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Sep 23

It's dangerous out there. Take this laser gun, cat and walking cane.Click for full image

Eric Comments: The ironic thing about this one is that the cover depicts an actual portion of the story. Accurately. Really. It is a good book, regardless of how it’s clad.
Published 1986

Many thanks to Eric!

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: 3.54 out of 10)
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21 Responses to “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls”

  1. SI Says:

    “One has to look excellent before putting on her space helmet. Who knows the men she’ll meet.”

    I have to say that while I wouldn’t necessarily take this into public to read it’s not too bad. The women is drawn without ridiculous cleavage and the space suit actually looks usable. The cat even looks… like a cat.

  2. splittter Says:

    The worst thing about this is the inexplicably massive scrawled signature, it’s like they were dissapointed the illustration wasn’t utterly wretched and tried to come up with a way to make it worse. Although, maybe Heinlein was entering a Diva phase and demanded his name be on every surface of the book at least twice.

  3. Dead Stuff With Big teeth Says:

    I read this book, and in fact I owned this edition. I had no problem with reading it in public. Apart from the cat never being balanced on anyone’s spacesuit, this is a faithful depiction of the middle part of the book.

    The problem is that it’s late Heinlein. So, following the scene shown on the cover, you may merrily rip out the last half. Write, “And then they took off their clothes and fornicated and espoused free-market capitalism and lived happily ever after” on a clean sheet of paper; read it over and over again for two hours, and you’ve saved yourself any amount of trouble.

  4. Eric J. Ehlers Says:

    Yeah, I recently read this one. The cover, such as it is, is much less absurd than much else.

    The book itself, however, sucked so hard. I’m gonna go with Big teeth. When the entire genre changed without warning and everything came about everyone having sex with everyone else, it got stupid so fast my head hurt.

  5. Dave Van Domelen Says:

    I, too, own that edition. The publisher reissued most of Heinlein’s works that year, all with the huge signature trade dress. This was actually the first Heinlein I bought, and the second I read (we read Stranger in a Strange Land in a Science Fiction lit class earlier in the year), so I was drowning in in-references to all the Heinlein books I hadn’t read.

  6. Evad Says:

    Everyone has pretty much nailed this – especially the criticism of Heinlien’s later works. As a young reader I lived in his books & the complete universe he created. New readers of Heinlien should definitively start with the earlier works and read on in chronological order – they are self referential occasionally.
    Yes, the later books are NSFB – Not Safe For Brains – sex with parents, siblings, computers.

  7. Tom Noir Says:

    I really don’t see that this cover is that bad, unless you complain about the author’s signature squeezing out everything else on it. But at least it looks classy.

  8. Seamyst Says:

    I wish that they looked a bit more like actual, y’know, people. But other than that, and the cat’s tail looking rat-like, it’s pretty good.

  9. A.R.Yngve Says:

    That spacesuit is NOT realistic. But it is faithful to the tradition of SF book covers:

    “All Female Space Suits Shall Reveal Cleavage And Legs First, And Provide Oxygen And Pressure Last.

  10. Anita Says:

    As Heinlein covers go, this is positively classy.

  11. Mark V Thomas Says:

    Re: A.R.Yngve’s comment…
    I don’t know, though…
    If you added gloves and a helmet, it would provide life support fairly well & seems realistic to me (certainly it seems & looks far more realistic than some others, that I’ve seen illustrated…).
    As for the ending, why do I get the impression that he’s about to ambush The Doctor, given his ramblings/rants about Time Lords…?
    (For maximum effect, if this event does happen, I suspect that it’s the 5th Doctor circa Season 19B, with Nyssa of Traken in tow, that will be the recipients of said ambush…).

  12. SteveW Says:

    >and lived happily ever after. . .

    Spoiler

    Not so much in this one. As I recall everyone on the cover (cat included) live neither happily nor ever after.

  13. David Cowie Says:

    Is this one of the Heinleins where “Lazarus Long and his gang of time-travelling sex maniacs” show up?

  14. Don Hilliard Says:

    @David Cowie: Yup. Also a crowd of other past Heinlein characters. Basically, if you want to maintain full enjoyment of many earlier and better Heinlein stories, avoid this one like the Mongolian Terror Trout Flu (tm Warren Ellis).

  15. Annexian Says:

    That was one of my favorite novels, and I thought the cover was one of the best sci-fi covers…

  16. Lianne Says:

    You have to admit, Michael Whelan does gorgeous covers.

  17. ShotFromGuns Says:

    “The ironic thing about this one is that the cover depicts an actual portion of the story. Accurately.”

    Accurately? Apparently you missed the part where the protagonist is BLACK.

  18. Ray P Says:

    Kirk Douglas to star in the long-awaited prequel to Saturn 3.

  19. anon Says:

    The cat who went around harrassing women

  20. GSS noob Says:

    Further spoiler:

    They got better in his final book published a couple years later, in which every character he ever created shows up before and get even more incesty and the Heinlein-verse(s) end up in one big glob.

    Thankfully, the cat only has sex with other cats.

  21. DaveM Says:

    @ShotFromGuns (17), The original version of the cover was worse, he was barely tanned!
    http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?36837

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