Rare Childhoods End manuscript for sale

Why not defy the credit crunch and invest in a piece of literary history? If you're an SF collector with (an earnest amount of) cash to spare, you could bid on Sotheby’s latest interesting consignment. In its 11 December sale in New York, the Sotheby ’s Fine Books and Manuscripts department is putting up for auction Arthur C Clarke’s complete handwritten and autographed manuscript of Childhood’s End (1952-53, 440 pages, estimated at $50/75,000)!

Since the personal archives of Arthur C Clarke - who died this year - are sealed until 2038 this is an extremely rare opportunity to buy (or at least to look at!) one of the most influential science fiction books ever written. It's also the last major manuscript ever completed entirely in Clarke’s handwriting.

Much has been written about the influence of Childhood’s End: the novel touches on crucial issues of importance today such as homelessness, surveillance, cruelty to animals, and even predicted the heavy dependence of a bored population on television. Its manuscript was offered for sale at a charity auction in 1956 and purchased by a young science fiction fan for $50. It bears Clarke’s inscription to the new owner: "I’ll probably try & buy it back some day!"

There are three inscriptions in total, and Clarke also notes that the manuscript was "the last book I ever wrote by hand, all later works being done directly onto the typewriter."

For more information visit the auction's website .

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