Ralph 124C 41+

Ralph 124C 41+As the vibrations died down in the laboratory the big man arose from the glass chair and viewed the complicated apparatus on the table. It was complete to the last detail. He glanced at the calendar. It was September 1st in the year 2660. Tomorrow was to be a big and busy day for him, for it was to witness the final phase of the three-year experiment. He yawned and stretched himself to his full height, revealing a physique much larger than that of the average man of his times and approaching that of the huge Martians.

His physical superiority, however, was as nothing compared to his gigantic mind. He was Ralph 124C 41+, one of the greatest living scientists and one of ten men on the whole planet earth permitted to use the Plus sign after his name. Stepping to the Telephot on the side of the wall, he pressed a group of buttons and in a few minutes the faceplate of the Telephot became luminous, revealing the face of a clean-shaven man about thirty, a pleasant but serious face.

As soon as he recognized the face of Ralph in his own Telephot, he smiled and said, “Hello, Ralph.” “Hello, Edward. I wanted to ask you if you could come over to the laboratory tomorrow morning. I have something unusually interesting to show you. Look!”

He stepped to one side of his instrument so that his friend could see the apparatus on the table about ten feet from the Telephot faceplate.

Edward came closer to his own faceplate, in order that he might see further into the laboratory.

“Why, you’ve finished it!” he exclaimed. “And your famous — “

— Hugo Gernsback, Ralph 124C 41+

Ralph 124C 41+ (1911) by Hugo Gernsback

The novel is credited by Jeff Prutcher‘s Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction (2009) for giving us the phrase ‘space-sickness‘.

References:
  • Gernsback, Hugo (1911) Ralph 124C 41+
  • Prutcher, Jeff (ed. 2009) Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction
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