Quickie: On Tor.com, Jo Walton, and Blogging

Someone complained today that Jo Walton’s wonderful series about re-discovering old treasures in the SF/Fantasy field on Tor.com is just a Tor promotional vehicle:

Bob Bruhin

14. ConradA
VIEW ALL BY · Thursday August 21, 2008 10:27am EDT
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When I saw this posting linked somewhere on the Web, I said to myself, well let us see if this site has become more than a Tor shill – well, Exaltation of Larks is surprise, surprise a Tor title.

So just change the title of the post to the weirdest Tor book in the World pretty please…

To which Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Tor editor, replied:


15. pnh
VIEW ALL BY · Thursday August 21, 2008 11:38am EDT
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Number of Jo Walton posts on Tor.com: 43

Number of Jo Walton posts focusing on a particular Tor author or title: 4

For that matter, did you notice that the post you’re commenting on wasn’t ultimately about the Robert Reed novel?

I do realize that anything called Tor.com is inevitably going to be suspected of being nothing but a promotional vehicle for Tor. On the other hand, if it means we try extra-hard to discuss the rest of the field, that’s a win. My actual worry is that good stuff from Tor will get shorted because we’re bending over backwards. By any measure, Tor publishes somewhat more than 4/43rds of the interesting books in SF.

Things I note:

  1. … wow. All bow to the power of Jo Walton, Blogger. I love all her posts, too—they’re all high quality: intelligent, insightful, and informative. The best qualities in any blog post. And she can do this frequently, which is a double plus.

  2. She provides a great look at the treasure trove of SF/Fantasy books past—as well as sometimes outside of genre, like her column on Jodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. This is a rare topic covered, so she’s also got the “fairly unique” requirement down. This is important where blogging is concerned.

  3. I’ve looked into the books she’s mentioned. So I’m quite aware that not all of them are Tor—in fact, very few of them were ever published by Tor. She’s definitely not a “speaking tube” for Tor, if I may use so crass and idiotic a phrase.

  4. I actually read the article all the way through, so I knew that the discussion extends to really weird books in general, covering a multitude of novels, with comments from visitors bringing up even more—also a great quality in any blogger, the ability to generate conversations.

  5. As I said before, all bow before the blogging prowess of Jo. She hits all the right notes that any blogger who wants to do SerIouZ bloGgiN’ needs to hit. So she’s both a great writer and a great blogger—and both are difficult things to keep up.

You see, I look into these things. Which means I miss out on having as many knee-jerk reactions as I could otherwise have. I suppose that’s a loss. I’m not missing it.

Next thing you know, someone will complain about the picture being a Tor book. In 5, 4, 3….