eBooks via Webscriptions. Holtzbrinck's concern was in the perceived lack of digital rights management (DRM). By 2007 these concerns were scaled down and Tor management announced that selected titles would be made available as e-books via Baen and a variety of other online retailers. Nevertheless, as of January 2010 Tor has still not proceeded with this plan.

Tor publishes between 110 and 120 new original titles each year, routinely topping the science fiction bestseller list compiled by the industry magazine Locus. It also has won the highly respected Locus Award for the best science fiction publishing house every year between 1988 and 2007. In 2008 the publisher earned yet another distinction when its authors claimed all five finalist spots for the Prometheus Award, the annual prize for best science fiction novel of the year handed out by the Libertarian Futurist Society (ctd. Mangu-Ward, n. pag). Is is further claimed that Tor publishes more award winning and nominated science fiction books than any other company, with its website indicating 157 nominated titles as of March, 2009.

Among the Australian or Australian-based authors to be published by Tor are Cherry Wilder, George Turner, Sean McMullen, Stephen Dedman, Paul Brandon, Damien Broderick, Juliet Marillier, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Sarah Douglass, Paul Collins, Kim Wilkins, Jennifer Fallon, Sandra McDonald, Simon Brown and Lara Morgan.

Most Referenced Works


  • The other imprint founded by Thomas Doherty is Forge, which publishes mainstream fiction, mystery, and occasional military history titles.

  • Further Reference:

Last amended 20 Mar 2013 12:46:34
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