May 07

Leather-clad, slightly camp biker warrior to C6 please.Click for full image

Richard’s Art Direction: Ok, I want the devil playing chess on a life-size board with warriors from different periods of history. Don’t forget to throw in a few other random characters, at least one man must clad in leather and a scarf and find a spot for a woman in a bathing suit with a parasol. Then make it from the perspective of an opposing chess piece. Yeah, those should all come together nicely.

Excellent! Thanks to Richard!

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: 8.69 out of 10)

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24 Responses to “Masters in Hell”

  1. SophaLoaf Says:

    What is that in the back? Is that a skeleton in a Hawaiian shirt serving drinks?

  2. Richard Palmer Says:

    Baen seem somewhat over-represented on this site. How the hell to they stay in business? I can’t imagine that the casual browser would be tempted to get as far as picking up one of their books, given the unrelenting awfulness of their cover art.

  3. SI Says:

    Yea certainly here in the UK I would agree. I think they are normally only picked up by people who know the genre and are quite into it. Each Baen book I have bought, for the cover, has always got me a strange look and comment from the shop assistant.

    Unfortunately they hide some amazing stories. Well… sometimes. But the same can be said for a bland cover. They sometimes mask the terribleness that is inside.

    Anyway back to the cover. I like the dragon on top of the Baen logo! 🙂

  4. anon Says:

    When was this published?
    Because the leather-clad man is straight (perhaps not the best word here) from Max Mad!

  5. James Lovegrove Says:

    Leather Guy is definitely from a 1980s post-apocalyptic future, because back then that’s how all badasses were going to look after civilisation collapsed … and the Village People took over.

    What’s up with Swimsuit Girl, though? Bit incongruous among all the hardnut types.

    And does Bill Kerby know he’s been double-barrelled and become Bill Kerby-More?

  6. JustinLeego Says:

    @Richie – Baen? It’s because they’re awesome. Sometimes it’s a struggle for GSS not to go all-out Baen.

    So are all the people on the cover in fact the same person then? As in, having the same face. Intruiging.

  7. Richard Palmer Says:

    I think the scariest dude might actually be the bloke in the business suit at the back.

    The red-faced horned devil is a diversion.

  8. DeadRobot Says:

    AAA!! Guy with sword! He’s Sharon Stone-ing me!!

  9. Adam Roberts Says:

    I take it the huge sunburned dude in the background is Janet Morris. Quite a masculine looking lady. Cherryh on one knee, Drake with the parasol, Kerby in leather. I think I’m reading that right.

  10. Adam Roberts Says:

    I’d be more scared of the leather-clad gent with knife and chain if he didn’t appear to be suffering from such raging toothache.

  11. anon Says:

    Just noticed the leather-clad guy has freakishly short arms. No wonder he’s pissed.
    The skeleton with the drinks and a Hawaiian shirt seems like a cool guy.

    (PS. s/Max Mad/Mad Max/)

  12. tyrone Says:

    Prussian soldier to Caveman 7. Hellmate!

  13. Phil Says:

    “What is that in the back? Is that a skeleton in a Hawaiian shirt serving drinks?”

    I think so. In fact, I think it’s the Scotch VHS tape skeleton. Having lost his job due to the popularity of DVD, he has taken to serving cocktails.

    …re-record, not fade away…

  14. e.lee Says:

    @ Phil

    If that’s the Scotch VHS skeleton at the back, then that must be the Quality Street major on left

  15. e.lee Says:

    I meant to type; ‘then that must be the Quality Street major on right’.
    (The cover has already affected my spatial orientation…)

  16. Adam Roberts Says:

    James: “And does Bill Kerby know he’s been double-barrelled and become Bill Kerby-More?

    That’s what happened to Mary Tyler, before her TV career got off the ground. She contributed a story to a collection of ‘chess in hell’ themes sf-horror, and it so happened her name was listed the bottom of the cover …

    e.ll: Scotch VHS skeleton? That dates you, you know!

  17. Tom Noir Says:

    I had no idea that Osama Bin Laden went through a biker-gang phase in his youth!

  18. Hex Says:

    As Anon comments, the leather guy’s costume is ripped off wholesale from Mad Max 2, right down to the ripped sleeve – just with some studded bracelets and a scarf added on. Even the thing on his leg is where Max has a busted knee.

  19. Bard Says:

    The devil doesn’t look so much “demonic manipulator” as “fat, beer-swilling uncle who doesn’t realize you use one piece at a time”.

  20. DW Says:

    Ha! Read this one back in high school. Cannot recall a single thing about it… besides the fact that it was set in hell.

  21. Sorcha Says:

    “New from the Wizarding Franklin Mint: The ‘Surrealist Wizard Chess’ set! You’ll receive one piece by Floo every other month – we have to space the shipments that way to give you time to figure out what the hell each piece is supposed to do!”

  22. Rev Says:

    Quick note about package sizes. The biker and the daft soldier in blue have been endowed somewhat generously. The kneeling sword guy…not so much. From that angle we should be copping an dangling eyeful of his hairy saddlebags, but he appears to have had a procedure. Perhaps he was in the choir?
    On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at?

  23. Anna T. Says:

    About the skeleton in back serving drinks: Clearly, Death moonlights as a waiter.

    Also, this cover just screams “’80s Music Video”. Which probably explains both Parasol Lass and Mad Max. At least, sort of.

  24. A.R.Yngve Says:

    So the Devil looks exactly like Phil Collins.

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