Feb 10

A bottle of boobsClick for larger image

Rick Deckard Comments: I thought it was 42.

Published 1985

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: 5.68 out of 10)

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37 Responses to “The Secret of Life”

  1. Tracy Says:

    This looks like an Absolute Vodka ad!

  2. THX 1139 Says:

    Woah, buddy, I think you’ve had enough.

  3. Francis Boyle Says:

    So, booze, boobs, bullets, and inexplicable racism then?

  4. fred Says:

    The artist absolutely nailed the 60’s hippie clothing, hair, and drug of choice. It’s like watching that hippie ep of ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’.

  5. griz Says:

    If I could save girls in a bottle, the first one I’d save would be you…

  6. Bibliomancer Says:

    Bullets, Asians, Sixties. Must be a ‘Nam book.

  7. Tor Mented Says:

    Upper left:
    Queue queue
    Han in Hand

  8. Tor Mented Says:

    Lower right: I think I’ll have a nip.

  9. Bruce A Munro Says:

    That’s a fancy drink: with mescal, the most you get is a worm.

    @GSS, Tor Mented

  10. Ryan Says:

    The three ammunition cartridges fascinate me. Are they suspended in midair, or falling in unison from a level surface without tumbling? Or perhaps the artist meant to portray the bullets as having been fired, but only had whole cartridges with intact casings to model his or her work upon?

    Also, is the jewel in the lower left shining a spotlight on his groin? Does the pyramid mean he is a member of the Illuminati? Perhaps the five guys in the queue queue are an astral projection from his illuminated mind?

    He does seem to be sort of theatrical with his gesturing, as in, “Voila, five stereotypical Chinese guys and a jewel that highlights my privates! This is indeed the secret of life!”

  11. B. Chiclitz Says:

    I wonder if this was inspired by Poe’s great short story “Ms. Found in a Bottle.”

  12. JuanPaul Says:

    Missus in a bottle
    I’ll send sexy chick to the world

  13. THX 1139 Says:

    @fred: Or the hippy episode of Star Trek.

  14. Bruce A Munro Says:

    I wonder if the row of Chinese stereotypes is a reference to the old “Marching Chinese” head-scratcher? Supposedly, if you sit down and have the entire population of China march in single file past you, the line never ends, since new Chinese are born at least as fast as individuals pass you. It’s about reproduction, overpopulation, (fear of foreigners), etc., so it might fit in a book entitled “The Secret of Life.”

  15. Bibliomancer Says:

    @BC – Perhaps you are thinking of E.A. Poe’s “A Tell-Tale Tart”

  16. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @B’Mancer—Now that you mention it, yeah, or maybe “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pimm’s.”

  17. GSS ex-noob Says:

    Yeah, that’s pretty damn 60’s — big bullets and tiny Vietnamese people. And booze with tits. Bet the artist just painted his flashbacks to tripping.

    Not to be confused with James Taylor’s song “Secret O’Life”, which… yeah OK there were 60’s drugs, but at least you can sing it and your mother won’t look at you funny for it.

    I’m only surprised the artist resisted the punny impulse to paint the booze as a jug instead of a bottle. And how did dude’s left hand get so mangled?

    @griz: GSS!

  18. A. R. Yngve Says:

    “If Billy has five Red Guards and three bullets and one naked genie in a bottle… how many things does he have?”

  19. DaveM Says:

    The 80’s reboot of “I dream of Jeannie” was panned for overt racism and stylistic differences from the 60’s original. Though around half the viewing audience approved of the changes to Jeannie’s costume.

  20. Tat Wood Says:

    A cover so confused the giant floating pyramid doesn’t even get a look in.

  21. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Has anyone said “Behind You!” yet?

  22. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @BC: No, they haven’t! GSS!

    Although, if the bullets/cartridges are traveling in the normal fashion, a shout of BEHIND YOU! would be too late.

    We’re going to have to ask the referees to decide if the pyramid deserves Ting! Though the junk-highlighting jewel definitely seems Ting!

  23. Emster Says:

    Maybe he was trippin’ about this book:
    (interesting retelling of an old folk tale, but if it has been republished recently, I hope someone has updated the illustrations…)

  24. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @GSSxn—Maybe it should be “BEHIND YOU! Oh, never mind . . .”

  25. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @BC: Two thumbs up from me for that. He’ll still have two thumbs after the bullets take out his head, even if one of them (and the whole hand) is literally gnarly. Hope the levitating Asians are doing so under their own power, else they might fall to their tiny deaths.

    @Emster: A quick Google shows they have NOT! I looked upon the South American river and the website of Random Penguin, and there it is in all its 1930s, er, glory?

    I read it so long ago that the stereotyping didn’t bother me, because no whites cared back then. Nowadays, yikes. Double yikes since several of my neighbors and my state congressman are Han, and there are so many great noms at the Chinese supermarket.

  26. Tat Wood Says:

    Maybe the bullets and cringy-coolies were his equivalent of the Beswick Mallards perhaps someone misunderstood the term ‘mandarin’ in this context.

  27. Max Bathroom Says:

    @Emster and @GSS
    The question it’s worth bearing in mind is whether any of the five brothers had mad horticultural skills:

  28. Emster Says:

    @Tat: now you’ve got me wanting a set of ducks and a “muriel” for the wall… I’ve got a mini Groot on the mantle, so I’m not one to judge.

    @Max: The book didn’t go into their garden skills, but seemed not unlike a Dukes of Hazard episode… Regardless, I would not want to be seen reading either of them on the bus.

  29. Bruce Alexander Munro Says:

    The number of Chinese brothers seems variable… I’ve seen six, seven and even ten. ( )

  30. Max Bathroom Says:

    @Bruce Alexander Munro
    I know REM thought there were seven of them:

  31. Tor Mented Says:

    The Wikipedia article that Emster links says that “The Five Chinese Brothers” is a retelling of a Chinese folk tale, Ten Brothers. So the number can vary.
    I remember reading the book.

  32. B. Chiclitz Says:

    I also read it as a kid. I recall five in the version I had. All I can remember is that one of them drank the ocean.

  33. GSS ex-noob Says:

    I agree, the Wiki article clearly states that different Chinese ethnicities had varying numbers of brothers. For a kids’ book, no more than five is probably better.

    The southern peoples tend to have more brothers — is it the climate? The Han having become dominant, five is all the West gets.

    It’s a fun story, and republishing it with modern art would be good. It might need a few words changed.

    @BC: I particularly remember sea-swallowing brother, he’s the main character.

    Speaking of ducks and China, let’s not forget

  34. Bruce Alexander Munro Says:

    Oh, I had a copy of “Ping” when I was a kid. Delightful little book, or so I remember.

    “Five Chinese brothers” also reminds of some European fairy tales which feature an ensemble of strangely powered individuals, including another sea-swallowing dude.,_Broad_and_Sharpsight

  35. Longtime_Lurker Says:

    There’s also the Indigenous Australian tale of Tiddalik the frog who drank all the water: There are several books retelling the story–I think my kids had the one by Barbara Ker Wilson.

  36. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Bruce: I re-read “Ping” in my 30’s and it was still delightful.

    I also remember a few years ago getting a kick out of the probable oldest fairy tale in undifferentiated Indo-European going back to the Bronze Age (“The Smith and the Devil” in English).

  37. GSS ex-noob Says:

    There are many covers and adverts we’ve raised an eyebrow at for… non-quality reasons (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and our suspicions have been proved and are on exhibit:

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