The Sunday Salon: Dragon*Con 2011 — “TOR Upfront”

Oh, Dragon*Con. As I’m writing this, I’m recovering from my farewell gift—a case of Con Crud. Hack hack, cough cough. But I had a blast, as I always do—it’s the only con I go to, and it’s always a unique and amazing experience. In no particular order, I met Mary Robinette Kowal, saw Stan Lee put a positive spin on everything Marvel has ever done (including Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark, bless him), debuted my Éowyn costume favorably, watched my roommate win Miss Star Trek Universe, danced my feet off at the Tolkien Track party to Emerald Rose, quaked in my gladiator sandals meeting Tor editor Claire Eddy, got told (alongside a whole panel, of course) a dirty joke by Sylvester McCoy, and discovered why the Supernatural fandom is the way it is. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But I’ll share in detail one particular panel I think y’all might be interested in—“Tor Upfront”, which previewed Tor’s line-up for the rest of the year.

The panel was hosted by Tor editors Claire Eddy, Melissa Ann Singer, and Susan Chang—the last being the only editor on staff who deals solely with young adult material. While there were some technical difficulties at first, it was a pretty straightforward panel; they had a slideshow of the new releases, which they commented on briefly, and then they opened the floor up to some questions. Here’s the list of titles they featured, with comments only when, well, I’ve something to say.

Naturally, they started with their recent August releases (and one June release).

  • Kitty’s Big Trouble, Carrie Vaughn
  • The Omen Machine, Terry Brooks
  • Kitty’s Greatest Hits, Carrie Vaughn
  • A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge, Reissue
    • I’ve actually got a copy of this, and it’s absolutely lovely.
  • Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
  • Cat in a Vegas Gold Vendetta, Carole Nelson Douglas
    • This is published under Forge books, but I think we need to talk about books written from the perspective of animals… I wouldn’t call that fantasy or science fiction, although it certainly fits as speculative fiction, I suppose…
  • Dry Ice, Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson
  • With Fate Conspire, Marie Brennan
  • Awakenings, Edward Lazellari
  • The Darkest Part of the Woods, Ramsey Campbell
  • Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake
  • Will Power, A. J. Hartley, Mass Market Paperback
  • Farlander, Col Buchanan, Mass Market Paperback
  • Out of the Dark, David Weber, Mass Market Paperback

And then moved onto their September releases.

  • How Firm a Foundation, David Weber
  • The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel — Volume One, Robert Jordan, Chuck Dixon, and Chase Conley
  • The Highest Frontier, Joan Slonczewski
  • Crack’d Pot Trail, Steven Erikson
    • I ended up with a copy of this from the panel; they handed out swag at the end. I might give this away.
  • Spellbound, Blake Charlton
  • Prospero Regained, L. Jagi Lamplighter
  • Blood and Other Cravings edited by Ellen Datlow
  • Halo: Cryptum, Greg Bear
    • A video game tie-in novel written by a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author. Interesting…
  • Down the Mystery River, Bill Willingham with illustrations by Mark Buckingham
  • Ganymede, Cherie Priest
  • Laddertop: Volume One, Orson Scott Card, Emily Janice Card, and Honoel A. Ibardolaza
  • The Faerie Ring, Kiki Hamilton
    • This sounds like it has potential; in Victorian London, a thief steals one of Queen Victoria’s rings. Unfortunately, it’s the ring that cements the treaty between the realms of England and Faerie, and its loss presents the perfect opportunity for a Fae rebellion.

October releases…

  • Cat in an Ultramarine Scheme, Carole Nelson Douglas
  • Demon Song, Cat Adams
    • This is the final installment in a trilogy composed of Blood Song and Siren Song.
  • Steel, Richard Matheson, Mass Market Paperback
    • A tie-in edition with the upcoming film.
  • Towers of Midnight, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  • The Children of the Sky, Vernor Vinge
  • The Dark at the End, F. Paul Wilson
  • Halo: Glasslands, Karen Traviss

November releases…

  • The Sea Thy Mistress, Elizabeth Bear, Mass Market Paperback
  • Surrender to the Will of the Night, Glen Cook, Mass Market Paperback
  • House of the Star, Caitlin Brennan, Mass Market Paperback
  • The Allow of Law, Brandon Sanderson
  • Scholar, L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
  • Endurance, Jay Lake
    • Yurgh. Yurgh.

and December releases.

  • The Thirteen Hallows, Michael Scott and Colette Freedman
  • EVE: Templar One, Tony Gonzales
  • Dragon Age: Asunder, David Gaider
  • The Lost Gate, Orson Scott Card, Mass Market Paperback
  • Hellhole, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, Mass Market Paperback
  • All That Lives Must Die, Eric Nylund, Mass Market Paperback
    • Sequel to Mortal Coils.

They then opened up the floor to questions—I nabbed the first one, asking how I could get where they are. Their answer, to a woman, was that their paths into editing were odd and difficult to recreate, but that interning heavily, especially in the industry, would be a bonus. Unfortunately, as I was taking notes on my phone rather than on my notebook (I also left all of my business cards in my desk, to show how stupid I was), I don’t have the exact questions in front of me, but I do have the answers! Genre-bending—as in, an author who they published in fantasy wanting to do something else that they do publish—isn’t frowned upon, but can only really be done by established authors, meaning at least three published books. There’s no quota system in place; I think they may have mentioned something about blind reading (reading work with the author’s name omitted), but that also could have been at a panel on Saturday about women in speculative fiction and publishing. They still don’t know how the Borders fallout is going to affect them; it’s early days yet. Melissa Ann Singer has been reading Georgette Heyers and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for fun, while Claire Eddy has been reading Fingersmith and loving it. (Clearly a woman of exquisite taste.) Tor does editing in-house, although it does freelance out copy-editing—and copy-editing can be vetoed, so keep that in mind if you get very upset over typos in published books.

So… yeah! Ultimately a pretty straight-forward but informative panel, and a great way to kick off the rest of the weekend, which was spent on less bookish pursuits.

I’ve hit the ground running this week, on top of being pretty sick—we cast the show I’m directing in two audition sessions this week, and rehearsals are going to be late to accommodate everyone’s schedule. And I’ve got early morning appointments on Tuesday morning, so I’ll have to get up really early to slot in my run. Yeesh. But I think I’ve gotten a handle on things, and I’ll do more homework today. I finished Shadowmagic and Glow this weekend; even though Book Blogger Appreciation Week is upon us, I’ll be putting up my Glow review tomorrow. Now, if only I could write it… I’ve also just realized I accidentally skipped putting a review up on Friday because of switching around scheduled posts for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, so I do apologize; that really frustrates me. Regular programming will resume Monday after next.

Tor/Forge is giving awaya young adult bundle until tomorrow. You must sign up for their newsletter to enter. Fantasy Book Critic is giving away a copy of Spellbound and a signed copy of Spellwright until October 7.  The Baen Free Library is full of free downloads, including The Shadow of the Lion and On Basilisk Station. Night Shade Books is offering Butcher Bird and Grey as free downloads at the moment. Vertigo Comics is offering free downloads of the first issue of several series, including Fables, The Unwritten, and Y: The Last Man. (And you will go download The Unwritten.) If I’ve missed your giveaway or freebie, drop me a line!

3 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Dragon*Con 2011 — “TOR Upfront”

    • Oh, it was wonderful! He told us off-color jokes, stories from the set of Doctor Who, and the times he stuck a ferret down his trousers. Unfortunately, he could tell us little about The Hobbit beyond the fact that Radagast might wear brown.

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