1.The cover does depict a scene from the book, wherein Alvin the Maker forges his mighty Golden Plough. He’s meant to be naked, too, but the kiddy isn’t present.
2. Said kiddy is Alvin’s Black sidekick, who possesses not the slightest trace of personality whatever and whose sole function in the story is to a.) adore him and b.) provide constant opportunities for Our Hero and the other Good Guys to demonstrate their nobility by defending him from the Bad Guys. (This being set in an alternative-universe version of the pre-war South.)
3. Judging from this, “important” also means “pointless”, “tedious”, “self-indulgent” and “borderline racist” (see #2.)
The question I cannot answer is, “how did this pile of tripe get a Locus Award?” Although, from some things I’ve read, it might be Card’s shockingly uncompromising stance on the issue of slavery. (He’s against it, just so you know.)
So I just realized that the “O” and the “D” are oversized, not because Orson Scott Card has such a special delicious name, but because that’s what you feel like doing after looking at this really fatuous cover. Ah, to sink into the bliss of unknowing. Seems like a good alternative to this visual bleh.
Ah, but the scene depicted here wasn’t such a bad choice, in my opinion, since it is both the, er, well climax of the story and quite memorable in its own right. Not in a good way, more in a what-the-hell-did-I-just-read-now-I-can’t-unread-it-help way, but memorable nonetheless. (The rest of the book being merely dull and annoying.)
Besides, it certainly gets across the important idea that you should under no circumstances attempt to read this book, which I believe counts as an important public service on the part of the cover artist.
@David Cowie: A whiny rapist with leprosy. Whom you really, really, REALLY want to see die horribly. Don’t know about Alvin and his chipmunks here, because myself, any book that has Thomas Covenant printed on it’s cover, I avoid like…like someone with leprosy.
@David Cowie. Nah, Alvin is just your typical Chosen One Gary Stu– only rather worse than most in that the story consists almost entirely of him levelling up and the other characters obsessing over him. (There’s some eeeevilll bad guys, too, but that’s just to give Alvin someone to beat up in a morally justifiable way.)
Characters like this are no doubt *why* everyone worships Donaldson for having a rapist leper protagonist.
Hey, I’d like to thank GoodShowSir for introducing me to some truly interesting sci-fi books through your site. I can’t thank you for making me read “The Demolished Man” but, I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to Lois McMaster Bujold’s books!
And for a comment on this book, our bizarre smith says “Well, of course I do all my blacksmith work without clothes on. I’m too tough to notice the sparks and fragments of metal, and you ladies really like a man with scars all over him, right? Ladies? Ladies?….”