Guest Blogger BikerPuppy!

Let me start by saying I love sci-fi/fantasy novels. I've read them since I was a kid, and I got used to seeing women in impossibly uncomfortable"armor" that covered nothing more than nipples and nether regions and warriors with glistening muscles that would make Schwarzenegger jealous. There's no disputing the bad covers, though, and Judge a Book has done an amazing job bringing us the best of the best. So in that vein, let's take a look at The Bastard Prince's cover. I'm guessing the guy on the right is the bastard, because he is the only one wearing a crown. I'm not sure if he's a bastard because his parents weren't married or because he is trying to incinerate the woman next to him with the Force. Or maybe he's trying to protect her, and, amazingly, he's doing all this while levitating from his saddle, riding a horse that is almost on fire. But enough about our prince. Let's turn to the heroine. I guess she's riding side-saddle, which might explain why she appears to be levitating in front of her horse, but on close inspection, I think she's giving birth to a flaming ghost baby, while her horse looks for some non-flaming grass to eat. It's nice to know that all this is happening under a lovely blue sky, despite the storm in the distance.

This cover is waaaay too busy! Between the rolling waves and the sky full of lightening, it's visually appalling. It appears our hero is trying to save his ship by acting as a human lightening rod, holding his sword up during a storm. Or maybe he's just threatening the storm: "Come any closer and I'll cut off your....er.... lightening."

Thanks, BikerPuppy! What do you think, folks, should we keep Ms. Puppy on?


Wednesday Quickies

Okay, I know I've been letting y'all down recently, and I'm sorry. Mucho gracias to Rex who's been holding up the Judge a Book torch all by himself. A round of applause for Rex, y'all! Whooo hoooo!

Anyway, just a few quickies for Wednesday:

First up is something I saw and immediately dubbed "Condom Head."

Sorry for the size, but a funny thing happened when I went looking for a copy of this picture. It seems other folk have noticed the "condom head" phenomenon; the only pictures I could find without a super ton of digging didn't have the condom tip.

More Amazon censoring, perhaps? In fact, the only pictures I could find with the "tip" were user uploaded covers from Library Thing. Hmmmmmmmm.

UPDATE: The first cover is the real cover. I saw it in person. The tip is there and the title is Last Train to Arcturus. The second is the cover that appears at Amazon and other places on the net (fantasticfiction.co.uk, Bunns and Noodle, etc.) because they steal the image from Amazon. I propose that Amazon or someone equally creepy (Dick Cheney?) altered it to appear more "palatable," i.e. without the condom tip on the head. In the process, they FUCKED UP THE TITLE!!! Thanks, DocTurtle, for pointing this out. In the second cover, Arcturus is spelled Acturus. Ah hah! Conspiracy!

All your base are belong to us*.

I would totally read this book if it were called All Your Heart are Belong to Us.

*google it, Mom


Sultry Sunday #19 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Once more, a syndicated installment of "Pop Sensation"

Paperback 191: Popular Library 69
(1st ptg, 1946)

Title: The Listening House
Author: Mabel Seeley
Cover artist: [H. Lawrence Hoffman]

Best things about this cover:

  • Yeah, if the house I was walking past suddenly grew a gigantic ear, I'd run like hell too.
  • Is the runner holding a boomerang? Is he texting someone? Did the ice cream fall out of his cone? His forward hand looks very wrong.
  • While I love the more realistic, lurid, 50s-60s covers the most, I have a strange affection for these more abstract early covers. Hoffman did some great work in the 40s. I'm pretty sure I have more from him coming up in my collection.

Best things about this back cover:

  • This description sounds more Gothic than Mystery. A creaky old house ... on a cliff?
  • I love the can-do, plucky optimism of the early paperbacks. They all had adorable slogans back then - "Mysteries of Proven Merit" Not sure what's going on with the quotation marks. When you say it about yourself, it's not really a quote.

Page 123~

"Mrs Dacres, did you ever spend any thought at all on why society makes such a hue and cry about murder? After all, by and large, I've found out that most of the people who get murdered leave the world better off for their absence."

Now that's a quote that makes me want to keep reading. For once.



Sultry Sunday #18 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Someday Maughta will post something new - til then, you get this. Enjoy:

Paperback 189: Signet D1628 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: The Sound and the Fury
Author: William Faulkner
Cover artist: photo

Best things about this cover:

  • Best thing? Hmmm. I can't decide. It's either the sound or the fury.
  • I see the "Fury" (Yul Brenner tries to strangle Joanne Woodward) - the "Sound"? I guess it's the sound of me gasping at the sight of Yul Brenner with hair.
  • This blue tint is so dark that it renders the picture almost irrelevant. I love the hand-drawn fon on the title. Makes the book look like an adaptation of a wacky Disney movie.

Best things about this back cover:

  • "DECAY" - Why would I read any farther after that? That is perhaps the best single-word tagline I've ever seen on a book. And the bright, whimsical font! Inspired.
  • By the picture, I would surmise that this is the story of an aging pirate with a bad hairpiece and massive pit stains who wants nothing more than for Maria from "Sound of Music" to admire his chest hair.

Page 123~

"Oh, forget your damned clothes. Does your eye hurt?"

I can't believe I just Page 123'd William Faulkner. John Faulkner, sure, but William? The indignity!



Sultry Sunday #17 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Once again, a syndicated installment of "Pop Sensation" -

Paperback 186: Gold Medal 947 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Danger Is My Line
Author: Stephen Marlowe
Cover artist: Uncredited (looks like Barye Phillips a little)

Best things about this cover:

  • "Oh, don't mind me, I'm just..."
  1. "tying my ... pump"
  2. "doing some very advanced step aerobics"
  3. "trying to figure out the most auspicious way to present my magnificent rear end to the world"
  • Chester Drum looks like he's prepping to give someone a very unpleasant exam
  • "Danger Is My Line" is a beyond-lame title - along with the author's last name (Marlowe), it furthers the impression that the book will be a horrid rip-off of Chandler (who wrote "Trouble Is My Business")

Best things about this back cover:

  • So Chester Drum is ... a lamb. Either that, or one of Mary's lambs wants to screw her.

Page 123~

Maybe he got the belly from drinking too much beer or maybe he got it from eating criminals alive - but the overall impression he gave, penguin-body, rimless hexagonal glasses, merry twinkling eyes, was about as deadly as a house-cat's. Still, I told myself, these things are relative - house-cats are pretty deadly: to rats.

"Deep Thoughts," by Chester Drum



Sultry Sunday #16 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

With apologies for failing to produce a write-up last week, I offer you this week's "Pop Sensation" crossover:

Paperback 183: Avon T-291
(PBO, 1959)

Title: Death is the Last Lover
Author: Henry Kane
Cover artist: uncredited

Best things about this cover:

  • The color scheme. It's gutsy - pink, baby blue, and then ... some kind of maroon
  • The title - sensationalist writing at its best / worst. Does she literally sleep with Death, or does her John kill her, or what?
  • Thank god Death was her last lover - that makes a much better title than "Herb the Copier Salesman from Wichita is the Last Lover"
  • Her face is unfortunate. The painting makes her look vapid, which is inherently unsexy. I do dig that oversized hat box she's sitting on, though. Her legs and cleavage aren't awful either.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Personally, I like "bosoms and brandies" with pretty much anything.
  • That negligee has too many adjectives. It stopped being sexy right around adjective #3
  • Oh look, it's that insipid face again. Nope, it's no sexier in blue tone.

Page 123~

I sat near her, enjoying the warmth of her thigh. "Honey," I said, "you're a nice, sweet, attractive gal, and I'm crazy about you."

"Yeah, I remember," she said.

Wow, she talks a lot cooler than she looks.