Dr. William Kinney

Real Name

Dr. William Kinney

First Appearance

All-Story Weekly (May 10, 1919)

Original Publisher


Created by

Homer Eon Flint


Doctor Kinney is the leader of group of space explorers from Earth, Kinney and three others, who travel to explore the planets. To accomplish this, they utilize a system of magnetic travel designed by Dr. Kinney. They use Kinney's invention to travel in a cube-shaped vehicle called a Sky Cube, a sky-car, or simply a car. Doctor Kinney is married, although Mrs. Kinney doesn't travel with the explorers.

In no particular order, the second in the party is John W. Smith is the engineer of the group and responsible for developing the magnetic 'anti-gravitational current' engine which drives the Sky Cube. It draws negative and positive magnetic energy from the ether in space, placing the contrary poles in opposition to propel the craft.

The third member is E. Williams Jackson, nicknamed Billie. Williams is an archaeologist with an astonishing secret revealed in the second story of the series, The Queen of Life, where it is revealed Billie is actually a woman. She marries Van Emmon before the third story, The Devolutionist, and becomes Mrs. Van Emmon.

The fourth member is G. Van Emmon, the geologist of the group. A quote about Van Emmon in The Queen of Life states, "Somehow, the big geologist would have felt more at home had he seen something antagonistic. Essentially, Van Emmon was a fighter."

The first mission is to Mercury, in the story called The Lord of Death, where they discover the tale of Strokor, the Death Lord, through a recording device replaying the biography of the genius-brute.

The second mission takes them to Venus, where they encounter an androgynous, pyschic race of people under a glass dome covering an enclosed atmosphere of Venus. This story is The Queen of Life.

In the third story, The Devolutionist, all of the explorers have borrowed a form of astral projection learned from Venusian literature. To accomplish this, they take on an agent or individual through whose eyes they can see, other senses acting similar, and through whose mind they can translate the agent's thoughts into familar language. In this state, they can only observe. They travel to a world where the human-like inhabitants travel in flying vehicles, described as ornithopters, meaning vehicles designed to travel by flapping wings in bird-fashion.


All of the characters possess the abilities, knowledge, and training valuable to astronauts in the pioneering days of space flight. Dr. Kinney is a trained medical doctor. Smith is good with mechanics, both native to Earth and alien. Williams is trained to decipher ancient languages, objects, and cultures. Van Emmon can identify underground and surface resources such as oil and minerals.


Further description on their astral travel method of space exploration, in lieu of the initial journeys in the magnetic Sky Cube used in the first two stories:

"[Footnote: It made no difference whatever as to what language was used. The telepathic process employed enabled the investigators to know all that their agents' subconscious minds took in. The brains of the four automatically translated these thought-images into their own language. However, this method did not enable them to learn what their agents were thinking, but only what they said, heard, and saw.]"



  • The Death Lord (1919)
  • The Queen of Life (1919)
  • The Devolutionist (1921)
  • The Emancipatrix (July 1921)

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