Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXIV (Hoban + Roberts + Piercy + Baker)

1) Two SF/F reads inspired my pseudonym “Joachim Boaz.” The first, a novel from my dad’s shelf by Russell Hoban–The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (1973) in which a mapmaker designs a map charting the places of inspiration. This resonated with what I wanted my site to be (and hopefully, is)! I finally have a personal copy. I remember little from the book other than the before mentioned map.

The second, Barrington J. Bayley’s vaguely solid (but influential as I was new SF reader at the time) novel Pillars of Eternity (1982) about a man who decides to name his new self “Joachim Boaz.” Be warned, it’s one of the first, and rather shoddy, reviews on my site. I wrote the review sometime before 2010 (the date Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations began).

2) Marge Piercy’s a new author to me and I look forward to her work. That said, the premise of Dance the Eagle to Sleep (1970) seems more miss than hit. I suspect I should find a copy of Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) instead.

3) Keith Roberts’  The Inner Wheel (1970) takes the form of a fix-up novel (although often listed as a collection). As I have been impressed with his SF so far, this will move towards the top of my ever-changing read to list. And it’s graced with an evocative cover despite the Playboy Press SF edition!

Related Keith Roberts reviews: “The Deep” (1966), “High Eight” (1965), “Sub-Lim” (1965), “Molly Zero” (1977), and “Coranda” (1967).

4) Scott Baker’s Symbiote’s Crown (1978) seems to be his best known work. I know little about the book other than it won the 1984 Prix Apollo.

Scans are from my own collection. Click to enlarge!

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

1. The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz, Russell Hoban (1973)

(Alan Magee’s cover for the 1974 edition)

From the back cover: “The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz is a fable. A fantasy. An adventure. An idyll. An odyssey. Beauty, discovery, wisdom. An expression of the intimate, ultimate, consummate reality. A novel of spirit.

2. Dance the Eagle to Sleep, Marge Piercy (1970)

(Uncredited cover for the 1971 edition)

From the back cover: “Dance the Eagle to Sleep” is a passionate, powerfully imagined novel about young rebels driven underground by a tyrannical society. They call themselves the Indians.

Through the experiences of four youthful revolutionaries—Shawn, a rock music celebrity; Corey, part Indian, whose heritage gives the movement its name; Billy, a brilliant young scientist; and Joanna, a pretty runaway “army brat” who survives on pot and sex—this macabre and moving adventure brings a possible future into shattering focus.”

3. The Inner Wheel, Keith Roberts (1970)

(Martin Hoffman’s cover for the 1971 edition)

From back cover:”Men hammered at phones as the lines burned in their hands; distributor caps split, engines flashed into flame as gasoline from torn lines doused their blocks; computers rebelled, barraged their operators with lunatic results. An army of poltergeists was loose, ripping and snapping, jamming beyond all repair the machinery of war.”

4.Symbiote’s Crown, Scott Baker (1978)

(Uncredited cover for the 1978 edition)

from the back cover: “THERE ARE NO ‘HUMAN’ COLONISTS… With the discovery of Dimensional Transfer, mankind embarked on the greatest adventure in history: the colonization of the alternate worlds. It was an adventure humans as humans could not take part in, and from which there was no return!

This is the story of a young couple who decided to make that adventure their life—for what could be worse than this hell the gods called Earth?”

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18 thoughts on “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXXIV (Hoban + Roberts + Piercy + Baker)”

    1. I think you have the chronology reversed. The Pillars of Eternity (1982) gets the name from the pillars of the Temple of Solomon (Joachim and Boaz) — also important Masonic symbols. I don’t think it references the Hoban novel which is almost a decade older. Although, I read both too long ago to remember.

      For anyone curious, here’s the wikipedia article on the names: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boaz_and_Jachin

      1. Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (1985) also references the pillars! (I did not catch the reference when I read McCarthy’s novel a few years ago — but, thanks to wikipedia…. haha)

      2. I’ve never run across the Hoban novel. Except in rare cases I’ve always avoided Fantasy novels. I’m probably missing out on some good work so I’ll rethink it.

  1. Hi Joachim

    I read both after seeing your quotes. I just looked at them two days ago in my pile of books waiting to be discussed. I enjoyed them both and the Magee cover for the Hoban is great.

    All the best
    Guy

    1. Hello Guy, I look forward to your reviews of both! I remember wanting more books in Bayley’s fascinating world in Pillars of Eternity (1982)….

      And of course, Hoban’s novel is lyrical and moving.

  2. When I think of Baker I think of his horror fantasy ‘Dhampir’, which was pretty popular in some circles.

    Piercy was a literary writer, like Margaret Atwood, who popped up in a number of sf venues and who had a sort-of following, although I haven’t seen anything by her in quite some time. The cover looks like second-rate Jeff Jones.

    1. I’d not heard of Baker until I decided on a whim to go through the Prix Apollo awards.

      I’m almost positive that I’ll try to find a copy of her better known Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) as the premise of this one sounds a tad ridiculous…

      And yes, the cover is pretty atrocious — perhaps Jack Fargasso? Jeff Jones is a good guess as well.

  3. You, Sir, are to be commended on your collection and your service to fellow s-f readers and collectors. T-learning shows breath and depth, both of which your site exhibit. Your cover collection itself is a gem, well presented. I do see why you might have taken disagreement with my use of “prescient.” However, one “awesome” quality of art is that it can represent feelings about facts, not just the facts. Arthur C Clarke’s expression of facts, to me, are still foreshadows. And those Overlords are as scary as…hell.

    1. To quote the esteemed John Sladek: “Of course, that leads people into the error of believing that SF has all the answers, that it’s prescriptive or predictive. They want to use it to get a peek at the way the world really will be or really ought to be. Very dangerous, because the predictions of SF are almost always too simple-minded. It’s not futurology – though futurology is too simple-minded too – and it’s not a recipe book for cooking up tomorrows.”

      From his interview: http://ansible.uk/writing/jsladek.html

      1. I think the novel gets a bit discursive or info-dumpy at times (Luciente’s guided tour of Matapoisett 2137), but I liked the general concept of “catching,” the very vivid characters (both present/future), and the implied parallels between worlds/characters. There’s a terseness to the language/episodes in the present of the novel to offset the Matapoisett neologisms (“fasure,” “per,” etc.) in the future context. And the general story/conflict is very absorbing – a feminist “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” fasure!

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