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Nov 04

The perils of living on the ground floor... mooning saber ladies!Click for slightly larger image

Frank Comments: What was that about Baen book covers being like shooting fish in a barrel? These two ladies are providing way too much exposed target below the waistline for pointy and edgy devices.
Published 1992

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 6.46 out of 10)
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33 Responses to “Saber & Shadow”

  1. Elvraie Says:

    At last, we have found the trouser’s thief! My sword sheath just gives me awful rashes!

  2. Perry Armstrong Says:

    “A novel of fellowship”, as in “The Fellowship of the Travelling Pants – Which Have Gone On Ahead of Us”

  3. THX 1138 Says:

    Ah yeah, I remember the first series of French and Saunders.

  4. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    The artwork for Dirk and Dark didn’t have any trousers, either.

  5. fred Says:

    Which brings to my mind the important question ‘Why hasn’t there been a fantasy version of ‘Charley’s Angels’ yet?’.

  6. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear oh dear.

    So. Much. fail.

  7. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “A novel of fellowship”??
    You have got to be f***ing kidding me.

    Let’s see if we can untangle the warped logic that led to this unbelievably stupid tagline…
    1. Fantasy fans like Tolkien
    2. Therefore any words — ANY words — lifted from Tolkien titles will draw them in
    3. Write “A Novel Of” and add a random title word from THE LORD OF THE RINGS Book I-III
    4. Result: “A Novel of Fellowship”

    Or possibly, there’s some “Read Between The Lines” stuff going on here, not sure… how “intimate” is this fellowship supposed to be?

  8. Bibliomancer Says:

    The first novel in the short-lived Blades and Butts series.

  9. A.R.Yngve Says:

    A quick check of the Amazon.com book reviews gave the obvious explanation: “Fellowship” is code for “same-sex relationship”.

    Clearly, gay rights had a long, long way to go when this cover was made…

  10. Tat Wood Says:

    Ticks all the boxes for the small but vocal Sword and Sorcery/ ‘Charmed’/Slash crossover demographic. With a logo straight out of an 80s cop show, so maybe they solve murders too.

    Well, look, if they commissioned ‘Cop Rock’…

  11. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Coming this fall on CBS: CAGNEYNAN AND LACEYNAN.

  12. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Way too many “esses” on that cover 😉

    Also, took me awhile to figure out that “S.M. Stirling Shirley Meier” is actually two different people—thanks, Baen, for the clarity so typical of your work.

    But above all, I want to know where you can get a triple-dirked scabbard.

  13. Bibliomancer Says:

    The Pointy Sisters

  14. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Good Show Tropes: Sabre and Shadow

    Sabre and Shadow is an absurdist, existentialist tragicomedy by S. M. Stirling Shirley Meier, first staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966. The play expands upon the exploits of two minor characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the courtiers Sabre and Shadow. The action of Stirling Shirley Meier’s play takes place mainly “in the wings” of Shakespeare’s, with brief appearances of major characters from Hamlet who enact fragments of the original’s scenes. Between these episodes the two protagonists voice their confusion at the progress of events of which—occurring onstage without them in Hamlet—they have no direct knowledge.

    This cover provides examples of the following tropes:

    All Just A Dream…Or Was It?: Sabre is convinced Shadow does not exist. Shadow is convinced Sabre doesn’t exist.
    And Your Reward Is Clothes: Averted.
    Bring Me My Brown Trousers: Also averted.
    Bottomless Magazines: Book covers, natch.
    Darker and Edgier: Actually, edgier and darker, in that order.
    Everyone Is Jesus In Purgatory: The cover may be an allegory for the neglect paid by charitable organisations to those in direst need.
    How Do You Turn The White Stuff On?
    I Cannot Alphabetise And I Must Scream
    Lipstick Lesbians: Sabre is convinced the contents of her makeup case are involved in a same-sex affair.
    Self-Replicating Title: S. M Stirling Shirley Meier’s full name is Stirling Meier Stirling Shirley Meier.
    Shout-Out:

    Shadow:To Flounce, or not to Flounce,–that is the question:–
    Whether `tis more Ineffectual in the mind to Gawk
    The Trousers and Three-Bladed Dirks of Antique fortune
    Or to take Trollop against a sea of Lips,
    And by opposing end them?–To die,–to Sneak,–
    No more; and by a Sneak to say we end
    The heartache, and the thousand Glassy shocks
    That flesh is heir to,–`tis a Mullet
    Devoutly to be wish`d. To die,–to Lose;–
    To Lose! perchance to dream:–ay, there`s the Undergarments;
    For in that Loss of death what dreams may come,
    When we have Baen-Ized off this mortal Cover,
    Must give us pause: there`s the respect
    That makes calamity of so Worldly life.

    Sabre: Ha, ha!

    True Art Is Incomprehensible: Where are these people? What are they doing there? Why are they so exposed to the elements?
    Wham Line: *WHAM!*

    Sabre: ‘Isn’t this the part where we came in?’

  15. Perry Armstrong Says:

    @Dead Stuff: Awesome list of tropes. Please also consider…

    Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Both a saber (sabre) & shadow are dutifully depicted on the cover.

    Wham Line: “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”

  16. Tat Wood Says:

    If that’s Wham, where do they put the shuttlecocks?

  17. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Tat: ask George Michael…if you dare. 😉

  18. B. Chiclitz Says:

    And yet no documentary evidence has ever surfaced to prove that the S. M. Stirling Shirley Meier whose work rocked the theater world of Edinburgh in the 60s was the same S. M. Stirling Shirley Meier who was known to have lived a drab and humdrum existence in the nondescript village of Swinemuck, thus fueling the endless speculations of Baconians, Oxfordians and DSWBTians. A literary mystery of the first order!

  19. Anna T. Says:

    @Dead Stuff With Big Teeth: Excellent trope listing. High five to you!

    I realize that these ladies’ pantslessness has already been noted many times, so I will instead point out that there’s a problem with Shadow’s anatomy. Take a look around her right arm – it looks wrong. As if the poor woman didn’t have enough problems, given the antics of the Trouser Thief. Hey, @Tag Wizard, a bad anatomy tag may be in order.

  20. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “You know, sometimes I wonder who’s wearing the pants in this relationship!”
    “Look who’s talking!”

  21. Revellion Says:

    Why oh why would you go to all that trouble and forget to wear pants?

  22. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Maybe the editors had some vague notion about suggesting the “fellowship” plot by showing the protagonists naked from the waist down…

    … which makes NO sense whatsoever.

  23. JRDelirio Says:

    Since when does a Baen cover have to make sense? I’ve grown to believe they were doing it on purpose just to vex the public.

  24. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @JRD: ah, Baen using that old vex appeal!

    …I’ll get me coat.

  25. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Why stop there? Let’s “fellowship” other books:

    A Novel of Dangerous Fellowship And Some Concern About Drug Issues
    THE NAKED LUNCH

    A Novel of Self-Fellowship
    THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF

    The Official Novelization of the Fellowship Hit TV Series
    XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS

  26. David Cowie Says:

    @ Dead Stuff: you missed one.
    [Edit page]
    Contemptible Cover: The Baen Books edition of 1992 has been subjected to some online mockery.
    [Save]

  27. DaveM Says:

    What is keeping Sabre’s scabbard in place? As there’s no belt or anything, I can only conclude it’s attached to her leg somehow (which would be inconvenient at the least).

  28. A.R.Yngve Says:

    A Novel Of Cowboy Fellowship
    BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

    A Novel Of Spandex Fellowship
    BRASYL

  29. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    A Novel of Fellowship Fellowship
    THE COMPLETE LEGOLAS-GIMLI SLASHIFC

  30. shirleymmeier Says:

    Oh dear, oh dear. I shall have to have words with Larry so he can go back in time and re-paint the cover (this was painted in the late eighties or early nineties) and it was part of a time when a certain distributor wouldn’t ship the books unless there was enough skin showing. “Give me a babe on the cover, or I won’t put it on the truck.”

    Given that this book was (in its original form) apparently Barbie and Skipper go to war, and my first published work with Steve (at all actually… The Sharpest Edge). Pants thief. Chortle.

  31. Tag Wizard Says:

    Welcome to our little club, Shirley. In your honour I have added an “author in the comments” tag.

    And added a middle initial “M.” to your name tag.

    Tell Larry we are rather fond of Baen cover art here, BTW.

  32. shirleymmeier Says:

    I shall! I’m laughing my ass off! (fell into my pants)…

  33. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Welcome Shirley. 🙂

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