I initially started the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project to highlight Hugo-eligible fanzines, fansites and podcasts. For more about the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project, go here. You can also check out the other great fanzines and fancasts featured by clicking here.
The Hugo finalists for 2022 will be announced later this week, but I want to keep the project (as well as the Non-Fiction Spotlights) going, because after the Hugo nominations is before the Hugo nominations. And besides, there are still a lot of great fanzines, blogs and podcasts out there that I haven’t covered.
Today’s featured fansite Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations is a blog which focusses on reviews of vintage science fiction from the 1950s to the mid 1980s.
As regular readers will know, vintage science fiction is also close to my heart, therefore I am pleased to welcome Joachim Boaz of Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations to my blog.
Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations maps the varied landscape of SF produced during the turbulence of the post-WWII to the mid-1980s world. I am fascinated by the ways authors responded to the advent of nuclear weapons, the rise of 50s suburbia and commercialism, the Civil Rights movement, the Counterculture and radical student politics, the Vietnam War, and the 1970s political backlash. I chart what’s produced in a specific time and territory to understand the people who dwelled at that moment—their dreams for the future, their fears of the present, and all the manifestations of estrangement and elation generated by a rapidly transforming world. Science fiction is a fantastic way to get at the zeitgeist of an era.
I am particularly receptive to New Wave science fiction of the late 60s and early 70s that attempted to tackle our oblique interiors via radical structure/politics, non-standard characters and perspectives, and experimental prose. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes it doesn’t work. But it’s all fascinating.
Who are the people behind your site or zine?
It’s just me – Joachim Boaz! I’m a historian by trade and training under another name. My pseudonym comes from a wonderful Russell Hoban novel—The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (1973)—about a son’s quest to find his father who sells magical maps that diagram the locations of inspiration and clarity. Other than the occasional guest post that I solicit, I write and edit everything posted on Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations.
Why did you decide to start your site or zine?
My site was birthed in a moment of acute isolation—my first year of my PhD program in 2010. I needed an outlet for my non-medieval passions. And despite my other areas of interest, my fascination with post-WWII to mid-80s science fiction was never going to disappear. I now see my website as my primary avenue for writing and research. And the wonderful community keeps me going. I hope my passion comes across!
What are your current research projects?
In addition to my normal reviews on whatever I happen to be reading, I have four current science fiction short story reading initiatives that I’ve started over the past few years. My newest series explores future formulations of the media landscape spurred by the explosion of television ownership in the 50s, fears of both Communist brainwashing and corporate subliminal messages, and the theories of Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980). Other series include a readthrough of Carol Emshwiller’s pre-1980s short fiction, subversive takes on astronauts and the culture that produced them, and generation ships.
The four fan categories of the Hugos (best fanzine, fan writer, fan artist and fancast) tend to get less attention than the fiction and dramatic presentation categories. Are there any awesome fanzines, fancasts, fan writers and fan artists you’d like to recommend?
The sites I end up visiting the most contain frequent reviews of older science fiction due to my research interests. A handful of worthy writers include Rich Horton over at Strange at Ecbatan, Mark Yon and John Boston (among others) at Galactic Journey, Rachel S. Cordasco at SF in Translation, James Nicoll Davis at James Nicoll Reviews, J. W. Wartick’s vintage reviews at Eclectic Theist, Andrew Darlington’s SF articles at Eight Miles Higher, and our wonderful host Cora Buhlert and all the various places she posts her ruminations on older SF.
Where can people find you?
Social Media: Twitter
Thank you, Joachim, for stopping by and answering my questions.
Do check out Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations, cause it’s a great site.
Do you have a Hugo eligible fanzine/-site or fancast and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment.