Apr 14

Ah the ole dragon crotch, I can give you a cream for that.Click for full image

Scot B’s Art Direction: OK, I see a redheaded woman wearing overalls, but still half-naked, being gnawed on by ghost wolves while a dragon explodes from her crotch. The dragon’s chasing a guy with a flaming orange on his jumpsuit. And a purple polka-dotted gnome fortune-teller! It’s a masterpiece I tell you! What’s that, you say the name of the book is what? Well, just throw a spiderweb around everything, that’ll work.
Published 1980

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: 8.51 out of 10)

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42 Responses to “Web of Angels”

  1. THX 1138 Says:

    Last line of this book: “…and so the computer genius was put off women for life.”

  2. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Behold the only known SF book cover painted by Marc Chagall.

  3. Jonesey Says:

    However do these covers get past marketing??

  4. Claire Says:

    Y’know I actually quite like this one – all the weirdness … Words can’t describe – but I like it.

  5. Alex Says:

    Beryl Cook meets Hieronymus Bosch.

  6. Evad Says:

    + Claire
    Full-on awesome.
    Sort of like a Charlie Sheen rant.

  7. SI Says:

    A genius of fashion it looks like! That flaming jumpsuit is HOT!

  8. Carolyn B Says:

    Not so much wtf as WTF?!!!!!! It did bring to mind Henri Rousseau’s “Unpleasant Surprise” updated for the 1980s…

  9. Tom Noir Says:

    Maybe she’s giving birth to the dragon? Whatever the case, that is one oddly-proportioned woman.

  10. Scott B Says:

    I even forgot about Levitating Giant Inflatable Suit Guy. I love Levitating Giant Inflatable Suit Guy!

  11. Phil Says:

    I like the tie-wearing Emperor Ming character in the background on his flying invisible armchair.

  12. A.R.Yngve Says:

    The blurb reads:
    “He was a genius in a computerized universe… and they wanted to kill him for it.”

    For what? For being a genius, or for that pesky computerized universe, or for some undefined “it”?

  13. Green Says:

    If I were him, I’d be running away too. o_0

  14. Jane Says:

    Is that Baron Harkonnen floating in the background?

  15. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “Is that Baron Harkonnen floating in the background?”


    “The duke…[snort] …will die before these eyes!! And he’ll know… he’ll know! That it is I, Blenemy Harkonnen, who encompasses his oh crap! I’m stuck in a giant spiderweb!”

  16. Dalton H. Says:

    Yet there are no angels in that web.

  17. Smith Says:

    I like the goblin in the purple polka dot shirt running a “find the lady” game in the bottom right.

  18. Queen Khentkawes Says:

    Did Ted Alspach do this cover? He writes these Adobe Illustrator Bibles, and I swear these people escaped from his Ultimate Werewolf game (a photo of which he obligingly included in the book). His stuff always creeped me out.

  19. Greg Fasolino Says:

    Actually this cover was done by the wonderful modern surrealist artist Terrance Lindall, known for his masterful illustrations of “Paradise Lost.” Though SF/horror fans may remember him more for his series of classic “Creepy” “Eerie” and “Vampirella” covers, and his early ’80s work in “Heavy Metal.” He’s a fairly important dude.
    Anyway, I love this cover!

  20. Scott B Says:

    I actually hadn’t checked who the artist was. Nobody’s credited in the book, but the internets say it’s Terrance Lindall.

  21. Terrance Lindall Says:

    Yes, it is the worst SF fantasy cover ever done! Simon & Schuster stopped commissioning me after that. I was getting tired of doing work for the publishers and was moving on to building a museum in upstate New York (the Greenwoood Museum – look on wikipedia)

    Actually I love everybody’s comments. I now have to my credit some of the best and worst ever done in the 20th century! Sometimes art is so bad it’s good, and if it’s incredibly bad, it’s great..I can live with that!! Best Regards, Terrance

    PS: Thanks Greg!

  22. Jaouad Says:

    Is that woman having anal intercourse with a dragon, or is just her strap-on novelty sex toy?

  23. Teresa Nielsen Hayden Says:

    I am seriously unimpressed by Terrance Lindall’s explanation: “I was getting tired of doing work for the publishers and was moving on to building a museum in upstate New York.”

    If his paintings had just been sold in galleries, only Lindall would have suffered if he produced a half-assed piece of work. Unfortunately, he was getting paid to paint book covers. That novel is someone else’s work, and Lindall screwed it up.

    WEB OF ANGELS is an early novel by John M. Ford, who started out being a good writer and became an extraordinary one. It’s a fun book, and deserved better than it got. It was also arguably the first cyberpunk novel, clocking in well before Bill Gibson or Vernor Vinge, as the few of us who’ve read it keep pointing out.

    Mike Ford’s writing career caught some bad breaks, and this cover was one of them. Mike’s dead now, so maybe it’s moot anyway. But seeing Terrance Lindall making light of it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It’s not a trivial matter. He screwed up someone else’s book.

  24. Horace Jeffery Hodges Says:

    From knowing Lindall, I’d say his remarks were tongue-in-cheek and that he doesn’t really think this cover is the worst ever. If read differently, he’s actually saying that it’s the best ever. He might not mean that either. Lindall’s a bit of an absurdist, modern surrealist trickster, so take his remarks with a grain of salt.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  25. Bibliomancer Says:

    @Tag Wizard — We have an ” artists in the comments” here. We should invite more of them to visit. Show them their work is not forgotten.

  26. Tom Noir Says:

    No, more than that: GSS should sponsor a special art exhibition by such modern masters as Mr. Lindall!

  27. GSS Admin Says:

    @Bibliomancer – It seems the Wizard has taken early Christmas leave! I’m sure he’ll see this sometime soon.

    @Tom Noir – GSS should! Unless it involves giving money… I’ll gladly “sponsor” something by turning up and drinking free wine though!

  28. Terrance Lindall Says:

    Dear Guys:

    The WAH Center would gladly do a show of “The Worst” if you can get artists to submit their work! I would need at least 15-20 artists. Unfortunately, I sold that painting that you all admire so much and I forget who owns it. Now days i do not sell originals.

    Terrance Lindall, President & Ex. Director, Williamsburg Art & Historical Center

  29. Alessandra Kelley Says:

    It’s a shame, because the novel is quite a good one, and it *is* the first cyberpunk novel.

  30. Bibliomancer Says:

    @Terrance Lindall — You could do a whole exhibit of just Baen covers. I think they are part of Simon & Schuster though and might still hold a grudge against you.

    @ GSS Admin — Rouse Tag Wizard out of that stupor!

    @Alessandra Kelley — Welcome back to the comments. You’ve been missed.

  31. anon Says:

    If those are angels, what do the demons look like?

  32. Anna T. Says:

    @Green – Seconded.

  33. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    This was the inspiration for Sarah McLachlan’s song.

  34. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Without a doubt, Bienvenido Bones is the saddest wanker of desperate spam in our age, comparable to other Hormel meats throughout the ages, and someone who has achieved a mere thirty-sixth posting on a random page in the bowels of the Internets.

    Bones’ pandering for Terrance Lindall appears to be about as low as you can go and still claim to be a thinking human being, click or paste:

  35. Jon K. Says:

    @DSWBT: Lindall and Bienvenido “Bones” Banez Jr. both did a nice spam-job here, wouldn’t you say?

  36. Tat Wood Says:

    Mr Lindall’s illustrated Dante presumably has a self-portrait in Circle Eight, Bolgia Ten. Benny Bones is in Bolgia 2.

  37. Tat Wood Says:

    Nurse! He’s out of bed again.

  38. anon Says:

    Spam, spam, spam, spam
    Spam, spam, spam, spam
    Lovely spam, wonderful spam!

  39. Jon K. Says:

    Clean-up on aisles 34, 35, 36, 40, 41 and 42, please!

  40. fred Says:

    A foo dog springing from a woman’s vagina. Sounds like something Dick Blade would somehow be responsible for creating.

  41. GSS ex-noob Says:

    I know it didn’t happen for several years, but I’m still blaming this cover for Mike Ford’s untimely death.

  42. Bruce A Munro Says:

    So it’s early cyberpunk? This would be a really crappy mmorpg game then, and this adventuring team is getting slaughtered by this level’s boss. Should have completed that side quest and picked up some demon dog repellant!

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