East Orange, New Jersey
James Benjamin Blish (East Orange, New Jersey, May 23, 1921 – Henley-on-Thames, 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.
In the late 1930's to the early 1940's, Blish was a member of the Futurians.
Blish trained as a biologist at Rutgers and Columbia University, and spent 1942–1944 as a medical technician in the U.S. Army. After the war he became the science editor for the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. His first published story appeared in 1940, and his writing career progressed until he gave up his job to become a professional writer.
He is credited with coining the term gas giant, in the story "Solar Plexus" as it appeared in the anthology Beyond Human Ken, edited by Judith Merril. (The story was originally published in 1941, but that version did not contain the term; Blish apparently added it in a rewrite done for the anthology, which was first published in 1952.)
Blish was married to the literary agent Virginia Kidd from 1947 to 1963.
From 1962 to 1968, he worked for the Tobacco Institute.
Between 1967 and his death from lung cancer in 1975, Blish became the first author to write short story collections based upon the classic TV series Star Trek. In total, Blish wrote 11 volumes of short stories adapted from episodes of the 1960s TV series, as well as an original novel, Spock Must Die! in 1970 — the first original novel for adult readers based upon the series (since then hundreds more have been published). He died midway through writing Star Trek 12; his wife, J.A. Lawrence
, completed the book, and later completed the adaptations in the volume Mudd's Angels.
Blish lived in Milford, Pennsylvania at Arrowhead until the mid-1960s. In 1968, Blish emigrated to England, and lived in Oxford until his death in 1975. He is buried in Holywell Cemetery, Oxford, near the grave of Kenneth Grahame.