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Oct 04

Oh Chanur... who's your hair stylist? I love what they've done with your neck hair!Click for full image

Art Direction: Look it will just be like every cover you have ever seen but this time… they’re cat people! They’ll have everything a cat would normally have like fuzzy hair, cat mouths, pointy ears but no tails. Tails, I think would be a step too far! We don’t want people to be too embarrassed when they buy it!
Published 1983

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of artI would touch it without protective glovesI have seen worse. Far, far worseInteresting, but I would still read it in publicMiddling: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lamé picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show, Sir.... Good Show! (Average: 8.22 out of 10)
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28 Responses to “Chanur”

  1. THX 1138 Says:

    “Why, yes, we are the Krazy Katz Ant and Dec sang about.”

  2. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    I’m trying to untangle the narrative in this picture:

    “Oh, wonderful! I’ve found the perfect cliff to park my rocket ship on. Come along, Sphere 1 and Sphere 2! Let’s go exploring.”

    “Bloop!”

    “Bleep!”

    “Why, look! Two steps away from my rocket, and here we have a female. I’ll just pick her up and get some hair styling tips from her.”

    “WHOA! Shirt goes back on, miladdo.”

  3. Nix Says:

    I don’t get it. They could have been all transgressive — Pyanfar Chanur being female and all, and rescuing at least one helpless human man — but they chose to print… *that*.

    Further inaccuracies: I think in the entire five books of the Chanur series they set down on a planetary surface *once*. It is not a blasted desert world, and they dock like anyone else, at the station, not by landing in a fifties rocketship. The series is full of fantastically intricate and claustrophobic maneuvering between multiple alien races, with hardly a human to be seen, and certainly no open spaces (very Cherryh really) — so they make it look like bloody Conan the Barbarian with a feline facial.

    I do note that this book predates Cherryh’s use of the hoary old ‘disguise my first name and my sales go up because everyone thinks I’m a man’ trick (which I am quite appalled still works, but apparently does). Maybe this is why they tried to make it look like a romance novel: written by Uh Woman after all. Sigh.

  4. Alessandra Says:

    Now, with patented ankle scarf!

    Seriously, why is that there? It’s Rowena, so I know she can paint feet.

  5. Alessandra Says:

    Oh, and what is it hooked onto, behind her knee? Nothing is there, not even the male’s elbow.

    And she’s a female lion. Shouldn’t she be maneless?

  6. Muttley Says:

    Straight out of the Golden Age. All it needs is his-and-hers space suits, armoured steel for him, transparent vinyl for her.

    Aimed at the furry market, perhaps?

  7. Tom Noir Says:

    “Why Chanur, what big balls you have!”

    “The better to cover you with drapery, my dear.”

  8. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Maybe there’s an international conspiracy of cover artists to make the public shun science fiction. (I can’t blame the public, can I? Not with covers like these!)

  9. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “Chanur No. 5 — the fragrance that unleashes the lion in your partner.”

    (Oh, the humanity!)

  10. AceofSpace Says:

    Will I ever understand the weird love between sci-fi covers and cat people?
    I hope not.

  11. James Says:

    Do I see the twin moons Pantene and TRESemmé looming in the sky?

  12. fred Says:

    Open-toed swashbuckling boots for cat people. Is that canon?

  13. Adam Roberts Says:

    Catman is amusing himself whilst his rocket-ship relieves himself on a giant rocketship-potty. It’s embarrassing, really. Look away!

  14. Phil Says:

    No tails? They’re obviously Manx cats.

    Philosophical question: why so few covers with DOG people? What’s wrong with dogs?

  15. Nix Says:

    To be fair, the cat people really are the protagonists of the story, and it is accurate to make them look like bipedal lions.

  16. SI Says:

    Phil> exactly or hamsters! Just think of the things they could put in their cheeks!

  17. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    I’m embarrassed for the artist by how easy it is to tell which parts were photo-referenced, and which ones were whipped up on top of the photo.

  18. A.R.Yngve Says:

    One word: Hairballs.

  19. A.R.Yngve Says:

    You know what would be really ironic? If humanity has a First Contact and the aliens we meet turn out to actually be furry cat-people.

    They’ll have one look at these book covers and say: “You realize that this means war.”

  20. Herm Says:

    I would so read any books I saw about dog-people, Phil (#14). Even with a cover as gender-boring as this one.

    Cat-people are meh.

  21. Phil Says:

    Herm, you could be in for a long wait!

  22. John R. Ellis Says:

    “To be fair, the cat people really are the protagonists of the story, and it is accurate to make them look like bipedal lions.”

    Well, Khym and Pyanfar don’t really have the “meek damsel in distress/big ol hero” dynamic depicted on the cover.

    And there are problems with anatomy….Pyanfar’s reaction to seeing human females (during the coda of the first novel) makes it clear that by Hani standards, human women have WEIRD body shapes.

    Michael Whelan’s covers (and David Cherry’s, come to think of it) get closer to the description given in the books. Hani aren’t just lion heads plopped onto human bodies.

  23. Scott B Says:

    Hey Herm & Phil, how about raccoon-people? See _The Architect of Sleep_.

    http://www.sfreviews.net/boyett_architect_of_sleep.html

  24. Phil Says:

    Raccoon people, eh? Are you sure he’s not a skunk? A bit of a Pepe le Pew floppy fringe going on there.

  25. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    Judging by the pants Lion Man is wearing, I think we finally know who won the fight back from The Hunters of the Red Moon.

    http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk/2010/03/hunters-of-the-red-moon/

    That’s still one of my favorites!

  26. Nix Says:

    A. R. Yngve, if we meet furry cat-people we’re in trouble anyway. They’re *cats*: ‘this means war’ is their response to pretty much all situations.

  27. Tom Noir Says:

    It appears this cover was SO AMAZING that they recycled it from (or for) another book:

    https://plus.google.com/118216361924782341223/posts/3ZnSuqGgBhk
    [2013/07/17 admin edit: linked directly to G+ account's Firebird post]

  28. K. Karn Says:

    This is a cover from a Charles L. Harness book titiled “Firebird”. I bought it back in 1981 when it came out in paperback for the immense sum of $2.25. The cover actually fits that story a bit better. The open toed boots were even mentioned in the book. The cover totes does not fit the Chanur books at all.

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