JF Ptak Science Books Post 1117
There are times when even things that are made to look extraordinary and plainly, outrageously identifiable as what they are, simply aren't--and sometimes they're not even close. For example, this cover of Fantastic Novels (1921?) seems to tell a straightforward story, but as it turns out the giant is giant but one living within a world in an atom of a gold wedding ring.
Author Ray Cummings (1887-1957) found a nice writing niche for himself in his fictional discovery of a drug that could make people as small as atoms and then, once inside the microworld, could be made as immense as micro-mountains. The Girl in the Golden Atom was one of a five-part trilogy(?)1 and so far as I can tell, Cummings used the hell out of his original idea. The prose reads like it is punctuated with invisible periods every fifth word2--evidently Cummings was so very busy writing 750 books and short stories that it left him little time to edit or, maybe, think.
Briefly and perhaps wrongly put, what I think that happens in this story is this–four guys in a 1919 club do sumpin’, the chemist among them figures sumpin’ out and finds a micro world inside the atoms of his mother’s golden wedding ring where he falls in love with a chick there and goes to visit her himself3; the shrunken chemist finds himself in the middle of a war and grows himself to gigantic proportions in microworld to help out his girlfriend’s people. Or something like that. I don’t feel a need to understand this one. All I want is the cover art.
Personally, I’d rather be a giant rather than be miniaturized to somehow fight for my existence in the microscopical world. Sure, finding sources of energy if you were 500 feet tall or whatever is going to be a problem; finding whatever problematic but less so. But at least nothing is going to try and eat/crush/liquidate you in the micro-world, where food is the least of your problems. Color me in big.
As I said, all my interest here is in the Frank R. Paul cover art. I find very few images where giant women are throwing tiny men taken from a sea of tiny men into the far horizon.
1. The other four parts of the five-part trilogy are The Princess of the Atom, The Man Who Mastered Time, The Shadow Girl and The Exile of Time)
2. Here’s a sample of the writing:
"Many things they threw," Lylda [a giant woman] answered. "But I was so big," she smiled a little sad, twisted smile. "What they could do was as nothing. And
because of that they fear and hate us so; yet never have I seen such
fearless things as those they did. Death to the giants was their only
cry. And I could have killed them--hundreds, thousands--yet never could
I have made them stop while yet they were alive.”
She was speaking to a character named Big Business Man. Makes my teeth fall out.
3. Sounds like a lot of therapy source material