It had an immediate impact. As I’ve said in the past, Sword is largely considered to be the book that launched modern fantasy and made it commercially viable. Until that time, publishers thought readers only wanted Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. But in 1977, Sword proved without a doubt that readers wanted more epic fantasy. It sold 125,000 copies in its first month of publication alone and it spent months on the New York Times trade paperback list. Publishers saw the money to be made and quickly began finding other fantasy writers to give the reading community what it had been denied for decades.
That beginning is an interesting one. While at Norwescon 36 in Seattle, WA last weekend, Terry Brooks sat down with Pierce Watters and talked about that beginning.
And I was there with a camera!
Listen to these two men talk about the founding of Del Rey Books:
There you go. Some history for you. It’s always fascinating when Terry talks about those early days. He was there at the beginning but it’s more than that. He knew Lester del Rey. He knew Judy-Lynn del Rey. The three of them shaped our present.
And to truly know our present, we must know our past.