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    Raymond A. Palmer; Ralph Milne Farley; David H. Keller; et al. Cosmos. [Jamaica, NY: Science Fiction Digest Co. (later Fantasy Magazine), 1933-1935]. First edition, in one volume. Each chapter (17 in total) with unique artwork and signed and inscribed by the respective author to Raymond A. Palmer, Literary Editor, with Raymond A. Palmer signing as both himself and under his pseudonym, Rae Winters. Octavo. 17 "chapters" first issued in parts in Science Fiction Digest from July 1933 to January 1935, gathered here in one volume. Individually paginated. Illustrated with title page after Hannes Bok, fourteen black and white illustrations and three hand-colored illustrations after "C. Ferguson Jr. / 35" (presumably Clay Ferguson Jr., illustrator for the magazine) each with a typed caption to the verso. Black ink drawing laid in, presumably by Hannes Bok but unsigned, of an alternative cover art. Bound in black textured cloth. Minor edgewear. Endpapers toned, minor soiling. Internally generally clean and tight; text block toned and brittle, chipping to edges into the margins, minor offsetting and foxing, plates for chapter three and chapter four somewhat creased. Very good or better.

    Chapter 1 - Faster Than Light by Ralph Milne Farley - July, 1933
    Chapter 2 - The Emigrants by David H. Keller, M.D. - August, 1933
    Chapter 3 - Callisto's Children by Arthur J. Burks - September, 1933
    Chapter 4 - The Murderer From Mars by Bob Olsen - September, 1933
    Chapter 5 - Tyrants of Saturn by Francis Flagg - October, 1933
    Chapter 6 - Interference on Luna by John W. Campbell - November, 1933
    Chapter 7 - Son of the Trident by Rae Winters [Pseudonym of Raymond A. Palmer] - December, 1933
    Chapter 8 - Volunteers From Venus by Otis Adelbert Kline and E. Hoffman Price - January, 1934
    Chapter 9 - Menace of the Automaton by Abner J. Gelula - February, 1934
    Chapter 10 - Conference at Copernicus by Raymond A. Palmer - March, 1934
    Chapter 11 - The Last Poet and the Robots by A. Merritt - April, 1934
    Chapter 12 - At the Crater's Core by J. Harvey Haggard - May-June 1934
    Chapter 13 - What a Course! by Edward E. Smith, Ph.D. - July, 1934
    Chapter 14 - The Fate of the Neptunians by P. Schuyler Miller - August, 1934
    Chapter 15 - The Horde of Elo Hava by L. A. Eshbach - September, 1934
    Chapter 16 - Lost in Alien Dimensions by Eando Binder - October-November, 1934
    Chapter 17 - Armageddon in Space by Edmond Hamilton - December, 1934-January, 1935

    Cosmos represents a cornerstone in science fiction fan publishing and a round-robin style of writing that today might be cast off as the realm of teenage fanfiction authors, but in reality, represents a challenge of improvisation, collaboration, and maintaining characters through a series of different voices. In 1933, Raymond A. Palmer ("Rap"), just 23 at the time, and the rest of the editorial staff at Science Fiction Digest (later Fantasy Magazine) issued this very challenge to sixteen "Masters of Science Fiction," where each would write a chapter of a story, using each other's unique characters, worlds, and conflicts to build an adventure that spans galaxies.

    Initially, the parts for this series were issued stapled into the science fiction fanzine, Science Fiction Digest, from 1933-1935, but were also available to buy loose in sets (as noted on the publisher's ad bound after chapter 15). This copy appears to be a custom binding for Raymond A. Palmer featuring unique and seemingly unpublished artwork for each chapter. Additionally, each issue is signed (also some inscribed) to the verso of the artwork at the beginning of each chapter and again signed and inscribed on the page following each chapter. Each filled with grateful, encouraging notes to young "Rap," thanking him for his part in guiding the project and with best wishes for his future endeavors and jokes about the challenges of continuing a tale started by someone else.

    P. Schuyler Miller writes, "Me - the traditionally platonic - flirting vicariously with a purple beach-ball! But dammit, those rubber ruffians had something." A succinct demonstration of Cosmos as labor of love, bringing together outright famous science fiction writers right alongside fresh, new faces, in an effort that was clearly both fun and challenging for these authors. Palmer ("Rap") himself says, "plotting, directing, and writing Cosmos was an experience I shall never forget. It proved to me that the earth bears no finer lot than the writers of fiction."

    Edmond Hamilton ends his chapter and the series with the perfect, cheeky inscription, "The next time Ray Palmer starts tearing up the universe, I'm going to retire to another dimension until it's over. But I did have a great time slaughtering the other author's characters!" From the Gary Munson Collection


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    14th Thursday
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