Sunday, 24 April 2011
In common with other science fiction writers of his generation such as Eric Frank Russell and Fredric Brown, James Blish was an avid follower of Charles Fort. His most Fortean novel is Jack of Eagles (1952), about a group of people with "wild talents" -- the book contains several references both to Fort himself and to the Fortean Society.
For the majority of readers, however, Blish will be best known for the Star Trek adaptations he produced in the 1960s and early 70s, and for Spock Must Die (1970) -- the very first original Star Trek novel. Despite the melodramatic title, this is quite a serious book (and Fortean in its own way), with discussions of solipsist philosophy, tachyon physics and the literary style of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake! On the other hand, the novel is probably infuriating to hardened Star Trek fans, since Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest all talk exactly like characters in a James Blish novel, and nothing like their counterparts on TV!