Oct 07

How was getting my head cut off? Meeeehh...Click for full image

Scott B Comments: A smug four-armed barbarian Telly Savales holding a bemused decapitated robot head. Works for me.
Published 1979

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: 8.53 out of 10)

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31 Responses to “O Master Caliban!”

  1. THX 1138 Says:

    Funnily enough, “ERG!” is the noise you make when your head is cut off by matey boy there.

  2. SI Says:

    Man I just love the layers upon layers of text.

  3. Craig T Says:

    I’m just glad the cover tells me that it’s a novel. Otherwise I might think it’s real.

  4. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Why does it read

    ” a novel

    instead of

    “a novel by


    You get a sense of an angry retort, like this:

    “Say, who did you say this novel was written by again..?”
    “BY PHYLLIS GOTLIEB!! How many times do I have to say it?!”

  5. Alessandra Says:

    I don’t know what’s worst: the facial expressions, the hands, or that he’s standing on a road of Spam chunks.

  6. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Alessandra: that’s a seafood highway he’s towering over.


    is an anagram for


  7. Tom Noir Says:

    I like this cover. Despite the fact that it features a severed head, a mutant four-armed monster and a highway made of body parts, everyone seems quite cheerful about the situation!

  8. Little Mi Says:

    Surely if you had four arms and that many body parts to dismember you might as well use at least one more sword just to save some time.

  9. fred Says:

    I see no machines just life sized marionette pieces.

  10. Ian Says:

    Four armed knife wielder is looking for a pair of feet (his legs are missing them) and comes across a head… Oh, Phyllis I wonder if the cover bears any relationship to your story line!

  11. Tom Noir Says:

    Okay Caliban, I’ll bite. What is an “O Master”?

  12. Phil Says:

    I imagine this as a sequel to OH MR PORTER. Will Hay will be ol’ four arms. Moore Marriott is the severed head.

    The Erg war was the first one. Then the SI system was introduced, and we had the Joule war.

  13. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    The robot head is all “Ehhh, when they finally give me a body, it’ll probably be a robotic toilet. That’s just how things work out for me. But that’s roboting for ya.”

  14. Alessandra Says:

    An “Omaster” is someone who is very, very bad at chanting meditation.

  15. Adam Roberts Says:

    I’d like to register my approval that the image has been shot against a tasteful granite background, rather than the usual shelf-of-charity-shop-books. Good show sir.

  16. Muttley Says:

    Cheeky blighter! That’s one of my library bookshelves behind the Earthsea cover, I’ll have you know, and almost all my books were bought at bookshops for the cover price.

  17. Adam Roberts Says:

    My mistake. You should have a word with Telly Savales about it. Not Telly Savalas — he probably wouldn’t return your calls. But I’m sure Telly Savales is available, and for a very reasonable fee.

  18. Alessandra Says:

    That’s not granite; that’s shag-pile carpeting.

  19. Muttley Says:

    Adam, I left the smiley off my post 🙂 And I think Telly Savales needs to talk to Google about this greek guy who’s hijacking all his searches.

    Incidentally that has to be the worst attempt at a four-armed figure I’ve seen. There’s no attempt at shoulders, obscured by the map of the world he/she/it seems to be wearing, and the head is stuck on as an afterthought. Perhaps this is really some fairground photographers stick-your-head-through-the-hole posing portrait. Pity the guy who gets to play the severed head, then.

    Phyllis Gotlieb was apparently the “Mother of Canadian Science Fiction”. nI’m embarrassed, then, to say I’ve never heard of her before.

  20. Scott B Says:

    That is indeed my carpet, not granite counter.

    Mea Culpa on Telly Savales though.

    And I agree with Muttley, there’s something off about the whole torso — how the arms, legs head all come together doesn’t seem quite right.

  21. Adam Roberts Says:

    Now that you say carpet, I’m embarrassed I ever thought it was anything else …!

  22. Phil Says:

    The whole Telly Savales/Savalas thing could have been avoided… by calling him Richard O’Brien. Or Jason ‘Gadget Show’ Bradbury.

  23. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    Hey look, I found a twin of me. But I’ll cut his head off because he has hair and I don’t.

  24. AngusMacAskill Says:

    The decapitated head’s facial expression is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life.

  25. Alessandra Kelley Says:

    As I said elsewhere on this site, Phyllis Gotlieb is a pretty good writer saddled with some of the worst covers ever.

    This book of hers blew my mind when I was 12 or 13.

  26. Hep C Says:

    It would be safer if he held the sword in one of his upper hands. This way he can easily sever his own upper arm. But I suppose he can’t help it – he’s obviously bottom-left handed. And the world’s not fair for bottom-handed people.

  27. Anna T. Says:

    Which one’s Caliban, though? Four-headed bald nutjob, or surprisingly relaxed decapitated head? And, for that matter, does this have anything to do with “The Tempest”?

  28. Tor Mented Says:

    ♪ O Master Caliban
    Cally me banana. ♪

  29. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Tor: 4 thumbs up.

    This is the sequel to O Journeyman Caliban. Third in a trilogy.

  30. Longtime_Lurker Says:

    This might really be fun. According to a Goodreads reviewer:

    “It features a jungle, radioactivity and mutants, telepathy, unethical science, sentient animals (including a goat), sentient machines (robots, but at least two of them are AIs by modern standards), delinquent children, and dis-functional families.
    There are a lot of elements. It’s an sf meditation on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with a multi-coloured sentient gibbon in the role of Ariel, a four-armed boy child replacing Miranda, and a Prospero who makes different decisions.”.

    So matey boy there is actually Miranda from The Tempest? Mind blown.

  31. JJYoyo Says:

    “By Phyllis Gotlieb, you shall be avenged!”
    – Dr Lazarus, Galaxy Quest

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