View Full Version : Help on identifying a Sci-Fi book

2007-Apr-28, 06:38 PM

I was trying to remember the title/author of a series of books that dealt with a human who when he died was placed into orbit. Long after the earth was destroyed he was found and his brain put into a robot/cyborg body.

He had a laser in one (arm?) and in one particular story he goes 'hunting' with some other aliens and they are set upon by metal eating monsters.

Oh and character's had annoyingly hard to remember alphanumeric names.

Does anyone know what this book/series/author was?

2007-Apr-28, 07:23 PM
It is probably the Professor Jameson stories by Neil R. Jones. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_R._Jones

I read one or two back in the 70s, but don't remember much about them. I hope this helps.


Nowhere Man
2007-Apr-28, 07:56 PM
Yeah, that's it. I found the four books of collected stories some time ago. It certainly wouldn't sell today.


2007-Apr-29, 04:03 AM
Professor Jameson

Yep that was it, well I must read the last one then......

Ah for less than 8 dollars I got 4 Professor Jameson books! I have a feeling I'm going to be disappointed!

Thank you gentlemen for answering that nagging question.

2007-Apr-29, 04:06 AM
Let me ask one more since you guys seem well versed on old sci fi. There was a short book or short story. Involved the escape of people from a Stalinist type world. Before they took off the police raided them, killing a number of family member but they captured from them a ray gun with a green beam, they landed on a alien world and killed a fish using that ray gun...that unfortunately is all I remember!

Nowhere Man
2007-Apr-29, 06:23 AM
Well, if you keep firmly in mind the era in which they were written, as well as their intended audience, you'll find they're not bad. Not all that good, mind you, but not Eye-of-Argon bad.

Your other story sounds vaguely like Heinlein's Methusela's Children but I don't remember any green ray gun. Ray guns were popular in 1930's SF.


Paul Beardsley
2007-Apr-29, 03:03 PM
I too thought of Heinlein's Future History, but the work that sprang to mind was "If This Goes On..." (in the collection Revolt in 2100) rather than the later Methuselah's Children.

2007-Apr-30, 05:04 AM
Thank you gentlemen, I'll try both of those sources

Van Rijn
2007-Apr-30, 09:39 AM
There definitely wasn't anything about a green beam in Methuselah's Children. In that story, extremely long lived people who have lived in secret have been found out and the government attempts to catch them to learn their supposed secret of longevity. The society was not obviously Stalinist. They manage to steal one of the first (sublight) starships and head on out. They do have issues with aliens, but nothing specifically with fish or ray guns, and they eventually head back to earth. Many years have passed on Earth by the time of their return.

If This Goes On is set before Methuselah's Children in Heinlein's future history and doesn't involve starships.

Paul Beardsley
2007-Apr-30, 10:52 AM
You're quite right, Van Rijn. Although Hans' description made me think of Heinlein, he was not describing the book I was thinking of.

So Hans, by all means seek out the two Heinleins if you want to, but we're pretty certain they are not the ones you are looking for.

2007-Apr-30, 10:57 AM
It's definitely not If This Goes On . . . either.

mike alexander
2007-Apr-30, 02:30 PM
Could it be "The Stars are Ours" by Andre Norton? I don't remember a green beam (this is going on 40 years since I read it), but the rough outlines seem to fit.

2007-Apr-30, 04:17 PM
Yeah sorry I don't remember any more it was a long long time ago.

2007-May-01, 02:11 AM
roughly on the topic of this thread, here's a stumper--I don't know if it's available anymore, but---

the story is called "The Box" or something close to that. The author--I cannot remember. It was part of some collection of science fiction stories.

The story was, a man (an engineer, I believe, who ultimately solves the problem) wakes up in Manhattan to find his radio doesn't pick up anything but some noise. Outside his apartment, he discovers why: NYC is enclosed in a giant force field (called "the box" by the New Yorkers) that's flush with ground and water, and no oxygen is crossing the barrier, and the sub-river tunnels don't have enough "bandwidth" to evacuate the city before carbon dioxide poisoning kills 8 million people (leaving any other way is impossible because the barrier is apparently impenetrable). The hero-engineer does all kinds of stuff--simulates a box in a lab, sets a big fire for some reason I forgot (against the Mayor's protests that it uses even more air), etc. before solving the problem (I forget how) and learning who did it and why.

Anybody know the author or, more importantly, the collection it is in?


Paul Beardsley
2007-May-01, 08:09 AM
I don't recognise it but it sounds rather fun. I can see I'm going to get back into reading SF.

Van Rijn
2007-May-01, 08:49 PM
Wow, that sounds familiar. I'm sure I've read it, but it's been a very long time, and I don't remember the author. I'm vaguely thinking it might be Lester Del Ray, or perhaps even Poul Anderson, but I wouldn't bet on either of those.

2007-May-01, 09:52 PM
Google seems to give nothing with Del Rey or Anderson, but that of course doesn't prove anything--This story is pretty obscure, I'm sure. I read it in the '80s, sometime in high school, but of course it could be older than that. I don't remember the book I read it in being all that new. If I recall, a friend of mine lent me the book and told me to read that story because it was a good one (at least for our age group!).

Nowhere Man
2007-May-01, 10:06 PM
The title is indeed "The Box", the author is James Blish. It's in several collections/anthologies.


2007-May-02, 03:15 AM
That sounds like it! A little googling showed a 1953 episode of something called "Captain Video" based on a story called "The Box" by James Blish about a city in a box that is suffocating. It seems he wrote several Star Trek novels and novelizations as well.

I also found:

The Box (1949), published in:
* Thrilling Wonder Stories, April 1949, (1949 , Sam Merwin, Jr., $0.25, 164pp, magazine) Cover: Earle Bergey
* Omnibus of SF, (1952 , Groff Conklin, Crown, $3.50, 562pp, hc, anth)
* Strange Adventures in Science Fiction, (1954 , Groff Conklin, Grayson, hc, anth)
* So Close to Home, (1961 , James Blish, Ballantine, #465K, $0.35, 142pp, pb, coll)
* The Shape of Things, (1967 , Damon Knight, Popular Library, #SP352, $0.50, 206pp, pb, anth)
* Beyond Control, (1972 , Robert Silverberg, Dell Laurel Leaf, $0.95, 236pp, anth)
* Beyond Control, (1972 , Robert Silverberg, Thomas Nelson, 0-8407-6236-4, $6.95, 219pp, hc, anth)
* The Best of James Blish, (1979 , James Blish, coll)
* The Best of James Blish, (1979 , James Blish, Ballantine Del Rey, #25600, $2.95, 358pp, pb, coll) Cover: H. R. Van Dongen
* Omnibus of Science Fiction, (1980 , Groff Conklin, Bonanza, 0-517-32097-5, 561pp, hc, anth) Cover: Eddie Jones - [VERIFIED]
* A Dusk of Idols and Other Stories, (1996 , James Blish, Severn House, 0-7278-4967-0, £16.99, 182pp, hc, coll)

(on ISFDB, which I guess is IMDB for science fiction)--and of course, since it is like Wikipedia, user-edited, there could be errors. I think I'll see if I can get one of the books and read it again and relive a high school day!


Nowhere Man
2007-May-02, 11:12 PM
C'mon, the Star Trek stuff was probably written to pay the rent. Blish was well-known before that for other stuff, notably the "Cities in Flight" series, and many thought-provoking stories.


mike alexander
2007-May-02, 11:24 PM
Indeed. "A Case of Conscience" was just using SF trappings to explore some big religious questions.

2007-May-05, 04:34 PM
OK, I'll jump in with one that's been bugging me for a few years now:

I can't remember the author or title at all, and i read it from the library in the early to mid-80s.

The book starts with a scientist and (possibly) teenager veiwing a solar eclipse through several layers of exposed film. Somehow the suject comes up about a planet between Mercury and the sun (I'll call it Vulcan for the purpose of this post, but I think the guy named the planet something else which was the title of the book)

It turns out that the scientist beenstudying the planet and it occasionally turned purple (IIRC) which is why he named it whatit was. He had also (Secretly?) built an electromagnetic shapeship shaped like a shpere with a disc around it.

The teenager visits the scientist later to see the ship.

Meanwhile, some prisoners escape from a jail and wind up in the same building as the scientist and teenager, and they all end up launching into space to the new planet.

(It also turns out the government knows about the planet and has build a rocket to go there.)

They get to the planet and find the can breath there, landing (IIRC) on the shore of a sea. There are no animals found, just plants that have incredibly tough bark and spines/edges sharp enough to leave nasty cuts on someone.

The goodguys escape nd begin to search for the government rocket.

From this point all the details are hazy enough in my mind that I not sure how the rest of the book goes, just that they find the government , find that he plants periodically cover the planet in fame, and they escape just in time.

I don't remember any of the names of characters. For some reason I want to associate it with "Imperial Planet", but haven't found anything close on google.

Paul Beardsley
2007-May-05, 05:29 PM
Somehow the suject comes up aboute ovey o pant ewemery and the sun
You might want another go at this sentence, darkhunter! I'm guessing it's something about a planet between the Sun and Mercury.

I don't know the book, but it sounds ever so distantly reminiscent of one of Captain W.E. Johns' Kings of Space books.

Paul Beardsley
2007-May-09, 03:29 PM
I've not been much help on this thread, but I'm loving it! All the half-remembered stories sound great.

Of course, they might be awful, but who cares - I'm just enjoying the descriptions.

2007-May-11, 12:12 AM
Update--I received a cheap used copy of The Science Fiction Omnibus, read "The Box" first (still a good story), and will read other stories in it. On the back is an ad for another SF collection containing "Child's Play", another story I remember reading as a "yute". In this one, a young man receives, through some mix-up by a future time-traveling-enabled post office, a child's science kit based on technology that doesn't exist yet. Particularly, it is a kit for cloning human beings (full-grown and full-minded "The Sixth Day"-style clones). He clones himself thinking it's safe because he can outsmart himself, right? But he forgot that the symmetry of the situation meant his clone could outsmart him as well, and that got him in real trouble.... There's other stuff, like cloning the girl he loves but who won't notice him, on the assumption that he owns the creation.

2007-Aug-10, 01:21 AM
Post Script on Professor Jameson

Read all of his material. He had some good ideas but doesn't always explain in detail what or how they worked. As a story the concept of Professor Jameson is interesting - a complete re-write with more detail and a more reflection on his reactions to alien concepts would have been in order

Overall SF grade a solid C with some brownie points for some innovative ideas and concepts but to much good stuff was buried in hastily written standard SF pulp