Writing Techniques in Cities in Flight

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John W. Campbell, Jr., Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and other writers of the late-1930s and 1940s had introduced to science fiction a plain, straightforward, expository writing style, an engineer's style of sorts, which is still widely used by the more conservative among today's genre writers. Blish too began his career using prose in this manner and Cities in Flight is full of earnest lectures on scientific and sociopolitical topics, fast-paced, exciting adventure sequences, and well-drawn, but understated descriptions of alien scenes.

However, the book already shows indications of the somewhat more literary writing style Blish would later adopt. A fondness for quotation is evident throughout the series, and even the most hard-headed scientists among Blish's cast are occasionally given to unidentified allusions to Dante or Shakespeare.

Another aspect of Blish's technique, of course, is the sheer scope of the series. Book one of Cities in Flight...

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This section contains 215 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Cities in Flight Short Guide
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