Gateway Essentials: James Blish

As we’re sure you know, yesterday we announced the creation of the Gateway Essentials list. Its continuing mission: to make it easier for us to make it easier for you to find your way through the 3,000-plus titles and  300-plus authors currently on the Gateway. By identifying the key titles for each author, we hope to eliminate (or, at least, greatly reduce) the dilemma of ‘overchoice‘ and provide you with an accessible *ahem* gateway to our authors’ works.

Yesterday, we explained the theory; today, we start to illustrate the practice. Here’s how it works for James Blish:

We have two James Blish works in the SF Masterworks series:

We’ve select our SF Masterworks to be the major touchpoint works of (predominantly) post-war SF, so, if you’re interested in James Blish, we think these two books are the best places to start. But if you want to go deeper into his oeuvre, you’ll be wanting the Gateway Essentials.

First up for the James Blish Essentials, we’ve selected the four linked short novels that make up Cities in Flight, so if you want to read them individually (or even only want to read one of them, for some mad reason), you can find them in the Gateway Essentials:




And once you’re done exploring the spindizzies, you can take stroll through the linked stories telling of mankind’s spread throughout the stars in The Seedling Stars (an important early text in SF’s treatment of genetic engineering, which includes one of the all-time great SF stories, ‘Suface Tension’) or enjoy some of Blish’s more metaphysyical work in Black Easter and The Day After Judgement, in which he treats one of Fantasy’s central tropes – black magic – as science.

And if you still want more James Blish (and who could blame you?) we hope that by this stage, with eight of his books secure in your temporal lobe, you’ll be able to make your way through the rest of his titles on your own cognizance.

And there we have it: your pathway to personal Blish.*


You can find more of James Blish’s work via his Author page on the Gateway website, and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.


* We’re really sorry.