Monday, 1 April 2013


Four of James Blish's science fiction novels, Earthman, Come Home, The Triumph Of Time, The Quincunx Of Time and Mission To The Heart Stars, go intergalactic although this aspect of the narrative is usually understated - except in the case of The Triumph Of Time, which is set entirely outside the home galaxy and ends with the flight of a planet to the Metagalactic Centre.

In Mission To The Heart Stars, the oldest of the star-dwelling energy beings called "Angels" date from the first twenty minutes of the universe and these "First Born" may even have participated in the First Cause. Angels, born from the same cosmic processes as stars, move through space faster than light and are not confined to a single galaxy. In fact, they have previously befriended ten different galactic confederations only to be somehow disappointed each time and, on three of these occasions, they have responded by collapsing an entire galaxy.

In this their eleventh galaxy, the Milky Way, the Angels eventually decide to end diplomatic relations with the stable but static central confederation and instead to make an alliance with the newly emerging and dynamic federation of younger races led by Earthmen but also including dolphins, the feline Aaa (introduced in The Star Dwellers) and the as yet humanly incomprehensible Centaurian beadmungen (introduced in "Common Time").

I summarise these details here because they are so understated in the novel that they can easily be forgotten - beings from the Beginning whose history includes interactions with civilisations in eleven galaxies! The narrative is trans-interstellar in scope. Several further aspects of the two immensely rich "Heart Stars" novels will be discussed in future posts. 

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