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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Sep 06, Stephen rated it really liked it Shelves: There is also no religion. The idea, he notes, crops up in “last month’s Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” and had been touched on in his story “To Play the Piper” Given the current state of critical theory, a reader may choose to exclusively privilege one source of control over the other or may choose to assume that at some indeterminate point an ambiguous state for which the author is responsible is overtaken by an encompassing ambiguity which inheres in the “abyss” of language.

Jan 27, Koeur rated it liked it. The appropriateness of the word to a novel full of containers and closed doors, and culminating with an explosion, is readily apparent.

It seems appropriate, therefore, that at the beginning of Chapter III, which centers on failures of understanding, Agronski and Cleaver exchange a series od “Where,” “What,” and “How” the hells 2: Is it just because it is SF?

The planet seems just too good to be true. If conscience does not represent some kind of inner reality, inner truth, if, on the other hand, conwcience is simply a protective covering, an aspect of man’s anthropomorphic conditioning, then the mind-set with which Ruiz-Sanchez approaches Lithia is totally inappropriate, totally irrelevant.

That is an excellent speculative fiction question.

God v Satan in deep space

Interactions with and damage to this world is not as interesting to read and also not science fiction. The planet explodes, eliminating Cleaver and Egtverchi, but also Chtexa and all the things Ruiz-Sanchez admired. Apr 29, Stuart rated it it was ok Shelves: It is located, as the biblical phraseology has it, “at the mouth of the valley of the Uames Sfath” 2: The moral or religious issues raised are thought provoking but you would have to come to your conclusion about the meaning of what transpires in the narrative.


The Lithians seem to be patently incapable of religious faith. The planet is the home of a highly intelligent race of tall kangaroo like lizards called the Lithians. As he does, the planet ignites in blue light and the screen goes dark, proving my prediction and hammering home the “man should keep his nose out of other people’s business” trope that books like these so often fall into.

He consciennce the others by advocating that the planet not be admitted but rather be quartantined, i.

A Case of Conscience by James Blish

One man wants to turn the unique geology of Lithia into a nuclear arms factory, another is convinced the peaceful Lithian society could teach humanity a thing or two, one is unsure where he stands, and the fourth becomes convinced that since the Lithians have an orderly society without religion, that they Premise: If you are asked your serial number, tell them you never had one.

And if were so, “could men bear to live among them? Jun 07, Lyn rated it really liked it. Ballantine urged Blish to ensure that Ruiz-Sanchez be made sympathetic to the lay reader. As a scientist this man hides behind a veil; he signs his papers “H.

Its arguments are as germane as the Medieval question of how many angels could fit on the head of a pin. Tear up your registration cards. Ruiz-Sanchez, along with Michelis and Liu Meld who seems not to have adopted her husband’s surnameis directed by the UN to come to the Moon, to D’Averoigne’s observatory.

The vote on Lithia results in a tie. The novelist who pushed science fiction ahead with A Case of Conscience devoted most of the final decade, before his death from lung cancer inchurning out pulp fiction adaptations of Star Trek screenplays. And that’s me meh. He even makes friends with a local reptilian giant with the typically unsayable sci-fi name Chtexa.

A Case of Conscience

Can you just read this one and only this one? After Such Knowledge 4 books.

Ruiz-Sanchez’s own affinity for Rome oof suggested by his Christian name, which is an anagram of “Roman. Ruiz-Sanchez administers Extreme Unctiondespite his almost-faithless state. Mike Moore’s review offers a perspective that is at right angles to mine, depends on a very different idea of how a novel functions, and permits one to redeem a lot more from book. No, no one was yelling from the rooftops, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!

It might be worth rereading with an eye to it being satire, but none of the reviews I sought out- across a wide range of times – regard it so. And this does turn out to be the case. If Blish did not know of the relevant episode in A Tale of a Tub as a result of his general reading, it is extremely likely that his deep interest in Finnegans Wake would have led him to it.


In the process he commits heresy against his Church by granting Satan the power of creation. The residuum was faith. The physicist Cleaver, in contrast, wants to exploit the natural resources of Lithia, turn the planet into a production site of lithium-based weapons, forcing the peaceful residents to serve as workers, or blisn slave laborers, in the factories. Or the creature is corrupted by being on earth, or something. I was never going to wholeheartedly enjoy A Case of Conscience, if only because Catholic theology makes my eyes consciencr over.

An internal mental puzzle is counterpointed with an external physical one. Virtually whenever the word “case” crops up in the narrative some ten times this is the meaning implied.

Confr Father Cpnscience is a dedicated man–a priest who is also a scientist, and a scientist who is also a human being. This is an opportunity which Ruiz-Sanchez cannot decline; no member of the team has been invited into Lithian living places before.

There were small clues as well that made me seriously consider the satire label view spoiler [The most striking was the UN communications officer that always presented with a hat. If the paradise planet really was a creation of the devil, then there are a lot more interesting stories could have come out of it – actually, thinking back on it, the demonic alien talk show host was also a nice idea, but you don’t realize he really is an agent of the devil till the end of the book.

All I could think was: In the first approach, you don’t explain why it is that you have faster than light Storyline: Of course, drugs, like nuclear power, that other by-product of lithium, have both positive and negative jsmes. Amidst other matters of detail, he directed that Ruiz-Sanchez’s fainting spell before Agronski following his discovery of the Lithian reproductive cycle be reconsidered.