Year 2018! by James Blish (book review).

June 1, 2018 | By | Reply More

I was doing some tidying up recently and came across this book in my trays before my review books became a way of life. With a name like ‘Year 2018!’ and we are living in 2018, it seems suitably apt to read this book by James Blish this year. I should point out that book was actually written in 1957 and 61 years seemed a lifetime back then. It still is come to that.

In many respects, this book isn’t a prophesy of where we should be like now. The nearest thing is Blish pointing out that we’d be having problems with resistance to antibiotics and another planet discovered on the fringes of the Solar system.

What is concentrated on is a giant bridge being built on Jupiter. No, Blish hasn’t discounted the gaseous nature of Jupiter and it is remotes from one of the planet’s moons, where the engineering team work at a distance. There have been other such projects been attempted on some of the other outer planets as well. Blish puts in a lot of science along the way although you’re left guessing as to why such expensive projects are being built, although you do see a lot of political shenanigans along the way.

As it gets towards the end, there is mention of the discovery of how they’ve resolved the means to prevent death and thus granting immortality and then the mention of the knowledge learnt from these bridges to the creation of the Dillon-Wagoner gravity polarity generator commonly called spindizzies then you know you have the origin tale of Blish’s four volume ‘Cities In Flight’ books, which I’ve mentioned at SFC from time to time. It is kind of given away in the timeline at the back of the book anyway.

What is odd is looking around the likes of Wikipedia with Blish connections and finding there is no reference to this book, let alone its connection to the Okie books, although there are copies still out there.

‘Year 2018!’ was written at a time when short books were frequent so there’s a lot of information condensed into a short page count. You really do have to think beyond what is said to what is going on. Although this isn’t our 2018, it is an important book in the Jim Blish cannon that you might have missed if you are a fan of his books.

GF Willmetts

May 2018

(pub: Four Square/New English Library, 1964. 159 page paperback, Price: look around. I pulled mine a few decades ago for 25p (UK). ISBN: 954)

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Category: Books, Scifi

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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