So, tor.com, wow

So, first, this tor.com post indicates that “AppleTV,” whatever that is, is going to be doing a Murderbot TV series.

Several responses to this post:

A) WOW, are you SURE this is tor.com?

The site is now called “Reactor,” and I’m sure they had many staff meetings about their new name, and I hate it. It literally has nothing to do with SFF at all. I mean, it’s a tech word, sure:

Reactor, noun. An apparatus or structure in which fissile material can be made to undergo a controlled, self-sustaining, clear reaction with the consequent release of energy.

What the heck does that have to do with an SFF site about books and tv series and whatever?

The site looks so weird and different that I immediately closed the window and looked carefully at search terms and what google was handing me before cautiously clicking back in and confirming that I am not between 13 and 15 years old, and –>

B) What is with that 13-15 question? Are children under 13 not considered important for this question? Why not? I have to say, 13-15, that’s weirdly narrow and specific. Also, an instant pop-up question like this makes this look like a, shall we say, a site for “adult material.” I’m not kidding. When a pop-up asks, “Hey, are you thirteen?” I immediately assume the next phrase should be “because we’re going to slam adult content into your eyeballs.”

I have never before seen a pop-up that wants to know whether I’m 13-15 years old. Never, not once. What in the WORLD is that about and it is a TERRIBLE idea and tor.com — oh, I mean structure-in-which-fissile-material-can-be-made-to-react-dot-com — should re-think that pop-up because seriously, it makes that site look like something to back out of hastily, which was exactly my first reaction.

And also, of more practical importance,

C) Does anybody know whether things that appear on Apple TV eventually make their way to DVDs you can buy on Amazon? Because I have no idea. If the Murderbot thing turns out to be good, I would be interested, but almost certainly not interested enough to find out what Apple TV is and how to use it, because there are limits.

***

While poking around, I also noticed this post, about what Jo Walton had on her reading list for this past February, and you know what’s on there? There are twelve books in this post, and they include:

A) Derring-do for Beginners, by Victoria Goddard, which I have on my TBR list but haven’t yet read.

B) The Stand-in, by Lily Chu, which I have on my TBR list but haven’t yet read.

C) The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf, which I have on my physical TBR shelves but haven’t read.

D) Spear, by Nicola Griffith, which I have on my radar but haven’t read.

E) Scorpio, by Martin Kloos, which I have on my TBR pile but haven’t read. I should pull this one up to the top; there’s a dog.

It’s been eight years since an alien invasion drove a small surviving group of settlers to seek refuge in an underground shelter. Cut off from the rest of humanity, the ragtag band has maintained a narrowly functioning colony due to communal effort and salvage runs. Alex Archer has her own duties as a dog handler. While this off-world colony may be harsh, Ash, Alex’s black shepherd raised to sense threats, makes living in it a little nicer.

I’ve read other books by Kloos — Terms of Enlistment and then the second book in that series. In the second book, a specific major plot point hit me hard in the center of my suspension of disbelief, but I did like the first book very much. This one is associated, not part of the main series, and also, there is a dog.

Anyway, moving on, Jo Walton’s list also includes —

F) Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn, which is one of my favorite-ever comfort reads.

G) A book by Arthur Ransome in the Swallows and Amazons series, the first book of which I haven’t read but which is on my TBR pile.

I am like, SEVEN out of TWELVE are either in my hands right now, strongly on my radar, or one of my favorite ever comfort reads? This reading list is ridiculously strongly aimed at my personal tastes and interests and I mean, wow, who expected that?

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6 thoughts on “So, tor.com, wow”

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates the name “Reactor”.

    And I fear the 13-15 thing may be because people under 13 aren’t supposed to use the internet at all, except in childproof dumbed-down walled gardens.

  2. A) It’s not my favorite name, but they decided to rebrand to distinguish from Tordotcom Publishing and stuff, and I think they wanted to keep “Tor” in the name the name somehow. Once they made *that* decision, I bet there were only so many names available to register on the various social media sites, too, in addition to a URL. One of the site’s FAQs claim that they like Reactor because they “react” to pop culture, lol.

    B) About that 13-15 years old thing: In a r/Fantasy AMA, the Editor in Chief said: “It’s a weird side effect of recent updates to the California Consumer Privacy Act and we are mandated to post the notice even though we don’t collect consumer information. I hate it so, so much.” In another comment, he acknowledges that it’s weird that it feels like they’re being targeted because I’ve never seen any other sites with this.

    C) I saw a news article from over a year ago that said some AppleTV+ shows were going to be on DVD/Blu-ray, but only in the UK (it was a specific UK video distribution company doing it). So I wouldn’t bet on something easy to play here. My plan for a Murderbot show was to wait until a season finished, subscribe to AppleTV+ for a month, and then unsub once I’m done binging Murderbot.

  3. Tor.com used to be one of my favorite sites about 10 years ago, but I seldom visit it these days: I don’t like the new Reactor site design, and I REALLY don’t like the focus on pop culture generally, which mostly means movies and TV, rather than books. But there are still a couple of very good columns, and Jo Walton’s monthly reading wrap-up is one of them.

  4. It had obviously been a while since I’d looked at it, because I had NO idea about the redesign. I really liked specific things, including Liz Bourke’s book reviews, Molly Templeton’s posts, Jo Walton’s posts, a few others. TV and movies, not very interested.

    I continue to think Reactor is a dreadful, dreadful name. “Oh, look, we REACT to stuff, get it?” is almost painful as a justification. Keeping “tor” as part of the word, well, fine, but it is an invisible part of the word compared to “react.” I think they should have gone back to the drawing board for names.

    Since I’ve never seen that awful thirteen-to-fifteen pop up anywhere else, ever, it does feel like they’re being targeted, though I’m coming up completely blank for any reason for that, so I kind of doubt it’s really malicious targeting. Very, very stupid side-effect of whatever rule, but that part isn’t at all surprising.

  5. Oh wow a (nother) Humboldt biography, but one with a title suggests the Romantics and Transcendentalists might be part of it. I got tired of Humboldt biogs a while back, but maybe it’s time for another. What a guy!

  6. I am not wild about the Reactor site redesign either. There’s a tab on the front page that says “Latest” and that view looks more like the old tor.com feed to me and lets me pick out the things I like to read.

    I watch almost no movies or TV, so I skim or skip most of those posts, but I enjoy having some idea of what’s going on in those areas and I very much enjoy the book posts including Jo Walton’s. I’ve been following the Murderbot casting somewhere online and the actors mean nothing to me but I would like to see Murderbot done well so I am glad to see people I cross paths with who are familiar with current movies/TV seem to think so far, so good.

    Apple TV is a streaming service that produces some of their own material.

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