I. Velikovsky 300
August 30, 1977
Sent Sept. 2
I feel culpable for being at this end so little in touch with you. The move to Ocean County slowed down various programs. At this time, Ramses II is re-scheduled by Doubleday for April, and Sidgwick & Jackson will have to wait. Doubleday also decided to reset the volume in view of the many corrections. Thirty pictures were prepared and delivered by Jan. I left quite important sections to insert in the galleys which may arrive in a month or so, especially dealing with:
a) Hittite Syrian city-states of the first millennium, like Marash, Malatya, Karatepe, etc.
b) the languages of the Boghazkoi cuneiform archives;
c) the (partial) decipherment of the pictographs.
In November Cornell will publish a volumepage 2 of their catalogue is enclosed. I discuss with my paperback publisher a volume on the same subject for February. In the meantime Greenberg of Kronos intends to spend the complete issue of November on the same AAAS meeting.
Of course, the correspondence between the organizers of the AAAS meeting, the Cornell University Press, and myself, shows clearly that Sagan was the cause of the delay by two years. By April 1976 it became clear that in view of many strictures I would not participateand Prof. Huber is misinformed.
Of the negotiations that you had with Umschau and Universitas: I would not consider any options on the Ages series or any other book to publishers of Worlds and Earthcertainly we should not put ourselves in a position of denying ourselves the rights on these books, which another publisher could take up immediately, I would consider it detrimental to the spreading of our ideas among the young if the paperbacks have to wait for two years past the publication of the hardcover, and I do not understand the reference to five years. In the US paperbacks usually appear a year after hardcovers, sometimes even half a year apart.
I have purposely not mailed you the British edition of Earth in Upheavalit is poorly made; if you have not mailed them out, dont (and if possible, return them)the American edition is so much more impressiveand even the paperback of Abacus looks better than the hardcover British editionI will suggest to Sidgwick & Jackson to print anew.
You will remember that it was planned that you should meet a representative of Scott-Meredith Literary Agency in New York before boarding your plane, but you could not make it. I visited the Meredith office nine days ago and met Mr. Vicinanza, head of the foreign rights department. I wondered, not hearing about the results of their negotiations of the Spanish translation, the royalties for which I ceded to our daughter Ruth. Mr. Vicinanza showed great eagerness to represent me on a broader basis. Regarding the Spanish rights he told me that he obtained an offer for 500,000. But was trying to improve the figure. In the meantime, I let him (in an oral agreement) to handle Latin America, offering Worlds, Earth, and Oedipus. As to Europe, I explained to him your role and he suggested that I increase the commission from 20 to 24% and divide it three ways in the case that one of their foreign agents is involvedif not, the commission should remain at 20% and be split two ways. He declared that he intends to obtain for Worlds in Collision in 18 months on the world market $750,000 in advances. He said that the new book of Sagan earned in two weeks $150,000 in advances on foreign contracts. I question whether he has a realistic estimate. He judges probably by the offer from Mexico for Worlds in Collision and the figure from Holland. Against such figures the offers made to you appear miniscule, especially in view of the fact that Worlds in Collision has by now had close to 90 printings and the new edition of Pocket books sold out the first printing of 300,000 between March and May, and a new printing of 100,000 was made. Mr. Vicinanzas figure of $750,000 is impressive, even if it needs to be quartered. I would therefore advise that you should not finalize any of the negotiations. What do you think of the Meredith offer? Your interests should not suffer, but the books should find distribution in many countries before long.
I cannot know how the massive attack by the Establishment will reflect itself on offers for my books, whether positively or negatively. The Sagan group will use ail media and assure wide spread of their book, and may make inroads. On the other hand Earth in Upheaval has been published by Pocketbooksthe advance copies have just arrived, and some bookstores, especially in New York already have the book. There will be a campaign of promotion. Earth in Upheaval in Pocketbooks now has a new Foreword and Authors Note (dealing with Continental Drift); articles in The Humanist, Midstream, Kronos, The Harvard Crimson etc. will appear this fall; a number of other media have approached me, and there will be a renewal of interest in my work, but certainly also a campaign of abuse. Those who read Sagans piece find it very weak, and hall I be in good form, I shall answer forcefully.
To the list of errata:
I wish to thank Mrs. Marx for going through the Abacus edition of Ages in Chaos. On page viii, line 9 from the bottom, the word but fell out, and with it the irony of the story. On page 41, last linea half-sentence fell out.
We enjoy our new home, and since July 20 we have only twice, for three or four days each time, come to Princeton.
I hope you will enjoy your new home in Oberdorf.
With friendly regards, also from my wife,
[signed] Immanuel V.