The first Blish story I read was Surface Tension in Science Fiction Hall of Fame anthology. While there's certainly some issues with the anthology, it's a solid collection of short fiction. Blish isn't an author I've read extensively, but I remember him popping up frequently in the various anthologies I read over the years.
We're getting to a transitional phase in the history of SF following the 'Golden Age' period smack-dab in the middle of the century. Now, we're starting to get into the early 1960s and beyond, which will have some interesting things happen.
- Billion Year Spree, Brian Aldiss. Aldiss has some good things to say about Blish and his influence
- The Scribner Writer's Series: Science Fiction Writers, 2nd Edition, edited by Richard Bleiler. John Clute has a great section on Blish's works and career, particularly about his Cities in Flight and A Case of Conscience stories.
- Age of Wonders: Exploring The World of Science Fiction, David G. Hartwell. Hartwell mentions Blish a couple of times, with some good points about the political undertones to his stories.
- The Futurians: The Story of the Great Science Fiction "Family" of the 30's That Produced Today's Top SF Writers and Editors, Damon Knight. Blish shows up quite a bit in Knight's book (they were fairly close friends), and there's some good information about his career.
- Better To Have Loved, The Life of Judith Merrill, by Judith Merrill and Emily Pohl-Weary. Merrill and Blish didn't get along, to say the least, and there's a couple of good points about Blish's politics.
- The Way the Future Was: A Memoir, Frederik Pohl. Pohl bought Blish's first story, and has some good rememberences in his memoir.
- American Science Fiction: Five Classic Novels, 1956-1958, edited by Gary K. Wolfe. I love the Library of America books. They're beautiful to physically behold, and they include some great little biographical thumbnails that are great as starting points for this column.