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    The Original Handwritten Manuscript for Arthur C. Clarke's First Novel

    Arthur C. Clarke. Original Manuscript for Prelude to Space. [London: n.p., 1947].

    Five primary school composition notebooks (8 x 6.25 inches; 203 x 158 mm.). [24]; [28]; [22]; [24] [24] leaves of ruled paper. Two manuscript lines per rule, recto and verso, written in blue ink in Clarke's clear cursive hand.

    Three of the staple-bound notebooks in original red construction paper wrappers with the product code "A2 (5)" printed to lower front wrapper; two notebooks in original rib-grained green wrappers, rear wrappers with printed enumerated instructional list entitled "How Not to Get Run Over." Handmade side titles of blue construction paper to each front wrapper, with volume numbers and notes written in blue ink; rear wrapper of volume III with "V" and a numerical note written in black ink. Staples rusting. Occasional light spotting to leaves. A few of the notebook wrappers with soiling or staining, especially to front wrappers of volumes I and II. A loose ruled sheet at the front of volume I (entitled "Production Sheet") with three dampstains. Overall a superlative manuscript of substantial literary significance in very good condition.

    A splendid set comprising the original manuscript of the first published novel by the author of 2001, and one of the twentieth century's most revered science fiction authors. Clarke wrote the entire novel in twenty days in 1947 (a fact reflected in the "Production Sheet" laid in at the front of volume I), but the story was not published for another four years. In 1951 Galaxy Science Fiction published Prelude to Space in magazine format, and the novel first appeared in book form in England in 1953 (London: Sidgwick & Jackson); the following year Gnome Press released the first American edition in hardcover and Ballantine Books published the novel as a paperback.

    Prelude to Space
    is important not only for being Clarke's first published novel, but it was also the first book to take up in a realistic way the possibility of a manned mission from the Earth to the Moon, some two decades before Apollo 11 and the first successful moon landing.

    "Written in 1947 and several times revised until the 1954 edition, this is one of the earliest scientifically accurate and realistic accounts of the first Moon voyage" (Anatomy of Wonder). Accompanying the manuscript is an ex-library copy of the 1953 Sidgwick & Jackson first edition, in dust jacket.

    Anatomy of Wonder
    , p. 164.

    More Information: In an interesting bit of information about this lot, our consignor writes: "At the time [the manuscript was written], Arthur was living with his younger brother Fred and his sister-in-law Dot. Arthur used to write in exercise books and then Dot would type up the pages (she worked as a secretary). At that time they lived in Nightingale Road [in] North London (near Alexander Palace)."

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    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
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