The Dark Side of the Sun

UK hbk: Colin Smythe (jacket illus. the author), 921 copies on 10 May 1976. (0-901072-20-6)
Total printrun of the UK and US editions combined was 2,421 copies.

1st UK pbk: New English Library (cover illus. Tim White), ?12,500-15,000 copies on 2 March 1978 (0-450-03298-1)

2nd UK pbk: Corgi, 39,600 copies on 22 April 1988 (0-552-13326-4)
With the second 1993 printing the original Josh Kirby cover illustration was replaced by a new one that was subsequently used on the 1994 Doubleday edition

2nd UK hbk printing, first by this publisher: Doubleday, 3,700 copies on 1 April 1994 (0-385-40476-X)
500 copies of the first printing had a limitation notice printed on  the front end-paper: ‘No.     of an exclusive first printing of 500 copies of this edition.’, and were signed by the author. They were sold at the same price as those without this notice.

USA: St Martin’s Press, 1525 copies, June 1976 (0-312-18270-8)
These were printed as part of the Smythe print-run, with the American imprint on title, verso, spine and jacket. Invoiced to St Martin’s on 12 March 1976.

USA Braille: transcribed by the American Red Cross

Bulgarian: 1) Тъмната страна на слънцето, trs. Svetlana Komogorova, Prozoretz, August 2000 (954-733-088-8)
2) Prozoretz

Croatian: Zagrabacka Nacklada

Czech: Temná Strana Slunce, trs. Jan Kantůrek, Magnet-Press, c. March 1997 (80-85847-76-0)  bankrupt July 1997

Dutch 2-in-1 pbk: Delven [Strata] — De Donkere Kant van der Zon, Meulenhoff, May 1982 (90-290-1328-1) The Dark Side of the Sun, trs. Arend de Wilde.
First separate edition: De Donkere Kant van de Zon, Meulenhoff-M, May 1994 (90-290-4626-0)

French: La Face Obscure du Soleil, trs. Dominique Haas, Pocket, 16,000 copies on 1 April 1998 (2-266-07290-0) Used the Kirby illustration for Strata!
New printing with corrected Kirby cover, 27 May 2003 (2-266-11312-7)

German: 1. Der Sonne dunkle Seite, trs. Tony Westermayr, cover illus. Jürgen F.Rogner,  Goldmann, n.d., 10,000 copies on 2 August 1977 (3-442-23254-6)

2. Die dunkle Seite der Sonne, trs. Andreas Brandhorst, Heyne, 1989 (3-453-03902-5)
The first printing used as a cover illustration a detail from one Josh Kirby’s Voyage of the Ayeguy series (1980), ‘Death of a Spaceman’. The 1998 printing used the 1993 Kirby illustration actually painted for the book.
Reissue: Piper, July 2009 (978-3-492-28503-2)
Issued as an ebook: 16 July 2012

PolishTylko ty Możesz uratować ludzkość, trs. Jarosław Kotarski, Rebis, 2002 (83-7120-490-6)
Retitled: Ciemna strona Słońca, trs. Jarosław Kotarski, Rebis, 2010 (978-83-7510-608-4)

Russian: Страта, double volume, (cover illus. Tom Kidd), containing Темная сторона солнца (The Dark Side of the Sun) trs. A. Komarinets, and Страта (Strata), trs. L. Schëkotovoy, Eksmo and Sekachev, 2004 (5-699-06716-7, 5-88923-087-5)


I do not recall having encountered the earlier science fiction writings of Terry Pratchett, but if The Dark Side of the Sun is a fair sample, then I must admit the loss is all mine. This tale … is a continual delight, with its unexpected conceits and original inventions. And if Mr Pratchett’s tongue is frequently in his cheek, his parody of the science fiction idiom is always deft, knowledgeable and good humoured.
            The hero is Dom Sabalos, scion of the ruling family of Widdershins. His quest for the Jokers, a long-vanished race of super-intelligences known only by their enigmatic artefacts, involves encounters with an incredible variety of life-forms – a sentient lake, a planet which is a huge integrated circuit, the genial Sundogs with their interstellar taxi service, and a rich assortment of robots, including Dom’s resourceful travelling companion and also the programmed assassin who dogs his footsteps. The Oxford Times

Pratchett … has a high-flying imagination, a good feel for words and an exciting story to tell about a galaxy-wide search for the creators of the certain immense and seemingly meaningless artefacts.
            On his world of Widdershins probability math is used to predict the future, but even without it, I can forecast an excellent future for the author if he can only bring off the difficult feat of curbing ever so slightly the riotous imagination which enables him to write sci-fi in the first place.    Western Daily Press

The first time I acquired The Dark Side of the Sun it was from a remainder bin from a cash ‘n carry on the Isle of Man, shortly before The Colour of Magic altered life as we know it. My, but how things change….Some things, however, don’t change….I enjoyed it again.
 True pastiche can only emerge from vast knowledge and equal love of a genre. Terry Pratchett has both, together with a talent which means he isn’t good because he’s successful, but rather successful because he’s good. This book may not reap any rewards but you’ll probably enjoy it more.      Vector 53

Background image © Josh Kirby Estate, All Rights Reserved