Neil R. Jones
Neil Ronald Jones was an American author who worked for the state of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. Not prolific, and little remembered today, Jones was ground–breaking in science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

. His first story, "The Death's Head Meteor", was published in Air Wonder Stories in 1930, possibly recording the first use of "astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

" in fiction. He also pioneered cyborg and robotic characters, and is credited with inspiring the modern idea of Cryonics
Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans and animals who can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future. Cryopreservation of people or large animals is not reversible with current technology...

. Most of his stories fit into a "future history
Future history
A future history is a postulated history of the future and is used by authors in the subgenre of speculative fiction to construct a common background for fiction...

" like that of Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

 or Cordwainer Smith
Cordwainer Smith
Cordwainer Smith – pronounced CORDwainer – was the pseudonym used by American author Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger for his science fiction works. Linebarger was a noted East Asia scholar and expert in psychological warfare...

, well before either of them used this convention in their fiction.

Professor Jameson stories

Rating not even a cover mention, the first installment of Jones' most popular creation, "The Jameson Satellite", appeared in the July 1931 issue of Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

. The hero was Professor Jameson, the last Earthman, who became immortal through the science of the Zoromes. Jameson was obsessed with the idea of perfectly preserving his body after death and succeeded by having it launched into space in a small capsule. Jameson's body survived for 40,000,000 years, where it was found orbiting a dead planet Earth by a passing Zorome exploration ship. The Zoromes, or machine men as they sometimes called themselves, were cyborgs. They came from a race of biological beings who had achieved immortality by transferring their brains to machine bodies. They occasionally assisted members of other races with this transition (e.g. the Tri-Peds and the Mumes), allowing others to become Zoromes and join them on their expeditions, which sometimes lasted hundreds of years. So, much like the Borg
Borg (Star Trek)
The Borg are a fictional pseudo-race of cybernetic organisms depicted in the Star Trek universe associated with Star Trek.Whereas cybernetics are used by other races in the science fiction world to repair bodily damage and birth defects, the Borg use enforced cybernetic enhancement as a means of...

 of the Star Trek series, a Zorome crew could be made up of assimilated members of many different biological species. The Zoromes discovered that Jameson's body had been so well preserved that they were able to repair his brain, incorporate it into a Zorome machine body and restart it. The professor joined their crew and, over the course of the series, participated in many adventures, even visiting Zor, the Zorome homeworld, where he met biological Zoromes. The professor eventually rose to command his own crew of machine men on a new Zorome exploration ship. "The Jameson Satellite" proved so popular with readers that later installments in Amazing Stories got not only cover mentions but the cover artwork.

Being cryopreserved
Cryopreservation is a process where cells or whole tissues are preserved by cooling to low sub-zero temperatures, such as 77 K or −196 °C . At these low temperatures, any biological activity, including the biochemical reactions that would lead to cell death, is effectively stopped...

 and revived is an idea that would recur in SF, such as in Gene Roddenberry
Gene Roddenberry
Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry was an American television screenwriter, producer and futurist, best known for creating the American science fiction series Star Trek. Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry grew up in Los Angeles, California where his father worked as a police officer...

's Genesis II. One young science fiction fan who read The Jameson Satellite and drew inspiration from the idea of cryonics was Robert Ettinger
Robert Ettinger
Robert Chester Wilson Ettinger was an American academic, known as "the father of cryonics" because of the impact of his 1962 book The Prospect of Immortality...

, who became known as the father of cryonics
Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans and animals who can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future. Cryopreservation of people or large animals is not reversible with current technology...

. The Zoromes are also credited by Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

 as one of the inspirations behind the robots of his Robot series
Isaac Asimov's Robot Series
Isaac Asimov's Robot Series is a series of short stories and novels by Isaac Asimov featuring positronic robots.- Short stories :Most of Asimov's robot short stories are set in the first age of positronic robotics and space exploration...


Masamune Shirow
Masamune Shirow
is an internationally renowned manga artist, born on November 23, 1961.Masamune Shirow is a pen name, based on a famous swordsmith, Masamune. He is best known for the manga Ghost in the Shell, which has since been turned into two theatrical anime movies, two anime TV series, an anime TV movie, and...

 paid homage to Jones in his cyborg-populated Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell
is a Japanese multimedia franchise composed of manga, animated films, anime series, video games and novels. It focuses on the activities of the counter-terrorist organization Public Security Section 9 in a futuristic, cyberpunk Japan ....

 saga by including a no-frills brain-in-a-box
Brain in a vat
In philosophy, the brain in a vat is an element used in a variety of thought experiments intended to draw out certain features of our ideas of knowledge, reality, truth, mind, and meaning...

 design, even naming them Jameson-type cyborgs.

Jameson (or 21MM392, as he was known to his fellow metal beings) was the subject of twenty-one stories between 1931 and 1951, when Jones stopped writing, with nine stories still unpublished. In the late 1960s, Ace Books
Ace Books
Ace Books is the oldest active specialty publisher of science fiction and fantasy books. The company was founded in New York City in 1952 by Aaron A. Wyn, and began as a genre publisher of mysteries and westerns...

 editor Donald A. Wollheim
Donald A. Wollheim
Donald Allen Wollheim was an American science fiction ' editor, publisher, writer, and fan. As an author, he published under his own name as well as under pseudonyms, including David Grinnell....

 compiled five collections, comprising sixteen of these, including two previously unpublished. In all there were thirty Jameson stories written (twenty four eventually saw publication, six remain unpublished), and twenty-two unrelated pieces.

R. D. Mullen, reviewing The Planet of the Double Sun, commented that while many readers have found the stories memorable despite their exceptionally crude writing, he found the characters and events "of such little interest that I feel no desire to follow them through the succeeding stories." Everett F. Bleiler
Everett F. Bleiler
Everett Franklin Bleiler was an editor, bibliographer, and scholar of science fiction, detective fiction, and fantasy literature. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he co-edited the first "year's best" series of science fiction anthologies, and his Checklist of Fantastic Literature has been called...

found the stories marked by "drearily innocuous similarities" as well as "weak writing and literary flatness."

External links

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