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RAYMOND F. JONES

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The Novels of Raymond F. Jones
A Complete Checklist and Guide

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Renaissance
Published by Gnome Press, 1951.
This novel was originally published in serialized form in Astounding Science Fiction magazine during 1944. Renaissance is an epic parallel-dimension story with political overtones. It has been described as "highly intelligent space opera." A large number of fans believe this to be Jones' best work. It was republished as Man of Two Worlds by Pyramid Books in 1963.

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The Alien
Published by World Editions, 1951.
First published under the Galaxy imprint, The Alien has an exciting premise; a scientific mission in the asteroid belt comes across an entombed alien. What follows is ground breaking material written in a strong and entertaining manner. Jones is on top form here.

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This Island Earth
Published by Shasta Publishers, 1952.
A novel-length version of three stories that were first published in Thrilling Wonder Stories magazine in 1949 and 1950. The stories which make up this book were originally entitled "The Alien Machine", "The Shroud of Secrecy" and "The Greater Conflict". This Island Earth is an unusual and engaging tale of a group of scientists on Earth who are requested by aliens to assist in a galaxy-spanning struggle for survival. It was made into a film by Universal Studios in 1955.

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Son of the Stars
Published by The John C. Winston Company, 1952.
An immensely popular inclusion in the Winston Juvenile Series of books aimed at younger readers. Son of the Stars deals intelligently with several themes relating to human-alien contact.

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Planet of Light
Published by The John C. Winston Company, 1953.
An entertaining and thoughtful sequel to Son of the Stars. The hero of the first book, Ron Barron, travels with his family off-world. A succinct but favourable review in the June 1954 Galaxy magazine describes Planet of Light as "fine reading for all ages." This is definitely one of my favourites and in my opinion this sequel is even better than its
predecessor.

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The Secret People
Published by Avalon Books, 1956.
This is one of Jones' most powerful works. Set in the near future, it tells the story of a group of persecuted mutants with telepathic abilities. The Secret People is an intricately plotted novel that contains several very dark passages and some stunning imagery. This novel was republished as The Deviates by Galaxy Publishing in 1959.

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The Year When Stardust Fell
Published by The John C. Winston Company, 1958.
Another very well written novel in the Winston Juvenile Series of science fiction novels marketed for teen-age readers. This story focuses on a small rural community and tells of how it copes when much of the fabric of its lifestyle, which was taken for granted, falls apart.

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The Cybernetic Brains
Published by Avalon Books, 1962.
An expanded(?) version of a novelette first published in Startling Stories in 1950. This compelling tale has several clever plot twists that centre around human minds -- enslaved within government-run scientific installations -- that form an all-encompassing network of intelligence across the world. There are certain passages where the disembodiment theme is extrapolated to quite "far-out" conclusions. This is one of my personal favourites among his novels. The Cybernetic Brains is a fantastic read but sadly marked the end of Jones' most productive period. He was to fall silent for much of the next ten years.

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Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Published by The Whitman Publishing Company, 1965.
A 'spin-off' book based on the US television series of the same name that ran from 1964-68. The series in turn was inspired by the 1961 movie directed by Irwin Allen. As with Jones' Winston novels, this book is rare, though well worth seeking out.

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Syn
Published by Belmont Books, 1969.
A novelisation of the much earlier short story "Divided We Fall", which originally appeared in Amazing Stories in 1950. With a central theme concerning synthetic men and power struggles, the plot of this story pre-dates some of those explored in contemporary science fiction films.

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Moonbase One
Published by Criterion Books, 1971.
Geared towards the juvenile market, this is a fast-moving story set in a scientific colony on the moon. Moonbase One is an exciting, adventure-packed tale with some interesting ideas about the practicalities of living on the luna surface. Comments about the possibility of there being extractable water on the moon were pulled from serious scientific proposals at the time, and they hold up well today in the light of recent astronomical discoveries.

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Renegades of Time
Published by Laser Books, 1975.
The first of Jones' novels to be published under Roger Elwood's Canadian Laser Books imprint. High adventure in time and space, this novel represents the division that can be drawn between Jones' early period of writing and the final few years of his career in which much of the hard science of his previous work is toned down. As well as being a fun read with plenty of action, this novel contains some astute observations on human relationships. An abridged version of this novel was published as The Lost Ones by Bonneville Productions in 1978.

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The King of Eolim
Published by Laser Books, 1975.
A beautiful and touching tale written with a great deal of compassion and understanding. Very much reflective of his mellowing out as an author, The King of Eolim nevertheless asks serious questions about the advisability of using genetic engineering to weed out 'undesirables' in creating a physically and mentally 'perfect' human race. One of the strengths of Jones' work throughout his entire career was well drawn, believable characters. In later works such as this the focus is very much on that.

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The River and the Dream
Published by Laser Books, 1977.
This novel is an out-and-out fantasy adventure that deals with themes common to the fantasy genre. Apart from one or two isolated examples within his short fiction output, this is Raymond F. Jones' only fantasy work. A sensitively written tale with a sombre theme of disenchantment running through it, it makes one wonder what other novels like this by Jones would have been like. Although atypical, it is in my opinion one of his best novels.

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Weeping May Tarry
Published by Pinnacle Books, 1978.
This was originally a short story by Lester Del Rey called "For I Am A Jealous People" (1954), which Jones here expanded into a full length novel. Weeping May Tarry, his last published work, has a religious theme that echoes some of the short fiction that Jones wrote for Roger Elwood. A little-known novel that deserves wider recognition.

Sources and Acknowledgements

  • Twentieth Century Science Fiction Writers, ed. J. P. Pederson, St. James' Press, 1986
 

 


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