Mar 01

Strobe lights in! Time to PARRRRRTTAYYYYY!Click for full image

Matt Comments: All randomness aside, it’s the quality of the drawing that really stands out here.
Published 1997

Many thanks to Matt!

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: 8.85 out of 10)

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49 Responses to “Lifehouse”

  1. UnravThreads Says:

    That bloke looks suspiciously like The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s Reed Martin.

    Aside from that, I don’t think it’s that bad a cover. The title is much worse :p

  2. SophaLoaf Says:

    Just when you thought Lifehouse was just a one-hit crossover Christian Rock band…

  3. SI Says:

    That guy has one huge torso!

  4. THX 1138 Says:

    “YEAH! The new Pete Townshend concept album has arrived!”

  5. mfabry Says:

    Safety first!

  6. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    “Not now, honey, my skin is almost done downloading…”

  7. A.R.Yngve Says:

    I laughed SO HARD at the desperate ad copy “First Publication Anywhere!”
    Though… you should’ve seen the copy suggestions they didn’t use:

    “First printing on any sort of paper!”

    “First publication with this title by this author!”

    “First book EVER with this tagline!”

    “First Baen publication with a foreword by Hamid Karzai!”

    “First publication using actual human blood for ink!”

    “FREE PRIZE inside!*
    (*Prize consists of the novel
    Lifehouse by Spider Robinson.)”

  8. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Sing along:

    Our house!
    in a middling Baen book
    Our house!
    in a middling Baen book

    Mother runs her big machine
    Daddy has just shaved his head
    and runs around making noise
    The garage suddenly explodes
    There’s always something happening
    and it’s usually quite dumb

    Our house!
    in a middling Baen book
    Our house!
    in a middling Baen book…

  9. Dalton H. Says:

    Ignoring the exploding garage and the sprinting deformed Lex Luthor, she continued her work.

  10. Tom Noir Says:

    I like this cover: it’s very life-affirming. It shows that even a person with hideous physical deformities such as a hunchback or a freakishly high waistline can still get down and PAR-TAY!

  11. NGpm Says:

    This just screams, “We don’t have time for you to work anything up, just combine a bunch of doodles you have laying around and get it to print!”

    Isn’t any first printing the first publication anywhere?

  12. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “Isn’t any first printing the first publication anywhere?”

    Yep. Kinda kills the excitement, doesn’t it?

  13. Phil Says:

    Tom Noir: “a freakishly high waistline”

    Of course, that’s where I’ve seen this body before: it’s Simon Cowell! I don’t know where the head came from, though.

  14. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Honey, I Blew Up The Garage

  15. BohicaSnafu. Says:

    “Nobody’s perfect. But Spider comes pretty damn close.” That alone sold me. Plus when you add the fact that the novel is the first time its been published anywhere means it is required reading.

  16. Green Says:

    Another good author suffers from ‘Recurring Bad Cover Syndrome’.

  17. Infoqueen Says:

    It looks more like Lord Voldemort and Selma Blair are in a Death Garage, rather than any kind of Life House.

  18. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Too much Botox and she won’t even raise an eyebrow when the garage explodes.

  19. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Infoqueen, I’d totally buy Death Garage instead of Life House.

    In fact, you could have a whole series:
    Doomsday Garden Shed
    – Terror Patio
    – Fright Greenhouse
    – Outhouse of Horrors

  20. Jami Says:

    Why is that garage trying to kill Kryten? Did Lister get mad at him?

  21. C.Humpy Says:

    Does anyone else think ‘Spider’ isn’t his real name?

  22. Tom Noir Says:

    It’s a family name! He’s named after his revered ancestor Rear Admiral Archibald William Spider Robinson-Gaylord. “Archie” for short.

  23. Tom Noir Says:

    I’ve decided that if you imagine that the bald guy is actually a man-shaped helium-filled balloon that this cover makes way more sense.

  24. Jen Says:

    Just thought I’d mention that I was driving home from the bank the other day and out of nowhere realize I’m singing A. R Yngve’s Talking Heads parody from comment #8. Made my day, I tell you. ๐Ÿ˜€

  25. Muttley Says:

    I think you mean Madness parody?

  26. Alessandra Kelley Says:

    There is a sort of jumping-jack ethos to these figures. You can almost see the little swivels at their shoulders and elbows. As I look at them the thought arises, Well, yes, technically our arm bones are rigid and unbending except at the hinges, as it were, but somehow these don’t have any life in them.

  27. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Alternate blurb:
    Nobody’s perfect. Like the artist who made this cover, for example. Or Spider Robinson. But we’re only human! So PLEASE buy

  28. Tom Noir Says:

    I’d like to see a Baen book with a Shuriken of Approval on it that just says “We have to put one of these on the cover!”

  29. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Thank goodness they used zombies instead of garage doors for Resident Evil.

  30. Bibliomancer Says:

    The Sims: Spider Robinson Edition

  31. Lillie Awesome Says:

    My first thought was: what does Peter Garrett heading a soccer ball have to do with fantasy or science fiction?

    It was kind of my last thought, too, even after I realized he was just doing his inimitable interpretive dance thing in front of a bursting garage door.

  32. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Nobody’s perfect. But Spider comes pretty damned close. But not as damned close as me.
    โ€”Harlan Ellison

  33. B. Chiclitz Says:

    The Mr. Clean Saga, Chapter 2: The Road Not Taken.

  34. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    “Nobody comes.”
    –Orson Scott Card

  35. Bibliomancer Says:


  36. fred Says:

    All the action in this cover appears to be taking place in the garage. So…….put the cover inside the garage……….maybe? So……
    the artist can show his mastery of inside perspective………maybe?

  37. Anna T. Says:

    The artist may have failed junior high art class, but at BAEN! such things as “correct anatomical proportions” are unnecessary to the creation of the greatest book covers the world has ever seen.

    Why else would this exist?

  38. Mellie M. Says:

    A.R.Yngve: I am totally singing along. “…on a middling Baen book.” Also, it’s weird that the bald alien guy is wearing dad jeans.

  39. Tat Wood Says:

    I think ‘Death Garage’ would have been a better episode of the 80s ‘Outer Limits’ than what we got.

    (When I was teaching GCSE English and Ted Hughes was on the syllabus I always had trouble with ‘Hawk Roosting’ because of the line ‘The Allotment of Death’. It reminded me of that crap 70s Nigel Kneale series).

  40. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Iq, AR, Tat: “Death Garage” was the name of the garage band I fronted back in school. It being the early 90s, we were signed to a major label and opened for Helmet for a few shows. ๐Ÿ˜€

  41. JuanPaul Says:

    Now THAT is how you rock a sweater.

  42. Tom Noir Says:

    Can we all stop picking on the bald guy on the cover?

    He’s livin’ for the only thing he knows. He’s running and he’s not quite sure where to go. And now he knows he’d like to be in tune. He’s hanging by a moment here with you.

  43. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @TW: Does this count as “shuriken of approval”?

    This just fails in everything: quality of drawing, composition, proportion, anatomy, are we on the inside or the outside of the garage (although the house is clearly seen from the outside — this problem is mirrored by the title fonts), what gadget is she looking at, and why was this artist chosen to illustrate something with two (presumably) human beings when the most photo-realistic representation is given to the log cabin wood and the dad jeans?

    The book’s not bad, certainly well above the usual BAEN! whaaat? dreck, but the cover…

    She’s Life!
    He’s House!
    Together, they fight the laws of perspective!

  44. Hammy Says:

    “Nobody’s perfect. But Spider comes pretty damned close. To not being perfect, I mean.”

  45. GSS ex-noob Says:

    If ever a cover cried out to be tagged “perspective problems”, this is it.

  46. Tag Wizard Says:

    @GSSxN – Hey this was six years ago! I think I only had about ten tags to work with back then. We’ve come a long way, I have over a thousand now (mostly author and artist names).

  47. Tom Noir Says:

    @TW: You’re doing God’s Work. Some future academic will use these tags to assemble a scholarly work on anthropomorphism in Baen books from the 1990s, and they will thank you.

  48. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    /me rushes to publish before Tom can scoop me

  49. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @TW: shows that Flashback Friday is useful, getting all this stuff further labeled for future scholars and current fans of bad art.

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