Cities in Flight
The Astounding cover shown to the right is from 1950 and it illustrates what might by the most famous science fiction idea of James Blish: flying cities. In this blog post, I explore how Blish fit into the previous Reality and why that fit was so much better than what our own universe had on tap for the Blish analogue.
|Hall of Fame stories|
In The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One I read another Blish story, 'Surface Tension', along with Clarke's
'The Nine Billion Names of God'. Blish's 'Surface Tension' might have been my introduction to the idea of intelligent microscopic life forms, but the story's silliness so outraged me that I never read anymore work by Blish. You can read 'Surface Tension' at the Internet Archive as it originally appeared in Galaxy magazine.
Asimov, Clarke and Vance; Blish was abandoned.
There is a huge risk in writing science fiction stories that start by taking some mundane aspect of Earth history and re-imagine it in the context of interstellar travel. Blish's flying cities are the Sci Fi analogues of "migratory workers of the Great Depression of the 1920s and '30s".
|In the Ekcolir Reality (click image to enlarge).|
|In the Ekcolir Reality|
Original cover art by
Jos van Uijtrecht
My preference would be for a science fiction story that introduces some imaginary technology (such as a technology that allows for "flying cities") and then goes on to show an imaginary future in which people's lives are actually different in some interesting way from our lives here on this backwards little planet.
In the Ekcolir Reality, with Earth under the influence of the Fru'wu Intervention, economic expansion was the rule. The human population grew very rapidly and our planet's vast stores of fossil fuels were relentlessly exploited.
|in the Ekcolir Reality (source)|
|In the Ekcolir Reality.|
Original cover art by Paul R. Alexander
Next: Investigative Science Fiction in the Ekcolir Reality
|Visit the Gallery of Book and Magazine Covers.|