Thursday, July 16, 2009

The textual history of Hugo Gernsback's novel Ralph 124C 41+: A Romance of the Year 2660

I just started reading SF author, editor, and critic
Gary Westfahl’s ambitious essay entitled “Evolution of Modern Science Fiction: The Textual History of Hugo Gernsback's Ralph 124C 41+,” published in the March 1996 issue of Science Fiction Studies.

A serious piece of scholarship, Westfahl’s essay studies five editions of Ralph 124C 41+: A Romance of the Year 2660 (original 1911-12 serial published in Modern Electrics magazine; first edition of novel, published in 1925 by Stratford Company; 1929 version published in Winter 1929 issue of Amazing Stories Quarterly magazine; second edition of novel, published in 1950 by Frederick Fell, Inc.; 1958 novel published by Fawcett Crest) and concludes that Hugo Gernsback’s Mars and Martians have their roots in To Mars via the Moon (1911),
a “scientific novel” written by Mark Wicks and one which Gernsback likely read and reviewed in August 1911.

Pictured: First edition of Ralph 124C 41+: A Romance of the Year 2660, published in 1925 by the Stratford Company of Boston and illustrated by Frank R. Paul.


lartronics said...

I’ve recently published a new 900-page biography about the life and times of Hugo Gernsback. It is available on Amazon. Just follow this link:

The manuscript was found while I was in the process of closing down Gernsback Publications Inc. in 2003. It was apparently written some time in the 1950’s. It covers all the areas that Hugo found interesting: wireless communications, science fiction, publishing, patents, foretelling the future, and much more. If you follow this link you can even take a look inside the book and sample its contents.

Want more info? Contact me at

Paul said...

Thanks, I'll take a look.