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James Blish (1921-75) studied microbiology at Rutgers and then served as a medical laboratory technician in the US army during the Second World War. Among his best known books are Cities in Flight, A Case of Conscience, for which he won the Hugo in 1959 for Best Novel, Doctor Mirabilis, Black Easter and The Day After Judgement.
Cities in Flight represents one of the most important developments in SF - the transformation of standard themes into something deeper and more profound, while retaining the thrilling sense of adventure and wonder in the utterly compelling human stories.