James Blish life and biography

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James Blish biography

Date of birth : 1921-05-23
Date of death : 1975-07-30
Birthplace : East Orange, New Jersey
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-06-06
Credited as : Fantasy and science fiction author, Cities in Flight, Jack of Eagles

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James Blish was an American author of fantasy and science fiction. Blish also wrote literary criticism of science fiction using the pen-name William Atheling Jr.

Blish trained as a biologist at Rutgers and Columbia University, and spent 1942–1944 as a medical technician in the U.S. Army. After the war he became the science editor for the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. His first published story appeared in 1940, and his writing career progressed until he gave up his job to become a professional writer.

He is credited with coining the term gas giant, in the story "Solar Plexus" as it appeared in the anthology Beyond Human Ken, edited by Judith Merril. (The story was originally published in 1941, but that version did not contain the term; Blish apparently added it in a rewrite done for the anthology, which was first published in 1952.)

Blish was married to the literary agent Virginia Kidd from 1947 to 1963.

From 1962 to 1968, he worked for the Tobacco Institute.

Between 1967 and his death from lung cancer in 1975, Blish wrote authorized short story collections based upon the 1960s TV series Star Trek. He wrote 11 volumes adapting episodes of the series. He died midway through writing Star Trek 12; his wife, J. A. Lawrence, completed the book, and later completed the adaptations in the volume Mudd's Angels. In 1970 he wrote Spock Must Die!, the first original novel for adult readers based upon the series. (Since then hundreds more have been published.)

Blish lived in Milford, Pennsylvania at Arrowhead until the mid-1960s. In 1968, Blish emigrated to England, and lived in Oxford until his death at Henley-on-Thames, in 1975. He is buried in Holywell Cemetery, Oxford, near the grave of Kenneth Grahame.

Blish collaborated with Norman L. Knight on a series of stories set in a world with a population a thousand times that of today, and followed the efforts of those keeping the system running, collected in one volume as A Torrent of Faces.

Included in this collection is Blish's Nebula-nominated novella 'The Shipwrecked Hotel'—a story about a semi-submerged hotel with approximately a million guests which experiences a massive computer failure (a result of escaped silverfish) and begins to sink.
Running parallel to all the side-plots is the inevitable catastrophe of the mile-wide asteroid 'Flavia' striking near the east coast of the USA.

The stories are also notable for including a form of pantropy that has been used to modify humans into a sea-dwelling form known as 'Tritons'.

Author of books:

Jack of Eagles (1952, novel)
Earthman, Come Home (1955)
They Shall Have Stars (1956, novel)
The Frozen Year (1957)
The Seedling Stars (1957)
Fallen Star (1957)
A Case of Conscience (1959)
The Duplicated Man (1959)
Galactic Cluster (1960)
The Star Dwellers (1961)
A Life for the Stars (1962, novel)
Doctor Mirabilis (1964, novel)
Mission to the Heart Stars (1965, novel)
Welcome to Mars! (1967)
Black Easter or, Faust Aleph-Null (1968)
The Vanished Jet (1968)
Spock Must Die! (1970, novel)
The Day After Judgement (1971, novel)
A Midsummer Century (1972, novel)
And All the Stars a Stage (1972, novel)

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