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James Benjamin Blish (23 May 192130 July 1975; age 54) was an American author, born in East Orange, New Jersey, who wrote many novelizations of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes. He was the first to do so, publishing them through Bantam Books. He adapted every TOS episode into a short story with the exceptions of "Mudd's Women", "I, Mudd" (which he intended to write as novel-length stories, later finished by his wife Judith Anne Lawrence, as Mudd's Angels and printed in 1978), "Shore Leave", and "And the Children Shall Lead" (he died before he finished these stories.) These novelizations were printed in twelve popular mass-market paperbacks, titled Star Trek 1, Star Trek 2, etc. all the way up to Star Trek 12. He also wrote the second original Star Trek novel Spock Must Die!, which was published by Bantam.

Blish was a distinguished author of science fiction apart from his work with Star Trek. His written output included a set of different future histories that intertwined with each other on different levels – The Cities in Flight, and a collective series known as The Haertel Scholium. Blish pioneered a number of different concepts now found throughout science fiction:

  • The Spindizzy, which is a more comprehensive interstellar drive and spatial shield able to hurl entire cities into superluminal flight.
  • The concept of the anti-agathic drugs that prevent death from the effects of cellular aging and cell death.
  • Pantropy, or tecto-genetic engineering of Humans to permit colonization of planetary environments not normally considered remotely habitable to normal Humanity.
  • The Dirac transmitter, permitting instantaneous transmissions across the galaxy, and whose collective transmissions also transcend time.

Blish was responsible for coining the term "gas giant" in the story "Solar Plexus" as it appeared in the anthology Beyond Human Ken when describing Jupiter.

Blish died in Henley-on-Thames, England in 1975, and is buried in Oxford. His papers were left to the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.

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