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Ray Cummings

Pen-names: Ray P. Shotwell

"Arton's Metal"
© Super Science Stories, Sep 1940
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find

"Bandits Of Time"
© Amazing Stories, Dec 1941
Fantastic, Oct 1968
--/ third place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ awesome scale
--/ rare find

"Beyond the Stars" (nv)
© 1928, original
Argosy All-Story, 1935
Future Stories, 1942
book: 1961, Ace Books
--/ third place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ awesome scale

"The Derelict of Space"
(with William Thurmond)
© Wonder Stories Quarterly, Fall 1931
Wonder Story Annual, 1950
--/ cool space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find


Ray Cummings
"A Fragment of Diamond Quartz"
(as Ray P. Shotwell)
© Super Science Stories (Can), Aug 1944
Super Science Stories, Anthology 1950
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ rare find

How much more obscure can you get? Hidden under rarely-used pen name, published in the one of the hardest to find magazines, and what's more, inside the issue not found in any index or catalog of this magazine! "Super Science Stories", Canadian edition, published some unique and original content, which was NOT duplicated south of the border. It's impossible to find even cover images for these issues, not to mention the tables of contents. So... this neat adventure from the premier sf writer of the "wonder" era got buried in obscurity - and became all the more interesting for it!


"The Great Transformation"
© Wonder Stories, Feb 1931
--/ cool sf story
--/ rare find


"The Man on the Meteor" (nv)
© Science & Invention, Jan-Sep 1924
Future Fiction, Oct 1941
Science Fiction, Jan-Mar 1942
--/ cool sf novel
--/ adventure award
--/ rare find

Rare early novel of the "master of miniaturization" Ray Cummings (a sizable amount of his fiction deals with adventures in a micro-, or even sub-atomic world) This time around, probably before he found his groove, he unfolds pretty dated (meaning very predictable) adventure on some exotic asteroid - but it might as well have taken place under my couch, or in Zambia. Of course, there are many underwater monsters and sensual "mermaids", and by the standards of the dawning age of wonder it was pretty packed, but alas, it does not read as "space adventure", or any kind of memorable adventure at all (probably because of the total lack of characterization). I can see how such escapist fantasy romps might have influenced Edgar Rice Burroughs (whom I could not bring myself to read, mostly because of the total 2-dimensionality of his writing). Cummings here, arguably, stretches his wings - to become a serious source for the colorful, thrilling adventures in the 30s.
review: 25-Dec-07 (read in 2007)


"Monster of the Moon"
© Super Science Stories, Nov 1941
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find

"Murder In The Fog"
© Popular Detective, Dec 1937
--/ cool sf story
--/ rare find

"The Scalpel Of Doom"
© Ten Detective Aces, Feb 1947

"Science Can Wait"
© Fantastic Story, Aut 1952
--/ cool sf story


Ray Cummings
"Secret of the Sun"
© Thrilling Wonder Stories, Aug 1939
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ rare find

This is not the best example of wonder-laden stories by Ray Cummings, but Forrest J. Ackerman's right when he (as a lucky collector of infinite amount of pulps) laments the absence of any short story collection of this prominent pulp writer. It could be that some small press did issue a collection recently, or even put some of his stories online; but the fairy dust of obscurity has already touched Cummings' literary output since the 50s, and once touched, it's hard to shake it off.


"Stamp of Doom"
© Crack Detective Stories, Mar 1946

"The Thought Machine"
© Marvel Stories, April 1941
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea: un-thought realm
--/ awesome scale
--/ rare find

"Two Proposals"
© Droll Stories, Mar 1923

"The World Beyond"
© Amazing Stories, Jul 1942,
Amazing Stories, Apr 1956

--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ awesome scale


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Blogger Victor Steerup said...

How about "Brigands of the Moon"?
Brigands of the Moon J.W. Campbell, 1944 {uncredited}“ scarce digest featuring awful, juvenile cover art. Erroneously credited to Campbell, really is Ray Cummings novel.

The Guide to Paperbacks,
The host of this site, Morgan A.
Wallace, complains about the juvenile art on #194 -
"Brigands of the Moon", when it was reprinted in 1944.
It is a repainted cover of the earlier Popular
Mechanics 1941-May issue, showing electrical
linesmen trying to clear a short in overhead power

Popular Mechanics 1902-1952/Cover Gallery - Popular Mechanics.htm
The PM cover is 194105

Librivox has an audio recording at the Internet Archive of just "Brigands. . ."
and the audio transcript of the March, 1930 Astounding Stories Magazine.
Text files for e-readers are at Internet Archive.
I can't seem to load images or actual html addresses in this comment, but I am sure it will be edited. I am NOT a Ray Cummings fanatic, I just came across those two pictures that are amusing in comparison to each other. Internet search came up with several other book covers when story was originally published.

7:08 PM  

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"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.

All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)

Our PERSONAL AWARDS (ratings) are highlighted in RED and PURPLE:
--/ first place :
--/ second place :
--/ third place :

--/ fourth place :

--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
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- novella :
- story :
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Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness

--/ idea award
originality of idea / concept

--/ adventure award
exhilarating plot, excitement / action

--/ style award
outstanding literary qualities, inimitable style

--/ romance award
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--/ humour award
funny and cool

--/ emotion award
touching, lasting impression, sensitivity

--/ shock value
altogether wild

--/ awesome scale
mind-boggling; further enhances sense-of-wonder

--/ rare find
very hard to locate, mostly from old pulps, never reprinted, etc.

Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.