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Jun 16, 2015

Science Fiction Revolution

Science Wonder Stories, October 1929
Cover art by Frank Rudolph Paul
I recently learned of the important role played by Raymond Cummings in the creation of the science fiction literary genre. Cummings was born in 1887 and was a contemporary of illustrator Frank Paul (born 1884). Here, I relate an interesting tale about Paul from out of Deep Time.

Isaac Asimov liked to tell the story of how he first began to read science fiction. He told his parents that magazines like Science Wonder Stories were about science and so he was allowed to read them because they must be educational. Didn't little Isaac's parents ever looked at those pulp science fiction magazine covers? Hmm, maybe the parents of science fiction writers are aliens, trying to to take over the Earth through science fiction. Actually, that's the plot of a story I wrote about how Aliens "invented and created Carl Sagan".

The Electrical Experimenter
In the Buld Reality, the universe as we know it, Frank Paul was first hired by Hugo Gernsback as an illustrator for a magazine that catered to radio enthusiasts. Starting in about 1926, Paul became an influential illustrator of science fiction magazines.

Ralph 124C 41+
Paul did the cover art for the 1925 publication of Gernsback's novel, Ralph 124C 41+, a story which was was first published in magazine format in 1911. This gadget story by Gernsback included futuristic gizmos like videophones.

Amazing Stories, August 1926
In the Buld Reality, Amazing Stories was the first pulp fiction magazine designed as an outlet for science fiction. The cover illustration to the left illustrates a story about keeping a human brain alive (The Talking Brain). Sadly, in those low bandwidth days, the poor Brain had to communicate by Morse code.

However, the pace of technological advance was quicker in the Ekcolir Reality and Gernsback launched his Science TV network in 1912. Three years later the first science fiction television program (Imagination Science) was begun by Gernsback.

Ekcolir Reality
In the Ekcolir Reality: nicotine.
As a literary genre, science fiction has always struggled to achieve the correct balance between scientific plausibility and entertaining story telling. In the Ekcolir Reality, the science fiction genre remained gravitationally locked to science and even in television and film the science fiction stories of that Reality were almost all "hard" science fiction. Asimov published many stories that passed as science fiction while containing vast amounts of factual information about the secret history of Humanity.

In the Ekcolir Reality: endosymbionts.
In the Ekcolir Reality, authors like Isaac Asimov, who had professional training in science and engineering, dominated the science fiction world. However, Editors like Gernsback still found a way to bring into the genre "outsiders". As part of what became known as the "science fiction revolution", Gernsback arranged for collaborations between authors like Asimov and Farmer. Frank Paul illustrated most of the two dozen novels that were published by the team of Asimov and Farmer in the Ekcolir Reality. Next: more television programs from Deep Time.

Related Reading in the Buld Reality:
The Biological Revolt by Philip Jose Farmer
the Amazing Stories Archive (download issues)
Visit the Gallery of Films, Books and Magazines.

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