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Ralph 124C 41+: A Romance of the Year 2660

Authors:
Hugo Gernsback (author), Fletcher Pratt (foreword) and Lee de Forest (foreword)
Language:
English
Categories:
Novel and science fiction
Publication year:
1911
Online version:
Link
Pages:
207
Synopsis:

Regarded by some as the first true science fiction novel (and in any case a classic), this is in essence a love story with a science fiction background. This is not to say that the human drama overshadows the science fiction aspect! There is lots of exposition and explanations of various technologies, and the ways in which they shape life in the year 2660. There is a pretty lengthy chapter describing New York city, and the way in which it provides energy and food to its inhabitants, that I really enjoyed.

The story follows the titular character, Ralph 124C 41+ ("one of the ten men on the whole planet earth permitted to use the Plus sign after his name", according to the story), a world renowned scientist from New York, on a quest to gain the love of Alice, a woman whom he serendipitously rescues from an avalanche in Switzerland.

Review:

I got some enjoyment out of this novel, but I wouldn't say that it's brilliantly written. The writing is good, as it goes, and the story is pretty gripping, as it goes, although at times it was difficult to suspend my disbelief. I would recommend reading it, if only for its cult status.

Table of Contents:
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  • PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
  • PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
  • FOREWORD BY DR. LEE DE FOREST
  • FOREWORD BY FLETCHER PRATT
  1. The Avalanche
  2. Two Faces
  3. Dead or Alive?
  4. Fernand
  5. New York A.D. 2660
  6. "Give Us Food"
  7. The End of Money
  8. The Menace of the Invisible Cloak
  9. The Conquest of Gravitation
  10. Two Letters
  11. The Flight Into Space
  12. Llysanorh' Strikes
  13. Alice Objects
  14. The Terror of the Comet
  15. Llysanorh' Throws Off the Mask
  16. The Supreme Victory

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