Stardust: the Magazine Unique
November, 1940
Cover art by Paul Quaiver

The Professor Jameson series first appeared in the July, 1931 issue of Amazing Stories and continued to appear in Amazing, and only Amazing, on a very regular basis until the April, 1938 issue—then, nothing. As Jones relates in the article, readers were taken aback by the character’s abscence and we can only assume that many letters were exchanged between Jones, fans and Amazing Stories, before he turned to the fan press to tell his side of the story. Exactly what caused the Jameson series to be dropped by Amazing is not clear—Jones only hints at the changes demanded by the publisher without specifics— but a bit of history is necessary, in order to add a bit of clarity to the article.

In April of 1929, Hugo Gernsback’s publishing empire had to declare bankruptcy. Gernsback was removed from all control while the company was in receivership. In late 1931, Amazing Stories was purchased by Teck Publishing, who retained as editor T. O'Conor Sloane, formerly an assitant editor to Gernsback and the editor of the magazine during the period it was in receivership.

Nearly ten years later, sales of Amazing Stories were at an all-time low (for a myriad of reasons) and Teck put the magazine up for sale. Ziff-Davis bought Amazing, moved the editorial offices to Chicago, Sloane chose this point to retire (at the age of 87) and Raymond Palmer, a long-time science fiction fan and author, was brought on board as the new editor. As editor, however, Palmer did not have complete autonomy and B. G. Davis, the “Davis” in the company name, had ideas of the direction Amazing should take. Although Palmer reportedly liked the Jameson series the way it was (he replies to one reader comment farther down the page as R.A.P.), Davis didn't, leading to the stalemate related in the article that follows, which reads in some ways like walking into the middle of a conversation that has been going on for some time.

And, parenthetically, of the five Professor Jameson stories Jones lists in the article, “Doomsday on Ajiat” was the only story to appear during the short-lived revival of the Jameson series in Astonishing Stories in the 40s. “In the Meteoric Cloud” and “The Accelerated World” were finally printed by Ace Books in the 60s, along with a reprinting of “Doomsday on Ajiat.” The other two stories have never been published.

“Concerning Professor Jameson” originally appeared in the November, 1940 issue of Stardust: the Magazine Unique, a fanzine produced by William Lawrence Hamling.

Bob Gay
April, 2019
Introduction © 2019 by Bob Gay
Editor’s Note: We have reproduced “Concerning Professor Jameson” as it appeared in the November, 1940 issue of Stardust, except where we have added drop caps and breaks between some of the paragraphs.
The first paragraph reprinted below is the original editorial comments that appeared before the article.
We would also be very remiss, if we did not mention that our scan of this article from Stardust, was made available to us by some very nice library folk at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. They were kind enough to not only look through the fanzine to make sure we got the pages we needed, they also scanned same and got them to us in record time. So, thank you to the
Coslet-Sapienza Fantasy and Science Fiction Fanzine Collection.
Special Collections,
University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

and the unnamed librarian(s) who helped us through the process.

Probably the most famous character ever created by a science-fiction writer is that of Professor Jameson, the human being whose brain was placed into a practically immortal robot machine. The Professor’s adventures, with his band of “robot men” have thrilled countless thousands of fantasy readers over a period of many years. This entire series, until very recently, has appeared in the pages of AMAZING STORIES, one of our leading and best science-fiction magazines.

But in the last few years, the Professor has been absent from his public. And the demands have been many for his return. Unfortunately a situation has arisen to stalemate the return of Professor Jameson in AMAZING STORIES. For that reason, STARDUST takes up the gavel. WHERE IS PROFESSOR JAMESON? Neil R. Jones, popular author of this famous series, tells us the story behind the scenes from his viewpoint. So without further ado, let us go forward with the question—“WHERE IS PROFESSOR JAMESON?”

THE greater share of science fiction readers are acquainted with my Professor Jameson Series. The first twelve of these have been published in AMAZING STORIES. I have written five since then, but the new policy of the magazine bans them. Professor Jameson is not wanted in his known and recognized character which has made him popular with the readers. His friends, the Zoromes with their numerical names, are especially barred. In fact, there would be scarcely anything left by which to recognize him except his name and his mechanical status. It would be difficult for him to be anything else, however, than what he is and has been, whether he would or not, and I firmly believe that the readers to whom he has come to be recognized as an old friend, while having continually made new ones, would not have tradition upset to an absurd and incongruous state of conditions any more than they would like to see America become a dictatorship or see the Metropolitan Opera go burlesque. Any one of the series can be read and enjoyed separately, entirely independent of the others. There are many enthusiastic readers who have not read the earlier stories. The following are the unpublished stories of the series in the order in which they were written. “In the Meteoric Cloud” had already been accepted by the old regime but was immediately returned to me by the new owners.

A great deal of improvement has been done to the new AMAZING STORIES, which is also riding on a crest of science fiction popularity sweeping the magazine stands, but one mistake made is the discontinuance of the Professor Jameson Series. Readers do not like it. They have written in. Grudgingly, the editorial attitude has been forced to acknowledge the popularity of Professor Jameson and have opened a narrow door through which he cannot enter in his character as we have known him. Policy dictates more or less a trading on his reputation in a new and utterly fantactic, anachronistic role, extremely contradictory to previous facts—like changing history and admitting that Napoleon won the battle of Waterloo, conquered England—and take up the story from that point under the new point of view. I would rather retire the professor, and I have offered to do so—but the unspoken reply to this is to bar and discourage completely every story I send in, with pointed suggestions from time to time as to the new set-up regarding Professor Jameson.

I have always considered the readers when writing this series, and if they want Professor Jameson as they have come to know him, they must take up the torch. The crux of the matter is this: Professor Jameson is barred by the editor-owner, Mr. B. G. Davis. Write your demands to Mr. Davis—not to Mr. Palmer. Mr. Palmer is little more to blame for the situation than is Charlie McCarthy and does not deserve your ire. Nor does Mr. Davis entirely. Mr. Davis has done a very creditable job in the rehabilitation of AMAZING STORIES, especially in regards to improving the illustrations, creating many interesting departments and lowering the price of the magazine, and he has been aided by a timely rise in science fiction popularity. Mr. Davis does not believe in a flexible policy. His policy, though probably 80 to 90% perfect, can be improved by an alteration of a small percentage, but evidently when he makes a change it is a blanket change, and he adheres strictly to it. He is, unfortunately for a large majority of his readers, unfamiliar with the Professor Jameson Series and entirely out of sympathy with it. Possibly. the only one of these stories he has over read was “In The Meteoric Cloud,” and that in a prejudiced frame of mind, if he even finished reading it, when he saw how it conflicted with his blanket policy.

The Professor Jameson Series has always operated under a policy of its own, and successfully. If is entirely, different. True, these stories do not carry a complicated plot as a rule, but they are convincing, living and real. They are what you would naturally expect to find in regards to environment, conditions and reaction in a far distant future among other worlds. Nothing of this world should expect to touch them too exactingly. It would be unnatural, there would be no conviction. These unearthly adventures carry a high interest and suspense with exciting complications and thrilling adventures even if they do follow a travelogue sequence. This last is the essence and foundation of the series—else, why did not Professor Jameson jump to his doom when he found that he had been recalled to life forty million years after and made a machine man? He considered the matter strongly at the thought of undying loneliness. But 25X-987, from his wisdom born of many planets and thousands of centuries experience, urged the professor to come with the Zoromes on adventures in the vast, endless Universe among the galaxy of stars and planets, and he did not jump. What opportunity for such adventure could be more appealing? And this decision of his became the guiding light of the Professor Jameson Series.

IF AMAZING STORIES does not want the series any longer, because of its disturbing contrast of policy, perhaps another magazine might be persuaded to continue the series through the efforts of the readers. Right now, there appears to be a curious hands-off policy of these other magazines, as if they were tampering in a business which was not their own. I do not, however, intend to let either Professor Jameson or the readers down through the fact that profits are dangled before my eyes and withheld in the face of my necessity. I have contacted a number of readers to sound out popular opinions and the following is typical of the group: “By all means, keep Professor Jameson as he is. Do not make the fatal mistake of writing as AMAZING would have you do. This, would mean the ultimate downfall of all you have accomplished in the past.”

I am willing to place the Professor Jameson Series on the shelf in deference to editorial disinclination, but I do not feel that I should be made to pay a penalty of having all my other stories rejected because of this, to be martyred because my creation of Professor Jameson ultimately brought about a difficult situation. I still turn out odd stories like “Kobera” (“Kiss of Death”), and I am author, of “Tales of the 24th Century” and “Tales of the 26th Century.”

There is not space to list all the favorable and congratulatory comments concerning the twelve Professor Jameson stories, but here are a limited number, dealing mostly with specific reasons why the professor is enjoyed.

THESE are some of the many comments in AMAZING STORIES. Every science fiction magazine ever published, has some time or other published letters containing reference to, and requests for, Professor Jameson. How do you fans and readers feel? Shall Professor Jameson lie buried forever? He was created for you—the reader—do you want him no longer?

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