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Girl in the Golden Atom Paperback – June, 1973
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This book is actually two stories in one, both of which were originally published as serials in the pulp magazine All Story Weekly. The Girl in the Golden Atom was written in 1919 and its sequel, The People in the Golden Atom, in 1920.
Needless to say, the science is extremely dated. Luckily, like most pulp stories at the time, the science fiction element is kept to a minimum.
The plot is relatively simple. A man, identified only as the Chemist, discovers a microscopic world inside a golden ring. Soon, he becomes transfixed with a girl he observes there and determines to shrink himself down and find her. He does this by inventing two drugs, one pill to make him smaller and one pill to make him bigger. He then tells this plan to a group of friends, and asks them to safeguard the ring while he is away. Once he returns, he tells them all the story of his adventures inside the world of the ring. After his tale is over, he shrinks himself down again and returns to his love's side.
It is similar in structure to H.G. Well's The Time Machine. Indeed, this is purposefully done by Cummings, who is attempting to bridge the gap between the science romances of Wells and fantastic voyages of Verne.
The tale is very basic, but it has its charms. The descriptions of shrinking and growing, with the world falling away or rushing up, is very well done. The culture that lives inside the ring is only briefly touched upon.Read more ›
"The Diamond Lens" was the obvious inspiration for Ray Cummings' "The Girl in the Golden Atom," although in Cummings' story, the scientist not only sees a microscopic beauty, he actually develops a way to shrink himself so he can visit her.
Cummings originally published the novelette "The Girl in the Golden Atom" in 1919 in All-Story Magazine (a general-interest pulp fiction magazine; there was no pulp magazine devoted solely to science fiction until 1926). It was a hit with readers, and he followed it with a novel-length sequel, "The People of the Golden Atom," which was serialized in All-Story in 1920. In 1922, the two stories were published in book form as "The Girl in the Golden Atom." This Kindle book includes the full 1922 text (i.e., both of the original magazine stories).
Cummings was a good science fiction writer for his day, and "The Girl in the Golden Atom" was his most popular work; he continued to write SF into the 1940s, but nothing he wrote thereafter was as successful. The story is still a pretty good read; the science is of course ludicrous (there are no microscopic people inside atoms, and if there were, they certainly wouldn't speak English!), but Cummings makes an effort to make it sound plausible, and the adventure plot is still somewhat engaging.Read more ›
As charming as this story is, the writing is somewhat jerky. Since it was originally written as a set of serial stories, the plot is a series of mini adventures and cliff hangers. While reading this I could tell where the story must've left off in each issue. Which was understandable. In the last half of the book though, it gets tedious, as if the story was drug out much longer than it needed to be.
As I write this review, this book is free on Kindle. "Buy" it for "$0.00", read and enjoy a bit early sci-fi.
Not the greatest read, but it does have some good moments. Be mindful, it is a product of its time, this is not the kind of novel that will be made into an science fiction action film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very dated and probably wasn't that good when it was current.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Of interest only to those who wonder what the run of the mill science fiction story of that era was like. Hint: it was moronic.Published 23 months ago by Steve Heller
IT WAS DIFFERENT FROM WHAT i USUALLY READ. IT KEPT ME ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.Published on December 3, 2013 by Patricia M. Merryman