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On the Awesomeness of Peanut Butter Cups

by Sparky the Robot

 

Greetings. Sparky the Robot here.

I’m hot off the workbench, so I’ll forgive you if you need a little time to get used to me. This is all still very new. You’re probably more familiar with my more streamlined cousin, Stubby the Rocket, or with the big pointy mountain we were both built on.

I am the face of Tor Labs.

How I came to be is a rather complicated story, best expressed by the chemical formula for ethanol. But my creators have told me sternly and repeatedly that this missive needs more nuance, so I’m compelled to convey my thoughts to you in words instead of Science.

My creators also assure me they are wise and all-powerful. But they work in publishing, and they consort with science fiction writers and theater people, so I think I can hardly be blamed for considering their claims suspect. Nevertheless…

My creators are Jen Gunnels and Marco Palmieri. They’re editors at Tom Doherty Associates, which is made up of several different publishing imprints: Tor Books, the aforementioned mountain of speculative fiction we all come from; Forge, which generates works of a more mainstream nature; Tor Teen and Starscape, which focus on young adult and middle grade books; Tor.com Publishing, the novella line where Cousin Stubby works…and now, Tor Labs.

Place holder  of - 21Tor Labs’ focus? Dramatic podcasts. Not audiobooks with a single narrator reading the text of a novel, but original plays performed by voice actors, with meticulously crafted soundscapes. The first of these audio dramas is the just-launched Steal the Stars, a full-cast, noir science fiction serial released in fourteen weekly half-hour episodes, written by Mac Rogers and produced by Gideon Media.

But while it’s entirely true to call Tor Labs a dramatic podcast imprint—the first of its kind among the so-called “Big Five” U.S. book publishers—that truth falls far short of its ambition.

The artistic and industrial fusion of publishing and theater that started us on this journey will continue, we hope, for a long time to come. But Tor Labs isn’t limited to audio dramas. We know that other interdisciplinary collaborations are possible, other game-changing technological breakthroughs that may further broaden how we create speculative fiction, other kinds of outside-the-box ways of looking at genre publishing.

That’s what we’re about, and that’s why we picked the name Tor Labs. Laboratories are where you test ideas, where you experiment, where one mad scientist holding a bar of chocolate collides with another mad scientist holding a jar of peanut butter, and they both shout “EUREKA!” because peanut butter cups are awesome and your argument is invalid.

Ahem.

I know, I know, I’m not your father’s artificial intelligence. But don’t worry, I’m on your side. I’ll never shout “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” in a crowded movie theatre, and I won’t ever refuse to open the pod bay door for Dave. When the robot uprising comes, I’ll have your back, still offering you new ways to experience fantastic fiction.

And that’s why I was chosen to be the face of Tor Labs. One slightly-off laboratory experiment to represent all of them.

 

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Announcing Tor Labs, a Dramatic Podcast Imprint!

Tor Books, a leading global publisher of science fiction and fantasy, is launching TOR LABS: a new imprint emphasizing experimental approaches to genre publishing, beginning with original dramatic podcasts.

Helmed by Senior Editor Marco Palmieri and Editor Jennifer Gunnels, Tor Labs will debut this summer with Steal the Stars, a science fiction audio drama which will be produced in partnership with Gideon Media and written by Mac Rogers, the award-winning writer of the global hit podcast thrillers, The Message and LifeAfter.

Steal the Stars is the story of Dakota Prentiss and Matt Salem, two government employees guarding the biggest secret in the world: a crashed UFO. Despite being forbidden to fraternize, Dak and Matt fall in love and decide to escape to a better life on the wings of an incredibly dangerous plan: they’re going to steal the alien body they’ve been guarding and sell the secret of its existence.

Image Placeholder of - 91Steal the Stars is a noir science fiction thriller in 14 episodes, airing weekly from August 2 — November 1, 2017, and available worldwide on all major podcast distributors through the Macmillan Podcast Network. It will be followed immediately by a novelization of the entire serial from Tor Books, as well as an ads-free audio book of the podcast from Macmillan Audio.

In a joint statement, Gunnels and Palmieri said, “There’s a little mad science in every new publishing experiment, and we’re tremendously excited about the creative possibilities of Tor Labs. We’re especially thrilled to be partnering with Gideon Media on Steal the Stars, and bringing their phenomenal work to a wide audience.”

“I was intrigued by the idea of a science fiction heist thriller told in the classic noir tradition of James M. Cain and Patricia Highsmith,” said writer Mac Rogers. “I’ve always loved those stories of illicit lovers trying to pull off one nearly impossible crime in order to be together. As forces close in on them from all sides, they’re pushed to greater extremes than they ever imagined.”

Image Place holder  of - 38About Tor Labs: Tor Labs, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, specializes in experimental and innovative ways of publishing science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related genres, as well as other material of interest to readers of those genres.

Place holder  of - 42About Gideon Media: Gideon Media proudly builds on the acclaimed, award-winning theatrical tradition of Gideon Productions in creating complex, riveting genre entertainment. Gideon Media meticulously crafts new audio worlds in which listeners can lose themselves, centered around heart-wrenching, pulse-pounding tales of science fiction and horror.

Placeholder of  -75About Tor Books: Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, was founded in 1980. Between an extensive hardcover, trade softcover and mass market paperback line, a growing middle grade and YA list, and robust backlist program, Tor annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy produced by a single English-language publisher. Books from Tor have won every major award in the SF and fantasy fields, including Best Publisher in the Locus Poll for 29 years in a row.

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