Apr 23

Look this is ridiculous! I'm not fencing till you take off that stupid hat!Click for full image

Eron Comments: While my girlfriend was like “Hey! I own that book!” it’s pretty hard to argue with a half-naked man fencing an immensely bored looking black unicorn. Also, while I am assured by said girlfriend that it has something to do with the story, the man’s blue hat is epic.

Leo Comments: If I were to sword fight with a unicorn, I would probably have my shirt off too.

Many thanks to Eron and Leo who both sent this in!

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: 8.57 out of 10)

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52 Responses to “Split Infinity”

  1. SophaLoaf Says:

    So I take it French guy with the Robin Hood hat is the “adept apprentice”… Also, does the title indicate that infinity is incorrect grammatically?

  2. SI Says:

    Infinity can’t be split?

    ‘Before we fence mighty unicorn, why should I have the advantage of clothes? If you are naked, so I will be too!’

  3. Adam Roberts Says:

    The guy on the right is clearly drunk. Only he can see the ‘unicorn’ he’s so intent on fighting.

    Wait, you can see it too? Then you must be as drunk as he is! You disgust me … at this time of day, too.

  4. Simon Says:

    That is spectacularly camp.

  5. CSA Says:

    Poor Piers Anthony. Out of the dozens and dozens of books he has written (most highly successful) i’ve never yet gone into a 2nd hand bookshop, seen one of his covers, and thought “hmm, well layed out, modest artwork. Looks good, i could read that”

    I wish i could say my quest to find a good Piers Anthony cover is over, but alas, its a man fencing with a unicorn.

  6. LP Says:

    In the artist’s defense, you’ll notice that the unicorn has its shirt off too.

  7. K.V.C Says:

    Another one I own….

  8. SophaLoaf Says:

    touche, LP.

    …and he is also displaying his rippling unicorn muscle.

  9. CapnMarrrrk Says:

    The thing is though…Man fencing unicorn actually occurs in the novel. Followed by Man f**king unicorn in human form, which comes after man f**king robot.

  10. LP Says:

    SophaLoaf: this book cover more than any in recent memory reminds me that I’m going to have to loose some weight before I can realistically expect a shirtless, rippley-muscled, jauntily-capped young man to cross swords with my horn.

  11. Adam Roberts Says:

    CapnMarrrk: to quote Jerry MacGuire, you had me at man f**king unicorn.

  12. Kyle Says:

    Fencing with unicorns. Of course!

    Read this book long ago. As with most of his books, you get the point in the first 50 pages and then he keeps re-iterating the same thesis points over and over.

  13. Bourgeois Nerd Says:

    “Sword fight.” *snicker*

  14. Sixwing Says:

    What CapnMarrrrk said.
    Also, this is one of the worst series ever, and the cover art gets dramatically more awful, if I recall.

  15. e.lee Says:

    topless men always feel inadequate when faced with a unicorn

  16. gauston Says:

    I READ THAT BOOK IN MY YOUTH! — It is actually a very decent series and Piers Anthony is a very good writer (seriously) — Read his Xanth Series – great series.

  17. Jen Says:

    I vaguely remember my early teenage self enjoying this series. Always get the books confused, though. Was this the one with the extra long description of strategies for Rock Paper Scissors?

    Also that hat is giving me King’s Quest flashbacks. King Graham? Is that you? Why are you posing half naked with a unicorn?

  18. CSA Says:

    King’s Quest was awesome. I dont remember any unicorns, i DO remember eating magic mushrooms.

    Did that hat design ever actually exist outside of fictional sources? I’m gonna bet it didnt.

  19. CapnChkn Says:

    Ok, I read the book(s). Actually the Unicorn is a girl, which he later has sex with, as well as a robot. He’s not actually fencing with her, but sparring. The whole series is kind of a social commentary on how people have sold their souls to the energy concerns, and it kind of takes Magic to fix the problem. It’s actually a good series, but an acquired taste.

  20. Jose @ Daemon's Says:

    Believe it or not, as amazingly weird and bad the cover is, I might actually pick this book up and read it based on some of the comments above. I’m just trying to imagine the conversation with Piers about the cover. “You see Piers we want to show a unicorn fencing against a shirtless man with a robin hood fetish. What do you think?” Anyone know if its on Amazon or if theres an audiobook?

  21. Larry Craig Says:

    The cover is the second gayest thing I’ve ever seen.

  22. Bruce Says:

    The unicorn looks to me like it has no idea what is going on: it’s not sparring, it’s just standing there trying to figure out if the demented body-builder is going to give it a cube of sugar or not.

    Capn’s, squicky sex is something of a Piers Anthony trademark: it was fairly low-key in the Xanth series, probably because it was popular with kids, but one of the books was entitled, I kid thee not, “The Color of Her Panties.” (I wonder how well he sells in Japan?)

  23. Jim Ryan Says:

    Um, well… Somehow, I don’t think trying to get the supposed virility boost that powdered unicorn horn is said to endow is helped by proving you don’t really need it after all…

  24. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Was the cover artist deliberately making fun of the book? Because the artwork is not without professional skill or gloss, so it’s hard to think the silliness was accidental…

  25. Heather R. Says:

    Hold up. He has sex with a unicorn *and* a robot? I’m buying this. Now.

  26. jw Says:

    This is bad awesome is what it is. Unicorns RULE

  27. Bookworm Bas Says:

    The premise of the series is quite interesting. There are two worlds which to a certain extent are reflections of each other. One is Magical the other is Scientific.
    One exist on an airless moon/planet which has a number of domes controlled by different Owners. The vast majority of the populace are serfs/slaves whose main entertainment is training for the Games the winner of which wins their freedom. Very imaginative Games.
    The mirror world is a world of magic. Various areas are controlled by various spell makers each with their own specialty (and color) the populace is made up of various magical creatures and people.
    The Hero Protagonist is a serf who competes in the games. His alternate personality in the magic world is the Blue Adept whose province of magic is bad poetry.( and I do mean awful ) Unfortunately the Blue Adept is killed and the walls between the worlds weakens for our hero. He steps between worlds to meet a young female unicorn. ( Who has been said to change into a young woman at wish) and the story goes on from there.
    Yes there are some thematic ideas in the series and I did enjoy the idea of the Games but be prepared to put up with bad poetry and triteness if you wish to read this series. Hey, I read it.
    Warning :
    May have some sexist attitudes
    Interspecies sex scenes
    Not suitable for children under the age of 13?

  28. Syndaryl Says:

    I thought the cover looked funny when I read it as a teenager. It looks even funnier now that I know more about art.

    The most incongruous thing about it is that the artist has obviously got some idea about the story (or was given reasonably accurate information anyways), and there’s good technical skill too, so it avoids some of the worst flaws of fantasy covers (terrible anatomy/perspective and complete irrelevance)… and yet its so bizarrely BAD…

    I mean, he/she even got the socks on the unicorn right, even though it looks visually distracting.

  29. ttrnet Says:

    I loved that series!! The cover I think actually captured the whimsical nature of the novel.

  30. Don Hilliard Says:

    Artist for this one is Rowena Morrill.

  31. JustinLeego Says:

    Thanks Don! Thought the artist tag had been added successfully last night but obviously it didn’t take. A tip of the cap to you.

  32. Jeremiah Jausferskis Says:

    Your babble makes me want to poop my pants…

  33. tyrone Says:

    Narwhal-horse Vs. oiled shirtless dandy. En Garde!

  34. Stevie T Says:

    I read this when I was about 13. I remember being in such perplexity about the cover that sometimes when I picked the book up I would end up staring at the cover instead of reading it. I would wonder why the unicorn just stood there while the guy was trying to fence it. Why was the fencer in such a silly action pose? If you covered up one half of the picture, the other half would make sense, but put them together, and it was, well, stupid.

    btw, 13 was actually a bit young for a Piers Anthony book….Probably would have been better to have waited at least 3 years before I tackled this one. It had the unfortunate side effect of causing me not to touch another Piers Anthony book until I was 18. Which might have been a good a thing, because I got tired of it reeeeal fast.

  35. Jaouad Says:

    I don’t know who shirtless guy thinks he is fencing with, but it certainly isn’t the unicorn. He is out of line by about a metre, judging from the position of his boots relative to the unicorn’s front hooves.

    Nice pose and musculature, though.

  36. Bibliomancer Says:

    @Tag Wizard — We need a Rowena tag for this precious cover art.

  37. Severian 67 Says:

    “Have at you, unicorn! Oh, my trousers appear to be falling down. Let me just clutch at them with my off hand…”

  38. anon Says:

    Never bring unicorn to a sword fight.

  39. Bibliomancer Says:

    Here they were in happier times. Before the split.

  40. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Much to my surprise, the Japanese covers are often tasteful, tame and dignified! Although they don’t appear to offer this one in Japanese…

  41. Bibliomancer Says:

    @DSWBT – How do I know those are really Piers Anthony covers and not just some random page from Japanese Amazon?

  42. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    アツトビビロマンサア: さあ、って。

  43. B. Chiclitz Says:

    I think that gryphon is about to drop an unpleasant surprise on muscle-boy’s nice blue hat.

  44. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:


  45. fred Says:

    You can’t tell from this cover but our fencing hero (Stile) is a tiny dude. Horse jockey sized. Which he would have to be considering he is a horse jockey. With a magic harmonica. Which possibly may have changed into his sword.

  46. Tat Wood Says:

    Is anyone else getting a strong Vladimir Putin vibe off this entire picture?

  47. Anna T. Says:

    @Tat Wood: Now that you mention it . . . if unicorns were real . . .

  48. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Tat, Anna: Fantastic. Now I imagine Mr. Stile speaking in the voice of Rick the Adventure Sphere.

  49. Tat Wood Says:

    @Dead Stuff: I was thinking more this

  50. DaveM Says:

    Michael Flatley stars in an all new Riverdance extravaganza “Robin Hood and the bemused Black Unicorn”!

  51. HappyBookworm Says:

    I remember this cover vividly from shelving at the library. It always struck me as odd mostly because both parties seem to be posing for the picture, as in “pretend you’re moving, but actually don’t move at all.” Epic title though.

  52. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    I’ve been waiting all week-end for someone else to say it, but no one has, so I will…

    @9, 11, 19: UNIPORNS!

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