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May 2008
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Tor: A social fanzine for science fiction and fantasy readers

Tor A social science fiction and fantasy site for e-book readers

Tor Books is a major hardcover and paperback science fiction and fantasy publisher, one of the largest in the English-speaking world, it announced recently that it was working on a new community website which would be a “go-to site, a central community” for science fiction and fantasy fans, this website will act, in part, as a form of branding and promotion for Tor book titles. The site will also implement light social networking elements and publish original short fiction and nonfiction for free online, all DRM free.

Here is the hook from the front page of Tor.com

A science fiction and fantasy site not quite like any you’ve seen before, mixing news, commentary, original stories and art, your own comments and conversations, and more. A place on the net you may find yourself wanting to visit—and participate in—every day.

While there isnt any more information on the site Patrick Nielsen Hayden is on the team that is developing the site, he had this to say;

But we know several things. We know that the site will use a blog-like architecture to present an ongoing stream of news, opinion, and observation from various Tor people, myself included, about the SF and fantasy events of the day—and about perhaps less-current things that are nonetheless of interest to SF and fantasy readers, such as medieval siege engines, the Van Allen Belt, hoisin sauce, XKCD, and the novels of Georgette Heyer. We know that there will be non-Tor bloggers also posting to the “front page”; in fact we’ve already recruited several in order to ensure coverage of particular niche areas. (Some of these individuals will be familiar to Making Light readers—wave hello, Bruce Baugh—and we haven’t finished recruiting, either.) We know that the site will also feature new original fiction on a regular basis, illustrated under the supervision of art director Irene Gallo, and that these original stories—free of DRM, offered as part of the blog feed and also Available For Your Convenience in a variety of other formats—will have their own associated open comment threads, just like everything else on the blog. We know that there will be lightweight “social networking” features for registered users, including the ability to form mutual-interest groups through tagging and the ability to create journals and/or discussions of their own. Most of all, we know that the real point of the exercise isn’t to create yet another blog, but rather, a place and a context for the lively, ongoing, wide-ranging, and profoundly self-organizing discussions that have characterized the science fiction subculture since its earliest days. In other words, it’ll be a lot like Making Light, except with original fiction and art, more front-page bloggers, a more direct connection to SF and fantasy, and run out of the middle of Tor Books.

From what I have gathered from various sources a few dozen authors have already been approached to submit their work, Tor is possible paying upward of 25 cents per word for some of the stories from the prominent authors. Once the titles are published on the site they will also be accompanied by commissioned artwork.

Beta testers can apply to join the private beta by sending an email to tor.betatest@gmail.com, however that maybe unnecessary since the launch may be imminent – it is due for launch sometime in May.

As part of the effort to get users to sign up, Tor is offering a free e-book every week for users who sign up for the weekly newsletter, this weeks offering is “Touch of Evil” by C. T. Adams, in previous weeks you could have got your hands on “Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson, “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi and “Spin” by Robert Charles Wilson – all of them great books, all of them DRM free and all of them work with the Kindle.

The concept of the site sounds amazing, and there isn’t anything remotely like it anywhere on the web. Even if they implement half of what they are trying to do, the site will be a huge success. So if you love your science fiction and fantasy book, sign up for the newsletter and stay tuned in for the launch.

Source: Making Light

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