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).

No comments:

Post a Comment