James Blish Cities in Flight

ISBN 13: 9781585670086

Cities in Flight

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9781585670086: Cities in Flight
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Long out of print, the science fiction masterpiece by Hugo Award-winning writer James Blish

Originally published in four volumes nearlyfifty years ago, Cities in Flight brings together the famed "Okie novels" of science fiction master James Blish. Named after the migrant workers of America's Dust Bowl, these novels convey Blish's "history of the future," a brilliant and bleak look at a world where cities roam the Galaxy looking for work and a sustainable way of life.

In the first novel, They Shall Have Stars, man has thoroughly explored the Solar System, yet the dream of going even further seems to have died in all but one man. His battle to realize his dream results in two momentous discoveries anti-gravity and the secret of immortality. In A Life for the Stars, it is centuries later and antigravity generations have enabled whole cities to lift off the surface of the earth to become galactic wanderers. In Earthman, Come Home, the nomadic cities revert to barbarism and marauding rogue cities begin to pose a threat to all civilized worlds. In the final novel, The Triumph of Time, historyrepeats itself as the cities once again journey back in to space making a terrifying discovery which could destroy the entire Universe. A serious andhaunting vision of our world and its limits, Cities in Flight marks the return to print of one of science fiction's most inimitable writers.

A Selection of the Science Fiction Book Club

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Review:

Cities in Flight is an omnibus volume of four novels, originally published between 1955 and 1962, two of which are fix-ups of pieces that first appeared in various magazines in the early '50s. Despite having been conceived more than 50 years ago, and produced in episodic fashion, they stand head and shoulders above most SF available today.

In They Shall Have Stars, humankind's will to explore space is renewed with the advent of two discoveries: anti-gravity (the "spindizzy" machines) and the key to almost eternal life (anti-agathic drugs). By A Life for the Stars, centuries have passed and most of the major cities have built spindizzies into their bedrock and left earth, cruising the galaxy looking for work, much like the hobos of the Depression Era. Earthman, Come Home, told from the perspective of John Amalfi, the major of New York, was the first-written of the novels and--although not as tightly woven as the other segments--is still a masterly work. Blish gives the same weight and authority both to the sweeping cultural change wrought and suffered by the cities, and to the emotional growth of a man who is several hundred years old. We stay with Amalfi for the final episode, The Triumph of Time. New York is now planet-bound in the Greater Magellanic Cloud, but when Amalfi learns of the impending destruction of time itself, he is forced into space one more time, to take a last, desperate chance. The novel ends, literally, with a bang.

Despite the occasional, inevitable anachronism, such as vacuum tubes, Cities in Flight stands up remarkably well to modern reading. The novel's political and literary sophistication was unmatched in its time; there is very little to rival it even today. For most readers of a certain age, this was probably the first SF they encountered that was written from a mature standpoint and adult sensibility. The fact that Blish also manages to tell a fabulous, galaxy-spanning adventure tale makes this essential reading. --Luc Duplessis

About the Author:

James Blish was one of the great science fiction writers of the twentieth century. His other novels include the Hugo Award-winning A Case of Conscience, Doctor Mirabilis, Black Easter andThe Day After Judgment. His later work includes the first twelve of the Star Trek novel series (all based on the original TV scripts) and Spock Must Die, the first original Star Trek novel.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781585676026: Cities in Flight

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1585676020 ISBN 13:  9781585676026
Publisher: The Overlook Press, 2005
Softcover

9780380279876: Cities in Flight

Avon B..., 1970
Softcover

9780575094178: Cities In Flight (S.F. Masterworks)

Gollancz, 2010
Softcover

9781857988116: Cities In Flight (S.F. Masterworks)

Gollancz, 1999
Softcover

9780671720704: Cities in Flight, Vol. 2

Baen, 1991
Softcover

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