Jun 10

Unlike dogs... who can't look up... Click for full image

Frank’s Art Direction: Well, the title’s about sheep, and the story’s clearly about a near future where the air is very polluted. What can you do with that?
Published 1973

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: 6.06 out of 10)

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26 Responses to “The Sheep Look Up”

  1. Phil Says:

    Hooray, comedy arising from the conjunction of title and author: The sheep look up John Brunner.

    Almost as good as Dostoyevsky the idiot.

    Of course, these are not exactly sheep so much as people with ram’s horns and gas masks.

    Is there a word (or indeed a tag) for that thing of drawing parallel lines that get closer and closer to suggest a horizon? ‘Cause that’s what’s happening here.

  2. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:


  3. Tom Hering Says:

    When a cover blurb uses the word “important” it’s as good as saying we won’t enjoy this novel but we should read it. When it uses “important” twice it’s telling us we can’t say we weren’t warned.

  4. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Books is in bold. So you know he’s writing about books. Not sheep or porridge. That’s important.

  5. Jaouad Says:

    Why do these people have hair dryers for faces? They don’t even have hair!

  6. FeařofMusiç Says:

    Aiieeee!! NOOO!!! This book, with this cover caused certain unpleasantness to be inflicted on me when I was ten.

    School Thug:”What you looking at?”

    Me:”It’s a book.”

    School Thug:”I know it’s a book smart-ass. What is that on the cover? Looks stupid”

    Me:”Uhm,’s these people and they, uh, represent…ah yeah it’s kinda stupid.”

    School Thug:”The Sheep Look Up? More like the sheep run off. Cuz they know you wanna do them. Ha ha ha!”
    (cronies join in laughter)
    School Thug:”What is this crap anyway? What kinda book is thie anyway?”

    Me:”Science fiction.”

    School Thug:”Homo fiction? Ha ha! Science books suck.”

    Me:” Not science. Science fiction. There’s a difference.”

    School Thug:”No there ain’t. It all sucks. That Captain Spock stuff is for losers.”

    Me:”Captain what? I think you mean..”

    School Thug:”Shaddup freako. All the same. I don’t get none of it.”

    Me:”Of cours not

  7. FearofMusic Says:

    Cliffhanger! Can you predict what came next?

    Me:” You have to have intelligence, or at least a functioning brain.”

    Commence the beating.

    God Bless the Internet.

  8. FeařofMuşic Says:

    File under “Lesson Not Learned”

    Same scenario with even more severe beating over Philip K.Dick’s. ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’

  9. Rachel J Says:

    And what was next, Feař? “Chronicules”?

  10. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Stout fellow, FöM! It’s not like the regular beatings induced aphasia or dlkjsalhgoinvavoihoiawr

  11. FeařofMusic Says:

    @Rachel J: Actually, if I had been reading Compton I could have escaped whilst he was trying to figure out how to pronounce the title.

  12. Bibliomancer Says:

    @FoM — More like “commence the bleatings”

    I used to own this copy with this cover. It doesn’t really rate highly in Good Show Sir over-the-top-ness. It’s just stupid.

  13. SI Says:

    Man 1: Sir… I am sure there are more practical designs for gas masks!

    Man 2: Shut up! I don’t want to hear your lies..

  14. Tom Noir Says:

    “Hey Bob, do you ever think that we might all just being a bunch of oddly assembled clip-art on an abstract background?”

    “Hush, Mike, Duck Dynasty is about to come on.”

  15. Bibliomancer Says:

    Further readings from “Filthy Limericks About Naked Alien Chicks” by Reginald Bogscrotum:

    “The Sheep Look Up” we all knew
    Is an IMPORTANT NOVEL to review
    But like the rest on this site
    The cover’s a fright
    Both the artist and ram say screw ewe

  16. THX 1138 Says:

    Great book, and this cover really rams the point home. Ahem.

  17. B. Durbin Says:

    “The hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed,
    But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
    Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:”

    Lycidas, John Milton

    It’s basically about the polluted death of America, and has some frighteningly prescient ideas in it (such as the popularity of organic foods without the checks to make sure they’re really organic…)

    Anyway. Typical dystopian cover for its time, which makes it supremely mockable.

  18. Linden Says:

    Are ewe my mummy?

  19. Scott B Says:

    “The Sheep Look Creepy”

    Alternately, “The Sheep Look Like They’ve Been Working Out”

  20. A.R.Yngve Says:

    A novel so important that it’s more important than any of the truly important novels that have been the most important of important books. Important to the max!

  21. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    The sheep look up
    The arms stick down
    The horns all curly-cue around
    The black lines run
    Across the front
    Divide the field like Zeno’s stunt

    The serifs are not to be found
    And now my muse is winding down!

  22. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @Biblioman—well, I figured it was just a matter of time before this showed up. Looks just as stupid as it did in 1971. Seems to have inspired some nice GSS-style versification and punning, however. I guess really, no, really, important novels will do that. This one’s so important it had to crib its title from Milton (thanks, @B. Durbin), that well-known 17th c. science fiction writer ( The Beast from Paradise, Lost, The Evil Comet of Comus, Samson “Space Cat” Agonistes, etc.).

  23. Bibliomancer Says:

    @B.Chiclitz — Johnny Milton. Didn’t he write that gambling memoir: “Pair of Dice, Lost”?

    I was hoping the French translation would have a cool title like “Les Moutons Regarder en Haut” but instead it is the boring “Le Troupeau Aveugle” (The Blind Herd).

  24. Jami Says:

    Darn, Linden beat me to the Doctor Who reference, and did it better than me. All I could come up with is “Are you my MAAAAAAAummy?”

  25. Simon Says:

    Oh I don’t know I quite like it…

  26. Rachel J Says:

    Baaa humbug!

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