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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
I read these books years ago and enjoyed them a lot then, and enjoyed just as much this time.Published 1 month ago by Emery A. Grantier
My all time favorite sci-fi novel. I've probably read it 20 maybe 30 times. It never gets old. I have at least 3 paperbacks here and there, one hardback and my current Kindle... Read morePublished 3 months ago by MarvinMartian
As always this is one of the classics of hard sci fi ... "What's a city with the same two names?" Great Grand Master of SciFi writingPublished 4 months ago by D. Mann
I read this a while ago. It's now pretty dated, and overall seems a bit depressing: the main character is very isolated, the economics ignore tech benefits (odd for SF! Read morePublished 5 months ago by NG
The story was good from the beginning all the way through but I was a little disappointed in the ending and the lack of a description of the Web of Hercules in the home galaxy and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by John
Love this book. I've read it several times. Am about to look around and see what else he wrote. MgbPublished 7 months ago by MaryB
I like a book that I consistently action orientated. While at times it was it also spent a lot of time discussing politics of the times and places. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is an anthology of four books by James Blish. The first book "They Shall Have Stars" covers the period of the discovery of FTL flight at a time when the East and West... Read morePublished 9 months ago by albionphoto