The first installment of Cosmos arrived with the July, 1933 issue of Science Fiction Digest, a small pamphlet tucked inside the back cover and stapled to the rest of the pages.
The excitement among the editorial staff bubbled over on almost every page of the issue. The editors spoke of the novel as though it had already been written, while it’s likely that only the first two chapters had been completed.
From “Spilling The Atoms with Rap”, Raymond A. Palmer (pg 6):
“And here is a real scoop. Ralph Milne Farley is TWO people! Here’s the dope; Ralph Milne Farley, up to January 1, 1932, was Roget Sherman Hoar, A.B., M.A. LL. B. After that he began writing in collaboration with his daughter, Caroline Prescott Hoar, who had been writing under the pen name of ‘Jacqueline Farley.’ Their combined efforts have been published under the name Ralph Milne Farley exclusively since the combine was effected. Miss Hoar is a student at Radcliffe, majoring in mechanical and electrical engineering. She is responsible for the improvement in Farley’s “The Golden City” over previous works…”
Technical points in the first chapter of COSMOS were checked by Prof. Arnaud, formerly of the Naval Observatory.”
Two mentions appear side-by-side at the bottom of page 5:
From a separate item on page 12:
Tell all of your friends about SFD. They won’t want to miss a single episode of the Super-Serial,
Read the first great episode of this remarkable masterpiece in this issue. Watch next month for Dr. Keller’s great second chapter. You won’t want to miss a single thrilling episode of this great novel. Sixteen of Science Fiction’s foremost authors combined their talents in order to bring this novel to our readers.
From “Science Fiction Scrap Book” (pg 13):
In “The Editor Broadcasts” (pg 15 – 16), the first reader letters referring to the serial appeared.
Richard Frank, of Millheim, Penna., wrote:
“Last winter, as you know, you sent me a circular containing the advertisement of a story by A. Merritt. I thought I would try your mag out, and I did beginning with the February issue. Am I sorry? Not at all.
“Now, due to Cosmos, I am going to renew my subscription for one year.”
Thanks for the kind words, Mr. Frank. It certainly pleases the whole staff when we find that SFD satisfies its readers. You won’t regret your renewal. Cosmos is a great novel, and in addition we have many other fine features which will appear in future issues…
From Bernard M. Jaffe, Of New York, we received another fine bouquet:
“Your June issue is very interesting. The only adverse comment which I have to make is about the gossip columns.
“They are the best part of the magazine, potentially. Julius Schwartz’s newsy items are very good, but their high quality is more than counterbalanced by Weisinger’s scandal column. I am glad to notice his scandal has been discontinued in this issue. Palmer, though he no longer does gossip columns, is as interesting as ever.
“I wish to congratulate you heartily upon the forthcoming Cosmos. According to all indications, it will be one of the best stories ever written. But, why, why, why didn’t you get Campbell to do something. Of course you have got Edward E. Smith, who is, next to Campbell, the best.
“I’m very much in favor of your plan of making the installments addenda to the regular magazine, which makes it possible to separate and bind them.”
Mr. Jaffe is our first reader to complain about Weisinger’s column. What do other readers think on the subject?
The editors seemed to heed Mr. Jaffe’s advice — John W. Campbell was added as a Cosmos author the very next month. (The actual story of Campbell’s addition appears in the August issue’s RAP column.)
Earl Perry, of Rockdale, Texas, wrote:
“I have just finished reading the June issue of your magazine, and am glad to see that it is steadily improving. Please continue the short stories. I am looking forward to Cosmos in anticipation, as it sounds like it will be the novel of the year.”
We’re modest, so we only say that Cosmos will be one of the greatest science fiction stories ever printed…
How do you like the way COSMOS is bound with this issue? All you have to do in order to get a fine book is take out the staples which hold SFD together, remove the supplement, and when you have saved every episode they can be attractively bound. You’ll then have a real classic to add to you library.
Ralph Milne Farley’s exciting first chapter of COSMOS, “Faster Than Light” starts the Super Serial in a swift and entertaining manner. The web is now started, follow the episodes as each author expertly weaves his thread into the pattern of the story. Dr. David H. Keller’s second chapter, “The Emigrants,” keeps the story moving in fine style. Don’t miss it.”
This issue also featured a rather gloomy poem by the author of the first Cosmos chapter, Ralph Milne Farley. It was very common for the sci-fi and fantasy authors of the day to write both prose and poetry, a practice that seems very uncommon today.
Read the first chapter of COSMOS.
Read about the August, 1933 issue.