(1865-1916) UK editor, illustrator and writer, best known for founding the Jane's Fighting Ships series (as Jane's All the World's Fighting Ships from 1898; as Jane's Fighting Ships from 1905). Blake of the "Rattlesnake", or The Man Who Saved England: A Story of Torpedo Warfare in 189– (1895) is a Future War story in which, through a series of engagements, modern torpedoes save the UK from the Russians and the French. Artificially created according to an ancient Egyptian formula, the homunculus protagonist (see Androids) of The Incubated Girl (1896) upsets the contemporary UK with her soulless but amoral clarity, her vegetarianism, and her goddess-like charisma (see She). To Venus in Five Seconds: An Account of the Strange Disappearance of Thomas Plummer, Pill-maker (1897) takes its kidnapped narrator to Venus by Matter Transmission; there he sets off a conflict between the natives – highly intelligent giant insects – and the ancient Egyptians who have been resident there for some time, including his lady kidnapper. The humorous effects in this tale are clearly intentional. The Violent Flame: A Story of Armageddon and After (1899) features a Mad Scientist who, using a disintegrator Ray, brings about the End of the World – which, Gaia-like, is a living entity. The narrator and his wife survive to be a new Adam and Eve. Overall Jane's fiction, though crude, conveys a genuine speculative impact.
His sf Illustrations – not only of his own work but also of Future War novels by George Griffith, like The Angel of the Revolution: A Tale of the Coming Terror (21 January-14 October 1893 Pearson's Weekly; rev 1893) and Olga Romanoff: Or, the Syren of the Skies: A Sequel to "The Angel of the Revolution" (23 December 1893-4 August 1894 Pearson's Weekly as "The Syren of the Skies"; rev 1894), and by E Douglas Fawcett, like Hartmann the Anarchist, or The Doom of the Great City (June-September 1893 English Illustrated Magazine; 1893) – focus on War and Weapons, though some more interesting sequences, like "Guesses at Futurity" (October 1894-May 1895 Pall Mall Magazine), a set of illustrations of life in the year 2000, show a wide-ranging visual sense of things to come. He was also of note as an illustrator of some of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. [JC/PN/JGr]
see also: Crime and Punishment; History of SF; Transportation; Wargame.
John Frederick Thomas Jane
born Richmond, Surrey, UK: 6 August 1865
died Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK: 8 March 1916
about the author/artist
Previous versions of this entry