James Blish's seminal treatment of religion in SF, a Hugo Award-winning precursor to The Sparrow. With a new introduction by Ken MacLeod.
Father Ramon Ruiz-Sanchez S.J., is a part of a four man scientific commission to the planet Lithia, there to study a harmonious society of aliens living on a planets which is a biologist's paradise. He soon finds himself troubled: how can these perfect beings, living in an apparent Eden, have no conception of sin or God? If such a sinless Eden has been created apart from God, then who is responsible?
Winner of the Hugo Award for best novel, 1959.
Blish brings to this case of conscience one of the most powerful intellects - and one of the most diverse stories of knowledge, I would say - ever to apply itself to science fiction
Brilliants as fireworks - Sunday Times
James Blish (1921-75) studied microbiology at Rutgers and then served as a medical laboratory technician in the US army during the Second World War. Among his best known books are Cities in Flight, A Case of Conscience, for which he won the Hugo in 1959 for Best Novel, Doctor Mirabilis, Black Easter and The Day After Judgement.