Judging books by their covers, 1

I need to quit spontaneously spending money on things I don't need. Case in point: I recently bought a bunch (and by "a bunch", I mean 300) old science fiction novels, second hand, in differing states of disrepair. Some of them are recognisable, most of them aren't. Most of them are actually components of series' of novels, never with their appropriate predecessors and successors, thus making them largely pointless to read. I'm impressed, though, by the cover art on some of the "pulpier" novels, so I'm going to feature (read: mock) it here. In fact, the artwork reminds me to plug Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's old Cowboy Comics, which are still hilarious. I've included Amazon links where I'm able to, in case you feel the need to support the authors and cover artists by buying their splendid work.

I'm going to present these in the following scenario:

  1. What's the book?
  2. What's on the cover?
  3. What conclusions can I draw about the plot based on the image on the cover?

The logical follow up point would be "and how accurate were those conclusions?", but quite frankly, the likelihood of having time (or willpower) to read these books is insignificantly low.

The books!

NowhereManDetails: "Nowhere Man" by Jerry Oster, 1989

What is there to work with: Either a ninja, or a man in a wetsuit. He's armed with a 9mm. He looks depressed. The novel is a humdinger.

Therefore the plot must be: A manic-depressive scuba-diving ninja floats on his back in a pool of red custard, contemplatedly scratching his cheek with his 9mm. Nothing happens, though, because he is Nowhere Man, a superhero so ineffectual that even non-sequitir situations fail to create drama.

Click "Read more" to see another couple.


Details: "Lord Tedric: Black Knight of the Iron Sphere" by Gordon Eklund, 1955

What is there to work with: Captain Beardy Leatherpants slapping a sword-wielding child, while a pink bikini-wearing Viking crossdresser approaches with a stick, hoping to offset Captain Beardy Leatherpants already questionable balance.

Therefore the plot must be: Looks like a family drama. Mother is a crossdresser. Son, genetically inheriting father's bad balance, tries to protect a stain he's made on the carpet, all the while hoping his dumbass transvestite mother doesn't just walk into dad's sword, as (s)he's clearly paying no attention to her inner GPS.


Details: "Warrior's Blood", by Richard S. McEnroe, 1955

What there is to work with: Luke Skywalker, now inexplicably portrayed by Scott Bakula, leans italic-style into the background to dodge a flying sun pellet. Mistress McFaintyFaint, dressed in yellow and wearing a convenient dream catcher to hold the ensemble together does her best to keep her left thigh from collapsing.

Conclusion: It's the story of an interstellar chiropractor, travelling from planet to planet curing ailments and encouraging people to engage in fitness routines. He also sells fetching white leotards and pale yellow dresses, neither of which are designed to fit particularly well. When not performing chiropracty, Doctor Skywalker flies around space in his shoe-shaped-ship, leaving behind gigantic exhaust plumes of orange debris, which dissipate into neon space signs that advertise his business. Back pain? FOLLOW THAT NEBULA.

There will be more. (Unfortunately.)