Against the Fall of Night

Clarke was an almost overnight success, rising from a minor name writing for minor markers under pseudonyms in the 1940s to an international name in the early 1950s. Sands of Mars sold as well as any Gnome book, so Greenberg reached back to reprint the one earlier substantial piece Clarke was known for. “Against the Fall of Night” had appeared as a “complete novel” in the November 1948 Startling Stories. Coming in at less than 45,000 words, the work had to be finessed to give the appearance of a full-length work. Greenberg used conspicuously large type and started the text numbering with page 11 so that it appears to be a 223-page novel. More insidiously, he added blank pages so that each chapter break has two or three pages with no words except the chapter title. A full 46 pages are added this way, more than a quarter of the book. Contrast that with, say, Iceworld, a book of exactly the same bulk. The text there starts on page 1, the type is smaller, there six more lines to a page, and chapters are given no extra pages. The result is 216 pages of actual verbiage and over 70,000 words. Yet such is the power of a name that Greenberg charged $2.75 for the Clarke and $2.50 for the Clement. (The covers for the books portray oddly similar blue-suited aliens with ribbed arms for flexibility, the work of two entirely different artists. Additionally both used boys as foils for the aliens, which probably made them more attractive for libraries.)

Groff Conklin reviewed it in the December 1953 Galaxy:

It is a light, simple, fast-moving and often richly imaginative fantasy, a very pleasant time-passer indeed.

Against the Fall of Night, by Arthur C. Clarke, 1953, title #37, 223 pages, $2.75. 5000 hardbound copies printed. Blue boards with red lettering. Jacket Design by Frank Kelly Frease [typo for Freas]. “FIRST EDITION” stated on copyright page. Printed in the U.S.A. by H. Wolff. Back cover: 25 titles. Gnome Press address given as 80 East 11th Street, New York 3

Against the Fall of Night jacket front
Against the Fall of Night jacket flaps

Against the Fall of Night blue boards