Yet another "help me identify" thread

Okay, back in the Dark Ages, as a young teenager, I was reading everything sci-fi I could get my hands on. Didn’t matter who the author was, or what it was about, I read it. Should have kept the books but didn’t. Now I’m trying to remember the title and author of one book in particular. Here’s what I remember.

A Jesuit priest is a main character, I don’t remember his name. He’s a missionary, or traveler, or something. He finds a planet with intelligent life, like big lizards. I can’t remember why, but he determines they are evil and performs an exorcism on the entire planet. And it just disappears, if I remember correctly. The title and author are on the tip of my tongue, and I’m sure I’ll recognize one or the other when I see them.

Sounds like you’re thinking of James Blish, A Case of Conscience. Great book, written in the 50s, and i believe it won a Hugo or a Nebula or one of those big sci-fi awards.

mhendo I KNEW I would recognize it if someone came up with the name! Thank you. And now I know too why me memories kept associating it with ST , although thatn felt wrong. Blish was the guy who “novelized” some of the ST episodes. Thanks again for helping, this board is great!

…and if you liked that novel, try Blish’s “Cities in Flight” series. It gets overlooked when people talk about the great F&SF series like “Foundation” and LOTR.

Incidentally, there are two versions of “Case.” There’s the original novellette, which basically covers just the alien planet adventure, and the novel, which contains the novellette and continues on to Earth. IMHO, the novel is far superior to the novellette.

Yes, mhendo, CoC won the Hugo award for best SF novel in 1959. The Nebula awards weren’t given out until 1966, so it didn’t win that. Here’s an odd bit of trivia, though–the Nebula award was co-designed by Judy Blish, wife of James.