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Ralph 124C 41+: A Romance of the Year 2660 (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) Paperback – September 1, 2000
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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From the Back Cover
This visionary novel of the twenty-seventh century was written by Hugo Gernsback (1887-1964), founder of the influential magazine Amazing Stories. Marvelously prophetic and creative, Ralph 124C 41+ celebrates technological advances and entrances readers with an exuberant, unforgettable vision of what our world might become. This commemorative edition makes this landmark tale widely available for the first time in decades and features the prized Frank R. Paul illustrations from the rare first edition, a list of inventions and technological devices, and Hugo Gernsback's prefaces to the first and second editions.
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Top Customer Reviews
A future where everyone wears electric roller skates, has a number instead of a last name and cities have moving side walks... One of theose travelogues of the future extrapolated by a writer from the very beginings of the pulp era. The gadgetry seems almost Victorian, the philosophy seems dated, yet somehow you'll never forget this book.
I read this book in the early 60's and it was already very quaint and dated even back then. But somehow I've never forgotten it and parts of this book come to mind even now almost 40 years later. If you've ever seen the 1930 film "Just Imagine," then this is the literary equivalant.
Only knowing a glimmer of the book's contents, I jumped in. Fully expecting stuff so "left field" from today's technology, I was quite surprised with Gernsback's predictions. A few of them are fairly accurate, and at least one is square on target. And winding through it all is a darling, innocent love story to boot. It reads as good as any Jules Verne, or H.G. Welles story!
Don't let either the title or it's author scare you off from reading this. You'll be glad you did!
This book is widely considered the first science fiction and Hugo credited with creation of the term 'science fiction.'
It is a must read for serious fans of science fiction. But for casual readers, you'd be glad modern SF is leaps and bounds more interesting. (Then again, who knows what people will say a hundred years from now about Star Wars?)
Many parts of this hundred-year-old story are decidedly dated, not least the references to the "ether" that carries light waves. Some just look silly to a modern eye, including the broadcast power distribution (sort of like a live-in microwave oven), electric roller skates, or restaurant that serves only liquid food, pumped through pipes to patrons turned off by the idea of chewing. And the daily disinfections, killing off all bacteria in the body, look positively pernicious, now that we know more about the importance of our symbiotic microbes.
A few points are strikingly prescient, though. Cable video might have been the obvious next thing, once telephonic voice transmission was common. Gernsback went even farther and predicted "video walls" tiled from many smaller video panels, and even channel surfing, albeit with patch-cord panels rather than typed URLs.
Read this if you want a quaintly futuristic, doubly-anacronistic romp, a shallow space opera, or an interesting artifact from the start of the last century. If you're looking for light, contemporary fiction, look onward. This is probably best for the hard-core SF fan or for the historian of technology trying to understand the social context of the time. The right reader will find a lot to enjoy, but it's not for everyone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book didn't grab my attention, but I wouldn't rule it out for someone else.Published 6 months ago by ladyvader
Hugo Gernsback was a brilliant man. But, he was not a great writer. He was also off in his predictions of the future, but no matter. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Charlie Aukerman
Seemed much better back when I first read it, in the fifties. I'm not sure that it offers much today to someone reading it for the first time. Gernsback was no Jules Vern.Published 21 months ago by Philip Cumming
"Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967)is celebrated as the father of modern science fiction. His novel, Ralph 124C41+: A Romance of the Year 2660, is considered to be the first pure work of... Read morePublished on July 31, 2010 by Jonathan M. Arena