Monday, 19 December 2016


"Armageddon Artaheer!"

At a Memorial Evening for James Blish, Bob Shaw said that, when he first met Blish, he expected him to be a very serious person on all levels. He had noticed that Armageddon came up quite frequently in Blish's works and, presuming to advise such a man, he said, "Jim, don't worry so much about Armageddon. It's not the end of the world!"

A demon tells a black magician:

-James Blish, Black Easter and The Day After Judgement (London, 1981), p. 110.

One human being tells another:

"'...what name will this battle be given?...
"'We will name it from the hill that overlooks the battlefield...Har-Megiddo. Armageddon, in our tongue.'"
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Thirty-One, p. 616.

(An appropriate page number: "616" is an alternative to "666.")

In Black Easter, a supernatural conflict between angels and demons has occurred off-stage. However, Stirling that a human battle literally at Armageddon is also possible.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

James Blish And The Antichrist

Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation:

Recently we mentioned a reference to Antichrist in Poul and Karen Anderson's historical tetralogy and compared that tetralogy to James Blish's theological trilogy. For completeness, we should also mention the Antichrist in the trilogy which is thematic, not linear, and need not be read in numerical order.

In Volume III, the main protagonist imminently expects the Antichrist.

In Volume I, Roger Bacon sees the Antichrist - in a drug-induced vision.

In Volume IIa, Armageddon happens without the Antichrist. When the black magician complains that this breaks the Law, a major demon retorts:

-ASK (London, 1991), p. 423.

In Volume IIb, the white magician thinks that a newly elected demon Pope is the Antichrist whereas instead he is the Vicar of the new God.

Some Christians have put the Antichrist into novels but have failed to make their good side remotely appealing.

Monday, 4 January 2016


"...Platonic word..."

I wanted to check, as far as possible, whether this phrase in James Blish's Doctor Mirabilis was a misprint for "...Platonic world..." However, it is "...Platonic word..." in both of the editions that are in my possession.

The references are:

-James Blish, Doctor Mirabilis (New York, 1971), p. 37.

-James Blish, After Such Knowledge (London, 1991), p. 49.

The phrase is in Chapter II, "Northover."

However, I think that "world" would have fitted the context better. See here.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

After Such Knowledge In One Volume

My Christmas presents included the one-volume  After Such Knowledge (London, 1991) (see image).

pp. 521-522 are printed in the wrong order.

When The Day After Judgment was originally published in a single volume, it had a four page Prologue which began:

"The events leading up to the disaster were as follows:..."
-James Blish, The Day After Judgment (New York, 1971), p. 9 -

- and which then summarized the plot of Black Easter. This Prologue, presumably regarded as no longer necessary, was omitted when The Day After Judgment was published in a single volume with Black Easter and then here in the one-volume After Such Knowledge. However, I think that this impersonal summary adds to the work and should be retained.

For a discussion of ASK, Vol I, Doctor Mirabilis, on the Poul Anderson Appreciation blog, see here.