by James Blish
"Surface Tension" is a short story by an author I've always admired, James Blish. In the story, Blish is at his best when it comes to the theological or philisophical discussions between characters. The treatment of the science fictional aspet is probably stretched beyond the scope of the strictest definitions of sci-fi – it's certainly not "hard" science fiction – but the resolution draws it all together nicely, making for an entertaining read.
The plot device Blish employs here, of miniaturizing humans – thereby miniaturizing humanity and condensing human history – is a very clever way of exploring "big questions," and Blish handles it marvellously.
The short story was adapted for radio performance in the 1950s. It is an enjoyable way to experience the story.
reviewed by Shelly Bryant ©2015