(1909-1988) US author who until his retirement in 1973 worked as a New York State unemployment insurance claims investigator. His first published story, "The Death's Head Meteor" (it was the first English-language sf story to use the word "astronaut") for Air Wonder Stories in January 1930, shares with almost all his fiction a very generalized Future History common background – one of the earliest seen in US genre sf – which is given some explanation in "Time's Mausoleum" (December 1933 Amazing), a story from the Professor Jameson series of Space Opera adventures. The first Professor Jameson story, "The Jameson Satellite", dates from July 1931, and was published in Amazing Stories, where most of the pre-World War Two stories appeared; most of the somewhat inferior later instalments appeared in Super Science Stories and Astonishing Stories. Against a background of epic advances and conflicts in the twenty-fourth and twenty-sixth centuries, Professor Jameson has arranged for his corpse to be preserved Cryonically indefinitely in orbit. After a Time Abyss of forty million years, long after all other humans have died, he is woken by the Cyborg Zoromes, who encase his brain in metal and give him the chance to travel the Universe – along with them and other sentient beings of various races – in search of knowledge and adventure. Jameson embraces the opportunity (see Sense of Wonder).
The first sixteen stories of the sequence were collected much later as The Planet of the Double Sun (coll of linked stories 1967), The Sunless World (coll of linked stories 1967), Space War (coll of linked stories 1967), Twin Worlds (coll of linked stories 1967) and Doomsday on Ajiat (coll of linked stories 1968 including two previously unpublished stories). The stories that did not reach book form are "The Cat-Men of Aemt" (August 1940 Astonishing), "Cosmic Derelict" (February 1941 Astonishing), "Slaves of the Unknown" (March 1942 Astonishing), "Parasite Planet" (November 1949 Super Science Stories), "World Without Darkness" (March 1950 Super Science Stories), "The Mind Masters" (September 1950 Super Science Stories) and "The Star Killers" (August 1951 Super Science Stories); of seven further hitherto-unpublished stories, "Exiles from Below" appeared in the Semiprozine Astro-Adventures in April 1989. A second, less compelling series, the Durna Rangue tales, consisted of rough-hewn Space Opera.
Jones was a vigorous, straightforward writer whose style and concerns were typical of the first blossoming of sf at the end of the 1920s. He ceased writing in 1951, after his natural markets had dried up. [JC]
see also: Elements; Immortality; Pressor Beam; Under the Sea.
Neil Ronald Jones
born Fulton, New York: 29 May 1909
died Fulton, New York: 15 February 1988
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