James Benjamin Blish (May 23, 1921 – July 30, 1975) was an American author of fantasy and science fiction. Blish also wrote literary criticism of science fiction using the pen-name William Atheling Jr.
A Case of Conscience (1958)
- All page numbers from the trade paperback edition published by Del Ray Impact Books
- “Your concept is a tremendous network of inconsistencies.”
“In what way?” the countess said, not very much interested.
“It seems to be based on reverence for the young, and an extremely patient and protective attitude toward their physical and mental welfare. Yet you make them live in these huge caves, utterly out of contact with the natural world, and you teach them to be afraid of death—which of course makes them a little insane, because there is nothing anybody can do about death. It is like teaching them to be afraid of the second law of thermodynamics, just because living matter sets that law aside for a very brief period.
- Chapter 12 (pp. 149-150)
- In retrospect, each of the steps toward this abyss seemed irrevocable, and yet they had all been so small!
- Chapter 13 (p. 158)
- The express pulled into the Stazione Termini in Rome five minutes ahead of schedule with a feminine shriek. Ruiz found a porter with no difficulty, tipped him the standard 100 lire for his two pieces of luggage, and gave directions. The priest’s Italian was adequate, but hardly standard; it made the facchino grin with delight every time Ruiz opened his mouth. He had learned it by reading, partly in Dante, mostly in opera libretti, and consequently what he lacked in accent he made up for in flowery phrases; he was unable to ask the way to the nearest fruit stall without sounding as though he would throw himself into the Tiber unless he got an answer.
- Chapter 14 (p. 171)
- Now that I'm a free agent I mean to make my own choices, and explain them to nobody if that’s what pleases me.
- Chapter 17 (p. 206)
- But now the shots began—not many, but one shot is a fusillade if there have been no shots before.
- Chapter 18 (p. 213)