Sheldon, Sidney: The Doomsday Conspiracy
(researched by Katherine Thomsen)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Sidney Sheldon. The Doomsday Conspiracy: The New Novel. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1991. The copyright was (and is, as of the posting of this information) held by The Sheldon Literary Trust, 1991. I also came across a similar edition that is similar in respects to the first edition (i.e. same copyright date), but lacks bar codes, has different pagination and binding. Had not yet determined reason or type of publication for this strange edition at the time of this posting.

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

The first edition was published in hardback, bound with hard cardboard covers. The paperback was not published simultaneously.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

[16] 17-412 [413-414]

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

No introduction or editing.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

No illustrations.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The physical presentation is quite appealing. The cover is attractive, bold and easy to read. The pages themselves are clear and readable, with semi-large type and wide margins. The print type size is 47.5 R. The pages are 1530mm x 2350mm (or 9.25" x 6") The margins are 270 mm (3") on each side of the type, 30mm (1.25") from the top, and 42mm (1.75") from bottom.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The paper used in this edition is good quality, off-white, smooth, and nice to the touch. It looks brand new in the copy that I have. There is no wear or yellowing of the paper. The book was 12 years old at the time of this submission.

11 Description of binding(s)

My edition has a red dust jacket. The binding is white cloth, with black and white threads. The leaves are bound in groups of 16 leaves. There are 13 of these groups. The lettering on the spine is horizontal (meaning, able to be read when the book is laid flat), except for the word "morrow",which appears vertically (readable when standing upright). The words are stamped in silver metallic.

12 Transcription of title page

recto: THE|DOOMSDAY|CONSPIRACY|[thin line]|Sindey Sheldon| WILLIAM MORROW AND COMPANY, INC.|NEW YORK| verso: contains general copyright laws and library of congress cataloguing data.

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

At the time of this submission, the holdings of the manuscript are unknown, but can be inferred to be in the possession of the author.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

This edition of the novel appears to be one of ten imprintings (either the first or tenth). The book is dedicated to Jerry Davis, with an additional page of acknowledgements. On page [9] there are the words "|May you live in interesting times. |-ancient Chinese curse|". This edition also has a prologue and an 11-page Author's Note.

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

The original publishers (William Morrow & Co.) released a hardback edition very similar in format and appearance to the original First Edition. This edition is smaller in demension than the official First Edition, has different pagination and lacks bar codes. Morrow also published the Large Print Edition of this novel at the same time as the First Edition (September 1991).

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

There were 10 imprintings of the first edition. (the imprintings are enumerated on the opening page of my first edition)

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

Audio Book (abridged): Dove Books Audio, Aug. 1991 Audio Book (unabridged): Dove Books Audio, Oct. 1991 MMPaperback: Smithmark Publishing, Sept. 1992 MMPaperback: Warner Books, Reprint Edition, Sept. 1992 Hardcover Book Club Ed: Doubleday Book & Music Club, July 1994

6 Last date in print?

As of October 2002, the book is still in print by Warner Books, in the Trade Paperback form.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

The only estimate I can make at the time of this posting is roughly 2.5 million copies. At this time, Sheldon's books have sold in total 310 million copies. (Publisher's Weekly)

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

Not available, as of posting

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

The only advertisement I was able to uncover was in the Fall 1991 listings for Morrow Publishing. The listing (PW Aug. 8, 1991) reads as follows: The Doomsday Conspiracy (Sept. $22) by Sidney Sheldon. A Navy commander investigating a NATO weather balloon crash suspects that he is under surveillance. (italics) Ad/promo. LG main. Author Tour.

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

The only performances in other media are the audio books, which are listed above.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

According to the Guiness Book of World Records (2001) Sidney Sheldon is the most translated author in the world. At the time of this posting I could not locate specific translation publication information, but this specific novel was translated into (at least) French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Japanese (2 dialects), Chinese, and Braille.

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A


Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

(For overview and other biographical sketches, please see the Database entries on Sheldon's other works, "A Stranger in the Mirror" by Michael Beachy, "Master of the Game" by Stacy McCown, "Memories of Midnight" by Lauren Venturatos, "Nothing Lasts Forever" by Carol Zurawski, and "Rage of Angels" by Kate Caples.) This novel shares some similarities with Sheldon's previous and subsequent works: it was an immediate and long-standing international bestseller, was translated into many different languages, and was the subject of mixed critical reviews in spite of its popular success. However, "The Doomsday Conspiracy" is different from all of Sheldon's other respects in one notable way?this novel is Sheldon's only endeavor which deals with the supernatural and extra-terrestrial. This venture into science fiction was unexpected, and the novel stirred much interest with readers. One possible reason for the slight shift in genre may have been "critics' suggestions that Sheldon's fiction was?beginning to grow stale." (Gale). This slump was not seen in sales figures, but rather these observations seemed to be based on the fact that this was Sheldon's eleventh novel, and to date his fiction tended to be somewhat formulaic. Regardless of reason, this stint into science fiction (though declared as somewhat commercialized science fiction by the "Sidelights" article in Gale) was only one book long?in 1992, Sheldon returned to mainstream fiction with his next novel, "The Stars Shine Down". According to an article in People magazine, Sheldon himself puts some stock in the notion of the extra-terrestrial. This personal belief could also help explain this brief turn to science fiction writing. This belief also correlates with Sheldon's philosophy to only write about things with which he is familiar, acquainted, or believes in. Another interesting difference worth noting between this novel and the author's other novels is that most of Sheldon's protagonists are female, however, in this book there is a male lead. In "The Doomsday Conspiracy" the protagonist is Navy Commander Robert Bellamy. This is a departure from the traditional edgy, uber-woman main characters of his other novels, such as Dana Evans (from "The Best Laid Plans" and then "The Sky is Falling") and Jennifer Parker in "Rage of Angels" (me). Other interesting random facts about Sidney Sheldon: in 1995 Sheldon licensed his own line of women's sleepwear called Sheldon's Knightwear. According to the line's producer, the reason behind the venture was simple. "Sheldon's characters in his novels are women who are courageous and glamorous," said Judi Wise. "He visualizes women wearing his sleepwear and reading his books in bed. It's something Sheldon said he's always wanted to do." (WWD). Also, in August of 2001, Sheldon sold the movie rights to his play Roman Candle to Rob Minkoff, who's previous projects include the film Stuart Little 2. (SFW). *********Sources********* Gale: Gale Literary Database, Contemporary Authors. Available at Me: From my personal knowledge (i.e. I've read the books before). WWD: Women's Wear Daily, June 5, 1995 SFW: People: People Weekly, Sept. 16 1991

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

The contemporary criticism of this novel was quite varied. Most of the "academic" criticism (by this I mean published or established critics' critiques of the novel) tended to be neutral, never overtly praising or admonishing. Most of the criticisms I uncovered (which were relatively few) referenced his previous works in comparison to this one. In the Kirkus Review, the reviewer had this to say: "A science-fiction--yes, science-fiction--novel from the master of soap. And one with a MESSAGE, too, just like the science fiction of yore--the clich├ęs of which Sheldon shamelessly recycles as he ham-handedly depicts an earth under threat of invasion by aliens ticked off at- -what else?--our destruction of the environment." This somewhat harsh criticism of the novel echoes a point made by many reviewers?that is, that Sheldon's novel The Doomsday Conspiracy does much of the same things his previous novels did, with just the addition of a sci-fi twist. This is the case in the academic reviews (which often refer to Sheldon as a "soap" writer or "beach novelist") as well as in the customer and reader reviews on and But whatever Sheldon did with his other novels, and this one as well, works. If money talks, then the reviews of this book would be all glowing.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

I had a difficult time locating subsequent reviews of this novel. Most of my information came from Bob Thomas, a bookseller at Barnes and Noble. He has been working in the bookselling business for almost 20 years, and has a legendary memory for detail. He told me that "Sales for [Sheldon]s books never slump considerably. The Doomsday Conspiracy was no exception. People still come in and thank me for recommending it to them." Bob went on to say that many people who are die-hard Sidney Sheldon fans like this novel the best. He says the reason for this is because of the variation in the genre, since none of his novels, before or since, have been based in science fiction. Many readers find the change "refreshing." This seems to be the overall opinions that I came across in customer reviews on and, that most fans who have read several of his books are impressed by the change. This is not always true, though, as some readers seemed annoyed at the switch. One customer review presents the idea of "not switching horses mid stream" in reference to this novel. Many of Sheldon's other novels concern solely political or adventure plots, so the deviation of this one into the realm of science fiction may have been a turn-off to some readers, including this one.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

Sidney Sheldon's The Doomsday Conspiracy is a novel that is arguably prototypical of best-selling novels on average. It contains many elements which are attractive to readers, and gives the book popular commercial appeal. This novel is an easy read, and considered by many to be a "beach book" or "trash novel". These classifications are indicative of many of the books appealing attributes?but are also indicative of some of its drawbacks. Some of these elements include the components of suspense, melodrama, predictability, social commentary and satire, pop culture influences, sex, and conspiracy. All of these elements add to the book's appeal as a commercial publication, and many are arguably shared with the wider class of best selling fiction as a whole. Sheldon's canon of novels tends to appeal to a different audience then more "classic" authors, such as Hemmingway or Faulkner, but his works have an unarguable popularity, and the proven ability to sell. By the sheer number of books sold, and the number of languages into which his works have been translated (of which The Doomsday Conspiracy is no exception) relays the vast popularity and universality of his novels. ~~~~Okay, I am so sorry I am turning in complete crap. I realized this afternoon that I left my disk in New Jersey, where I was working on my assignment over the break. My aunt and uncle live on a farm/ranch, the directions to which involve a dirt road, the colors of fences, and if the cow moves you can't find it. They are still in the dark ages out there, so no internet. I will have my disk by Wednesday and will, with your permission, turn in a most fabulous essay for my re-grade. Above is a (very) rough outline of the thesis of my essay, summed up from memory the best I could. I hope you will forgive my idiocy, I certainly didn't mean to waste your time. I have emailed Professor Unsworth and am crossing my fingers that I didn't just send myself to hell in a handbasket. Thank you for your time.

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