Thursday, July 3, 2014

Surface Tension a novella by James Blish

James Blish

From The Best of James Blish

Surface Tension


Synopsis: A science crew whose job it is to seed planets with colonies of humans crash lands on a mostly water planet, and even though they will die there, they seed the planet with microscopic water breathing humans so small that a grain of sand is like a manhole cover. The story is about their survival, their conquering of their environment and even going out into what they think is “space.

An amazing story. The synopsis above might look like it is full of spoilers, but there are so many amazing things about this novella. 

There is, however, a problem of confusion in the beginning when we meet the new race, for there are not only the humanoids, but rotifers, paras and many other types of creatures as well. As a matter of fact, the main character thinks the same thing: “Lavon could still remember how hard it had been for him to get straight in his head the various clans of beings in this world, and to make sense of their confused names” (92).

I am reminded of, though an entirely different type of story, John Updike’s “Under the Microscope.” As a matter of fact while reading the Blish story I was thinking how the story could benefit from drawings of these other creatures and beings, exactly as Updike uses in his story and as Alfred Bester uses in his Golem100.

“More eternities went by” (96). Detective fiction does this a lot, giving an exaggerated sometimes sarcastic sense of how much time has passed. I like to keep notes on this concept.

There are a few more notes, but I want to keep this entry short. This novella is deserving of a longer video review, which I may do in the future.

Microscopic Humans (I am thinking also of Richard Matheson’s Incredible Shrinking Man as well as the above-mentioned Updike story. And though I have not read it yet Isaac Asimov’s I.)

For our comedy web series go HERE.
For more on me go HERE

One small click from all of you means a giant leap for us. Like, share, subscribe, follow, and comment, and please visit our sponsors by clicking on ads. Support what you like online.

No comments:

Post a Comment