Gollancz SF At Fifty
Fairyland was my sixth book with Gollancz. My first, Four Hundred Billion Stars, was published 23 years ago, in, yes, a yellow jacket, when Gollancz was still independent publisher Victor Gollancz. My editor was Malcolm Edwards, and I still remember our first meeting. Gollancz was housed in a Georgian building with a tall narrow frontage on Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. (Later, I would discover that the company owned the property backing on to the townhouse, creating a Dickensian maze of offices and corridors and odd spaces that ran through the block (was there a courtyard? Were there clerks making entries in ledgers with quill pens?) to the next street.)
As I recall on that first visit, the reception wasn't a place to linger. No comfy sofas, coffee tables, vases of cut flowers. There were piles of books wrapped in brown paper and a couple of motorcycle dispatch riders kicking around the small, dimly lit room. The receptionist, working behind a counter, directed me upstairs. All the way up to the top, several floors of winding rickety stairs to a kind of penthouse with a lot of glass looking out over London rooftops, where Malcolm presided with unflappable affability over his first empire. He moved on just before Gollancz was swallowed by Houghton Mifflin; I stuck it out until just before Cassell, and Gollancz, was bought by Orion, under the direction of . . . Malcolm Edwards. It's a small world. Now I'm back with Gollancz, and my old titles have or are coming back into print, and I'm working on my nineteeth novel. Twenty-three years. As Matty Ross says towards the end of True Grit, time just gets away from us.