A Case of Conscience (Del Rey Impact) [James Blish] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Winner of the Hugo Award • The future of Earth will . A Hugo-winner from near the end of Blish’s most creatively fertile decade, A Case of Conscience does not, in this humble reader’s opinion, stand up to the test of. One distraught reader responded to A Case of Conscience by sending author James Blish a copy of the Vatican’s teachings on extraterrestrials.

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Egtverchi uses his influence to cause chaos, death, and destruction on Earth. You see, the planet is lush and beautiful, there is no crime, no warfare, no poverty etc.

There’s also no art, no leisure, no religion These beings live on a perfect planet, and the main Jesuit question is whether it is a Garden of Eden planet without Original Sin or whether it is all an aspect of Satan.

Return to Book Page. The planet is the home of a highly intelligent race of tall kangaroo like lizards called the Lithians. I have said enough, I think, to indicate that the biblical allusions in A Case of Conscience serve the overall effect of ambiguity, which Blish himself saw as responsible for the book’s success.

The fact that, in Chapter I, Blish counterpoints an internal mental problem with an external physical problem may then be interpreted with equal “validity” as evidence of authorial intent or as evidence for the manner in which an “economy” of ideas and language has its way with an author. This second half of the novel simply hasn’t got the focus of the first.

The residuum was faith. Or the creature is corrupted by being on earth, or something. There is a surreal party hosted by a countess, which is crashed by Egtverchi, the Earth born alien whose name I could never remember who has matured so quickly that we never get to know him.

But Blish might reasonably be charged with overusing the device.


A Case of Conscience – Wikipedia

The fifth book up in our chronological trawl through past winners of the Hugo award is that rare thing, a science fiction novel about conventional earth-based Christianity. The word “case” was a second-thought insertion clarifying “wingbuzzes” of the original novella.

Like all Lithians, he inherits knowledge from his father through his DNA. The first half blixh the book, originally a novella, is a very good story of the evaluation of a planet with intelligent life by a commission of four gentlemen coscience differing goals.

God v Satan in deep space

However, as a Jesuithe has religious concerns as well. They must determine whether the planet is appropriate for Earth’s habitation. Lu and Michelis deprive Egtverchi of a proper Lithian growth, and he ends up being for lack of a better term an enormous jerk with an anarchy complex. We can do nothing with it but reject it, nothing but say to it, Retro me, Sathanas.

The decline of his career into Star Trek novelizations and early death at 59 seem doubly sad. The chapter opens with Cleaver slamming a door “with a sound like a clap of doom” 1: Sure, you can write a novel without science – I like those as well – but it won’t be hard science fiction.

A Case of Conscience

Does the covering, the appearance, cover up and mask the truth? They “had no crime, no newspapers, no house-to-house communications systems, no arts that could be differentiated clearly from their crafts, no political parties, no public-amusements, no nations, no games, no sports, no cults, no celebrations” 2: How gorgeous is this?

The little Lithian egg from Part 1 has grown to an adult called Egtverchi. It is a gigantic trap prepared for all of us—for every man on Earth and off it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this section of the book the most; it’s rare when an SF author incorporates religious themes coonscience a novel in a manner that isn’t just a simplistic excuse to either proselytize or mock faith.

Part 2 was so badly-constructed and garbled that I wonder what happened to James Blish donscience he wrote it. The team is divided. At first glance, this was a strange turn of affairs. Vinge Downbelow Station by C. There is no reason to suppose that Blish would not applaud both Ruiz-Sanchez’s interest in Finnegans Wake and this example of his interpretative acuteness. References to the “Shelter economy” 2: I almost expected something like a conversation novel between heavily logical Spock-like lizards and a man of the cloth from Earth.


An orthodox religious reading of the novel is, of course, encouraged by the prevalence of Christian allusions and imagery. The Christian, specifically Catholic, themes will also remind some readers of Walter M. Then the flavor of the story changes.

Presumably he could not understand why Blish had treated the party at such length. Four men from Earth have been sent to Lithia to explore it and its resources and to make a judgement as to whether or not it is worthy of being asked to join the federation of worlds. The communication takes place at D’Averoigne’s Canadian retreat but with no consclence results.

The narrative is thoughtfully and slowly paced, there is very little in the way of action or thrill, not much humour, except for the social and showbiz satire in part 2. Do not commit any violence; simply refuse to obey.

God v Satan in deep space | Books | The Guardian

I charge speculative fiction with exploring the question of ” What if? Cleaver the physicist was not fond of them.

And, you will be surprised at how much action shows up by the jjames, though it does build slowly at first. Earth society is based on the nuclear shelters of the 20th century, with most people living underground. This is very well done and ends with a surprise opinion from one of the four, a Jesuit priest.