Foreign Editions

American science fiction has always dominated the world market, with most books eventually being translated and published in countries around the world. In the 1950s European countries comprised the major market for non-English versions of titles. Either the publishers or the authors themselves (usually through their agents) could make the contacts. In Gnome’s case, it seems likely that Martin Greenberg himself sold the foreign rights. Evidence for this is provided by the number of translations that turned up as file copies in the Gnome offices. How much the publishers paid for these rights is a good question. Whether the authors ever saw even a fraction of these extra money is a better one.

None of the following editions exist in the ISFDB. All are signed Gnome file copies.

Moewig-Verlag released several weekly series of f&sf under the overall title of Terra – Utopische Romane / Science Fiction. The main series, launched in 1957, was known as Terra SF. From September 1962 until 1968 Terra SF and the reprint series Terra Extra alternated weeks. They were renamed Terra Nova in 1968, which was later changed to Terra Astra.

The weekly Terra Sonderbände (Terra Special Edition) series started in 1958 with more pages and a higher price than the Terra SF series, so that longer novels could be published. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, under the name Der Tausendjahresplan, was published in four parts:

#22. Terminus der letzte Planet (Terminus of the Last Planet) – Foundation
#24. Der galaktische General (The Galactic General) – Foundation and Empire, part 1
#26. Der Mutant (The Mutant) – Foundation and Empire part 2
#28. Alle Wege führen nach Trantor (All Roads Lead to Trantor) – Second Foundation

Der Mutant (The Mutant), by Isaac Asimov, (“The Mule,” Part 2 of Foundation and Empire).1959?, title #26, digest paperback 140×195 mm, 95 pages, 1-DM, Terra Sonderbände, Moewig-Verlag Publishers, Münschen. Cover by Karl Stephan.










Other Gnome titles in the Terra Sonderbände series:

#8. Das Reich der fünfzig Sonnen (The Mixed Men), by A. E. van Vogt
#19. Weltraumpest (Highways in Hiding), by George O. Smith
#34. Sie starben auf Ragnarok (The Survivors), by Tom Godwin
#50. Die Roboter und wir (The Robot and the Man), edited by Martin Greenberg

Urania and I Romanzi di Urania (“Urania’s novels”) were begun in Italy in 1952, both published by Arnoldo Mondadori under the editorship of Giorgio Monicelli. The former was a standard magazine with short stories and features; the latter, as the name implied, ran only novels, either complete or serialized, with the occasional filler to even out the page count of 160. At first published twice a month, it went to three times a month at the start of 1954, weekly in 1955, and every two weeks in 1956. It ceased publication in 2013 after 1592 issues. The titles merged in 1957 with #153 and all later issues were simply Urania.

Anni Senza Fine (Years Without End), by Clifford D. Simak, (City). June 20, 1953, I Romanzi di Urania, Milano, digest paperback 140×201 mm, title #18, 160 pages, Lire 150. Cover by Curt Caesar. Translated by Tom Arno. Interior artwork by Carlo Jacabo. Uncredited essay: “Curiosità scientifiche – Questa nostra Terra.”










La Legge Dei Vardda (The Law of Vardda), by Leigh Brackett, (The Starmen). October 20, 1953, I Romanzi di Urania, Milano, digest paperback 140×201 mm, title #26, 160 pages, Lire 150. Cover by Curt Caesar. Translated by Maria Bulgheroni. Interior artwork by Carlo Jacabo. “Paura di morire” by Eric Ambler: Uncredited essay: “Curiosità scientifiche – Sono Immortali i Microb1?”










Other Gnome titles in I Romanzi di Urania or Urania:

#1. Le sabbie di Marte (The Sands of Mars), by Arthur C. Clarke
#19. Preludio allo spazio (Prelude to Space), by Arthur C. Clarke
#34. I ribelli dei 50 soli (The Mixed Men), by A. E. van Vogt
#88. Il pianeta dimenticato (The Forgotten Planet), by Murray Leinster
#89. Le quattro ore di Satana (Fear), by L. Ron Hubbard
#106. La città degli abissi (Undersea Quest), by Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson
#189. Il seme tra le stelle (The Seedling Stars), by James Blish
#205. La grande luce (The Shrouded Planet), by Robert Randall (Robert Silverberg and Randall Garrett)
#222. La giungla sotto il mare (Undersea Fleet), by Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson
#229. I superstiti di Ragnarok (The Survivors), by Tom Godwin
#262. I figli di Matusalemme (Methuselah’s Children), by Robert Heinlein
#273. Le due facce del tempo (Starman’s Quest), by Robert Silverberg

Editora Ulisseia began publishing translated works in Portuguese in 1961. Isaac Asimov’s Fundação (Foundation) was the sixth book, and the second work of ficção científica, after Theodore Sturgeon’s Mais que humanos (More Than Human). This must have been about the last title Greenberg sold to a foreign publisher. In an Introduction to a Foundation Trilogy omniibus, Asimov wrote:

In 1951, the Gnome Press edition of Foundation was published, containing the introduction and the first four stories of the series. In 1952, Foundation and Empire appeared, with the fifth and sixth stories; and in 1953, Second Foundation appeared, with the seventh and eighth stories. The three books together came to be called The Foundation Trilogy.

The mere fact of the existence of the Trilogy pleased me, but Gnome Press did not have the financial clout or the publishing knowhow to get the books distributed properly, so that few copies were sold and fewer still paid me royalties. (Nowadays, copies of first editions of those Gnome Press books sell at $50 a copy and up–but I still get no royalties from them.)

Ace Books did put out paperback editions of Foundation and of Foundation and Empire, but they changed the titles, and used cut versions. Any money that was involved was paid to Gnome Press and I didn’t see much of that. In the first decade of the existence of The Foundation Trilogy it may have earned something like $1500 total.

And yet there was some foreign interest. In early 1961, Timothy Seldes, who was then my editor at Doubleday, told me that Doubleday had received a request for the Portuguese rights for the Foundation series and, since they weren’t Doubleday books, he was passing them on to me. I sighed and said, “The heck with it, Tim. I don’t get royalties on those books.”

Seldes was horrified, and instantly set about getting the books away from Gnome Press so that Doubleday could publish them instead. He paid no attention to my loudly expressed fears that Doubleday “would lose its shirt on them.” In August 1961 an agreement was reached and the Foundation books became Doubleday property. What’s more, Avon Books, which had published a paperback version of Second Foundation, set about obtaining the rights to all three from Doubleday, and put out nice editions.

You can tell how long ago this was written by the figure put on the Gnome first editions. They now sell at $1000 and up.

My copy came with a tipped form to join a Clube de Ficção Científica.

Fundação (Foundation), by Isaac Asimov, 1961, Editora Ulisseia, Lisbao mass-market paperback 109×181 mm, title #6, 206 pages. Cover by Luis Filipe de Abreu. Translated by Carlos Campos.

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