What pre-1985 science fiction are you reading? + Update No. XIV
Joachim Boaz
by Joachim Boaz
1d ago
A selection of read science fiction novels from my shelves What pre-1985 science fiction are you reading or planning to read this month? Here’s June’s installment of this column. I’m periodically plagued by the virulent Esoterica virus, the relentless desire to catalogue and write about the less known, and even better, the completely unknown. While attending a Medieval English literature graduate class, I remember a conversation I had with the professor, Robert D. Fulk, during office hours about the sheer quantity of scholarship on Beowulf (here’s his edition of the iconic t ..read more
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Short Story Reviews: Clifford D. Simak’s “Conditions of Employment” (1960), “Retrograde Evolution” (1953), and “‘You’ll Never Go Home Again!'” (variant title: “Beachhead”) (1951)
Joachim Boaz
by Joachim Boaz
1d ago
Bizarre alien civilizations. Homesickness as psychiatric treatment. The dangers of space travel. Capitalism unleashed. Utopian possibilities? Welcome to the strange wonders of Clifford D. Simak. Today I’ve gathered together three more fascinating Simak tales that chart his deeply critical views of American business ethic. As in my previous post on the theme, the Grandmaster creates a future in which colonization goes hand-in-hand with the exploitation of resources, workers, and threatens the often bizarre alien intelligences they encounter.1 Two of the three rank among my best reads of the yea ..read more
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Exploration Log 4: Six Interviews with Clifford D. Simak (1904-1988)
Joachim Boaz
by Joachim Boaz
1w ago
Graphic created by my father Clifford D. Simak (1904-1988) published science fiction steadily between 1931 and his death in the late 80s. His work–from City (1952) to the Hugo-winning Way Station (1963)–often demonstrates a fascination with the rural environment and the lives of “ordinary” people confronted with the alien. As I am currently working on a mini-project related to Simak,1 I thought I’d give a rundown of six of the seven interviews I’ve found reference to. I’ll also provide quotes of interesting passages, and a scanned version of one that isn’t available online. In the intervie ..read more
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Short Story Reviews: Hugo Correa’s “Alter Ego” (1967) and “Meccano” (1968)
Joachim Boaz
by Joachim Boaz
1w ago
Today I’m joined again by Rachel S. Cordasco, the creator of the indispensable website and resource Speculative Fiction in Translation, for the third installment of our series exploring non-English language SF worlds. Last time we covered Vladimir Colin’s Lem-esque story of an unusual alien encounter “The Contact” (1966, trans. 1970). We have stories from the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, and France in the queue. This time we shift continents from Europe to South America with two stories by Hugo Correa (1926-2008). According to SF Encyclopedia, Correa was the “leading Chilean sf auth ..read more
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Book Review: Those Who Watch, Robert Silverberg (1967)
Joachim Boaz
by Joachim Boaz
2w ago
Gene Szafran’s cover for 1971 edition 3.25/5 (Above Average) A preliminary note: I’m something of a Robert Silverberg completionist, especially work from his glory years of 1967-1975. I’ve reviewed forty-seven of Silverberg’s short stories and thirteen of his novels–I’ve also read but never reviewed A Time of Changes (1971), The Masks of Time (1968), Tower of Glass (1970), and the stories in Capricorn Games (1976). While a middling Silverberg novel at best, Those Who Watch (1967) almost succeeds as a revisionist take on UFO panic. The aliens do not seek to experiment on, exterminate, or ma ..read more
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What pre-1985 science fiction are you reading? + Update No. XIII
Joachim Boaz
by Joachim Boaz
1M ago
A selection of read science fiction novels from my shelves What pre-1985 science fiction are you reading or planning to read this month? Here’s May’s installment of this column. As I am currently exploring the north-of-the-Arctic Circle reaches of Norway, why not segue way into this post by re-ruminating on the only Norwegian SF novel I’ve read: Knut Faldbakken’s spectacular Twilight Country (1974, trans. Joan Tate, 1993). I wish I’d thought to bring the sequel — Sweetwater (1976, trans. Joan Tate, 1994). Twilight Country, my second favorite SF novel read of 2021, contains o ..read more
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Short Story Review: Robert Abernathy’s “Single Combat” (1955)
Joachim Boaz
by Joachim Boaz
1M ago
In January, I inaugurated a new review series on the urban landscape in science fiction. I finally present the second post! And it’s a good one. I am joined by Anthony Hayes, a frequent contributor and creator of wonderful conversations over the last few years on the site (as antyphayes). I recommend you check out his website The Sinister Science. In addition to ruminations on science fiction–often through the lens of his academic PhD research in the Situationist International, “as well as other related left-communist and post-situationist writings,” he creates fascinating collages that interw ..read more
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Updates: Recent Science Fiction Purchases No. CCCXXXIV (Robert Silverberg, Best SF of 1979, C. L. Moore, George Hay)
Joachim Boaz
by Joachim Boaz
1M ago
Spring semester in the books! It’s now time to read (and go on vacation). Which books/covers/authors in the post intrigue you? Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed? 1. Invaders from Earth and To Worlds Beyond, Robert Silverberg (1980) Chris Foss’ cover for the 1st edition. From the back cover: “The Ganymedians had a rich, peace culture, peaceful culture extending back hundreds of thousands of years in human time. But the soil of their Jovian moon held uncountable riches in the form of the nuclear fuels Earth so desperately needed. It was a pattern that had been repeated many times i ..read more
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Short Book Reviews: Clifford D. Simak’s They Walked Like Men (1962) and Jacques Sternberg’s Sexualis ’95 (1965, trans. 1967)
Joachim Boaz
by Joachim Boaz
1M ago
Note: My read but “waiting to be reviewed pile” is growing. Short rumination/tangents are a way to get through the stack before my memory and will fades. My website partially serves as a record of what I have read and a memory apparatus for future projects. Stay tuned for more detailed and analytical reviews. 1. They Walked Like Men, Clifford D. Simak (1962) Richard Powers’ cover for the 1963 edition 3/5 (Average) In a confrontation with maleficent alien land prospectors in Clifford D. Simak’s They Walked Like Men (1962), the main character ruminates that “it was almost if [we] were a ..read more
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What pre-1985 science fiction are you reading? + Update No. XII
Joachim Boaz
by Joachim Boaz
1M ago
A selection of read volumes from my site What pre-1985 science fiction are you reading or planning to read this month? Here’s April’s installment of this column. First, a bit about Isaac Asimov’s Foundation (1951) from M. Keith Booker’s Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and the Cold War: American Science Fiction and the Roots of Postmodernism, 1946-1964 (2001), my current history of science fiction read: Booker wants to make the argument that science fiction in the 50s demonstrates some of the features that will coalesce into postmodernism. He highlights Asimov’s inability (de ..read more
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