Meet the Authors - Neil R. Jones

Two Complete Science-Adventure Books
Summer 1951

Two Complete Science-Adventure Books
Summer, 1951
Cover art by Allen Anderson

Jones’ final “Meet the Authors” essay, written some ten years after his previous exercise in autobiography that appeared in Amazing Stories, covers most of the same territory he had written about before, although there is now a wry humor to his writing which had been absent in the past. Jones reveals a bit more about his entry into the professional ranks and may have been a bit sarcastic when he wrote

After that it was tougher, and I modified my earlier illusions of it being so easy.

considering that he had struggled for some 3 years after returning from the war to get back into print. The essay also includes the only mention Neil ever made in print about Rita.

Parenthetically, this third issue of Two Complete Science-Adventure Books is the only time the magazine had a “Meet the Authors” column and the last published at a pulp size—it shifted to a digest format for the rest of its run.

Bob Gay
April, 2019
Introduction © 2019 by Bob Gay
Editor’s Note: we have reproduced this mini-autobiography just as it was printed in the Summer, 1951 issue of Two Complete Science-Adventure Books, except for the addition of drop caps.


IN the year 1909, two widely dissociated events occurred. The government commenced making Lincoln pennies, and I was born. The latter event took place in Fulton, N. Y. Although my education was a commercial one, my leanings were literary. One might say that I gained what education I have along that line out of reading. It was during my later school grades I found myself literarily inclined. I won a few local essay prizes, discovering how nice it was to write for money. Later on, I wrote for school publications, gratis. From there, I graduated into doing shorts for stamp magazines. Having been fed for a good many years on inspiration from the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard, and by the earliest issues of Amazing Stories, I decided to see what I could do. I was full of ideas—then. I elbowed my way into the science fiction field by selling my first six stories. After that it was tougher, and I modified my earlier illusions of it being so easy.

WHEN I am not writing, or working at my regular job in the New York State Department of Labor, I often go swimming. I like to go to dances. Bookbinding is a hobby of mine. I’ve also collected quite a bit of science fiction, mostly magazines which I bind into groups of three.

IT was my good fortune (?) to travel abroad as a guest of the government late in 1942, all expenses paid. I did have seven months’ preparation for the trip during which my literary activities were suspended until I returned to the United States three years later. In short, I became a GI.

In London, I met the girl I eventually married fifteen months later after the shooting in Europe was over. We carried on our romancing in Westminster Abbey even over the tomb of Charles Dickens, but somewheres he must have understood and smiled, remembering his own beloved Dora of “David Copperfield.” It did odd things to us, this romancing. On our way to Westminster Abbey, through an error of entrances, Rita was trying to get me past the guard and into the Houses of Parliament. On my part, having had Big Ben pointed out to me, I felt properly impressed by the great clock in the tower, remarking, “So that is Big Ben!” then turning absently to Rita and asking, “What time is it?”

With the coming of VJ day, there was no longer any question of whether a man would return home or go to the Pacific. The pressure of competitive armament caused us to reach into the scientific realm of the future and drag forth a mighty devastating weapon which I had scarcely believed would have been realized in the course of events for another two hundred years. The atomic bomb is an anachronism, and does not belong to our time any more than flying fortresses during the Napoleonic era over a century ago. Which teaches us the lesson that fact is rapidly overtaking science fiction. So rapidly in fact that people are taking science-fiction more seriously and with more interest since the war than they did before.

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