Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Collecting Blish Series

OK. This is the way to do it (a "Why didn't I think of this before?" moment):

I. The Haertel Scholium Prelude: the early interconnected stories and the Galactic Cluster Trilogy.
II. The Heart Stars: the Jack Loftus novels.
III. After Such Knowledge.
IV. The Seedling Stars.
V. Cities in Flight.
VI. The Quincunx Tetralogy.
VII. The Haertel Scholium Coda.

Thus:

"Haertel Scholium" volumes would open and close the sequence;
the "Coda" would be read at the end where it belongs instead of in the opening volume;
"The Haertel Scholium" and "The Heart Stars" form a fortuitous verbal sequence;
the latter is an appropriate title for the diptych, The Star Dwellers and Mission To The Heart Stars;
The Heart Stars would also be a companion title to The Seedling Stars

Monday, 3 December 2012

Okie Ys?

Poul and Karen Anderson wrote a historical fantasy tetralogy, The King Of Ys, about the fabulous city of Ys which was inundated. James Blish wrote a futuristic science fiction tetralogy, Cities In Flight, about New York and other cities that become "Okies" by flying through the galaxy with anti-gravity drives called "spindizzies." (Ys and New York have in common that they are Atlantic ports with towers.)

How is this for a crossover idea?

Alternative timeline: Ys survived and will become an Okie.

Implications:

(i) By leaving the Atlantic, Ys would end its Pact with the sea God, Lir - unless its spindizzy field was vast enough to enclose a sizeable volume of the Atlantic (which would cause problems when the field had to be switched off)?

(ii) This version of Ys exists only in a fantasy scenario. Thus, on each new planet, the Ysans would have to deal not only with that planet's inhabitants but also with its Gods.

(iii) Each new King of Ys must be both a foreigner and able to marry the Nine Witch-Queens so non-humans need not apply. Possible candidates would include colonials or maybe an Okie who "wanted off" his current city. He would challenge and fight the current King with futuristic weapons like the Bethe blasters mentioned by Blish.

(iv) It seems appropriate that, if there is a multiverse, then Ys should be able to exist in a fabulous future as well as in a legendary past. Gratillonius, the "last King of Ys", and a later Okie King of Ys would be able to meet in the inter-universal inn, the Old Phoenix.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Two Masters Of All The Genres

Poul Anderson mastered historical fiction, science fiction (sf) and fantasy and even set one novel in each of these genres in the fourteenth century with a minor connection between the historical novel, Rogue Sword, and the sf novel, The High Crusade. (See an earlier post on Poul Anderson Appreciation, "Finding an Unexpected Connection" by Sean M Brooks, Wednesday, 9 May, 2012. Also here.)

James Blish, with a much smaller output, not only mastered these three genres but also went one step further than Anderson or any other author by writing a three genre Trilogy, After Such Knowledge:

in Volume I, Doctor Mirabilis (a historical novel), Roger Bacon, the founder of scientific method, is suspected of witchcraft and has a drug-induced vision of Armageddon;

in Volume II, (a) Black Easter and (b) The Day After Judgement (contemporary fantasies), magicians release and cannot recall demons who then wage and win Armageddon;

in Volume III, A Case Of Conscience (futuristic sf), experiences on an extra-solar planet oblige a Jesuit biologist to ask heretical questions about the relative powers of God and Satan and to fear an imminent Armageddon.

The Trilogy is thematic, not linear, so it does not matter that Armageddon happens in the late twentieth century yet is still to happen in the mid-twenty first century - although this discrepancy might be resolved by the conclusion of The Day After Judgement, when Satan/God undoes (at least some of) the damage caused by the conflict in order to initiate a long development of mankind towards Godhood. This development could still be occurring in Volume III although, as was the case after the Armageddon in Volume II, the characters' mind-sets have not progressed yet.

The unifying theme of the Trilogy is the question whether the desire for secular knowledge is evil. Blish, like Anderson or any other scientifically trained hard sf writer, answered "No" but he managed to write a Trilogy about the question.

Anderson addressed a single theme in different genres when he presented the original of Odin in a historical novel, a time traveler mistaken for Odin in an sf story and Odin in three fantasy novels. However, this single theme does not make these works a single series. Instead, the contrasting treatments differentiate them as distinct works.

I was reminded of Black Easter, the definitive novel of demonic conjuration, when I read Anderson's account of Queen Skuld's ritual cursing in Hrolf Kraki's Saga. Pagan witchcraft was followed by Christian witchcraft which led, in Blish's fantasy, to Armageddon.

Your New God II

Appropriately, both James Blish's Satan Mekratrig and Mike Carey's Lucifer Morningstar refer to damnation when they express their attitudes to Godhood.

Satan:

"I, SATAN MEKRATRIG, can no longer bear
"This deepest, last and bitterest of all
"My fell damnations: That at last I know
"I never wanted to be God at all
"And so, by winning all, All have I lost." (1)

Lucifer:

"Someone has to be the Founder. The preserver. The arbiter. And I was damned if it was going to be me." (2)

However, Satan speaks literally whereas Lucifer speaks colloquially, thus ironically. Lucifer had known for a long time that he did not want the top job and had planned accordingly, preparing another candidate. By contrast, Satan was taken by surprise, winning supreme power only to realise at that late stage that he did not really want it.

This Satan is the conventional figure described by Dante, remaining off-stage until the end, whereas Lucifer, looking like a regular guy except when he manifests his wings, had resigned as Lord of Hell and has had time to develop an independent existence first in The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, then in Lucifer by Carey. He is not malicious but he is selfish, casually destroying billions of beings in a hitherto unknown realm of the hereafter in order to rescue one to whom he felt an obligation.

(1) Blish, James, The Day After Judgment (New York, 1971), p. 162.
(2) Carey, Mike, Lucifer: Morningstar (New York, 2006), p. 188.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Your New God

The Day After Judgement by James Blish and Lucifer: Morningstar by Mike Carey have parallel passages.

In Blish's work, Satan, having won Armageddon, summons to the Citadel of Dis those magicians whose conjuration had initiated the conflict. He hears their advice before informing them in Miltonic verse that he is now God but does not want to be, so Man must evolve towards that role. Four men stand before the huge form of the Dantean Satan, "...five hundred yards from crown to hoof...", with only his upper body reaching above the floor of the great hall of Pandemonium. (1)

In Carey's work, the situation is more complex but there is a similar scene. God is not dead but has withdrawn, leaving others to address the problems caused by his absence. Elaine Belloc, a British schoolgirl but the Archangel Michael's daughter, thus God's granddaughter, has absorbed Michael's demiugic energy and created a new universe. Controlling such power also enables her to prevent the otherwise inevitable dissolution of the original, now God-abandoned, universe.

At last, Elaine and Lucifer stand before the remnants of the Hellkin, the Heaven-host and the Army of the Damned in a massive amphitheatre of the fallen Silver City where Lucifer announces, "You're looking at your new God," adding to her, "...I was damned if it was going to be me. For what it's worth, I think you'll be an improvement on the old regime." (2)

Like Blish's Satan, Carey's Lucifer doesn't want Godhood but, in this case, an alternative candidate is already in place.

(1) Blish, James, The Day After Judgment, New York, 1971, p. 154.
(2) Carey, Mike, Lucifer: Morningstar, New York, 2006, p. 188.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

"Hard Fantasy"

(I have copied this post from the Science Fiction blog because of its relevance to James Blish.)

The premise of Robert Heinlein's "Magic, Inc." is that magic works and is practised like a set of technologies. Magical practice is based on the reality of supernatural entities and forces, not on any new theory, discovery or application of the natural sciences. Thus, "Magic, Inc." is fantasy, not science fiction (sf).

We might call it "hard fantasy" to indicate that the implications of the premise are deduced as rigorously as are the consequences of any new technology in hard sf.

Two other "hard fantasies":

in The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers, there is time travel to historical periods with circular causality as in an sf novel but here the time travel is one of several applications of magic;

in Black Easter/The Day After Judgement by James Blish, demons are real.

Blish wrote mostly hard sf. It is possible, when reading his fantasies, to forget that they are a different genre from his sf. Indeed, some of his characters find it hard to believe that their high technology coexists with demons. In fact, Black...Judgement is the second volume of a trilogy about the conflict between secularism and supernaturalism. Volumes I and III remain ambiguous but it is a premise of Volume II that demons exist and are neither technological nor extraterrestrial but supernatural.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Haertel Scholium Coda Contents

Earlier, Shorter Versions
"A Case Of Conscience": A Case Of Conscience.
"Beep": The Quincunx Of Time.
"A Hero's Life": "A Style In Treason."

Connected Works
 "No Jokes On Mars" connects with Welcome To Mars.
"A Dusk Of Idols": The Star Dwellers.
"And Some Were Savages": "This Earth Of Hours."

One Other
"How Beautiful With Banners" was originally to have referred to Martian dune cats.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Six Volumes

My proposed "Eight Volumes" for James Blish's interconnected works do not make sense for publishing because three of the volumes would be very short. However, six would be practicable, starting with The Galactic Cluster Trilogy And Other Works:

Part One, Some Early Blish;
Part Two, The Galactic Cluster Trilogy;
Part Three, The Haertel Scholium Coda.

This single opening volume would form a triad with:

The Jack Loftus Novels;
After Such Knowledge.

A second triad would be:

The Seedling Stars;
Cities In Flight;
The Quincunx Tetralogy.

After Such Knowledge is a Trilogy overlapping by one volume with the "Haertel Scholium," works referring to or connected with the character Adolph Haertel or his interstellar drive. The "Early Blish" stories are not part of this Scholium but are precursors to it.

The second triad moves away from Haertel but returns to him in its concluding volume which synthesizes the Dirac transmitter, introduced in Cities In Flight, with the Haertel overdrive, introduced in "Common Time," the opening story of Galactic Cluster. Thus, these coherent and interconnected works deserve to be republished in uniform editions.

Earthman, Come Home

This is an evocative passage from the Prologue to James Blish's Earthman, Come Home (London, 1963):

"Thus the Earth police held their jurisdiction, but the hegemony of Earth was weak, for the most part. There were many corners of the galaxy which knew Earth only as a legend, a green myth floating unknown thousands of parsecs away in space, known and ineluctable thousands of years away in history. Some of them remembered much more vividly the now-broken tyranny of Vega, and did not know - some of them never had known - even the name of the little planet that had broken that tyranny." (p. 13)

The passage evokes thousands of years of galactic history with many intelligent races ruled at a distance first by Vega, then by Earth. However, other parts of the Cities In Flight Tetralogy suggest a smaller spatiotemporal scenario. Vega is said to have ruled most of this galactic quadrant, not all of the galaxy. Earthmen are said to rule Arm II. The text of Earthman, Come Home tells us that:

"Only eleven non-human civilizations had been discovered, and, of these, only the Lyrans and the Myrdians had any brains to speak of (unless one counted the Vegans; Earthmen did not think of them as human, but all non-human cultures did; anyhow, they were extinct as a civilization)." (p. 89)

(John Amalfi, Mayor of New York, is told that he is atypical enough to pass as a Vegan so they must be quite humanoid but we do not see any of these non-human races. Myrdians are not humanoid. An Okie city must transport "Dr Beetle," real name unpronounceable, in a tank.)

Finally, the concluding Volume of the Tetralogy ends the universe in 4004 (later revised to 4104) but Earthman rule begins in 2522 and is assimilated by another interstellar power, the Web of Hercules, in 4000 so that Earthmen rule for less than one and a half millennia.

That is a pity because the text, like the Prologue, of Earthman, Come Home does refer to thousands of years, which would seem to be necessary for some of the events to occur. That evocative passage from the Prologue presents an intriguing future historical perspective even though it differs in some respects from the fictitious history presented in the rest of the series.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Four Pillars Of Okie Culture

In James Blish's Cities in Flight tetralogy, interstellar trade by "Okie" flying cities is made possible by antigravity, anti-agathics and the germanium-based Oc dollar and is supplemented by the faster than light ultraphone and the instantaneous Dirac transmitter.

Antigravity is discovered in "Bridge" and anti-agathics in "At Death's End" and the Dirac is invented in "Beep" although, for reasons stated elsewhere, this story parted company with the Okie series.

That leaves the Oc dollar without an origin story. (I always thought that "Oc" must abbreviate "Okie" but it was never explained.) This currency matters because its collapse in the main Okie volume Earthman, Come Home (London, 1963) signaled the end of Okie culture. However, Blish does describe its origin in the Prologue to Earthman, Come Home.

Before space travel, germanium's importance for solid-state physics had made it fantastically valuable on Earth. Then:

"The opening of the interstellar frontier drove its price down to a manageable level, and gradually it emerged as the basic, stable monetary value of space trade. Nothing else could have kept the nomads in business." (p. 12)

That is all we are told: not enough for a story but the currency matters because, when it collapses, to be replaced by a drug standard, the Okies are finished and New York leaves the galaxy.

The advantages of the drug standard are:

drugs can be exactly valued by their therapeutic efficacy and availability;
cheaply synthesised drugs "...would be the pennies and nickels of the new coinage..." whereas rare, in demand drugs "...would be the hundred dollar units..." (pp. 121-122);
drug dilution could make debt payment flexible;
drugs, like metals, can be tested for counterfeiting;
rapid outmoding of drugs would prevent hoarding.

There would continue to be paper money but anti-agathic credits would raise the dilemma of using them to relieve poverty or continuing to live in poverty in order to live longer. It is no surprise when Blish's characters, like Poul Anderson's Master Merchants of the declining Polesotechnic League, decide to start afresh elsewhere. The fourth volume of Cities In Flight is set entirely outside the home galaxy where, of course, other problems arise.

The Eight Volumes

Yes, I think that these proposed eight volumes would adequately present James Blish's interconnected works:

I, Some Early Blish.
II, The Galactic Cluster Trilogy.
III, Jack Loftus.
IV, After Such Knowledge.
V, The Seedling Stars.
VI, Cities In Flight.
VII, The Quincunx Tetralogy.
VIII, The Haertel Scholium Coda.

The Haertel Scholium, ie, works referring either to the character Adolph Haertel or to his interstellar drive, comprises Volumes II, III, VII and VIII and a third of IV. Anyone who had read to the end of Vol VI would by then have encountered three Haertel overdrive futures and one spindizzy-Dirac communicator future. (The spindizzy or Dillon-Wagonner gravitron polarity generator is, like the Haertel overdrive, a faster than light interstellar drive.) Vol VII presents a Haertel overdrive-Dirac communicator future.

The instantaneous Dirac communicator, simultaneously receiving all past, present and future Dirac messages in a single "beep" of sound and light, first appeared in a one-off story never published in its original form because, under the guidance of Blish's Editor, John W Campbell, it was transformed into the concluding episode of a four part "Okies" series collected as Earthman, Come Home. That volume plus one pre-Okie novel, one juvenile Okie novel and one post-Okie novel equals Cities In Flight.

The pre-Okie novel, They Shall Have Stars, is a joint novelisation with new material of two stories each showing one of the two discoveries, anti-agathics and antigravity, that were necessary for Okie civilization. Logically, there should be a third story showing the invention of the Dirac communicator. In fact, that story exists but could not be incorporated into Cities In Flight because Blish wanted his Okie characters to meet challenges without being helped by messages from their future. Therefore, both the invention of the Dirac and the extraction of messages from the beep are described in the independent story, "Beep," novelized as The Quincunx Of Time.

In the longer version, one Dirac message describes the background of Blish's story, "A Style In Treason," and another is transmitted in his novel, Midsummer Century. Thus, Volume VII, for which I suggest the title The Quincunx Tetralogy, would contain:

Welcome To Mars, about Haertel's discovery of antigravity;
The Quincunx Of Time;
"A Style In Treason";
Midsummer Century.

The early Adapted Men stories could have fitted into the Okie sequence, and indeed looked as if they were going to, but then the two series developed in different directions so the former are collected as The Seedling Stars. Thus, the contents of Volumes V, VI and VII grew from two roots, the earliest written Okie and "pantropy" (science of Adaptation) stories, but also incorporated other material from the Haertel Scholium (Welcome To Mars and The Quincunx Of Time) and via the Dirac transmitter ("A Style In Treason" and Midsummer Century).

Because most of these works describe the consequences of future scientific discoveries, it makes sense that, in the first part of After Such Knowledge (ASK), Blish presents a fictitious biography of Roger Bacon, the discoverer of scientific method. Because Bacon, a scientist, was mistaken for a magician, it is also appropriate that the second part of ASK is neither sf nor about scientists but fantasy about magicians. The third part of ASK is a Haertel overdrive novel about a future conflict between theology and science.

"Common Time," the opening story of Galactic Cluster, presents Haertel as an elderly scientist receiving a report back from the pilot of the first successful test flight with his overdrive whereas Welcome To Mars, written later, presents him as a teenager discovering antigravity and flying to Mars while a slight variation on that version of Mars is presented in the story that would introduce Vol VIII. These works present creativity without linearity.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Eight Volumes?

A James Blish Complete Works could include eight volumes collecting connected works. I have said most of this before but am trying to refine it.

Vol I, Early Blish: several early stories refer to common characters and technologies. These include "The Real Thrill," which later provided material for a Dirac message received in The Quincunx Of Time, thus in Vol VII below.

II, The Galactic Cluster Trilogy: from Garrard's test flight of the Haertel overdrive through microcosmic exploration to the beginning of interstellar conflict between the Terrestrial Matriarchy and the Central Empire. (In publishing terms, this volume, just three short stories, would be far too short but that is not the point here. Its contents form a linear sequence and are substantial.)

III, The Jack Loftus Novels: from first contact with energy beings called "Angels" to the beginning of a UN-Angels alliance against the Heart Stars Empire.

IV, After Such Knowledge: from Roger Bacon's discovery of scientific method through a magical metaphysical metamorphosis to a conflict between theology and science on an interstellar scale.

V, The Seedling Stars: from the invention of "pantropy," the science of adapting organisms for different environments, to the colonization of the entire galaxy and even of a changed Earth by Adapted Men.

VI, Cities In Flight: from the discovery of antigravity and anti-agathics through flying cities and planets to the end of the universe.

VII, The Quincunx Tetralogy: from Haertel's discovery of antigravity through an unexpected application of the Dirac transmitter (introduced in Vol VI) to both an expanding intergalactic civilisation and a "Rebirth" of human terrestrial civilization.

VIII, The Haertel Scholium Coda: Haertel-related works that do not fit elsewhere. I suggested before that these be included in a Galactic Cluster: Revised Edition but they should be read after all the linear sequences. Thus:

a short story set on not quite the same Mars as that visited by Haertel in the opening novel of Vol VII;
earlier, shorter versions of the second and third works collected in Vol VII;
a short story set in an alternative version of the Angels-Heart Stars history (Vol III)
etc (an editor would decide which other works to collect here and which to place in other volumes of a Complete Works).

Monday, 25 June 2012

Overlapping Trilogies

Not every trilogy is three long volumes. In the British edition of Galactic Cluster by James Blish, three short stories formed a linear sequence:

"Common Time":
an elderly Adolph Haertel and his faster than light overdrive, strange temporal experiences in the spaceship;

"Nor Iron Bars":
the Arpe drive replacing Haertel's,
a planetary explorer called Hammersmith,
microcosmic telepathy;

"Beep":
an unspecified faster than light drive,
a planet called Hammersmith,
the Dirac communicator,
a mention of "...time phenomena..." which I took to refer to "Common Time." (1)

However, the American edition of Galactic Cluster also included "This Earth Of Hours" which fits in more neatly with the first two stories, thus:

"Common Time" and "Nor Iron Bars": as above;
"This Earth Of Hours": the Standing Wave replacing both earlier interstellar drives, macrocosmic telepathy.

Apart from the single word "Hammersmith," "Beep" is really on its own. However, when it had been novelized as The Quincunx Of Time, it then formed a sequence with two other novels.

Welcome To Mars: the young Haertel discovering antigravity;
The Quincunx Of Time: as "Beep" but now with explicit references to the young Haertel and his overdrive;
Midsummer Century: the transmission of a Dirac message received earlier in The Quincunx Of Time.

Thus, we wind up with two trilogies connected by Haertel. Since another message received in Quincunx refers to "A Style In Treason," the second trilogy can be upgraded to a tetralogy.

Haertel is also mentioned in a juvenile diptych and in one volume of another trilogy (see earlier posts), but "Common Time" and Welcome To Mars are his only two appearances. In any "Complete Works of James Blish":

the tetralogy as above could be collected in a single volume;
Galactic Cluster could be revised to highlight the trilogy, to shed unrelated stories to other collections and to include Haertel Scholium "loose ends," connected stories that do not quite fit into any linear sequence.  

(1) Blish, James, "Beep" IN Blish, J., Galactic Cluster, London, 1963, pp. 93-128 AT p. 103.

Friday, 22 June 2012

ASK Haertel II

I posted ASK Haertel on Sunday but continued adding to it till Friday. It was not planned but grew in three stages. First, there was an attempt to find some order in the complexity of Blish's Haertel-related works. I have seen these works described as the "Haertel Scholium." This is appropriate because "scholium" is a term much used by Blish himself, for example, in one of the works under consideration:

"...the laws of the macrocosm didn't apply down here; this was the domain of quantum mechanics - though telepathy didn't obey that scholium either." (1)

The Haertel Scholium is divisible into several short comprehensible sub-series. For example, three short stories form a linear sequence in a single collection. This short trilogy starts with a first interstellar round trip and ends by defining a galactic conflict: planets of Population I stars in the galactic centre and the clusters are inhabited by hive organisms hostile to the individual brain-bearing inhabitants of Population II planetary systems like the Solar System. The intermediate story, from which I quoted, describes an exploratory trip to the microcosm and introduces the kind of telepathy that, in the third story, binds together the Central Empire but cannot be used by organisms with brains. Thus, here is a complete interstellar trilogy comparable in theme and content to longer and better known works like Foundation and Dune.

A second sub-series comprises the two novels about the juvenile character, Jack Loftus. This diptych begins with first contact between human beings and energy beings and ends with another galactic conflict when these two kinds of beings begin to plan an alliance against the stagnant tyranny of the Heart Stars Empire. Both the trilogy and the diptych also speculate about possible future directions for human society. In the trilogy, the question is what would result if parents became able to predetermine their children's sex. In the diptych, it is how to organise a high-energy civilzation.

Secondly, A Case Of Conscience is both a Haertel overdrive novel and Volume III of the After Such Knowledge Trilogy (ASK) so it was appropriate to include discussion of the Trilogy especially since Volume I, Doctor Mirabilis, is a historical novel about Roger Bacon whom Blish credits as the discoverer of scientific method and thus as the forerunner of scientists like Haertel and his successor, Arpe, who explores the microcosm. Since Bacon was mistaken for a magician, it is appropriate that Volume II, Black Easter/The Day After Judgement, a contemporary fantasy novel about practising magicians, shows what magic would have to be like if it existed.

Thirdly, the conflict between theology and science that is the theme of ASK is present to a lesser extent in Blish's hard sf Okie and pantropy tetralogies so these works had to be mentioned. The Okies study and try to intervene in the imminent end of the universe and, of course, are told by Fundamentalists that this is blasphemous. In "ASK Haertel," I mentioned that a "pantropist" wonders whether he and his colleagues seeding extrasolar planets throughout the galaxy with Adapted Men are guilty of hybris but this speculation is not taken seriously.

However, in another Haertel overdrive novel, The Quincunx Of Time, a group of characters gains a knowledge of future events that might enable them to choose between possible futures for mankind and they do reject the exercise of such power as hybris, adopting instead this message to the "...cosmic Dead Letter Office...": "To Whom it may concern: Thy will, not mine." (2)

The Aristotelean spheres, mentioned as real by a magician in ASK II, are dismissed as a "...bad dream..." but the danger of "...that madness: hybris, or overweening pride..." is taken seriously. (3) (2)

The Haertel Scholium, ASK and the Okie and pantropy series are remarkable both for their common themes and for the diversity of their imagined future scenarios.

(1) Blish, James, "Nor Iron Bars" IN Galactic Cluster, London, 1963,  pp. 61-92 AT p. 74.
(2) Blish, James, The Quincunx Of Time, New York, 1983, p. 104.
(3) ibid., p. 61.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

ASK Haertel

Works by James Blish referring to his character Adolph Haertel can be grouped as follows.

The Star Dwellers and Mission To The Heart Stars are the Jack Loftus diptych.

"Common Time," "Nor Iron Bars" and "This Earth Of Hours" are the Galactic Cluster trilogy. (They form a linear sequence and are collected in a volume of that title.)

A Case Of Conscience (ACOC) is Volume III of the After Such Knowledge (ASK) Trilogy. (ASK Vol I, Doctor Mirabilis, and Vol II, Black Easter/The Day After Judgement, are respectively historical and contemporary, thus pre-Haertel.)

Welcome To Mars, The Quincunx Of Time, "A Style In Treason" and Midsummer Century are an untitled tetralogy.

Haertel, young in Welcome To Mars and old in "Common Time," is referred back to by:

Loftus in his diptych;
Arpe in "Nor Iron Bars";
Ruiz-Sanchez in A Case Of Conscience;
Wald in The Quincunx Of Time.

"This Earth Of Hours" refers back to Arpe. The future civilizations of "A Style In Treason" and Midsummer Century transmit Dirac messages received earlier by Wald. In true future historical style, a planet in The Quincunx Of Time is named after a planetary explorer in "Nor Iron Bars." (Quincunx is a novelization of  "Beep" which had been collected in Galactic Cluster, the British edition of which excluded "This Earth Of Hours" so that I originally regarded "Beep" as completing this trilogy.)

Thus, the Haertel Scholium comprises one single volume, one diptych, one trilogy and one tetralogy plus some loose ends:

a short story loosely connected to Welcome To Mars;
another, "A Dusk Of Idols" (see Anywhen cover, below), connected to The Star Dwellers;
earlier, shorter versions of Quincunx and "A Style In Treason."

Works are linked by:

Arpe and Wald, each appearing once;
Haertel and Loftus, each appearing twice;
conflict between sacred and secular knowledge, addressed thrice.

The characters' legacies are:

Roger Bacon in ASK I: scientific method;

magicians in ASK II: a changed relationship to deity;

Haertel and Arpe: interstellar drives, named after them;

Arpe: microcosmic exploration and the discovery that psi forces are characteristic of subatomic space as electromagnetism is of macrocosmic space;

Ruiz-Sanchez: the theological problem of sinless but Godless aliens;

Petard, also in ASK III: his instantaneous communicator, the circum-continuum radio (CirCon);

Wald: (i) his instantaneous communicator, named after Paul Dirac, which, unlike Petard's, receives messages not only from the present but also from the past and future; (ii) a metalanguage for scientific paradigms and multiple dimensions;

Loftus: the Haertel overdrive-using UN, dolphins, extrasolar races and star dwelling energy beings allied against the Heart Stars Empire;

the Traitor in Chief of High Earth in "A Style In Treason": Earth and colonies, using a post-Haertel Imaginary Drive, allied against the Green Exarchy Empire;

Oberholzer in "This Earth Of Hours": the Terrestrial Matriarchy, using a post-Arpe Standing Wave, mobilized against the telepathic Central Empire;

Martels in Midsummer Century: a telepathically guided "Rebirth" of human civilization mobilized against an evolutionary challenge from intelligent Birds.

Thus, ASK and Haertel present:

two theories of telepathy (Arpe's and Martels');
two instantaneous communicators (Circon and Dirac);
three theology-science conflicts (Bacon, magicians and Ruiz-Sanchez);
three interstellar empires (Heart Stars, Green Exarchy and Central Empire);
four interstellar drives (Haertel, Arpe, Imaginary Drive and Standing Wave).

Circon, reaching around the continuum, detects and replies to radio waves currently transmitted light years away whereas the Dirac communicator controls the placement of an electron in the circuits of another Dirac communicator by controlling the frequency and path of a positron moving through a crystal lattice accompanied by de Broglie waves which are transforms of the waves of the electron so that a message is received by amplifying the bursts and reading the signal.

Thus:

Dirac is not radio;
its effect is simultaneous, not wave-like;
CirCon and Dirac are not two names for the same device.

Bacon, wrongly accused of magic, is the historical forerunner of scientists including:

in our era, Einstein and Dirac;
in several Blish futures, Haertel;
in different Haertel futures, Petard and Wald.

Blish's imagined scenarios are both extrapolative and exotic. ASK and Haertel are not a continuous sequence, except for ACOC, but Haertel etc as scientists are Bacon's successors.

Blish appropriately extends the theology-science issue from a medieval monk in ASK I through modern magicians in ASK II to a future Jesuit biologist and an atheist physicist in ASK III. However, despite the seriousness with which Blish treats this issue here, all his other fictitious scientists simply expand human knowledge of the galaxy, the universe, the microcosm and space-time without being troubled by theology.

Ruiz-Sanchez's contemporary, Petard, a lapsed Catholic, parallels the entirely secular Wald's invention of an instantaneous communicator but Wald goes further by also inventing a metalanguage for discussing the succession of scientific paradigms that had been initiated by Bacon in Doctor Mirabilis.

Doctor Mirabilis can therefore be regarded not only as Volume I of ASK but also as a prequel to Blish's various sf series and, in fact, John Amalfi, the central character of Blish's non-Haertel Cities In Flight Tetralogy, does appropriately refer to Bacon when discussing the scientifically predicted imminent end of the universe which, of course, revives theological concerns in some other characters although the title of Cities In Flight Vol IV, The Triumph Of Time, conveys the entirely secular view that time, not eternity, is the final arbiter of human destiny.

This article began as an attempt to group together the works of the Haertel Scholium but, because that Scholium overlaps with the After Such Knowledge Trilogy, it became a discussion of that Trilogy in relation both to the Scholium and to the Cities In Flight Tetralogy. For completeness, we should also mention Blish's shorter tetralogy collected as The Seedling Stars.

In Book Two of The Seedling Stars, extrasolar colonists, temporarily separated from terrestrial scientists, revive the conflict between sacred (scriptural) and secular (scientific) knowledge. In Book Three, the pilot of a crashed spaceship remarks that, if he were a religious man (which clearly he is not), he would think that the crash resulted from divine vengeance for the hubris of trying to seed the galaxy with Adapted Men. He and his fellow "pantropists" play the god-like role of designing microscopic human beings to inhabit water pools on the planet where they have crashed.

In Book Four, Adapted Men have spread throughout the galaxy without encountering any divine vengeance or, as far as we can see, experiencing any further religious qualms although the pagan expletive, "gods of all stars," familiar from Cities In Flight, remains in use. Lithia, the planet whose sinless but Godless inhabitants had disturbed Ruiz-Sanchez, is mentioned. Destroyed by human interventions in 2050 in ACOC, Lithia exists unchanged millennia later in The Seedling Stars so Ruiz-Sanchez's conflicts have not occurred in the essentially secular history of this alternative timeline.

The Dirac transmitter first appeared in the Okie series that became Cities In Flight but the transmitter's capacity to receive messages from the future would not have fitted into Okie culture, where cities fly into the unknown, so it had to be developed separately in one of the Haertel timelines. Similarly, the Okies, interstellar traders, and the Adapted Men, extrasolar colonists, could have complemented each other in a single series but Blish wanted to show that the Okies, despite their anti-agathics, would not live forever and demonstrated this drastically by ending the universe in 4004 whereas the Adapted Men needed much longer to colonize the galaxy so these two series necessarily diverged despite some early common references:

a pantropist refers to the Okie currency, the Oc dollar;
pantropists, like Okies and Wald, have the faster than light ultraphone.

Okies and Wald, but not pantropists, have the instantaneous Dirac transmitter but only Wald and his colleagues receive the Dirac "beep" containing messages from the future and including messages from later stories. Thus, one potential series became three distinct series whose defining technologies are:

"spindizzies," gravitron polarity generators, moving spaceships and cities through space faster than light, later moving a planet between galaxies and to the Metagalactic Centre;

pantropy, adapting human beings to other planets;

the Dirac communicator, receiving Dirac messages transmitted from any other point in space-time.

The text of  "A Style In Treason," and even the Dirac message received from that period, assume faster than light but not instantaneous communication, ultraphone but not Dirac. However, the politics of the period are somehow based on institutionalized deception and Blish would have been able to resolve any inconsistencies in his projected High Earth/Traitors' Guild/Green Exarchy novel.

The various series are also differentiated by their beginnings. Blish laid a sound basis for each series by describing the discoveries underlying his characters' later activities:

antigravity in "Bridge," incorporated into Cities In Flight, Vol I;
anti-agathics in "At Death's End," also incorporated into CIF, Vol I;
pantropy in The Seedling Stars, Book One;
antigravity, this time discovered by Haertel, in Welcome To Mars;
test flight of the Haertel overdrive in "Common Time";
test flight of the Arpe Drive in "Nor Iron Bars";
the theory of telepathy that later accounts for the Central Empire, also in "Nor Iron Bars";
the Dirac transmitter in "Beep," novelized as The Quincunx Of Time;
scientific method in Doctor Mirabilis.

Blish did not envisage any single political future:

when anti-gravity and antiagathics have been discovered and some extrasolar planets colonized, Russia wins the Cold War and bans space travel but, later, with anti-gravity rediscovered and the Vegan Tyranny defeated, a new confederation, roughly based on the former UN, rules Arm II until replaced by the Web of Hercules although New Earthmen continue to control the Greater Magellanic Cloud and the planet He explores the Andromeda galaxy;

the Greater Earth Port Authority, so enriched by tolls that its police force has absorbed the United States armed forces, aims to charge landing fees on terraformed planets and nearly suppresses pantropy but Adapted Men escape and occupy the galaxy;

ACOC's UN has imposed a world government in response to Corridor Riots in the self-sufficient city-sized underground nuclear air raid shelters controlled by Target Area Authorities derived from self-policing port authorities;

Loftus' UN world government, which controls a high-energy culture maintaining a large unemployed majority in comfort but not allowing them to vote or procreate, learns that the Heart Stars is a stagnant tyranny and allies with other races against it;

in Oberholzer's future, sperm electrophoresis enables parents to predetermine children's sex, causing a glut of males and a Matriarchy which discovers that planets of Population I stars in the galactic center and the clusters are populated by beings with hive mentalities and ganglia instead of brains and who regard brains as tumors so are hostile to the brained inhabitants of planets of Population II stars like Sol;

in the High Earth period, neither the ultraphone nor the Imaginary Drive permits hegemony over more than ten light years but a uniform interstellar economy is maintained with traitors as brokers in a bourse where planets seek financial advantage although half of the human worlds are ruled by the Green Exarch which draws tithes from six fallen empires older than man;

Wald's successors in the Earth intelligence bureau foresee themselves preventing disasters and presiding over peaceful intergalactic expansion, then do what they have foreseen themselves doing. (As Brian Aldiss wrote in an Introduction to The Quincunx Of Time, this novel really is about the future. Not only do we read about a fictitious future but the characters receive a series of messages from different periods of their future.)

These are seven very differently imagined futures although the High Earth-Green Exarchy conflict is supposed to be incorporated somehow into the peaceful expansion supervised by Wald's successors - unless, contradicting both their theory and their policy, this Dirac message turns out after all to originate from a merely potential future which they prevent instead of causing? (I don't think so but there you are.) 

ASK, Haertel, Okies and pantropy are not one series but they are a single coherent body of work: one diptych, two trilogies and three tetralogies. Uniform editions could comprise six volumes including a revised Galactic Cluster containing the short trilogy and the "loose ends."

"It was not until 2011 that the great Haertel succeeded..." (1)

Haertel's achievements, not necessarily mutually compatible, were:

to incorporate Einstein's relativity into Milne's and Milne's into his own (he did this in 2011, last year!);

to prove that there is only one fundamental particle;

to assume at the age of seventeen that a Pythagorean geometry of points, not a Euclidean geometry of lines, applies to ultimate particles like positrons;

also at age seventeen, to discover anti-gravity and fly a tree hut to Mars.

Loftus' mentor regards Haertel as the greatest theoretical physicist ever and Wald sometimes thinks that he must have been God so it is unsurprising that he is prominent in several timelines.

(1) Blish, James, Mission To The Heart Stars, London, 1980, p. 48.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

James Blish Compared With Graphic Novelists

In Black Easter by James Blish: 

the three superior demons, Satan, Beelzebuth and the Sabbath Goat, never appear;
however, the powerful black magician, Theron Ware, accepts a commission to release forty eight other major demons without restraint;
the demons initiate World War III;
Ware fails to recall them;
the Sabbath Goat does appear, is unaffected by an attempted exorcism and states that Ware has initiated Armageddon;
further, he claims that the demons are winning because God is dead.


That was meant to be a final conclusion but

the Goat said only that the demons were winning, not that they had won;
he may have been mistaken or lying;
demonic conjurations may have been the magicians’ hallucinations, although I will argue further against this last idea (see here).


In the later conceived sequel, The Day After Judgement

the Goat fails to return, as promised, for the magicians;
the world starts to recover from the nuclear exchange;
the white magician sees prima facie evidence for God’s continued existence;
the demon fortress Dis appears in Death Valley;
the Strategic Air Command attacks Dis and is destroyed;
Satan calls the magicians to Pandemonium;
he announces that, since evil is only opposition to goodness, he is now God but does not want the role so offers it to Man;
mankind begins a long development towards Godhood;
Satan/God undoes the effects of the nuclear exchange;
during his speech in Miltonic verse, Satan speculated that God had withdrawn, not died. (1)


Some graphic novelists (adult comic strip writers) address similar themes. 

In Last Days Of The Justice Society of America by Roy Thomas:

the Spear of Destiny has magical powers because it pierced Christ’s side on the Cross;
Hitler in his Bunker uses the Spear to conjure Ragnarok;
World War II superheroes merge with the gods;
they prevent cosmic destruction by re-fighting Ragnarok endlessly;
Ragnarok replaces Valhalla as a cyclical conflict. (2)


In Justice League: Paradise Lost by Mark Millar:

an angel enters the Palace of the Presence to challenge God;
however, the Palace is empty because God is in all things, not in one place. (3)


In Swamp Thing by Alan Moore:

male witches want to destroy Heaven;
so they conjure the Original Darkness that was before the Creation;
a dark tower emerges from Chaos and advances through Hell, fomenting demonic civil war;
the tower is then seen to be the index finger of an immense hand;
however, a hand of Light descends to clasp the hand of Darkness;
the Taoist symbol of interpenetration appears in the eye of the psychic witness to the supernatural events;
light and darkness, life and death, are interdependent;
no part of this polarity is “evil”;
the title character, a plant elemental, asks, “Where is evil in all the wood?”;
this question enables the Darkness to accept and merge with the Light after sweeping aside powerful spirits resisting it as evil.(3)


In Swamp Thing by Mark Millar:

the plant elemental acquires the powers of all the elements;
his daughter reverses the sound of the Word, cancelling the divine agent;
thus, the elemental becomes powerful enough to displace God and destroy mankind;
however, he realises that he has become vast enough to incorporate us. (3)


In John Constantine, Hellblazer by Jamie Delano:

John Constantine, a powerful magician, sabotages the Resurrection Crusade's attempt to prepare the woman Zed to be the new Mary;
a Masonic magician raises the masculine "God of all Gods" to facilitate Masonic regime change in Britain;
however, Constantine, Zed and Marj raise the anima which counterbalances the GOAG. (3)


In John Constantine, Hellblazer by Garth Ennis:

Constantine defies the demonic triumvirate;
then he sells his soul to each in turn;
if he dies, they will fight for his soul, thus dividing Hell and allowing angelic victory;
to prevent this, they cure Constantine’s lung cancer.(3)


In Sandman by Neil Gaiman:

Lucifer Morningstar tires of presiding over pointless anguish;
so he expels the demons and damned from Hell and retires;
however, Hell is a necessary counterpart to Heaven;
so a higher authority returns its inhabitants to Hell;
two angels are appointed to preside over pain that will now be neither pointless nor punitive but purgative;
the Endless - Destiny, Death, Dream etc - are anthropomorphic personifications of aspects of consciousness;
Despair of the Endless persuaded the star god Rao to destroy a planet but to let one inhabitant survive...
gods begin in Dream's realm, become temporarily independent and end in Death's;
thus, the Norse Aesir, the Japanese ka
mi etc coexist with each other and with the Endless;
the cyclical Ragnarok (see above) is a simulation in a transparent sphere held by Odin;



Destruction of the Endless does not want to preside over nuclear war in yet another world;
so he abandons his realm;
however, he is the personification, not the process;
so the realm continues without him;
the Furies attack Dream's realm;
Dream enters Death's realm;
but ideas cannot be killed;
so Dream is replaced by another aspect of himself;
his death causes a reality storm affecting many times, realms and myths;
the storm strands travellers in the Inn of the Worlds' End.


In Lucifer by Mike Carey: 

dangerous primal gods are reactivated; 
the angelic host hires the retired Lucifer to destroy them; 
he is paid with a "letter of passage," an exit from God's universe;
the angel Meleos had created the Basanos, living tarot cards;
the Basanos warn Lucifer that his Gateway to the Void will close behind him, denying re-entry to the universe;
but he seals it open with the divine name;
an agent of the Basanos prevents the jin-en-mok, survivors from a previous universe, from seizing the Gate;
Lucifer's wings, cut off at his request by Dream, had remained in Hell and were traded for souls by Remiel and Duma, the angels now ruling Hell;
needing wings to navigate the Void, Lucifer regains them from the Japanese hereafter;
he places a monster in the Void;
it destroys angels who try to claim the Void for Heaven;
the angel Sandalphon had tried to breed a new host to attack Heaven, using the captured Michael's wounded body as an incubator; 
the new host includes Elaine Belloc, British schoolgirl, Michael's daughter, God's granddaughter, Lucifer's niece;
by releasing Michael's energy in the Void, Lucifer creates a new universe;
the angel Amenadiel of the Thrones adopts the talking serpent role in Lucifer's universe;
he advocates asceticism because Lucifer has merely told his creatures to enjoy;
Lucifer welcomes immigrants through multiple Gates but forbids worship;
Meleos and Elaine help Lucifer against the Basanos who try to kill him and rule his universe;
a jin-en-mok kills Elaine;
Lucifer annihilates a previously unknown realm of the hereafter by passing through it to rescue Elaine;
he lets Elaine and her dead friend become presiding spirits in his universe;
Elaine leads a team to expel immortals who have migrated to Lucifer's universe;
the demoness Lys takes damned Christopher Rudd as her lover;
Rudd rises in demonic society;
Lucifer and Amanadiel duel in Hell;
God leaves;
his universe will disintegrate without him; 

Lucifer helps the host against giants trying to replace God;
Fenris Wolf tries to hasten cosmic disintegration;
he induces Lucifer to shed fratricidal blood, Michael's, above Yggdrasil;
Elaine absorbs Michael's energy;
with Lucifer's advice, she creates a third universe;
Rudd preaches unity in Hell;
Remiel and Duma relinquish power to him;
Rudd stops the infliction of pain and plans an attack on Heaven;
old powers destroy the angelic Silver City to prevent God from returning;
Lucifer had persuaded Rudd to lead demons and damned in defense of the City;
Rudd fights Fenris on the steps of the Primum Mobile;
God lets Elaine and Lilith debate whether his universe should be uncreated;
at Lucifer's suggestion, God gives the decision to Elaine;
by combining the three universes, she prevents cosmic disintegration;
becoming God, she abolishes Hell;
by coupling with Lucifer, the Japanese goddess Izanami becomes the new Adversary;
Lucifer transfers his Lightbringer role to his former companion, Mazikeen of the Lilim;
Elaine hires fallen cherubim to neutralize Remiel, now resisting her from the remnants of former hereafters;
God and Lucifer meet and part unreconciled in the Void;
Lucifer flies into the Void. (3)



Because Milton believed that sin caused death, he personified Death as a shapeless monster, begotten on Sin by her parent, Satan.
Because Gaiman believes that death defines life, he personifies Death as a perpetually young woman created by the universe.
Like John Keats, Gaiman’s readers are “…half in love with easeful Death…” but with better reason. We have seen her.
Constantine helped the elemental and Dream.
An anti-material attack on the multiverse initiated the Ragnarok and Darkness conjurations and a revised superheroes history.
Decades of interconnected story lines approach real life in complexity.

Conclusion

Graphic novelists, as imaginative as prose fantasists, can end the world but continue the series, as Blish did in Black Easter and The Day After Judgement.

  1. James Blish, Black Easter and The Day After Judgement (London: Arrow Books, 1981).
  2. Roy Thomas, Last Days Of The Justice Society Of America (New York: DC Comics Inc, 1986).
  3. Swamp Thing, Justice League, Hellblazer, Sandman and Lucifer are or were monthly periodicals from DC Comics who also publish well-known superheroes and allow all their characters to interact. In Moore’s Swamp Thing: Gotham City Police, rounding up suspected prostitutes, arrest the elemental’s girl friend, then detain her because she had earlier been photographed embracing a humanoid vegetable and charged with “crimes against nature”; Swampy attacks the city and its vigilante; able to leave his body, grow another and accelerate plant growth, he seems indestructible so a covert Government agency consults Lex Luthor, an expert in the attempted killing of an indestructible being. Thus, the covert agency is unconcerned that an industrialist is trying to kill Superman. Characters familiar from childhood are presented anew from an adult perspective. They must have been like this all along but we did not realize it before. At Dream's Wake, we learn that Clark Kent and the Gotham City vigilante, though not a lesser known character, dream of being actors in TV versions of their lives. In case anyone does not know, the destroyed planet in the Rao system was Krypton and its survivor was Kal-El who has other names on Earth.
    DC has also collected Moore’s Swamp Thing, Gaiman’s Sandman, Carey's Lucifer and 
  4.  
  5. the multi-authored John Constantine, Hellblazer as four series of graphic novels.

Email address: paulshackley@gmail.com

James Blish: Symbols and Anagrams

William Atheling, Jr. and David Ketterer discuss symbolism in James Blish’s works. (Atheling was Blish’s pen-name when writing sf criticism.)
Blish’s “A Case of Conscience” ends with a slamming door (“Cleaver’s trade-mark”), thus implying the success of Cleaver’s view point even though the author had intended greater ambiguity.1 In Black Easter, light falling through a stained glass window onto a computer symbolises sacred versus secular knowledge, especially when the light from the window is said to mock the computer’s safe-lights.2
 
Other alleged symbols are less obvious. In “A Case of Conscience," when Fr. Ruiz-Sanchez, looking through a window, saw a “truncated tetrahedron of yellow light being cast out through…” the window, Blish intended the image to be metaphorical of Ruiz-Sanchez’s apartness from his three colleagues. The colleagues are the untruncated corners of the tetrahedron. David Ketterer rightly comments:

“…it is extremely unlikely that even the most perspicacious reader would understand the image in the way that Blish decoded it…”3
 
but adds:

“…Blish’s intended meaning is embedded in the choice of words and syntax.”3
 
Ketterer explains that Ruiz is connected to the light because he is looking out while it is being cast out and that “cast out” has religious connotations relevant to the issues estranging Ruiz from his secularist companions. I find this explanation less convincing than the interpretations of the slamming door and of the stained glass light on the computer.

In Blish’s other major work, Cities in Flight, the historian of Okie civilisation is ACREFF-MONALES. Is this name an anagram for SON-FORCE AMALFE, thus ensuring the transcendence of the Okie hero, Amalfi, despite the changed spelling of “Amalfi” and the extra “O” in the second phrase?4 Did Blish intend this anagram? Could it be valid even if he had not consciously intended it? I would not have thought so and cannot think of any way to answer these questions once they have been asked.

Blish’s “Get Out Of My Sky” features twin planets, Home and Rathe, whose names suggest another Blish title, Earthman, Come Home. Since Earth is humanity’s home planet and “Rathe” is an anagram, whether intended or not, for “Earth," I thought that the planets, both inhabited by humanoid beings, both symbolied Earth. However, Blish suggested in correspondence, then confirmed in conversation, that the names were inspired by Lewis Carroll (“mome rathes”).5

Without this auctorial explanation, I would have thought that Home/Rathe = Home/Earth was more plausible than ACREFF-MONALES = SON-FORCE AMALFE. If the rather obvious equation of Home/Rathe with Home/Earth was mistaken, then I am even less sure of the proposed interpretation of ACREFF-MONALES.

  1. William Atheling Jr., The Issue At Hand (Chicago: Advent Publishers, 1967), pp. 56-57.
  2. David Ketterer, Imprisoned In A Tesseract: the Life and Work of James Blish (Kent, Ohio, and London, England: The Kent University Press, 1987), p. 300.
  3. ibid, p. 86.
  4. ibid, pp. 190-191.
  5. ibid, p. 117.

James Blish: The End Of The World

James Blish presents five end of the world scenarios:

a cosmic collision;
a nova;
Armageddon;
an asteroid strike;
an ecological catastrophe.


(By a cosmic collision, I mean not a collision on a cosmic scale but literally a collision between two universes.)

Blish usually tells us what happened afterwards:

“Creation began.” 1
“We have escaped…we will survive.” 2
“…Resurrection.” 3
“…the world was ready to begin.”4

Only the ecological catastrophe story ends without hope because, like Orwell’s 1984 and Blish’s own They Shall Have Stars, it is a warning. The catastrophe tidally disrupts the Earth-Moon system so that lunar bases are no escape. Thus, the story ends not with a new beginning but with a dying moment:

“Juli felt the soft, familiar thump of Hausmaus [a cat] landing on his frequent perch between her shoulder blades, and ”5

Blish was not usually pessimistic. They Shall Have Stars, despite its political dystopia, has an up-lifting title and ends when exiles escape from the world Bureaucratic State which will be overthrown in a later volume. On the last page, a man about to be executed writes on the wall of his cell:

“Every end…is a new beginning.”6

- thus echoing the positive endings of four of the five end of the world scenarios.

  1. James Blish, The Triumph Of Time in Blish, Cities In Flight (London: Arrow Books, 1981), p. 596.
  2. James Blish, …And All The Stars A Stage (New York: Doubleday & Company, 1971), p. 84.
  3. James Blish, Black Easter and The Day After Judgement (London: Arrow Books, 1981), p. 208.
  4. James Blish and Norman L. Knight, A Torrent Of Faces (London: Arrow Books, 1978), p. 270.
  5. James Blish, “We All Die Naked” in Silverberg, Zelazny, Blish, Three For Tomorrow (New York: Meredith Press, 1969), p. 204.
  6. James Blish, They Shall Have Stars in Cities In Flight, p. 129.



James Blish: Okies

Introduction

Summarising the plot of a complicated science fiction series can add to the pleasure of reading it. Publishing the summary might either increase others’ pleasure or encourage yet others to read the work for the first time.

Summary

Before the Bureaucratic State took over Earth and banned space travel, a few “spindizzy”-powered spaceships escaped from the Solar System. When antigravity was rediscovered, cities left and became “Okies” trading with the extrasolar colonists. Cities and colonials overthrew the Vegan Tyranny. One city, Interstellat Master Traders (IMT), sacked a colony and fled to the Greater Magellanic Cloud. Earth police regulated trade and reduced a human interstellar empire. New York, fleeing the police by crossing the Rift, a valley in the face of the galaxy, found a wild star with a colonised planet, He. Okies helped Hevians to move their planet across the Rift and out of the galaxy faster than light.

When the germanium-based interstellar currency collapsed, the cities marched on Earth and were suppressed by the police. A surviving Vegan orbital fort attacked Earth under cover of the march but was destroyed by a planet flown into its path by Amalfi, the Mayor of New York. Police pursued New York to the Greater Magellanic Cloud but Amalfi tricked them into destroying IMT, mistaking it for New York. Former Okies ruled the Cloud from New Earth while a nonhuman civilisation, the Web of Hercules, replaced Earthman rule in Arm II of the Milky Way. The Hevians visited the Andromeda galaxy but discovered, in intergalactic space, evidence of an imminent collision between this universe and its anti-matter counterpart.

Returning to the Milky Way in search of scientific help, the Hevians passed through the Greater Magellanic Cloud where they met their former Okie acquaintances who initially mistook the approaching dirigible planet for a nova. Hevians and New Earthmen flew He to the Metagalactic Centre where they survived the cosmic collision long enough to create new universes from their own bodies. The Web of Hercules, whose power was based on the control of anti-matter, failed to occupy the Metagalactic Centre but transmitted a historical record to at least one of the new universes.

Comment

It is an unacceptable coincidence that the only two races, Earthmen and Herculeans, able to reach the Metagalactic Centre in time to intervene in the cosmic collision originate from the same galaxy. The Okie film series, if it had been produced, would have been an opportunity to re-address this issue.

James Blish, Cities In Flight (London: Arrow Books, 1981).



James Blish's After Such Knowledge Trilogy

(This article, with some slight textual alterations, was originally published in The New York Review of Science Fiction, No. 250, Vol. 21, No. 10, June 2009.)

Trilogy

James Blish claimed that one historical novel, one contemporary fantasy and one futuristic sf novel comprised his trilogy, After Such Knowledge. The three volumes are:

Doctor Mirabilis;
Black Easter
and its sequel, The Day After Judgement, considered as a single work;
A Case Of Conscience.


Black Easter/The Day After Judgement, hereinafter abbreviated as Black…Judgement, comprises Volumes IIa and IIb.

The trilogy is thematic, not linear, i. e., is three related works, not one three-volumed work, but how are the three works related? David Ketterer suggests that scientifically rationalized sf (Volume III) synthesizes the realism of historical fiction (I) with its antithesis, fantasy (II). 1

In Doctor Mirabilis, Roger Bacon believes that a gaseous explosion is demonic. In Black Easter, a scientist denies that a visible demon is real. Natural phenomena preexisted understanding of them. Supernatural beings would outlast belief in them. In both cases, reality transcends concepts. Conceptual breakthrough is a theme of the trilogy as of sf in general and of Blish’s in particular.

Thus, appropriately in Hegelian dialectics, the thesis, an accurately realized historical period, and its antithesis, a vividly imagined supernatural incursion, are interconnected. Also appropriately, they are connected by conceptual advance and resistance to it.

thesis
Historical events did occur. Historical fictions could have occurred. Bacon causes an explosion by natural means although his inner voice may be demonic.
antithesis
Fantasy describes supernatural events that scientific rationalists believe cannot occur.
synthesis
Scientists controlling natural forces can cause apparently miraculous events and might cause more in future. Futuristic sf writers must both describe fantastic events and realise future periods as effectively as historical novelists realize past periods.


This triadic formula explains why only Volume II treats the supernatural as unequivocally real. Volume III returns to the ambiguity of Volume I but at the higher synthetic level of rationalized fantasy (=sf).

Volume III also introduces an apparent contradiction between scientific discovery and religious belief. This conflict, already implicit, becomes explicit when the scientific achievement of interstellar travel enables Earthmen to meet aliens who do not conform to Christian preconceptions. A Jesuit priest-scientist finds an answer that satisfies him but ambiguity remains. The planet Lithia explodes when but not necessarily because Fr. Ruiz-Sanchez exorcises it from a safe distance. The explosion is also scientifically explicable.
It is also appropriate that a synthesis generates a further antithesis.

An Alternative Order

Blish’s suggested chronological reading order corresponds to Ketterer’s proposed dialectical order. However, I argue that another order is also valid: Volume II, written last, is the literary climax.

Reading the trilogy in chronological/dialectical order, we encounter the black magician, Theron Ware, in Volume II and a reference to a commentator on Finnegans Wake called “Fr. Ware” early in Volume III. Either “Fr. Ware” is real or Blish used the same fictitious surname twice. Either way, an unknowing reader might think that Theron Ware had been ordained after the events of The Day After Judgement whereas the writing order alone shows that Blish cannot have meant this.

More importantly, in Black…Judgement, demons defeat Heaven and their fortress of Dis rises to the Earth’s surface. It is therefore an anticlimax for the chronological reader when, near the end of Volume III, Ruiz-Sanchez thinks that:

“…Lithia transformed into a planet-wide fortress of Dis was a threat to Heaven itself.” 2

There is no such threat in this Volume but Ruiz-Sanchez’s heretical over-dramatization is a seed of Volume II. A Case Of Conscience could have been followed by a novel set later in which the Antichrist did appear. Instead, Blish next wrote a novel set earlier in which the Antichrist did not appear although Armageddon occurred.

Armageddon, anticipated in Volumes I and III, occurs, although with an unexpected outcome, demonic victory, at the end of IIa. IIb presents an unexpected, but logical, consequence of that outcome: Satan becomes God but unwillingly.

The ending of Black Easter had precluded any further secular events, yet A Case Of Conscience, set later, was regarded as a subsequent volume of the same trilogy. At the end of The Day After Judgement, Satan/God reverses the effects of a nuclear war so that perhaps the events of A Case Of Conscience can occur after all but this is not necessary for the unity of the trilogy.

What is clear is that the occurrence of Armageddon and the examination of its consequences make Black…Judgement the dramatic fulfillment of anticipations in both of the previously written volumes. Volume IIb reads like the culmination of a long literary sequence but is also a turning point: Satan, who fell at the beginning of Paradise Lost, in a prequel to Genesis, anticipates his far future transference of Godhood to man.

In the literary sequence from the Bible through Dante and Milton to Black…Judgement, the literary form has changed from scripture to epic to novel. At the end of The Day After Judgement, the text shifts from standard prose to indented paragraphs to Miltonic verse to dramatic dialogue, thus expressing ontological changes. The characters and their context have been transformed. A film director might show this by shifting from monochrome to color or from animation to live action. Blish progresses through the literary forms: prose, verse and drama.

Parallels and Influences

Black Easter belongs at the end when comparing Blish with his predecessor, C. S. Lewis. Lewis’s Ransom trilogy is a Christian reply to Wellsian-Stapledonian sf. Blish, a Wellsian sf writer and agnostic, refers to and quotes from Lewis in After Such Knowledge. I suggest that Blish’s Welcome to Mars and After Such Knowledge Volumes III and IIa constitute apost-Lewis” trilogy. Ransom visits Mars and a sinless planet, then demons manifest on Earth. In Blish’s works, Haertel visits Mars, his successors visit a sinless planet and demons manifest on Earth. 

Whereas Volumes II and III of After Such Knowledge are post-Lewis, Volumes I and II are post-Eddison. E. R. Eddison’s fantasy novel, The Worm Ouroboros, inspired Blish to write a novel about ceremonial magic. Mistakenly believing that Roger Bacon was a magician, Blish researched Bacon, learned that he was a scientist mistaken for a magician, wrote Doctor Mirabilis about him, then returned to magic in Black Easter. This common origin, although illuminating, is neither evident in the texts nor sufficient to link the novels directly to each other.
A Case Of Conscience originated separately. What became Book One of the novel was commissioned for a collection of stories set on a fictitious planet designed by two scientists. However, I agree with Blish that a common theme does link the three volumes.

A Trilogy?

The volumes are connected by:

a chronological sequence (past, present and future) culminating in Volume III;
a dialectical process (thesis, antithesis and synthesis) culminating in Volume III;
a dramatic progression (fears, prophecies and their fulfillment) culminating in Volume II;
a two-volume Eddison influence (demons, magicians and conjurations) culminating in Volume II;
a two-volume Lewis parallel (quotations, references and common themes) culminating in Volume II.


Thus, Volume II emerges as a focal point. But would we have called the three volumes a trilogy if Blish had not? 

We would at least have recognized common references to Bacon, Catholicism, Popes, supernatural evil, Antichrist, Armageddon and science. Each novel begins by assaulting the senses (a freezing stone corridor, a slammed stone door, a stink of demons), presents interactions between practicing scientists and supernaturalists and ends with transformations (deaths and realizations). Bacon is a scientist-monk mistaken for a magician. Ruiz-Sanchez is a scientist-priest who initially forgets that the office of exorcist remains open to him. In Black…Judgement, the black magician, the monk-magician and the scientist are different characters.

Even genre diversity connects the volumes. Fantasy and sf transcend existing experience. Historical fiction and futuristic sf present other periods. Blish wrote:

“…the historical novel is a natural second medium for the ‘hard’ SF writer.” 3

The Bacon of Doctor Mirabilis is a forerunner of modern science struggling against medievalism. Volume III describes a culmination of science: interstellar travel. Its aggressively atheist scientist character, Cleaver, regards Christianity as medieval and strives to thwart Ruiz-Sanchez. Thus, these two works might have been seen as a diptych. The Armaggedon and Dis references and Lewis parallels are enough to link Volumes II and III.

Because the trilogy was not preconceived, Blish was unable, for example, to incorporate into Bacon’s apocalyptic vision, in Volume I, prophetic images of the Lithian explosion (Vol. III), the Black Easter conjuration (Vol. IIa) or the SAC attack on Dis in Death Valley (Vol. IIb). However, this would have been inappropriate in any case. The historical Bacon did anticipate flying machines and submarines so it is legitimate for a novelist to present him visualizing them. However, Doctor Mirabilis is otherwise a straightforward historical novel which would arguably be marred by intrusions from a fantastic present or a technological future. Later volumes refer to Bacon but he cannot refer to them.

Knowledge As Evil

Blish tells us that, as its title suggests, After Such Knowledge dramatizes the question whether the desire for secular knowledge is evil. Each volume does address this question, thus validating the thematic unity of the trilogy whatever its reading order.

Volume 1:

Bacon’s inner voice claims:

I am the raven of Elias," 4

a source of food in the desert (1 Kings 17.6) but Bacon rejects this claim as “blasphemous and untrue." 6 Since Elias’ raven was from God, the claim may be blasphemous. Food in the desert, wealth where there was poverty, would be good unless it were gained at the expense of a greater evil: exploitation or pollution – or blasphemy or untruth.

The voice continues:

Thou art the man shalt bring back into the world the scientia universalis.” 4

To medieval Christians, all discovery was rediscovery because:

“…God revealed all wisdom to his holy patriarchs and prophets from the beginning of the world…” 5

Bacon (fore)sees Antichrist leading an army, sees aircraft, submarines and subterrenes and hears an anagrammic formula for gunpowder. If science did only destroy, then it would be evil. But it doesn’t. Aircraft are not used only in warfare. Armies preexisted Bacon’s conceptual revolution. Wealth, once produced, was fought for as Doctor Mirabilis, opening with the seizure of the Bacon estate, reminds us.

“…men began to abuse science, turning to evil what God granted in full measure for the safety and advantage of man…” 6

Later, Bacon challenges authority with the scientia experimentalis, knowledge from experience. Although this science is not prima facie evil, it was safer to practice it secretly in Latin Christendom. Even a Pope who does not want to offend the powerful religious Orders must ask Bacon to send his major work “in secret." 7 Bacon attributes experimental science not only to God and Socrates but also to his own “…imprisoned demon self." 8 Thus, he champions science but remains ambivalent about his role in it.

Bacon’s legend requires a “…deathbed renunciation of his whole life and purpose…” 9 In Doctor Mirabilis, he says:

“ ‘Now bitterly do I regret, that I spent mine wholle lyf in the lists against the ignorant. Enough! Lord Christ, enough!’ ” 10

Ketterer comments:

“…because this renunciation is not prepared for and is quickly passed over, it is highly likely that the reader will not even notice it…There is, then, little doubt that Roger’s act of renunciation is not endorsed by Blish.” 11

I did notice Bacon’s powerful statement but did not recognize it as a renunciation. I thought that he regretted that he had had to oppose the ignorant. Thus, he would have preferred a life in which there were no “ignorant” authorities for him to oppose, not a life in which he himself avoided the conflict. While writing this article, I quoted Bacon’s “last words” to someone who did recognize them as a renunciation so perhaps I have been alone in misunderstanding them.

Of the two men present at Bacon’s death, one says:

“ ‘…he was so perverse…forever at hares and hounds after matters men are forbidden to know.’ ” 12

The other replies:

“ ‘…there can be nothing that is forbidden for man to know since we ate of that Apple; for it states in the Proverbs that knowledge is good and beautiful for its own sake.’ ” 13

This conclusion remains ambiguous. Knowledge is inherently good in Proverbs but eating its fruit was sinful in Genesis.

Bacon knows Simon de Montfort and hears of “Robin of Sherwood”. We inherit experimental science, parliamentary democracy and popular resistance. Ketterer thinks that Blish imparts insufficient historical information, e.g., about why the French were then so influential. I suggest that readers may either consult reference works or accept that historical fictions have wider contexts and that what matters here are the effects of contemporary conflicts on Bacon.

Volume III:

Ruiz-Sanchez’s scientific discoveries on Lithia seem to him to contradict Catholicism. If the Lithians are apparently good without divine help, then they are really created by Satan to mislead mankind even though Catholics deny that Satan can create. Pope Hadrian VIII helps Ruiz to resolve this conflict by regarding the Lithians as a demonically-induced hallucination but how plausible is that? If Satan does not, we think, induce planet-wide hallucinations on Earth, why should he be able to do so fifty light years away? But, in any case, mere contradiction of Catholicism would not make the desire for secular knowledge evil.

An atheist defeats Ruiz by influencing UN policy on Lithia. A lapsed Catholic inspires awe in Ruiz by communicating instantaneously with Lithia. Thus, secular scientists dominate Ruiz’s period for both good and evil, communication and destruction.

Volume II:

Ware and his client, Baines, an arms merchant, seek knowledge that can be gained only by causing immense suffering. The scientific equivalent of “let’s see what the demons ‘…would do if they were left on their own hooks…’ ” would be “let’s see what this chemical weapon does to an entire population." 14 The desire for such knowledge would be evil. If, at the end of The Day After Judgement, the last magicians do begin to move away from their destructive motivations, then I think that they will have to deal with a great deal of guilt. Lewis’ morality, if not his theology, remains relevant.

(Incidentally, surely it was predictable that unrestrained demons + nuclear stockpiles = nuclear war. When Ware releases forty eight major demons all night without restraint, he is confident that this will not unleash Armageddon because there is no Antichrist. He is also confident that the demons will harm no one inside his magic circle because he is a skilled magician. However, neither he nor Baines would have wanted to emerge into a nuclear wasteland. “Deterrence” should have prevented the Last Conjuration as it had, until then, prevented World War III. Self-interest, if not morality, would have prevented Ware’s “experiment”.)
After writing two and a half volumes, Blish recognized the common theme and named the trilogy accordingly.

The Volumes resemble not three panels of sequential art but three paintings with a common theme, the middle painting, a sequential diptych, hanging slightly above the others.
Possible covers: I, Antichrist’s giant army; IIa, the crowned and immensely horned Goat, seated on an altar; IIb, Satan cut off at the breast by the floor of the great hall in Pandemonium; III, a twelve foot Lithian. In each picture, the main figure(s) dwarf human characters in the foreground.

Other Volumes?

An expanded After Such Knowledge sequence could incorporate other works by Blish.
Doctor Mirabilis was to have been the first in a series of historical novels about important scientists and crucial ideas in the history of science. Blish had started the second novel, “…set in the Venetian Republic during the Borgia pontificate…”, focusing on “…the invention of the security system for technical information”. 15 Here, not religious authority but political control threatens scientific knowledge.

The adverse effect of “security” on science is central to Blish’s They Shall Have Stars:
“…scientific method…depends on freedom of information, and we deliberately killed that.” 16

It also occurs in Black Easter when Baines asks Ware to arrange the death of a scientist who might otherwise make discoveries that Baines’ company wants, temporarily, to monpolize.
Blish’s Fallen Star is sf if Elvers’ claim to be a Martian is genuine but mainstream if he is psychotic. As Volumes I and III of After Such Knowledge remain ambiguous about the supernatural, Fallen Star remains ambiguous about the extraterrestrial. 17

Elvers destroys scientific evidence of extraterrestrial life because, he says, it includes forensic evidence of Martian genocide. They destroyed an inhabited planet. Elvers’ action suggests an inversion of the T. S. Eliot quotation:

“After such knowledge, what forgiveness?” 18

from which Blish named his trilogy. Elvers does not seek knowledge that may be evil but suppresses knowledge of an evil act. He thinks that, after knowledge of this crime, there will be no forgiveness. Like a terrestrial dictator, he suppresses knowledge of an atrocity. The next step for dictatorships is to control what counts as knowledge and therefore to suppress the search for knowledge in any objective sense. Genuine science and scholarship become unforgivable offenses. Elvers, killing explorers and destroying evidence, personifies the worst aspects of medievalism and dictatorship.

Fallen Star and The Night Shapes are an “Expeditions” diptych with Arctic and African antitheses. The Polar explorer of Fallen Star had previously sought the African “night-shapes," not knowing that these surviving dinosaurs had been wiped out fifty years earlier in the other novel. The hero of The Night Shapes, an American alienated from Western civilization, identifies the real night-shapes as the ideas of evil inside us but does not go as far as to identify secular knowledge with evil. 19

Reality

Ketterer argues:

“From a strictly human point of view, the major events which take place in Black Easter’s fourth-dimensional rendition of our world do not, strictly speaking, happen…To a three-dimensional perception Earth has not been destroyed. None of the major events described are part of recorded human history. They amount to some kind of Blakean vision of what is really going on behind the scenes…The preponderance of internal settings and the complementary, almost allegorical characterization accentuates the feel of a stage set for inner vision; the outside setting with which The Day After Judgment concludes marks a return to everyday reality…there are no references to the general public.” 20

I suspect that when Satan=God starts Man on a new path by undoing the effects of nuclear war, he also revises the memories of everyone except the main protagonists. Thus, the war did occur but will not be recorded. Allegorical characterization could be an extra level overlying the novel’s literal level.

Ketterer backs up his dimensional metaphor by arguing that Black Easter emphasizes threes whereas:

The Day After Judgment ends with four statements indicative of improvement…a threefold vision has been transformed into a fourfold vision…” 21

and the concluding “…four literary modes…might somehow approximate a completed fourfold vision.” 21

The diptych does end with a fourfold vision (Domenico’s thought, Baines’ belief, Ware’s hope, Ginsberg’s love) but the evidence offered for an earlier threefold vision is more diffuse (the three word phrase, “God is dead," the “Three Sleeps” Station, three-headed demons, World War III). 21 I think that the four literary modes express changes in reality although they could, of course, have more than one meaning.

Volume II (antithesis), unlike I (thesis) and III (synthesis), presents not only believers in demons but also literal demons. It deals:

“…with what real sorcery actually had to be like if it existed…” 22

Baines wants to know what the major demons would do if they were “‘…loose in the world…’” and Blish’s “…aim in the sequel was to pursue the literal-mindedness of the first book to still greater absurdities.” 14, 23

Ketterer quotes the scientist, Hess:

“‘Couldn’t all this be a hallucination…?’” 

But Hess is swallowed by the Goat. 24, 25 Before that, Baines had reminded him:

“‘…you and I have seen a demon.’” 26

Baines affirms the reality of the Black Easter event whether caused by demons or electrons but his remaining skepticism about demons flounders when Hess is swallowed.

If, at the end, Domenico alone had emerged from a trance, then we could have located Armageddon in his inner landscape. However, demons interact, sometimes fatally, with people who did not previously believe in them: a succubus visits Ginsberg; airmen photograph Dis; demons slaughter soldiers; General McKnight sees the Goat on TV.

Ketterer observes that the world population, the magicians, the military and the demons successively experience defeat, thus acknowledging that the events do occur for the general public. He points out that it is hypothesized that perhaps in some sense Dis had never been in Death Valley. But perhaps, in some other sense, it had, as the SAC computer concluded.
Televised pictures of devastation looked:

“…like scenes from an early surrealist film, where one could not tell whether the director was trying to portray a story or only a state of mind.” 27

but they were televised pictures of the results of a war. Later, can the SAC attack on Dis be “behind the scenes”?

Brian Stableford writes: 

“…demons are released from the mind of the characters…this is difficult to take. Demons in the mind are much more credible than demons at large.” 28

I agree that demons are “at large” but find this acceptable in fiction. They are released not from the mind but from Hell where, in Christian belief and Blish’s fiction, they preexisted human minds.

There may be some textual evidence that the demons are not really at large. When Domenico wondered why an angel conjured by the white magicians appeared headless:
“The leaden skies returned him no answer.” 29

And when Hess suggests that they are all insane, he does so “…in a leaden monotone.” 30
Does Hess’ leaden monotone confirm that Domenico’s leaden skies are part of a collective hallucination? The word “leaden” seems significant. Blish would have known that he used it twice and that, by doing so, he linked an inner state, insanity, to an outer appearance, an unanswering sky. However, the Goat’s swallowing of the hysterically incredulous Hess seems even more significant, a decisive statement that demons are real.

Ketterer calls McKnight’s identification of the Goat with “‘…the insidious Doctor Fu Manchu!’” “corny”; Stableford calls it flippant. 31, 32, 28 McKnight needs to identify an enemy, can think only in terms of national or racial stereotypes, has watched all his weapons fail and now sees an “immense Face” on a Cinerama-sized screen so he loses his grip on reality and retreats into fiction. 33

Others also apply old concepts to new experiences: Domenico sees a demon Pope as the Antichrist, not as the new divine appointee; Ginsberg lives on “company time” after Armageddon; Hess denies his senses.34

Blish on Knowledge

Although Blish addressed the question whether the desire for secular knowledge is evil, there is no doubt about his answer to it, as expressed through other characters.
In another work, an alien says:

“This organism dies now. It dies in confidence of knowledge, as an intelligent creature dies. Man has taught us this. There is nothing. That knowledge. Cannot do. With it…men…have crossed…have crossed space…” 35

Blish’s major character, Amalfi, says:

“That’s the priceless coin, gentlemen, the universal coin: human knowledge.” 36

When the universe ends, a scientist pronounces the:

“…epitaph for Man: We did not have time to learn everything that we wanted to know.” 37

And that is a fitting epitaph for James Blish.

Acknowledgement

  David Ketterer’s book provides a framework for discussing Blish’s works. I am grateful to Ketterer for both writing the book and sending me a copy and am sorry that my response is so late and slight.


1. David Ketterer, Imprisoned in a Tesseract: the Life and Work of James Blish (Kent, Ohio: the Kent State University Press, 1987), pp. 318-319.
2. James Blish, A Case Of Conscience (New York: Ballantine Books, 1958; Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd, 1963), p. 180.
3. James Blish, “The Strange Career of Doctor Mirabilis” (Australian SF Review, no. 6, January 1967), quoted in Ketterer, op. cit., p. 195.
4. James Blish, Doctor Mirabilis (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1971), p. 157.
5. ibid, p. 155.
6. ibid, p. 156.
7. ibid, p. 255.
8. ibid, p. 254.
9. James Blish, letter to Lois Dwight Cole, quoted in Ketterer, op. cit., p. 214.
10. Blish, DoctorMirabilis, p. 330.
11. Ketterer, op. cit., p. 214.
12. Blish, Doctor Mirabilis, p. 329.
13. ibid, pp. 329-330.
14. James Blish, Black Easter (New York: Doubleday, 1968), reprinted in Black Easter and The Day After Judgement (London: Arrow Books Ltd, 1981), p. 73.
15. James Blish, letter to Philip K. Dick, 13 June 1964, quoted in Ketterer, op. cit., pp. 192, 349.
16. James Blish, They Shall Have Stars (New York: Avon, 1957; London: Faber & Faber, 1956), reprinted in James Blish, Cities in Flight (London: Arrow Books Ltd, 1974), pp. 7-129, at p. 14.
17. James Blish, Fallen Star (Signet/New American Library, 1977; London: Faber & Faber, 1957).
18. T. S. Eliot, “Gerontion”, www.bartleby.com.
19. James Blish, The Night Shapes (Ballantine Books, 1962; London: The New English Library, 1963).
20. Ketterer, op. cit., p. 312.
21. ibid, p. 313.
22. Blish, Black Easter, p. 11.
23. James Blish, letter to Paul Shackley, quoted in Ketterer, op. cit., p. 303.
24. Blish, Black Easter, p. 107, quoted in Ketterer, op. cit., p. 312.
25. ibid, p. 111.
26. ibid, p. 106.
27. Blish, The Day After Judgement, p. 131.
28. Brian Stableford, “The Science Fiction of James Blish” (Foundation 13, 1971), p. 41.
29. Blish, Black Easter, p. 86.
30. ibid, p. 107.
31. Blish, The Day After Judgement, p. 192.
32. Ketterer, op. cit., p. 306.
33. Blish, The Day After Judgement, pp. 191, 185.
34. ibid, pp. 125, 182.
35. Blish, The Seedling Stars (Gnome Press, 1957; London: Arrow Books Ltd, 1972), p. 180.
36. James Blish, Earthman, Come Home (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1955), reprinted in Cities in Flight, pp. 235-465, at p. 376.
37. Blish, The Triumph of Time (New York: Avon, 1958), reprinted in Cities in Flight, pp. 466-596, at p. 596.

Email address: paulshackley2017@gmail.com