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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

A Case Of Conscience

Copyright 1958 by James Blish

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point    Superb (5/5)

I first read this in 1983 and most recently on the 7th August 2021

An expedition has been sent to the distant planet Lithia to investigate the intelligent aliens. Four have been sent: Agronski, Cleaver, Michelis and Father Ruiz-Sanchez. They are to decide jointly whether Earth should open relations - and trade - with the Lithians.

His fellow team members are likely to vote in cautious favour of open relations. However Father Ruiz-Sanchez is coming, very reluctantly, to the opposite view. He is a Jesuit but also a man who is searching to recover his faith. He believes he is uncovering a horrifying truth. He believes that Lithia and everything and person on it may be an obscene lie, an evil creation of the Devil himself.

It's a supremely confident, concise and eloquent novel and is rightfully a classic of science fiction. The plot is so elegantly executed that you have to sigh in admiration at its conclusion.

As it happens and in praise of short novels, I was reading this slim book at the same as Peter Hamilton's massive "The Reality Disfunction". I know which book is better, and shorter.

Loaded on the 14th November 2021.
Cover of A Case Of Conscience