Thursday, 14 March 2013
Many years ago, my number one science fiction writer was James Blish and I do have a James Blish Appreciation blog. There is more on the Anderson blog only because of the latter's greater output. In an ideal hereafter, Blish would complete King Log and The Breath Of Brahma and write more historical fiction, the Green Exarchy novel and the finite spinning universe theory of time travel novel. At least.
I used to think that Blish's Cities In Flight was better than either Robert Heinlein's Future History or Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy and I still think that it is better than Foundation. However, my appreciation of the early Heinlein has increased. Further, Cities In Flight is not a future history on the Heinlein model: it is the one volume Okie quartet with a prequel, a sequel and a juvenile novel added. Heinlein presents not a linear sequence but several stories that are contemporary with each other and that provide common historical background references for other, organically linked, stories set further down his Time Chart.
Future histories in the Heinlein model are Anderson's Psychotechnic and Technic Histories and Larry Niven's Known Space. Just as it would be wrong to dismiss Heinlein's The Green Hills Of Earth as a collection of unrelated space age stories, it would be equally wrong to dismiss the Technic History as just the van Rijn series followed by the Flandry series with a few extras added to connect them together.