About Joachim Boaz

If you are so inclined, you can follow me on twitter.

If you wish to contact me: ciceroplatobooks [at] gmail [dot] com.

BUT: Do not send me review requests of any sort unless you represent a press wanting reviews of classic SF (pre-1980s) reprints i.e. books I’d buy/devour eagerly anyway.

“Joachim Boaz was how he named himself.” — The Pillars of Eternity (1982), Barrington J. Bayley

“Jachin-Boaz traded in maps [...] He sold maps to poets that showed where thoughts of power and clarity had come to other poets.” — The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (1973), Russell Hoban

File:Early flight 02561u (2).jpg

Early Flight (and flights of fancy)

Science Fiction (generation ships)

Fallout shelters

Meditations on decline



Flying cities

Layered layers

Plots?  What are plots?

§ 55 Responses to About Joachim Boaz

  • mark says:

    early shelters
    fallout science
    meditations on flight
    fictional shelters
    layered cities
    flying plots
    layers? are these layers?

  • Joachim Boaz says:

    early fallout shelters science
    fictional flight shelters meditations on…
    flying cities layer plots
    plot’s layers. are these layers flying?

  • mark says:

    to shelter meditations on flight:
    layer flying cities
    plotting fictional histories
    where early science falls
    before wanderers’ arrows.
    layers peel
    revealing mirrors and ancient coins:
    faces impressed into diverging histories.
    and borges? he too shelters
    meditation’s cities
    where i walk late into the half light shadow.
    confront your innocent plots.
    weep and dream
    leap into the air of an enclosed book.

  • mattvolke says:

    Hey Joachim. Thanks for finding The Movie Brothers!

    You have a very impressive blog. It’s depth is impressive! I think Victor, who writes for us, would love it. You should check out his reviews send him the link.

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      You’re welcome. Most of my blog concerns relatively unknown science fiction books interspersed with the occasional esoteric film reviews (VERY infrequently films as well known as Aeon Flux — I wrote more of a rant than review for that piece of drivel, hahaha).

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Klaus says:

    You definitely have an eye for the esoteric! I very much enjoy your writing and reviews.

  • Thank you for the comment; your blog looks awesome. I’m quite a big fan of the sorts of artists you’re covering (I love Virgil Finlay) but I’m quite ignorant about the minutae of the field, which seems to be your modus operandi. I shall be paying close attention to your blog.

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Yes, I dable in the esoteric — or rather, I wholeheartedly hurl myself into oceans of esotericism (the back shelves, the dusty corners…) I’m actually more interested in the contents behind the covers — especially 50s/60s/70s sci-fi about social issues — overpopulation, drugs, nuclear war, alien contact and how it changes are conception of the world and ourselves….

  • iamjoe says:

    Hi, thank you again for commenting on that post I made about science fiction authors and books. Been doing a lot of thinking and I bookmarked your blog so I’m updated on your book reviews. I’m also nominating you for the VBA award ‘coz I like your site.

  • Susan E says:

    Hey, this is the first time I have run across anyone familiar with the fabulous book “The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz, Russell Hoban” (although my old hardcover I found in a used book store spels it like you do) and here you have named yourself for it! Very cool.

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      Hehe, Joachim and Boaz are also the two columns of the Temple of Solomon — which were then used as masonic symbols (I’m personally not interested in this connection). BUT, hence the paring appears not only in Barrington Bayley’s sci-fi work The Pillars of Eternity but also Russell Hoban’s wonderful magical realist tale (he died recently, I was very sad). But yes, I loved the work. Once again, thanks for stopping by!

  • norbertnox says:

    Thanks for your great Blog! I’m a fan of science fiction books since childhood and probably read a few of the books you reviewed although in the German version, if there is one… I just stumbled across your blog and will sure read it!

    May I ask you a question? I’m looking for a particular story which impressed me much when I was young. Problem is it was from the library and I paid no attention then to the name of the writer or the book so it’s difficult to search. Since you seem to be an expert maybe you remember? It’s about a stranded astronaut/cosmonaut running out of oxgen sitting somewhere while underground creatures are circling him.
    Luckily there is a native that understands his sketches of molecular symbols and goes to fetch some oxygen. But when he returns the creatures were faster and the astronaut has vanished. In hindsight it struck me as a sad example of missed opportunity for peaceful contact. Maybe my memory tricks me and the story was not so good but still I’d like to read it again and maybe other stories in the volume were good as well. It nags me a little and you would make me very glad if you had a hint for me… Sorry for the imposition. ;-)

  • katkasia says:

    Hi! As you have the most comprehensive knowledge of sci-fi book covers of anyone I’ve come across, I’d be genuinely interested to hear your opinion on my new one, if you have a moment. You can find it at http://kasiajames.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/evolution-of-a-cover/

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      Well, as you probably know I know little about contemporary sci-fi art trends/marketability… Thus my art interests sort of revolve around earlier sci-fi art as well…. However, I find the texture and colors interesting. I’m not convinced a tagline is needed — I feel that they cheapen the product (as in, any reduction of a novel to a single line). But, again, I know little about marketing and suspect that such statements facilitate purchases. Also, I have issues with the font and its placements — the majority of older works place the title in the top third (using the thirds rule) — I understand that it makes the text not go through the middle of the moon, but, is that a problem? I find the font clunky. But, unfortunately, I don’t know of an alternative off the top of my head. You mentioned who the audience is — well, from the sort of demeanor of the figures in the foreground I immediately would guess young adult. Is that what you want?

      • katkasia says:

        I appreciate your honesty! To answer some of your questions – the tagline is there largely for marketing purposes, as the book and its author are currently completely unknown, so it gives some hint as to what is inside.
        As for the font – we were driven to some extent by the fact that this is an edition for Kindle, and so as the screen is much smaller than a real book, it needed to be quite large to be legible in the smaller format.
        Fianlly audience – yes – older young adult is one of the target audiences for this novel, although I hope that that wouldn’t drive away other potential readers. :)
        Glad that the colour and texture are interesting, and again, thanks for the honest feedback!

  • Maybe I should have posed my question about “Logan’s Run” over here. I just don’t have a clear sense of how the book was recieved by the public. I find it to be an engaging little adventure. I find it odd that it has been out of print since 1976 or is that fairly common? http://comicsgrinder.com/2013/02/14/logans-run-review-a-lost-science-fiction-classic/

  • Thought of you when I read this article. Not books, I know, but cinema. Still though you’d be interested:


  • tashqueedagg says:

    Thanks for your support for my series on PKD. You have a great blog here.

  • AEHellar says:

    Joachim, I really like your blog. For the most part I only read current Science Fiction, but it’s more to do with not knowing what to read. I look forward to expanding my knowledge through your blog.

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      Thanks. I think to understand where new science fiction is coming from it is necessary to read older works… I definitely prefer science fiction written between the 1940s-1970s. I veer towards the more esoteric, social issue inclined, less plot driven, and more metafictional type sci-fi — Malzberg, Compton, Effinger, etc.

  • Thanks for the like on Fuzzy Nation :) I like that you focus on older science fiction. The only older science fiction I’m familiar with is some of the older Star Trek novelizations, so I appreciate being able to get a viewpoint on older science fiction. Thanks for having an interesting resource!

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      I don’t think someone can truly understand/enjoy/or even critique newer science fiction without some understanding of the older classics and the developmental trajectory of the genre…. You should definitely try out some of the old classics — be be warned, my blog is rather more esoteric in nature (it is purposefully not about commonly held classics but rather, more overlooked works) — you should consult the Hugo Award list for best Novel and start with the 60s and 70s works — Dune, Lord of Light, Left Hand of Darkness, Stand on Zanzibar (if you want experimental), etc…

  • gregg says:

    gotta say, I haven’t read or heard of many (if any) of these books. The only writer I have come across is silverberg. I have a copy of Up The Line that was started, but never finished, not because it was tedious or I was bored. Rather the opposite, But I was too busy at the time to enjoy it properly. So next holiday I get, I sit back and enjoy.

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      Yeah, Up The Line is a very 60s work. I recommend some of his other novels — The World Inside, Downward to the Earth (perhaps his best), The Man in the Maze, etc.

  • Lukas Gloor says:

    What a pleasure having stumbled on your blog! Me-Too-Feel. I’m searching through vintage (yes, 40-70s) scifi (also new stuff, but not as passionate) since years, being a PKD addict over 20 years now. I love Malzberg. When I came across his work, I ordered immediately at least 10 novels. “Beyond Apollo” & “Falling Astronauts” — great. Do you know “Galaxies”? Tremendous metascifi too! Although again an almost unrewarding read…Best one to recommend (imho): “The Destruction of the Temple”, one of my favorites, if simply for the wordplay of the title. – I was triggered to “land” here, because of searching more on Frank Herbert’s “Hellstroms Hive”, which I just hugely enjoyed.
    – Same opinion concerning Silverberg & Brunner. “Stand on Zanzibar” is top ranking with me too, but Brunner has also plain boring work and a lack of consistency in his wake. As most of us do, generally.
    As a comment: I put Silverbergs “Hawksbill Station” on my list. Don’t know it yet. I put your beautiful page on my list. And before I retreat to my own back shelves and dusty corners, just having finally started JG Ballards “Drowned World” (Heyne, German Edition, 1972) another comment: Stanislaw Lem & Strugatzky Brothers should be featured muuuch more.
    Thanx & Greetings from Switzerland

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      Thanks for visiting — I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my site. Yes, Brunner’s Stand is by far his best novel — I find his other work (well besides The Sheep Look Up and The Jagged Orbit) rather banal.

      Galaxies is on my list of must find Malzberg novels….

      I loved Ballard’s The Drowned World. And Lem (I’ve read quite a few of his fiction and non-fiction works)…. but haven’t read any of the Strutgatsky brother’s sci-fi yet. I will, I will! (I’m still young!).

      Thanks again.

  • gregg says:

    you never told me there was a saga!! ender has a follow up !!!! cool ive just picked up Enders shadow- all about Bean and his point of view-

  • bnkg says:

    Hey! Thanks for liking my post. I’ve followed your blog – wow! I love it, particularly all the book covers! I’ll be posting more book reviews in the future. Thanks again!

  • holojacob says:

    Nice blog! This makes my old-school inner geek happy. :-)

  • Drew says:

    Just curious. I’ve just begun to read and collect vintage sci-fi. It’s quite a hobby now. Where and how do you find the books you find? I don’t mean specifically (I’m sure you have your secret spots), but generally – i.e. used book stores, flea markets, or online retailers like eBay (or all of the above?). Thanks and love the blog!

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      Used bookstores, ebay vintage SF lots, special arrangements with collectors getting rid of their collections, and when I’m desperate for a specific title I use abebooks unfortunately (rather not pay 4 or so bucks for a paperback SF book though) — intensive research of authors etc allows me to figure out the titles….

  • Lizzie Ross says:

    I’m looking for fellow William Tenn fans. Are you one?

    • Joachim Boaz says:

      Well… I enjoyed Of Men and Monsters but haven’t yet reviewed it. I have two of his short story collections on my shelf….

      • Lizzie Ross says:

        I have several of his collected shorts & novelettes. “Time in Advance” is my favorite, and next up is “The Square Root of Man”. If I ever clear my desk of more pressing matters, I’ll delve back in. His essay “On the Fiction in Science Fiction” should be interesting to set up against Tolkien’s “On Fairy-Stories”.

      • Joachim Boaz says:

        Lizzie, I just reviewed William Tenn’s The Human Angle if you’re curious. And finally reviewed Of Men and Monsters :)

  • Mark Miller says:

    Ever read a book called “Children of the Dust” I read it back in Juior High and really enjoyed it. It’s a post nuclear holocasue survival story, not sure if it’s entirely in your wheel house but it’s a good one I think.

    I was drawn to your blog becaue of the cover art reviews. I really like sci-fi book covers, but I’m thinking I should try to read more of it. Can you or anyone else here reccomend any authors to keep an eye out for?


  • mirkinfirkin says:

    Congratulations on being Freshly Squeezed … er … Pressed!

  • Alles Wat Is says:

    I am very impressed by your enthousiasm to share all these vintage SF cover artwork through your blog . There are some really amazing masterpieces between those covers !

  • Shimky says:

    Excellent introduction to yourself!

  • erikleo says:

    Just found your excellent site. I’m following up your recommendations on Robert Silverberg’s Hawksbill Station! And will look at your other 5/5s

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