Feb 09

Ah wedding rings.. always traps you into a bottle of purple smoke... wait.Click for full image

Many thanks to E for sending this in!
Published 1988

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: 7.76 out of 10)

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25 Responses to “Wizard War”

  1. Phil Says:

    Would that “uncommon enemy” be the smaller gentleman in the top right, awkwardly obscured by the clumsy typeface?

    I like the way this image loaded slowly in my browser, wiping on from top to bottom, revealing first the hat, then the face and upper body (of a jaunty Crocodile Dundee), and then the purple grub-like tail…which turns out to make him a genie.

    I still haven’t decided whether he is emerging from the bottle, or wiggling his ring/finger to cause himself to go back in. I don’t think it really matters, however.

  2. SI Says:

    Magic always has to be purple!

    I can’t help but think this guy could be the best Come Dine With Me contestant ever!

  3. THX 1138 Says:

    Can anyone decipher the gesture Mr Genie is making? Is it “Sorry, girls, I’m married!”?

  4. Nix Says:

    That’s supposed to be a genie? I thought it was a man who’d been waving a bottle of purple smoke around. The smoke doesn’t come close to connecting with his bottom half or anything.

  5. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Professor Plum, trapped by a homicidal Mr. Green in the latter’s boudoir, makes good his escape by disguising himself in Colonel Mustard’s civvies and slipping out through the bottle. They’ll never suspect…

  6. Dave Van Domelen Says:

    I think the cover is trying to convey that he’s wearing a magic ring that let him turn into purple smoke, and now he’s about to take it off and become solid (and decanted) again.

  7. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “Tonight on MTV’s Pimp My Wizard…”

  8. Evad Says:

    My 9 year old son comments after a quick glance: “Fart problems”.

  9. Pat Says:

    Phil, that is just a Wizard Calendar tapestry, Mr February is Jaffa the Chocolate Charmer.

  10. Pat Says:

    Oh my, there is another one! Is the bearded one in stained glass, a portrait or coming in through a very narrow door?

  11. Tom Noir Says:

    Of course when one has a book named “Wizard War”, this is the cover that naturally springs to mind.

  12. Dalton H. Says:

    That’s some really bad stain glass windows in the background. Or is it TV monitors showing the trippy part at the end of 2001: A Space Odyseey?

  13. Dalton H. Says:

    Hey wizard, how come everyone I’m in the kitchen, your in the kitchen? Eatin all the collard greens!- RIP PREVIEW BUTTON

  14. Dalton H. Says:

    I mean every time! NOW I miss the preview button!

  15. Steve Says:

    As a Hugh Cook fan, I can explain this. The wizard in the picture has been trapped inside a TARDIS-like green bottle, lacking access to the ring which is required to get out. Exploring, he discovers a ring and tries it, hoping to get out of the green bottle but instead being sucked into a red bottle.

  16. Steve Says:

    My explanation isn’t intended to excuse the cover, which is worse than a Piers Anthony cover.

  17. GK Says:

    I want to know what Gandalf is up to behind those W’s with just a green towel on…

  18. NGpm Says:

    Does anyone remember Burger King commercials before he was a creepy stalker? Do you remember when he would twist his ring and take everyone in a cloud of smoke to the nearest BK?

    This isn’t a genie, he’s just a strange rendition of the King hankering for a Whopper.

  19. Adam Roberts Says:

    A R Yngve “Tonight on MTV’s Pimp My Wizard…”

    Made me laugh heartily. Heartily, I say!

  20. Herm Says:

    Thanks Steve (#15). While I find knowledge of the story isn’t usually necessary to enjoy these entries, it is interesting, in an academic sort of way, to know how closely the cover matches something that actually happens in the book.

    That plot hook had already been done by CS Lewis in The Magician’s Nephew, though! Oh wait, those were green and YELLOW rings. That’s different then.

  21. Andy Says:

    All that can be said of this cover is that it accurately conveys the quality of the book.

  22. Steve (another Steve, not the same Steve as upthread Steve) Says:

    Andy (#21), good sir, while the American publishers chopped up Hugh Cook’s books into lots of littler books, doing a great disservice to the series, I can only assume you are a lover of kitsch, sir, because the quality of the book itself is as fine as (mild science) fantasy gets.

  23. IZ Says:

    Terrible cover. But the books themselves were on the whole outstanding. Hugh Cook was unfortunate in that he was way ahead of his time, His fantasy just didn’t quite fit in with the Terry Brooks’ and David Eddings’ works of the time. Too much humour, characters who are shades of grey (and a riot of other colours) rather than black and white, and a world where there is no simple tale of good vs. evil. Its a pity he wasn’t better known.

    “Cook was a fantasy writer whose 1980s and early 90s decology Chronicles of an Age of Darkness, though hidden from the attentions of the middlebrow lit-snob by their wizards, dragons and high-kitsch covers, are intensely clever, humane, witty, meta-textually adventurous and pulp-avant-garde works. I read and loved several this year — The Wishstone and the Wonderworkers and The Walrus and the Warwolf in particular.” – China Mieville,

  24. Tom Noir Says:

    I feel like when you’re a cover artist and someone hands you a book titled ‘Wizard’s War’ you have the opportunity to really knock out something really fun and exciting.

    That is not what happened here.

  25. GSS ex-noob Says:

    This is another one of those covers that, the more you look, the more of a mess it is. Am inclined to agree with (12) that those are TV monitors showing the end of 2001.

    @IZ (23): having forced myself to slog through the Mieville piece on this year’s Hugo ballot, I’m disinclined to take his word for what’s a good story. I don’t think the damn thing even *was* a story. It was gamed onto the ballot and finished dead last. Behind a romance story that honest to gosh ended with basically “it was all a dream”. There’s a line between “avant garde” and “what the fuck”, and he leapt across it.

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