Cover of: Case of Conscience by James Blish

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Last edited by tmanarl
October 29, 2021 | History
An edition of A Case of Conscience (1958)

Case of Conscience

6th Printing - August, 1987. edition
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Publish Date
Del Rey

Previews available in: English

The citizens of the planet Lithia are some of the most ethical sentient beings Father Ramon Ruiz-Sanchez has ever encountered. True, they have no literature, no fine arts, and don't understand the concept of recreation, but neither do they understand the concepts of greed, envy, lust, or any of the sins and vices that plague humankind. Their world seems darned near perfect. And that is just what disturbs the good Father.

First published in 1959, James Blish's Hugo Award-winning A Case of Conscience is science fiction at its very best: a fast-paced, intelligent story that offers plenty of action while at the same time explores complex questions of values and ethics. In this case, Blish has taken on the age-old battle of good vs. evil. Lithia poses a theological question that lies at the heart of this book: is God necessary for a moral society? The Lithians are nothing if not moral. Not only do they lack the seven deadly sins, they also lack original sin. And without any sort of religious framework, they have created the Christian ideal world, one that humans would be eager to study and emulate. But is it too perfect? Is it in fact, as Father Ruiz-Sanchez suspects, the work of The Adversary? And what role does Egtverchi, the young Lithian raised on Earth, play? Is he an innocent victim of circumstance, or will he bring about the Dies Irae, the day of the wrath of God, upon the earth? The fate of two worlds hinges on the answers to these questions, and will lead to an ancient earth heresy that shakes the Jesuit priest's beliefs to their very core.

A Case of Conscience is a brilliant piece of storytelling, and it packs a lot into a scant 242 pages. Most readers will probably finish the book in one sitting, unable to stop until the spectacular denouement. But the questions posed by this little-known gem will stay with you for days afterward. --P.M. Atterberry

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Edition Availability
Cover of: A case of conscience
A case of conscience
2000, Del Ray Impact
in English - 1st Impact ed.
Cover of: Case of Conscience
Case of Conscience
July 12, 1987, Del Rey
Mass Market Paperback in English - 6th Printing - August, 1987. edition

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Book Details

First Sentence

"The stone door slammed."


Library of Congress
PS3503.L64 C25 1987

The Physical Object

Mass Market Paperback
6.9 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
4.3 ounces

ID Numbers

Open Library
Internet Archive
LC Control Number
Library Thing

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October 29, 2021 Edited by tmanarl Added new cover
August 13, 2021 Edited by MARC Bot import existing book
April 26, 2011 Edited by OCLC Bot Added OCLC numbers.
August 12, 2010 Edited by IdentifierBot added LibraryThing ID
April 30, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Imported from record.