The End of an Era: Simon Spanton Departs Gollancz

Sad news, genre fiction fans: November 20, which is to say today, is Associate Publisher Simon Spanton’s last at Gollancz. It isn’t gilding the lily in the least to say that his departure—“by mutual agreement,” according to a statement supplied by the imprint’s parent—marks the end of an era. A truly epic one, to be sure.

His achievements in the nineteen years he’s been a part of the Orion Publishing Group are too numerous to list in any great detail here, but suffice it to say we have Spanton to thank, in large part, for some of the finest speculative fiction released since the turn of the century. If you’ve ever spent a spell sucking up Scott Lynch, or jonesing for Joe Abercrombie, or relaxing with Richard Morgan, know that though he’s “definitely more Arthur Dent than Takeshi Kovacs,” Spanton has been behind the scenes, helping to make the magic happen.

Per The Bookseller:

Spanton joined Orion in 1996, having started out as a bookseller in 1986 and after a spell at Macmillan UK.

He first worked on Orion’s Millennium imprint in a wide role encompassing fiction, sports books, military history and children’s fiction before it was bought by Cassell in 1999, after which he became co-editorial director for Gollancz with Jo Fletcher. Spanton was promoted to the position of associate publisher at the sci-fi and fantasy imprint in May 2013, tasked with responsibility for “innovative acquisitions and Gollancz’s social media and community engagement, as well as continuing to publish his award-winning list to its full potential.”

At the time, Spanton said: “I can’t think of a better, more supported and valued genre list than Gollancz.”

Honestly, I can’t either—not in Britain, that is.

Happily, the fruits of Spanton’s longstanding labours at Gollancz are likely to last for a long, long time to come. We already know the new year will bring with it books by both Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie, not to mention any number of novels by the Associate Publisher’s more recent recruits, including Tom Toner, Jon Wallace and Al Robertson, whose Waking Hell was revealed last week.

There’s been no word on what’s next for the man himself, however—though my highest hope is that he takes a page from his fellow former co-editorial director Jo Fletcher, who formed her own imprint under the auspices of Quercus in early 2011 and has gone on to carve out “a small but perfectly formed list publishing the very best in best science fiction, fantasy and horror” in the several years since.

Whatever the future holds for Simon Spanton, he’s done so very much for speculative fiction that I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing him well in his ensuing endeavours.

Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative ScotsmanStrange Horizons, and Tor.com. He lives with about a bazillion books, his better half and a certain sleekit wee beastie in the central belt of bonnie Scotland.

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