Art Direction: I know what attracts teenagers, strange insect women showing their money makers and other parts. But draw it as if you had just taken LSD… you already have? Excellent! Published 1979 (maybe)
The paler areas on her body and their, umm, location, suggest that she is pressed up against a sheet glass. Trying to get in at you. Or perhaps just batting against it mindlessly like a bizarre naked moth woman. Either way this is one unsettling cover.
Jane Yolen was the editor, not the author, here. She writes:
“This anthology of twelve stories of science fictional and fantasy beasts, includes two original stories (by Dale Ferguson Cope and Richard Curtis) and ten reprints by such luminaries as Theodore Sturgeon, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, James Thurber, Andre Norton, and Philip Jose Farmer. I contributed only the introduction.
Let’s see….hmm…for this cover let’s paint an alien with the head of a locust, the torso of a 12 year old girl, the arms of a thalidomide baby, and the friggin’ eyes of the COOKIE MONSTER!!! I’ve drawn some weird sh*t too, but I would never create this Franken-mutant for PUBLIC DISPLAY!! For the love of MOTHRA what the h*ll was this artist thinking?????
“Nathaniel, I look at you today and see in you the same wide-eyed, star-struck cover designer that I was when I was your age. And that’s good. But let me offer you some words of advice. Many people believe that the purpose of the cover of a sci-fi book is to sell copies of that book. NO. In fact, the purpose of the cover is to shame the sci-fi reader and alienate them from polite society.
“Nathaniel, I am now going to show you my greatest creation.
I remember, when I was a kid, reading a story about an alien moth woman that lived inside a huge apple. It made a big impression on me, as did the cover of the anthology it was in, taken from the story.
However I could never remember the title, and have searched in vain for years!
I regularly look at your excellent side and was gobsmacked to see the alien moth babe and her disturbing anatomy there the other day. And thanks to you I was able to order Zoo 2000 from Abe Books and it now sits on my desk waiting to be read.
The story in question is Apple by John Baxter, and I wonder if it’ll live up to my memories of it, over 3 decades ago!
Welcome aboard! Glad you could actually use this site for something useful!
I recently bought a childhood book that is basically a Lord of the Rings rip off. Except the ring is a sword. And the sword basically can kill everything. It’s a terrible story but the nostalgia is still there so hopefully it will be the same with yourself.
Like a good Hardy Boy book I sure it will have only… appreciated with time… or is that wine? I get the two confused.
BUT … Apple!?! The cover almost makes sense now. wow…..
And the story did indeed live up to expectation. It’s about a post-apocalyptic world where a village lives in the shadow of a seriously huge apple, infested by humanoid Moths, and describes – in sometimes flowery prose – the exploits of Moth-killer Billings. It is eerily prescient of Alien, and has a gruesome, disturbing twist in the tail which I’d completely forgotten.
It’s very creepy indeed, and the description of the Moth more or less fits the cover of Zoo 2000 – and explains the breasts. Don’t blame the artist – blame Mr Baxter; I quote:
“Her body was that of a young Moth, about the size of a human girl, though slimmer than most. Only in the smoothly swelling breasts was there a specific reference to mankind.”
I remember and still do find the combination of female sexuality with an insectile alien quite effective and disturbing. And oddly erotic. A feminist counterpoint to Giger’s phallic Alien!
Occasionally one learns that Uber Bizarre Cover X actually reflects a scene from the story within. To this I say, “So what? It’s still a bizarre and ugly cover! Surely there were other scenes you could have chosen to illustrate?”
I mean, what twisted logic leads an editor to say, “Story with a sexy moth babe? THAT goes on the cover!”
I should also mention that I read this book as a child, and then almost completely forgot about it. It did not have this cover, thank goodness, or I would have been punished for bringing home salacious garbage.
The title’s been bothering me ever since it came up here, so I finally tracked down a copy to read, and damn, it IS one I read before. The story about the four-armed humans, and the one about the dragon-gators cinched it. For some reason, “Apple” didn’t make enough of an impression on child-me to stick around in my memory’s garbage-dump all these years, despite it being every bit as weird as the stories that did.