Professor Jameson’s Adventures in the Universe Vol.3 by Neil R. Jones
(Professor Jameson, 7-9)
The third volume of the explorations of Professor Jameson. Forty million years after his death, Professor Jameson’s brain is reanimated and placed into a mechanical body. His adventures in his second, immortal life take him across the universe.
The third volume of the explorations of Professor Jameson wherein the good Professor meets biological Zoromes, engages in a Space War with other mechanical men, and avoids becoming lunch for some very odd metal-eating creatures.
Zora of the Zoromes (1935)
Chapter I Princess Zora
Chapter II Sister Worlds for Zor
Chapter III War Clouds
Chapter IV “He Died Fighting”
Space War (1935)
Synopsis of Precedence
Chapter I Antiquity’s Shadow
Chapter II Into the Badland
Chapter III Down the Tunnel
Chapter IV A Morbid Prospect
Chapter V The Thread of Hope
Neil Ronald Jones (1909–1988) was not prolific, and little remembered today, except for his Professor Jameson series. And yet this one series of stories was quite groundbreaking and consequential.
Isaac Asimov read The Jameson Satellite as a young boy. He later said, “Jones treated them (the Zoromes) as mechanical men, making them objective without being unfeeling, benevolent without being busybodies.” He cited Jones’ Zoromes as the “spiritual ancestors” of his positronic robot series and credited them as the origin of his attraction to the idea of benevolent robots.
Jones himself, once said he was inspired to invent the Zoromes by H. G. Wells’ Martians from The War of the Worlds, whose weak bodies were augmented by giant war machines.
Professor Jameson’s Adventures in the Universe Vol.3 has 7 illustrations.
Excerpt: Zora of the Zoromes
“AND we left the region of dead worlds and cooling suns, crossing space to Zor,” Professor Jameson concluded.
“With no adventures between the time you left the sunless world and your arrival here?” asked Zora.
“We made several stops in the few systems we passed, but nothing outstanding befell us, nothing worth the telling.”
Princess Zora of the Zoromes turned her head and looked far out upon the distant horizon away from the apex of the mighty citadel on which she sat, listening to the adventures of this fascinating convert to the ranks of the machine men of Zor. She was a sentient, flesh and blood Zorome, representative of the species from which the brains of the machine men were taken. Zora had many years yet to live before the official time arrived for the transposition of her brain to a machine body. Zor maintained a propagating species to replace the expeditions of Zoromes that never came back and renew the numbers of those depleted expeditions which did return. The machine men who had gone forth under the leadership of 25X-987 and returned under 744U-21 had finally reached Zor, the home world.
The machine men discovered that they had been gone for more than twelve hundred of 21MM392’s earthly years. Most of this time had been spent near the planet of the double sun, where more than half of the expedition had been killed, the remaining Zoromes were marooned there for centuries.
Professor Jameson, convert to the machine men, the last representative of earth’s long dead civilization, found himself with Princess Zora MCXII to whom he was relating the adventures and discoveries of the expedition, she in turn explaining the mysteries of Zor and its sister planets to the interested professor.
“21MM392, you have told me how 25X-987 and his expedition found your dead body in the shadow of the dying world and removed your brain to one of the machines, stimulating your mental processes into life and activity once more,” Zora radiated. “You have related how half the expedition was wiped out by hypnotic impulse on the planet of the double sun; I have heard your story of your seven centuries of cosmic solitude in the wrecked space ship, waiting for the tripeds to come and release you; yet the most interesting tale of all you have barely touched upon. Your invasion of the blue dimension, the rescue of your comrades from the ocean pit, your adventures inside the hydrosphere and your trip into time interest me less than your own personal story. You have finished your account of the wandering world; now tell me about your rocket satellite and how you ever came to conceive such an idea.”
Zora’s large eyes with their long underlashes stared inquisitively at the professor, her six tentacles undulating gracefully as she shifted herself to a comfortable position preparatory to hearing the anticipated story of Professor Jameson’s interment in space.
STILL, little thoughts in the professor’s mind beyond the perception of Zora’s mental attunement rapidly compared her with earthly standards of pulchritude, the standard which had existed during the earlier half of the twentieth century. To staid, earthly inhabitants of forty million years past, Zora would have appeared as a weird monstrosity, yet her features, her curved, undulating lines and graceful, waving tentacles were harmonizing and symphonious to the eye.
From four pronounced callosities, two on each side of her upper body, four of Zora’s tentacles grew long and tapered to tiny tips. Two more tentacles, one in front and another in back, at right angles to the flanked tentacles, completed her six upper appendages. Below this upper area of tentacles, her body assumed vase-like proportions, then tapered to four short legs, unjointed, which curved outward from the base of her body to terminate in three-pointed feet.
Zora’s head was large and stately, though not out of proportion to the size of her body. A high fringe of membranous tissue grew across her head from cheek to cheek like a thin, waving coiffure. Beneath and in front of this, below a well fashioned forehead, deep, dark eyes sparkled with curiosity. Long, lower lashes drooped over several inches of her face, devoid of what the professor would have described as a nose, the machine men knowing such a facial disfigurement, in their travels from world to world, as a proboscis.
A diamond-shaped mouth opened in amazement from time to time as the professor told his story, the tale of the rocket satellite. Zora possessed no external ears. Her faculty of distinguishing sound was located in the back of her head behind the waving membrane whose thin points arose star-like from the deep-pink fringe. Her respiration process was accomplished through tiny, valved openings at the base of her fore tentacle.
“My work of a lifetime centered about rocket propulsion, and I worked long and hard upon experiments, employing radium as a means of fuel,” the professor explained in reply to Zora’s question. “At the time I lived on earth, space travel was only a dream, not yet realized. Space travel came three centuries after my death in 1950.”
“How do you know?”
“You forget the time bubble,” the professor reminded her.
“Oh, yes — to be sure!”
“A fascinating idea arose in my mind one day, and I thought of it so often, contemplating its possibilities, that it grew to be an obsession with me, supplanting much of my time, at rocket propulsion, with a new type of experiment in a radically different field,” Professor Jameson continued. “The absorbing study which had so completely captivated my imagination was immunity to dissolution and decomposition of the human body. The human body, I knew, like all other earthly substances, whether they were rock, air, water, metal or living matter, was subject to eventual breaking up of molecular structure into its constituent atoms. It was said in my day that should mankind cease to exist, all trace of his works, including the great pyramids and all other time-defying products of his creation, would within a hundred thousand years crumble into the forgotten past, due to the fact that subjected to planetary conditions nothing can exist forever. Of course, the readjustment of atomic structure is more rapid in the case of organic matter than it is in the case of inorganic material.”
A RAY of sunlight spread shafts of fire through the membrane on Zora’s head as she sat absorbed in the professor’s narration. He resumed his story.
“In my search for a means by which an organic body might be preserved indefinitely following death, I contemplated many ways and means, abandoning them one by one as I realized their eventual impracticability. At first, I went about trying to discover a serum which might surpass that of the Egyptians, creating its subject indestructable to the various elements as well as preserving it intact in appearance. I gave up this idea, however, for I saw that not only would it require a longer lifetime than mine in which to discover such a concoction, but I realized that no liquid, no matter how perfect in its embalming qualities, would survive the more violent forces of nature such as earthquakes, volcanic action and glaciers, not to mention temperature, air, moisture and minute organisms. For a time, I considered the possibilities of immersing a corpse in a great block of transparent glass.”
Several airships of Zor passed low over the citadel, and the professor and Zora paused momentarily to contemplate these. Then the professor once more continued.
“I was chasing an old art. Since the days of the Pharaohs, the human race had sought ceaselessly a means whereby their dead might be preserved against the ravages of time. Great was the art of the Egyptians in the embalming of their deceased, a practice which became lost in the chaos of earth’s changing history. It was never rediscovered. But even the embalming of the Egyptians was futile for the preservation of their dead down through the millions of years, their dissolution being just as eventual as the immediate cremation of a corpse.”
Excerpt From: Neil R. Jones. “Professor Jameson’s Adventures in the Universe Vol.3.”
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