Nov 18

Looks like Keith is wasted again and trying to lick the billboards...Click for full image

GK Comments: Which direction is the monorail headed?
Published 1978

Many thanks to GK!

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: 6.74 out of 10)

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39 Responses to “A Plague of Pythons”

  1. Ian Sales Says:

    It’s Rimmer’s dad!

  2. Phil Says:

    So that’s where the idea for Arnold Rimmer came from, although he looks like Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet/Eastenders in this configuration.

    And THE APPRENTICE (“you’re fired”).

    His hairnet of resistors and diodes is rather attractive, as is the disproportionately large monorail.

  3. Phil Says:

    PS: The artist should be congratulated for his restraint in NOT depicting the titular pythons. He must have foreseen that one day his work would end up being lampooned in a place like this.

  4. Adam Roberts Says:

    ‘Someone or something had taken over his body and Chandler was determined to find out who — even if he died in the attempt.’

    Yes, I remember that episode of Friends.

    For my taste, there aren’t enough ‘Someones’ and ‘somethings’ in that blurb. I’d rewrite it: ‘Someone or something had taken over something and someone was determined to find out something — even if he died in the attempt.’

  5. SI Says:

    Maybe he’s jealous because the guy on the billboard has a black jumpsuit!

    And I don’t know what’s wrong with that guys hair but he should ask his hairdresser about it.

  6. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Those diodes on his head bring new meaning to the term ‘Hair Net’.

    And, I suppose, we all know what language his coiffeur is programmed in…

  7. Anrkist Says:

    He’s a Picasso with a chalk board.

  8. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Honestly now:
    my first (and lasting) impression is that a tiny monorail train is dragging an annoyed man in a yellow jumpsuit by his belt.

    “Someone or something had attached a small train to his body, and Chandler was determined to find out who — Tyco or Accurail!”

  9. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Once more, Beat-ification of an inept blurb:

    Someone or something
    had taken
    over his body
    and Chandler was
    determined to find
    who even
    he died in
    the attempt

  10. Herm Says:

    That background of multicoloured novel pages is gorgeous. Why don’t pulp books have coloured pages like that any more? Anyone know?

  11. Don Hilliard Says:

    @Herm: The edge colors, once upon a time, actually had a purpose, and it morphed over the years. Originally (and briefly), it was a rough indicator of the genre of the book; red for mystery, yellow for general fiction or non-fiction and so forth, Over time, it became a color code to indicate the quarter (or maybe third) of the year in which a paperback was printed; since the vast majority of paperbacks in the US up into the 1980s were sold at newsstands, drugstores, groceries and so forth, the edge color was an easy way to tell how long a book had been on the rack if the retailer (or their stocking distributor) wanted to pull and return older merchandise.

    By the late ’80s (when I was working in retail book sales), only a few publishers were still coloring the edges of paperbacks, and it was always yellow; by that point it was basically a “prestige” thing, and it was pretty much gone by the early ’90s as a cost-cutting measure.

    My friends Tony Isabella and Bob Ingersoll (and their editor) had a bit of fun a few years ago with their Star Trek novel The Case of the Colonist’s Corpse, a mystery featuring the lawyer Sam Cogley from the series episode “Court-Martial”; the book had some deliberate echoes of the old Perry Mason novels, and Pocket Books went so far as to do at least the first print run with the classic red “mystery” edge coloring. (According to Bob, Pocket had a hell of a time trying to find a printer that still knew how to do the edge colors and still had the machinery to do it!)

  12. A.R.Yngve Says:


  13. FeâröfMusïc Says:

    Would this then be the prequel or inspiration for ‘Snakes on a Plane’?

  14. GSS noob Says:

    @Fear: I want these MF pythons off this MF monorail?

  15. Tor Mented Says:

    No one asked that the first time around. But it’s never too late.

  16. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Tor: We saved it for you. Also, if we’re talking half-hour British comedy, it really is more “Red Dwarf”.

    @TW: Are Chandler’s feet in “booties”?

    Is Spandau Rimmer ordering the tiny monorail to drag Chandler away from the billboard? Could this BE any more embarrassing?

  17. Hammy Says:


    No, it’s much, *much* worse! Spandau Rimmer is pointing as if to say “Watch out behind you! That tiny monorail is headed right for your anus!”

  18. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Hammy: “I know this much is…. OOOOH”?

  19. Bruce A Munro Says:

    ‘Hey! You! Yes, you out in three-d land! Stop spazzing out, and go home and reflect on the awfulness of your jumpsuit and your irrelevance to the actual plot of this novel!”

  20. Bruce A Munro Says:

    @F-something at 13: it’s apparently more “Snakes on a brain”, according to this other cover.

  21. fred Says:

    An Astronomical Amount of Asps
    A Bonanza of Boas
    A Convention of Cobras
    A Scumbag Of Senators Who Sold Off Their Stocks Before The Market Tanked

  22. THX 1139 Says:

    It’s rude to point.

  23. Verylatetotheparty Says:

    ‘Your Country Needs YOU!’ for.. um, needs you to.. I can’t work out what.

  24. THX 1139 Says:

    So that’s why Lord Kitchener wore the hat and false moustache.

  25. misterbob Says:

    Chandler – its H from Steps,so now you can dance and open a donkey sanctuary,perhaps .

  26. Verylatetotheparty Says:

    Market forces make it inevitable that at some point, televisions will be too big to keep indoors.

    If that is ‘HfromSteps’, is the H on his forehead there to help him remember his own name when he looks in the mirror in the morning, or to help the rest of the world remember who he is/was?

  27. Tat Wood Says:

    @Verylate: H from Steps needs to remind other people who he was, as the ratings for ‘Dancing on Ice’ weren’t great. And because there’s another rock performer with the same name who was imprisoned for someting very unsavoury.

    That said, this doesn’t look much like him, unless there was a clairvoyant biopic made in the 60s starring Alex Davion.

  28. Verylatetotheparty Says:

    @Tat W: An entertainment news show used a picture of H-from-Steps for a story about that other Ian, so this is most likely a picture of someone else used by mistake.

    (I just can’t think of H-from-Steps as a ‘rock performer’ though)

  29. misterbob Says:

    Dear Sir , I think we need a ” H-from-Steps ” tag – surely he could with the exposure ? Perhaps he could do a Shatner and write a sci fic series featuring H-from-Steps ” ruling an amazon race .

  30. THX 1139 Says:

    I recall when H from Steps did Celebrity Big Brother, he said he wanted to be known as more than H from Steps. These comments prove that to have been an epic fail.

  31. Verylatetotheparty Says:

    @THX 1139: But don’t forget H-from-Steps was also in H & Claire, with Claire – from Steps.

  32. Tat Wood Says:

    @Verylatetotheparty (28): I tried writing ‘entertainer’ bt that didn’t seem appropriate to either Ian.

    @THX1139 (30): Yes, but we’re still talking about him. At great length. How many of the Venga Boys could you even name, let alone ID in a police line-up?

  33. GSS ex-noob Says:

    Those of us the left side of the pond* never knew what Steps are, let alone H.

    Perhaps he could be referred to as a “performer”?

    If something had somehow, someway taken over Chandler’s body, how is something allowing him to do all this investigating? Wouldn’t Someone/thing just walk him away from any clues? Close his eyes? The blurb makes even less sense than we thought.

    *I was going to make a comment about having a feckless leader with a bad hairdo, but…

  34. Bruce A Munro Says:

    @GSS ex-noob: the cover blurb really doesn’t make it clear that the possession was only temporary, does it? I felt the same confusion reading it.

  35. THX 1139 Says:

    “This isn’t an argument! It’s just contradiction!”

  36. THX 1139 Says:

    @Tat (32): I can name all of the Vengaboys… because I was a member of the Vengaboys.

    No, but seriously, I have no idea what they looked like, but I can name some of S Club 7 if that’s any use.

  37. Tat Wood Says:

    @THX: I don’t doubt that you were a member of Sugababes for a few days. Everyone was.*

    Anyone who watched ‘Primeval’ can name one of S-Club. Mind you, that’s not a lot.

    ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ got another of them into the headlines.

    (*Come to think of it, Jacob Rees-Mogg wasn’t, as far as I’m aware.)

  38. Verylatetotheparty Says:

    @THX 1139: 30) Due to the mistaken identity incident, H-from-Steps was briefly, if incorrectly, known as more than H-from-Steps. A case of be careful what you wish for?

    35) No it’s not!

    36) (this will only work if a LOT of people join in) No! I was a member of the Vengaboys!

    @GSSxn: “performer” is non-specific enough to fit the bill.

    @Tat: Jacob Rees-Mogg left before they were famous. Andy Warhol wasn’t a member, but notably said ‘Everybody will be a Sugababe for 15 minutes’.

  39. GSS ex-noob Says:

    I can’t name all of any of that sort of band. I can just about identify those who went on to solo careers, like Justin Timberlake or Ricky Martin. I might figure who was in what boy band, but I still can’t tell Backstreet Boys from NSYNC or New Kids on the Block reliably.

    Really, I’d only give odds on identifying the Spice Girls, with a 25% margin of error and the likelihood of not knowing anyone but Posh. Who I can only ID all of the time if she’s hanging onto Becks.

    I can only recognize about 3-4 K-pop groups in the aggregate. Those are some pretty, pretty boys.

    (I wish Fred Pohl were still with us to read this thread and see how far we’ve wandered.)

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