Mark Valentine:This approach is particularly significant in “Time and the City”, where imagination seems to be actually creating a city. Do you see some strong affinities between architecture and literature?
John Howard: I’m sure there can be. For example it’s possible to talk of “constructing” a story, or “building” a world, and so on. Stories can be flung up overnight or take a long time to assemble, and painfully. And in some stories it is possible to remove something, bringing it crashing down, while others never get off the ground because the foundations are inadequate or haven’t been provided.
There are plenty of buildings and architectural references and themes in my stories (and one or two even have architects as characters). I am very interested in architecture—especially Art Deco and the “International Style”—and, like most writers, sometimes include my interests in my fiction.
Gerald G. Swan was one of the most enterprising of wartime publishers in Britain. Although he established his publishing company in 1938, he stockpiled his books rather than distributing them and thus had a supply of paper when it was rationed during the war. As a result he virtually cornered the magazine market and released hundreds of publications in all fields of fiction, all of irredeemably poor quality! Most of his inventory was compiled in the 1940’s from a mixture of home-grown “talent” and reprints from Columbia magazines, even though some of them were not printed until the 1960’s.