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Cities in Flight by James Blish
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Cities in Flight (1970)

by James Blish

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
A Series of four sci-fi novellas. I enjoyed this a lot, but some of the seventies-ness about women got a bit wearing around part three. ( )
  tronella | Jun 22, 2019 |
An omnibus of James Blish's tetralogy of novels about cities leaving Earth and flying from star system to star system as interstellar hobos looking for work.

Classic hard SF that takes the business of earning a living seriously. The main character grows on you in such a quiet way the ending is unexpectedly emotional. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Apr 10, 2019 |
The first two books weren't bad: "They Shall Have Stars" was a dry, but enjoyable bit of generic science fiction. It was too bad none of the characters really came back and got developed. "A Life for the Stars" was a fun YA adventure of a young kid shanghaied into space and coming to grips with his new situation. "Earthman Come Home" was tolerable, but I wasn't a fan of Mayor Amalfi taking center stage. "The Triumph of Time" just about ruined all that came before. Amalfi became even more of a pain and the silly revelation that the whole universe was about to end just made for a tiresome slog to oblivion . It was lucky for me that the omnibus printed the books in chronological order of the storyline instead of publication date or I would have stopped reading the series before getting to my favorite book of the four. ( )
  villemezbrown | Jul 28, 2018 |
James Blish's Magnum Opus. A brillant collection of four novels that tells the tale of Earth and their galactic empire and ultimately culminating in the end of time itself.

These 4 novels written in the 50s and 60s hold up remarkably well - considerably better than Asimov's Foundation series - to current times. Blish's use of current "science" to explain intergalactic travel - though claptrap - comes across suprisingly well.

Huge in scope, fascinating in detail, with topics that include immortality, religion, and the end of the universe it delivers time and time again. This series stands well with other foundational Science Fiction universes such as Asimov's Foundation and Herbert's Dune. A must read. ( )
  bhuesers | Mar 29, 2017 |
I breezed through the ludicrous initial premise, the baseline sexism, and the rather dated style and was enjoying it as if I was reading it as a kid in the 60's, when about half way through a sudden bolt of explicit misogynist violence threw me right out of it. A group of abused slave women on a backwoods planet are sent as bait for an enemy of the City without so much as a blink of the eye for their inevitable doom. I didn't finish the book. ( )
  SChant | Oct 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Blish, JamesAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ballantine, BettyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baxter, StephenAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, BradCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mullen, R. D.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, AdamIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
They Shall Have Stars
And death shall have no dominion
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot ...
Dylan Thomas
They Shall Have Stars
"...While Vegan civilization was undergoing this peculiar decline in influence, while at the height of its political and military power, the culture which was eventually to replace it was beginning to unfold. The reader should bear in mind that at the time nobody had ever heard of the Earth, and the planet's sun, Sol, was only known as an undistinguished type G0 in the Draco sector. It is possible -- although highly unlikely -- that Vega knew that the Earth had developed space flight some time before the events we have just reviewed here. It was, however, the only local interplanetary flight; up to this period, Earth had taken no part in Galactic history. It was inevitable, however, that Earth should make the two crucial discoveries which would bring it on to that starry stage. We may be very sure that Vega, had she known that Earth was to be her successor, would have exerted all her enormous might to prevent it. That Vega failed to do so is evidence enough that she had no real idea of what was happening on Earth at this time ..."
--Acref-Monales: The Milky Way: Five Cultural Portraits
The Triumph of Time
Bismillahi 'rrahmani 'rrahim
When the day that must come shall come suddenly,
None shall treat that sudden coming as a lie:
Day that shall abase! Day that shall exalt!
When the earth shall be taken with a shock,
And the mountains shall be crumbled with a crumbling,
And shall become scattered dust,
And itno three bands shall ye be divided ...
Before thee we have granted to a man a life that shall last forever:
If thou then die, shall they live forever?
Every soul shall taste of death: ...
But it shall come on them suddenly and shall confound them; and they shall not be able to put it back, neither shall they be respited.
--The Koran; Sura LVI, Sura XXI
Dedication
They Shall Have Stars
To Frederik Pohl
A Life for the Stars
To L. Sprague DeCamp
Earthman, Come Home
To John W. Campbell, Jr.
The Triumph of Time
To Lester and Evelyn del Rey
First words
They Shall Have Stars
The Shadows flickered on the walls to his left and right, just inside the edges of his vision, like shapes stepping quickly back into invisible doorways.
A Life for the Stars
From the embankment of the long-abandoned Erie-Lackawanna-Pennsylvania railroad, Chris sat silently watching the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, preparing to take off, and sucked meditatively upon the red and white clover around him.
Earthman, Come Home
Space flight got its start as a war weapon, amid the collapse of the great Western culture of Earth.
The Triumph of Time
... Thus we have seen that Earth, a planet like other civilized worlds, havng a score of myriads of years of manned local space-flight in approximately her own year 1960, did not achieve importance on a galactic scale until later in her own year 2019.
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Book description
Collects these novels
They Shall Have Stars
A Life for the Stars
Earthman, Come Home
The Triumph of Time
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380416166, Mass Market Paperback)

Omnibus edition of four novels, originally published separately: They Shall Have Stars, A Life for the Stars, Earthman, Come Home, and The Triumph of Time. The Triumph of Time was nominated for the 2007 British Science Fiction Award, BSFA Fiftieth Anniversary Award: Best Novel of 1958.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:04 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Spanning the far-distant future and the infinite reaches of space, Cities in Flight brings together the famed 'Okie' novels named after the migrant workers of America's Dust Bowl of science fiction master James Blish. Featuring flying cities roaming the galaxy looking for work and a sustainable way of life, the four volumes take us from the death of our universe to the birth of the next." -- Jacket.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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