The Sentinel: A Space Odyssey

identifier: 2014062 NEW WORLDS

In May 1968, while students were rioting in Paris, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey showed in a 70mm print on the large curved screen at London’s Casino-Cinerama venue. I was one of the many who went to see it there, later that year, and was awed. Neil Armstrong had not yet set foot on the moon. The movie ran for 47 weeks. Which brings us to these two items:

The Sentinel – in New Worlds 22

New Worlds started in 1936 as a fanzine, Novae Terrae, and Arthur C. Clarke was involved in its production. It was re-started as a professional magazine by John Carnell in 1939 (New Worlds Vol.1 No.1) but the publishing company collapsed, and the War began. The mag re-started in July 1946, but the new publisher also went bust. Carnell himself formed a company, Nova, and New Worlds appeared again. Which takes us up to No.22, and a problem with the printers…. Here’s a precis of the Wikipedia account: ‘Issue 22 was repeatedly delayed; proofs appeared in August, and the issue itself was promised for November. Even this late schedule was not adhered to, and [Editor] Carnell finally received a copy of the print run in January 1954. The copy was dated 1953 (with no month), and since this made it useless for distribution in 1954, Carnell refused to accept the print run. While the dispute with the printers was going on, Carnell and Maurice Goldsmith, a journalist acquaintance of Carnell’s, put together a small conference of well-known science fiction authors, including Arthur C. Clarke and John Wyndham. Goldsmith covered the conference for Illustrated, a weekly magazine, and the article caught the attention of Maclaren & Sons Ltd, a technical trade publisher interested in launching a new sf magazine. Carnell turned down the offer because of his loyalty to Nova Publications, but subsequent discussions ultimately led to Maclaren taking control of Nova, with a commitment to produce New Worlds on a monthly basis … By January 1954, when (printing agent) The Carlton Press delivered the incorrectly dated issue 22, the acquisition by Maclaren was complete, and Maclaren’s legal department was helpful in resolving the dispute…. an injunction was obtained that sequestered the issues to avoid them being sold to recover the printing costs. Carnell retained the copy he had been sent in January, and it is thought that this is the only copy that exists of The Carlton Press’s version of this issue, as the remainder of the printing run was destroyed at the conclusion of the court case. The cover painting, by Gerard Quinn, was subsequently used on issue 13 of Science Fantasy, and all the stories and editorial material eventually appeared in later issues of New Worlds over the next year. The financial support that Maclaren provided meant that once issue 22 finally appeared in April 1954, it was the start of a regular monthly schedule that lasted until 1964…’

New Worlds Science Fiction. Volume 8, Number 22. Nova Publications Ltd, London, No date [April 1954]. First Edition, Softcover, Colour illustrated front cover, by Kinnear. Stories illustrated by various artists. 128 pages. Size: 137 x 200mm. Contents:

inside front cover • ‘New Worlds Profiles: Arthur C. Clarke’ • uncredited essay. 2 • Growing Up… • essay by John Carnell. 4 • ‘Takeoff’ (Part 1 of 3) • interior artwork by Gerard Quinn. 5 • ‘Takeoff’ (Part 1 of 3) • serial by C. M. Kornbluth [Cyril M. Kornbluth ]. 23 • ‘Takeoff’ (Part 1 of 3) [2] • interior artwork by Gerard Quinn. 35 • ‘Takeoff’ (Part 1 of 3) [3] • interior artwork by Gerard Quinn. 47 • ‘The Sentinel’ • (1951) • short story by Arthur C. Clarke. 56 • ‘Opposite Numbers’ • short story by John Wyndham. 70 • ‘Eclipse’ • essay by Maurice Goldsmith. 77 • ‘Museum Piece’ • (1953) • short story by John Christopher. 78 • ‘Museum Piece’ • interior artwork by Gerard Quinn. 86 • ‘Only an Echo’ • short story by Alan Barclay. 87 • ‘Only an Echo’ • interior artwork by Gordon Hutchings. 94 • ‘Only an Echo’ [2] • interior artwork by Gordon Hutchings. 100 • ‘Relay Race’ • short story by J. T. McIntosh. 126 • Book Reviews • essay by Leslie Flood.

The story ‘The Sentinel’ ‘deals with the discovery of an artifact on Earth’s Moon left behind eons ago by ancient aliens. The object is made of a polished mineral, is tetrahedral in shape, and is surrounded by a spherical forcefield. The narrator speculates at one point that the mysterious aliens who left this structure on the Moon may have used mechanisms belonging “to a technology that lies beyond our horizons, perhaps to the technology of para-physical forces.” … for millions of years (evidenced by dust buildup around its forcefield) the artifact has been transmitting signals into deep space …’ [Wikipedia]

From what I can discover online, it seems that ‘The Sentinel’ was written in 1948 for a BBC competition (in which it failed to place) and was first published in the magazine 10 Story Fantasy in 1951, under the title ‘Sentinel of Eternity’. It first appeared in the USA in The Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader published by Avon Periodicals, Inc. in 1951. It was subsequently published as part of short story collections in Expedition to Earth (1953). It seems that the appearance in New Worlds was its first under the title ‘The Sentinel’. The cover artist Kinnear is elusive – I can find no other science fiction artwork of the period attributed to anyone by that name.

Illustration for ‘Museum Piece’

This is the second version of New Worlds No.22. It isn’t rare, but you might not bump into a copy in your local secondhand bookshop any time soon; so here is a chance to own a 1950s science fiction magazine with an interesting publishing history – the title would eventually be edited by Michael Moorcock, and become a renowned quarterly – and stories by top flight writers. This copy is in generally good condition, with general tanning of the pages. A blank corner of the back cover has been restored, and a small tear at the bottom edge of the front cover has been repaired on the interior with a piece of Japanese repair tissue.

Price: £15.00 plus postage. Contact:

identifier: 2014068 SPACE ODYSSEY
The film 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in 1968, ‘Thus the “glittering, roughly pyramidal structure … set in the rock like a gigantic, many-faceted jewel” became — after several modifications — the famous black monolith. ‘[Wikipedia]. Clarke was reportedly annoyed that ‘The Sentinel’ is often referred to as “the story the novel and movie is based on,” as it was just one small – though I would say extremely important – element of the eventual film / book.

2001: A Space Odyssey, lenticular 3D advertising card. Size: 10.375 inches x 13.5 inches.

This rare lenticular ‘poster’ features the Pan Am Clipper, and the massive rotating space station. The lenticular process (the thin plastic ridges are shaped like lenses) has been used here to give a stunning 3D effect, and also produces a limited effect of movement. Commonly seen used for production of small items – postcards, rulers, etc – the technique is extremely effective in larger formats. This ‘poster’ was never offered for sale, being distributed to cinemas for publicity purposes. A larger version was also produced. [The yellowing of the frame is a defect in my photo, and is not on the original].]

This original 1968 example is still flat, with the cardboard in good condition, and the picture still has its white plastic edging. The image is bright and the colours vivid. There are patches of bruising to the lenticular surface (example: see picture above), more evident at some viewing angles, but this hardly detracts from the overall effect. Near-perfect examples sell for over 2000 US dollars. An example online as a write, with minor wear, is priced at £750 (pounds). The example offered here is priced at just £250.00 plus postage. Contact:


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