Ray Cummings

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Ray Cummings c. 1931

Ray Cummings (byname of Raymond King Cummings; August 30, 1887 – January 23, 1957) was an American author of science fiction, rated one of the "founding fathers of the science fiction pulp genre".[1] He was born in New York City and died in Mount Vernon, New York.

Cummings worked with Thomas Edison as a personal assistant and technical writer from 1914 to 1919. His most highly regarded work was the novel The Girl in the Golden Atom published in 1922, which was a consolidation of a short story by the same name published in 1919 (where Cummings combined the idea of Fitz James O'Brien's The Diamond Lens with H. G. Wells's The Time Machine)[1] and a sequel, The People of the Golden Atom, published in 1920.[2] His career resulted in some 750 novels and short stories, using also the pen names Ray King, Gabrielle Cummings, and Gabriel Wilson.[citation needed]

During the 1940s, with his fiction career in eclipse, Cummings anonymously scripted comic book stories for Timely Comics, the predecessor to Marvel Comics. He recycled the plot of The Girl in the Golden Atom, for a two-part Captain America tale, "Princess of the Atom". (Captain America #25 & 26) He also contributed to the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner, which his daughter Betty Cummings also wrote.

Ray Cummings wrote in 1922, "Time... is what keeps everything from happening at once",[3] a sentence repeated by scientists such as C. J. Overbeck,[4] and John Archibald Wheeler.[5][6]

Selected works[edit]

Cummings's novel Beyond the Stars was reprinted in the February 1942 issue of Future under a cover by Hannes Bok
The Man Who Mastered Time was republished in Fantastic Novels in 1950.
  • The Girl in the Golden Atom, short story (1919)
  • The People of the Golden Atom (1920)
  • Moon Plot (Argosy c. 1920)
  • The Girl in the Golden Atom, novel (1922)
  • The Man Who Mastered Time (Argosy 1924)
  • Brand New World (Argosy 1928)
  • Snow Girl (Argosy 1929)
  • The Shadow Girl (Argosy 1929)
  • The Sea Girl (Argosy 1929)
  • The Princess of the Atom (1929)
  • Tama of the Light Country (Argosy 1930)
  • Beyond the Vanishing Point, Astounding (March 1931)
  • Brigands of the Moon (McClurg, 1931)
  • Jungle Rebellion (Argosy 1931)
  • Tama Princess of Mercury (Argosy 1931)
  • Bandits of the Cylinder (Argosy 1931)
  • Beyond the Stars, Future (February 1942)


  1. ^ Two Early Works by Ray Cummings: “The Fire People” and “Around the Universe”
  2. ^ Science-Fiction: The Early Years by Everett F. Bleiler (1990), p. 171.
  3. ^ Cummings, Raymond King (1922). The Girl in the Golden Atom. U of Nebraska Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-8032-6457-1. Retrieved 2011-04-09.  Chapter 5. Cummings repeated this sentence in several of his novellas. Sources, such as this one, attribute it to his earlier work, The Time Professor, in 1921. Before taking book form, several of Cummings's stories appeared serialized in magazines. The first eight chapters of his The Girl in the Golden Atom appeared in All-Story Magazine on March 15, 1919. In the novel version the quote about time appears in Chapter V.
  4. ^ International, Rotary (Aug 1973). "The Rotarian". Published by Rotary International: 47. ISSN 0035-838X. Retrieved 2011-04-09. , What does a man possess? page 47
  5. ^ Daintith, John (2008). Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists (third ed.). CRC Press. p. 796. ISBN 1-4200-7271-4. Retrieved 2011-04-09. , Page 796, quoting Wheeler from the American Journal of Physics, 1978
  6. ^ Davies, Davies (1995). About time: Einstein's unfinished revolution. Simon & Schuster. p. 236. ISBN 0-671-79964-9. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 

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