|Born||James Benjamin Blish|
May 23, 1921
East Orange, New Jersey, United States
|Died||July 30, 1975 54) (aged|
Henley-on-Thames, England, United Kingdom
|Occupation||Writer, Literary critic|
|Genre||Science fiction, Fantasy|
James Benjamin Blish (May 23, 1921 –July 30, 1975) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He is best known for his Cities in Flight novels, and his series of Star Trek novelizations written with his wife, J. A. Lawrence. He is credited with creating the term "gas giant" to refer to large planetary bodies.
Blish was a member of the Futurians.His first published stories appeared in Super Science Stories and Amazing Stories .
Blish wrote literary criticism of science fiction using the pen name William Atheling Jr. His other pen names included Donald Laverty, John MacDougal, and Arthur Lloyd Merlyn.
Blish was born on May 23, 1921, at East Orange, New Jersey. [ citation needed ] The fanzine ran for six issues. Blish attended meetings of the Futurian Science Fiction Society in New York City during this period.While in high school, Blish self-published a fanzine using a hectograph, called The Planeteer.
Futurian members Damon Knight and Cyril M. Kornbluth became close friends. However, Blish's relationships with other members were often bitter.A personal target was fellow member Judith Merril, with whom he would debate politics. Merril would frequently dismiss Blish's self-description of being a "paper fascist". She wrote in Better to Have Loved (2002), "Of course [Blish] was not fascist, antisemitic, or any of those terrible things, but every time he used the phrase, I saw red."
Blish studied microbiology at Rutgers University, graduating in 1942. He was drafted into Army service, and he served briefly as a medical laboratory technician. The United States Army discharged him for refusing orders to clean a grease trap in 1944. Following discharge, Blish entered Columbia University as a masters student of zoology. He did not complete the program, opting to write fiction full-time.
In 1947, he married Virginia Kidd, a fellow Futurian.They divorced in 1963. Blish then married artist J. A. Lawrence in 1964, moving to England that same year.
From 1962 to 1968, Blish worked for the Tobacco Institute, as a writer and critic. Much of his work for the institute went uncredited.
Blish died on July 30, 1975 from complications related to lung cancer. He was buried in Holywell Cemetery, Oxford. The Bodleian Library at Oxford is the custodian of Blish's papers.The library also has a complete catalog of Blish's published works.
Throughout the 1940s, Blish published most of his stories in the few pulp magazines still in circulation. His first story was sold to fellow Futurian Frederik Pohl for Super Science Stories (1940), called "Emergency Refueling". Other stories were published intermittently, but with little circulation. Blish's "Chaos, Co-Ordinated", co-written with Robert A. W. Lowndes, was sold to Astounding Science Fiction , appearing in the October 1946 issue, earning Blish national circulation for the first time.
Blish was what Andrew Litpack called a "practical writer". 's The Science Fiction Hall of Fame . It was also anthologized in The Big Book of Science Fiction (2016), edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.He would revisit, revise, and often expand on previously written stories. An example is "Sunken Universe" published in Super Science Stories in 1942. The story reappeared in Galaxy Science Fiction as "Surface Tension", in an altered form in 1952. The premise emphasized Blish's understanding of microbiology, and featured microscopic humans engineered to live on a hostile planet's shallow pools of water. The story proved to be among Blish's more popular and was anthologized in the first volume of Robert Silverberg
The world of microscopic humans continued in "The Thing in the Attic" in 1954, and "Watershed" the following year. The fourth entry, "A Time to Survive", was published by The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1957. The stories were collected, edited together, and published as the fix-up The Seedling Stars (1956), by Gnome Press. John Clute said of all of Blish's "deeply felt work" explored "confronting the Faustian (or Frankensteinian) man".
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction asserts that it was not until the 1950s, and the Okie sequence of stories beginning their run, "did it become clear [Blish] would become a [science fiction] writer of unusual depth".The stories were loosely based on the Okie migration following the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and were influenced by Oswald Spengler's two-part Der Untergang des Abendlandes (The Decline of the West).
The stories detail the life of the Okies, humans who migrate throughout space looking for work in vast city-ships, powered by spindizzies, a type of anti-gravity engine. The premise and plot reflected Blish's feelings on the state of western civilization, and his personal politics.The first two stories, "Okie", and "Bindlestiff", were published in 1950, by Astounding. "Sargasso of Lost Cities" appeared in Two Complete Science-Adventure Books in April 1953. "Earthman, Come Home" followed a few months later, published by Astounding. In 1955, Blish collected the four stories together into an omnibus titled Earthman, Come Home, published by Putnam.
More stories followed: In 1956, They Shall Have Stars, which edited together "Bridge" and "At Death’s End", and in 1958, Blish published The Triumph of Time. Four years later, he published a new Okies novel, A Life for the Stars. The Okies sequence was edited together and published as Cities In Flight (1970).
Clute notes, "the brilliance of Cities in Flight does not lie in the assemblage of its parts, but in the momentum of the ideas embodied in it (albeit sometimes obscurely)."
Blish continued to rework older stories, and did so for one of his best known works, A Case of Conscience (1958). The novel originated as a novella, originally published in an issue of If , in 1953. The story follows a Jesuit priest, Ramon Ruiz-Sanchez, who visits the planet Lithia as a technical member of an expedition. While on the planet they discover a race of bipedal reptilians that have perfected morality in what Ruiz-Sanchez says is "the absence of God", and theological complications ensue. The book is one of the first major works in the genre to explore religion and its implications. It was the first of a series including Doctor Mirabilis (1964) and the two-part story Black Easter (1968), and The Day After Judgment (1971). The latter two were collected as The Devil's Day (1980). An omnibus of all four entries in the series was published by Legend in 1991, titled After Such Knowledge.
A Case of Conscience won the 1959 Hugo Award for Best Novel, and was collected as part of Library of America’s omnibus American Science Fiction: Five Classic Novels 1956-1958.
Blish was commissioned by Bantam Books to adapt episodes of Star Trek . The adapted short stories were generally based on draft scripts, and contained differing plot elements, and situations present in the aired television episodes.
The stories were collected into twelve volumes, and published as a title series of the same name from 1967 to 1977. The adaptations were largely written by Blish; however, his declining health during this period proved problematic. His wife, J. A. Lawrence, wrote a number of installments; however, her work remained uncredited until the final volume, Star Trek 12, published in 1977, two years after Blish's death. 25:
The first original novel for adults based on the television series, Spock Must Die! (1970),was also written by Blish, and he planned to release more. According to Lawrence, two episodes featuring popular character Harry Mudd, "I, Mudd" and "Mudd's Women", were held back by Blish for adaptation to be included in the follow-up to Spock Must Die!. However, Blish died before a novel could be completed. Lawrence did eventually adapt the two episodes, as Mudd's Angels (1978), which included an original novella The Business, as Usual, During Altercations by Lawrence. In her introduction to Star Trek 12, Lawrence states that Blish "did indeed write" adaptations of the two episodes. The introduction to Mudd's Angels acknowledges this, stating that Blish left the two stories in various stages of completion and they were finished by Lawrence; Blish does not receive author credit on the book.
Blish credited his financial stability later in life to the Star Trek commission and the advance he received for Spock Must Die!. 21:
Blish was among the first literary critics of science fiction, and he judged works in the genre by the standards applied to "serious" literature.He took to task his fellow authors for deficiencies, such as bad grammar and a misunderstanding of scientific concepts, and the magazine editors, who accepted and published such material without editorial intervention. His critiques were published in "fanzines" in the 1950s under the pseudonym William Atheling Jr.
The essays were collected in The Issue at Hand (1964) and More Issues at Hand (1970). Reviewing The Issue at Hand, Algis Budrys said that Atheling had, along with Damon Knight, "transformed the reviewer's trade in this field". He described the persona of Atheling as "acidulous, assertive, categorical, conscientious and occasionally idiosyncratic".
Blish was a fan of the works of James Branch Cabell, and for a time edited Kalki, the journal of the Cabell Society.
In his works of science fiction, Blish developed many ideas and terms which have influenced other writers and on occasion have been adopted more widely, such as faster than light communication via the dirac communicator, introduced in the short story "Beep" (1954). The dirac is comparable to Ursula K. Le Guin's ansible.
Blish is also credited with coining the term gas giant, first used in the story "Solar Plexus", collected in the anthology Beyond Human Ken, edited by Judith Merril. The story was originally published in 1941, but did not contain the term. Blish reworked the story, changing the description of a large magnetic field to "a magnetic field of some strength nearby, one that didn't belong to the invisible gas giant revolving half a million miles away".
The British Science Fiction Foundation inaugurated the James Blish Award for science fiction criticism in 1977, recognizing Brian W. Aldiss. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted him in 2002.
Blish's work was published by a variety of publishers in the United Kingdom and the United States, often with variations between editions, and with different titles. Blish also expanded and re-published his older work on numerous occasions. His works continued to be re-published after his death.
Note: Very few of Blish's first editions were assigned ISBN numbers.
Novels published in complete form, or serialized, in fiction magazines are included for completeness, and to avoid confusion.
β Novelette, ε Novella, γ Novel.
Cyril M. Kornbluth was an American science fiction author and a member of the Futurians. He used a variety of pen-names, including Cecil Corwin, S. D. Gottesman, Edward J. Bellin, Kenneth Falconer, Walter C. Davies, Simon Eisner, Jordan Park, Arthur Cooke, Paul Dennis Lavond, and Scott Mariner. The "M" in Kornbluth's name may have been in tribute to his wife, Mary Byers; Kornbluth's colleague and collaborator Frederik Pohl confirmed Kornbluth's lack of any actual middle name in at least one interview.
Damon Francis Knight was an American science fiction author, editor and critic. He is the author of "To Serve Man", a 1950 short story adapted for The Twilight Zone. He was married to fellow writer Kate Wilhelm.
James Edwin Gunn was an American science fiction writer, editor, scholar, and anthologist. His work as an editor of anthologies includes the six-volume Road to Science Fiction series. He won the Hugo Award for "Best Related Work" in 1983 and he won or was nominated for several other awards for his non-fiction works in the field of science fiction studies. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America made him its 24th Grand Master in 2007, and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2015. His novel The Immortals was adapted into a 1970–71 TV series starring Christopher George.
Spock Must Die! is an American science fiction novel written by James Blish, published February 1970 by Bantam Books. It was the first original novel based on the Star Trek television series intended for adult readers. It was preceded by a tie-in comic book line published by Gold Key and the novel Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds, all intended for younger readers.
Spock, Messiah! is the second original novel based on television series Star Trek intended for adult readers, written by Theodore R. Cogswell and Charles A. Spano, Jr. It was preceded by Spock Must Die! (1970), and Mission to Horatius (1968), however, Mission was intended for young readers.
Robert Augustine Ward "Doc" Lowndes was an American science fiction author, editor and fan. He was known best as the editor of Future Science Fiction, Science Fiction, and Science Fiction Quarterly, among many other crime-fiction, western, sports-fiction, and other pulp and digest sized magazines for Columbia Publications. Among the most famous writers he was first to publish at Columbia was mystery writer Edward D. Hoch, who in turn would contribute to Lowndes's fiction magazines as long as he was editing them. Lowndes was a principal member of the Futurians. His first story, "The Outpost at Altark" for Super Science in 1940, was written in collaboration with fellow Futurian Donald A. Wollheim, uncredited.
This is a bibliography of works by Damon Knight.
In 1966, Bantam Books acquired the license to publish tie-in fiction based on the science fiction television series Star Trek.
Virginia Kidd was an American literary agent, writer and editor, who worked in particular in science fiction and related fields. She represented science fiction American authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, R.A. Lafferty, Anne McCaffrey, Judith Merril, and Gene Wolfe. Wolfe modeled Ann Schindler, a character in his 1990 novel Castleview, in large part on Kidd.
"Surface Tension" is a science fiction short story by American writer James Blish, originally published in the August 1952 of Galaxy Science Fiction. As collected in Blish's The Seedling Stars, it was revised to incorporate material from his earlier story "Sunken Universe", published in Super Science Stories in 1942.
Science Fiction Quarterly was an American pulp science fiction magazine that was published from 1940 to 1943 and again from 1951 to 1958. Charles Hornig served as editor for the first two issues; Robert A. W. Lowndes edited the remainder. Science Fiction Quarterly was launched by publisher Louis Silberkleit during a boom in science fiction magazines at the end of the 1930s. Silberkleit launched two other science fiction titles at about the same time: all three ceased publication before the end of World War II, falling prey to slow sales and paper shortages. In 1950 and 1951, as the market improved, Silberkleit relaunched Future Fiction and Science Fiction Quarterly. By the time Science Fiction Quarterly ceased publication in 1958, it was the last surviving science fiction pulp magazine, all other survivors having changed to different formats.
Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion (2006) is a reference work by Jeff Ayers published by Pocket Books. The book contains entries on the production and publication of Star Trek tie-in novels published from 1967 to 2006. Included are brief synopses of the plots for each book.
Edward John Jones was a British science fiction illustrator; initially known as a fan artist, he later became a professional freelancer. He illustrated numerous science fiction book and magazine covers, some under the pseudonym S. Fantoni, and provided interior illustrations for books and magazines. Jones was active in the field from 1953 to 1985, and reprints of his artwork continued to appear on book covers until his death in 1999.
In Search of Wonder: Essays on Modern Science Fiction is a collection of critical essays by American writer Damon Knight. Most of the material in the original version of the book was originally published between 1952 and 1955 in various science fiction magazines including Infinity Science Fiction, Original SF Stories, and Future SF. The essays were highly influential, and contributed to Knight's stature as the foremost critic of science fiction of his generation. The book also constitutes an informal record of the "Boom Years" of science fiction from 1950-1955.
Future Science Fiction and Science Fiction Stories were two American science fiction magazines that were published under various names between 1939 and 1943 and again from 1950 to 1960. Both publications were edited by Charles Hornig for the first few issues; Robert W. Lowndes took over in late 1941 and remained editor until the end. The initial launch of the magazines came as part of a boom in science fiction pulp magazine publishing at the end of the 1930s. In 1941 the two magazines were combined into one, titled Future Fiction combined with Science Fiction, but in 1943 wartime paper shortages ended the magazine's run, as Louis Silberkleit, the publisher, decided to focus his resources on his mystery and western magazine titles. In 1950, with the market improving again, Silberkleit relaunched Future Fiction, still in the pulp format. In the mid-1950s he also relaunched Science Fiction, this time under the title Science Fiction Stories. Silberkleit kept both magazines on very slim budgets throughout the 1950s. In 1960 both titles ceased publication when their distributor suddenly dropped all of Silberkleit's titles.
Star Trek Log is a series of ten novelizations based on, and inspired by, episodes of the science fiction television series Star Trek: The Animated Series. Published by Ballantine Books from 1974 to 1978, the series was written by Alan Dean Foster and edited by Judy-Lynn del Rey. A 1996 omnibus edition of the series was marketed as a Star Trek: The Animated Series tie-in.
Judith Ann Blish is an American sketch artist and short fiction writer, known professionally as Judith L. Blish, Judy Blish, and J.A. Lawrence. From 1967 to 1978, she co-wrote a sequence of short story adaptations based on episodes of Star Trek with her husband, James Blish.
Star Trek Lives! (1975) is a reference work, co-written by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak, and Joan Winston, which explored the relationship between the Star Trek television series and the fandom that emerged following the series' cancellation. Published by Bantam Books.
The Best of James Blish is a collection of science fiction short stories by American author James Blish, edited by Robert A. W. Lowndes. It was first published in paperback by Del Rey/Ballantine in August 1979 as a volume in its Classic Library of Science Fiction.
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