I'm giving this 5 stars for the heavy ingot of pure pleasure this tetralogy gave me when I read it as a young guy The first two books weren't bad: "They Shall Have Stars" was a dry, but enjoyable bit of generic science fiction. It was too bad none of the characters really came back and got developed. Blish trained as a biologist at Rutgers and Columbia University, and spent - as a medical technician in the United States Army. After the war he became the science editor for the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. His first published story appeared in , and his writing career progressed until he gave up his job to become a professional writer.
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Cities in Flight is an omnibus, first published in , that collects together four novels by James Blish. Those novels themselves were collections of stories that Blish had published between and I initially read Cities in Flight in paperback sometime during the s when I was in my 20s.
Of the two books as objects, I much prefer the cover art of the paperback in which each letter of the two main words of the title is a kind of city in flight. The dustjacket of the hardcover suggests an eerie strangeness. Any reader who wades into the novel wades into hard science and theory that were way beyond me in the s and remain so today.
Several of the pages, indeed, feature formulas, such as this one:. Bonner calls it the Viconian Hypothesis, or cosmological principle: that from any point in space or time the universe would look the same as it would from any other point, and that therefore no total accounting of the stresses acting at that point is possible unless one assume that all the rest of the universe is to be taken into account.
I held onto my paperback copy for all the intervening years, and the reason I did, I suspect, is because of the adventure of the story. Cities as spaceships, of course, was an unusual plot point. Even more interesting, though, for me then and now, was the reason the cities were able to fly. Well, there were two reasons — one, a hardware thing called a spindizzy which somehow transmuted gravity into blinding speed or something , and two, anti-aging drugs that permitted the city citizens to live through the long, long, long interstellar journeys.
The final two sections take up two-thirds of the novel, and the main characters in those sections live for many hundreds of years. Without the specter of death, life for his characters is an endless series of challenges that they face and conquer. The approach of my death means that every day I have is precious and richly interesting and beautiful and a treasure.
If I knew I could live for century upon century with nothing, except an accident, to keep me from living on and on, would life lose its savor? Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Previous item Chicago History: The January 16, Patrick T Reardon 0. Geof Posted July 17, am.
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James Blish: Cities In Flight
Cities in Flight is an omnibus, first published in , that collects together four novels by James Blish. Those novels themselves were collections of stories that Blish had published between and I initially read Cities in Flight in paperback sometime during the s when I was in my 20s. Of the two books as objects, I much prefer the cover art of the paperback in which each letter of the two main words of the title is a kind of city in flight.
Cities in Flight
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Book review: “Cities in Flight” by James Blish
Cities in Flight is a four-volume series of science fiction novels and short stories by American writer James Blish , originally published between and , which were first known collectively as the " Okie " novels. The series features entire cities that are able to fly through space using an anti-gravity device, the spindizzy. The stories cover roughly two thousand years, from the very near future to the end of the universe. They Shall Have Stars also published under the title Year ! In this future, the Soviet Union still exists and the Cold War is still ongoing.