Introduction   On Racism   Epigraphs   A History of the Pulps   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   

Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia

Van Wagener, Professor. Professor van Wagener was created by William L. Alden and appeared in six stories in a variety of magazines from 1895 to at least 1906, beginning with “The Professor’s Jump” (The Idler, Aug. 1895); several of the stories were collected in Van Wagener’s Ways (1898).

Professor van Wagener is an Unlucky Inventor. He has a position at the University of New Berlinopolisville, Illinois, and uses his resources there for various inventions, all of which turn out badly. When van Wagener concocts an electrified fishing line for shocking fish, he ends up entangled in the line with his neighbor's wife. When he creates the “perfect balloon,” entirely made of aluminum, van Wagener discovers that he has forgotten a way to release the balloon’s gas, so that the balloon continues to soar higher and higher. When van Wagener equips his cat with a gas bag and tail operated propeller, the cat ends up chasing birds through the air. And when van Wagener discovers “wagnerium,” or radium, he ends up ingesting it as a cure against aging, and then blows up himself and his laboratory in one of fiction's first atomic explosions.

Table of Contents / Annotations / Blog / Books / Patreon / Twitter / Contact me