This time I’m doing a written review of the sequel to a book that I did a video review of earlier - the second part of the Cities In Flight series, A Life For The Stars – now with actual flying cities! For those who are missing the video reviews, I’m embedding my video review at the bottom of the text review.
Title: Cities In Flight – Part 2, A Life for the Stars
Author: James Blish
Available from Amazon.com as part of the Cities In Flight Omnibus.
Several generations have passed since the events of “They Will Have Stars.” Earth’s population has slowly begun to leave their home for space, through spacecraft using the Spin-Dizzy drive and with populations using anti-agathic drugs. First they left through small spaceships, and then lifting whole cities into space using the Spin-Dizzy.
This leads to our main character, Chris, who is press-ganged into the city of Scranton before it leaves earth. If he wants to survive and get access to anti-agathics, he’ll have to hit the ground running and learn to adapt to “Okie” society.
Generally, the world of the Okies is fairly well thought out. Also, each of the vignettes in the book are generally very interesting.
This book gets really ‘splainy. It’s not as bad as the first book in the series, but it does spend a lot of time describing events that probably would have been more interesting if they had happened “on camera” instead of being recounted in a history class.
Originality: The concept of the Cities in Flight series is fairly original. 5/6
Imagery: The description of what the spin-dizzy field looks like from the inside is particularly interesting. 4/6
Characterization: Chris is something of a blank slate, and the rest of the main characters fit into some standard archetypes. 3/6.
Story: The story of Chris becoming accustomed to Okie life is pretty standard juvenile fare, and the rest is exposition of historical events. 3/6
Emotional Response: The description I used under the premise makes the book sound far more exciting than it actually is. 3/6
Overall: As part of the cities in flight series, it’s a good book. On its own, it’s mediocre. 3/6
In total, A Life for the Stars gets 27 out of 42.