Author:James Blish

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This is an ISFDB Bibliographic Comments page for the author (or artist or editor) James Blish. This page may be used for bibliographic comments or extended notes about the author, or discussion on how to the author's works are to be recorded . The link above leads to the ISFDB summary record for James Blish. Please use Bio:James Blish for a biographical sketch of this person. To discuss what should go on this page, use the talk page. For more on this and other header templates, see Header templates.

Historical addresses

Earthman, Come Home

This bibliographic note is about the novel length work, Earthman, Come Home and not the short story of the same name. Earthman, Come Home has been packaged as both a standalone publication and as part of the omnibus Cities in Flight.

The bibliographic issue is if Earthman, Come Home should be classified as a collection, fix-up, or as a novel.

The principle evidence in favor of "collection" is the copyright page for several editions of the Earthman, Come Home and Cities in Flight state:

The material upon which this novel is built appeared originally as "Okie" and "Bindlestiff," copyright 1950 by Street and Smith Publications, Inc., in the U.S.A and Great Britain; "Sargasso of Lost Cities," copyright 1952 by Wings Publishing Co. Inc.; and "Earthman, Come Home," copyright 1953 by Street and Smith Publications, Inc., in the U.S.A. and Great Britain. (source: Avon S218 which is the 5th Avon printing of Earthman, Come Home)

Wikipedia notes "Earthman, Come Home, is a series of loosely connected short stories detailing the adventures of a flying New York City." And Contento lists the constituent stories as follows:

Earthman, Come Home James Blish (G.P. Putnam’s, 1955, $3.50, 239pp, hc) [Okie]
* · Okie · James Blish · nv Astounding Apr ’50
* · Bindlestiff · James Blish · nv Astounding Dec ’50
* · Sargasso of Lost Cities · James Blish · na Two Complete Science-Adventure Books Spr ’53
* · Earthman, Come Home · James Blish · nv Astounding Nov ’53

However, the publications verified are

  • Structured like a novel and that they do not contain sections or chapters titled "Okie," "Bindlestiff," "Sargasso of Lost Cities," or "Earthman, Come Home."
  • Divided into a Prologue and nine named chapters with none of the chapter titles matching James Blish short fiction story titles.
Chapter One: Utopia
Chapter Two: Gort
Chapter Three: The Rift
Chapter Four: He
Chapter Five: Murphy
Chapter Six: The Jungle
Chapter Seven: Hern VI
Chapter Eight: IMT
Chapter Nine: Home
  • Additionally, that the Avon editions publications of Earthman, Come Home make multiple references to the "Novel" on the jacket and never call the publication a "Collection."

Here is a table that shows for various publications if they include a copyright statement like the one described above about the stories "Okie," "Bindlestiff," etc. and/or if they have the have the nine chapters, Utopia, Gort, The Rift, ... , listed above.

Copyright Chapters Publication
Yes Yes Earthman, Come Home, (1955 , James Blish, G. P. Putnam's, $3.50, 239pp, hc)
No Yes Earthman, Come Home, (1956 , James Blish, Faber & Faber, 12/6, 256pp, hc)
Yes Yes Earthman, Come Home, (Apr 1968 , James Blish, Avon (5th printing), #S218, $0.60, 253pp, pb)
Yes Yes Cities in Flight, (1987 , James Blish, Arrow, 0-09-926440-4, £3.95, 607pp, pb, omni)
Yes Yes Cities in Flight, (Aug 2006 , James Blish, Gollancz, 0-575-07898-7, £7.99, xi+664+4pp, tp, omni)
In the introduction Baxter wrote: The first set of stories, describing New York's episodic adventures [...] was later combined into Book 3. [...This edition] was compiled in 1970, with inconsistencies ironed out by Blish..

A final determination on this issue will need to wait until someone locates a version of the story that is structured like a collection, and/or could compare the original stories Okie, Bindlestiff, etc. against Earthman, Come Home to see if it is a fix-up.

Jack of Eagles

I've added ESPer, Avon 1958, as a variant title. Date taken from Tuck.

A Life for the Stars

Avon H-107; date (1963) is taken from Tuck.

They Shall Have Stars

There is some confusion about if They Shall Have Stars or Year 2018! should be the first/parent publication. The Avon 5th printing for example states “Copyright 1957,” “Originally published under the title Year 2018!”, and “First printing September 1957”. The confusion is that there is a Faber & Faber hardcover published in 1956. I believe the Avon statements are because Avon first published the story using the title Year 2018! and that for later printings they changed the title to They Shall Have Stars but it’s still not clear why Avon lists the copyright as 1957 and not 1956.