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Ray Cummings (born Raymond King Cummings) (August 30, 1887 – January 23, 1957) was an American author of science fiction literature and comic books.
Cummings is identified as one of the "founding fathers" of the science fiction genre. His most highly regarded fictional work was the novel The Girl in the Golden Atom published in 1922, which was a consolidation of a short story by the same name published in 1919 (where Cummings combined the idea of Fitz James O'Brien's The Diamond Lens with H. G. Wells's The Time Machine) and a sequel, The People of the Golden Atom, published in 1920.
Before taking book form, several of Cummings's stories appeared serialized in pulp magazines. The first eight chapters of his The Girl in the Golden Atom appeared in All-Story Magazine on March 15, 1919.
Ray Cummings wrote in the 1922 novel: "Time... is what keeps everything from happening at once", a sentence repeated by scientists such as C. J. Overbeck, and John Archibald Wheeler, and often mis-attributed to the likes of Einstein or Feynman. Cummings repeated this sentence in several of his novellas. Sources focus on his earlier work, The Time Professor, published in 1921, as its earliest documented usage.
During the 1940s, with his literary career in eclipse, Cummings anonymously scripted comic book stories for Timely Comics, the predecessor to Marvel Comics. He recycled the plot of The Girl in the Golden Atom for a two-part Captain America tale, Princess of the Atom (Captain America #25 & 26). He also contributed to the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner stories, which his daughter Betty Cummings often penned.
Cummings died on January 22, 1957 at Mount Vernon, New York, of a cerebral hemorrhage.