Oct 21

HOLY CRAP! Look! He hasn't shaved his chest!!!Click for full image

Scott B’s Art Direction: OK, I want a triad of spiritual guru, alien Venus, and bull-man, linked by a strip of computer punch tape (futuristic!). Also, it must have a hummingbird-whale. I insist.
Published 1977

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: 8.43 out of 10)

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29 Responses to “I, Weapon”

  1. Adam Roberts Says:

    ‘He was the ultimate man-and …’ What’s a man-and?

  2. Adam Roberts Says:

    That hummingbirdwhale! Really, the whole scene is just waiting for a Bronzino foot to come crashing down and the De Souza brass theme to start up.

  3. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Well, in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian “and” is a species of duck… so that dude must be an invincible duck-man.

    Or just a confused, hallucinating loony…

  4. A.R.Yngve Says:


  5. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Thank goodness the cover text explicitly states this is a “science-fiction” novel… or hordes of New Age hippie types would’ve nabbed every copy in the bookstore!

  6. A.R.Yngve Says:

    When computer programmers go mental.

  7. Muttley Says:

    @Adam Roberts
    De Souza? ITYM John Philip Souza? The Liberty Bell, perhaps?

    @yngve – by 1977 the New Age Hippies were hip-deep in Bad Fantasy, sold in trilogies, and wouldn’t look at something this short.

    However, from the look of it, the artist had been trying to sell this picture since the mid ’60’s.

  8. Nix Says:

    Quite. Punched cards, futuristic? In 1977? Obsolete more like.

  9. SI Says:

    The two behind him are clearly annoyed that he looks so normal.

    And its not a humming bird whale! It’s a distant whale with wings! I’m sure of it!

  10. THX 1138 Says:

    I, Weepin’ after an eyeful of that.

  11. fred Says:

    Eric and Julia Roberts on the same cover? Priceless.

  12. Tom Noir Says:

    So is his “weapon” strong body odor?

  13. Adam Roberts Says:

    Muttley @7: you’re right, I meant Souza, not De Souza. In point of fact, I meant this.

  14. Phil Says:

    Adam, you meant neither Souza nor De Souza. You meant Sousa. (It’s Sousa with an S not Souza with a Z, ’cause Sousa with an S goes sss not zzz.)

    I think that bull-man with his large face and bull horns is hilarious. One of the best human-animal hybrids I’ve seen. None of that centaur nonsense where HALF a man is grafted onto MOST of a large grazing mammal.

  15. Skuds Sister Says:

    And there’s me getting confused and thinking Apple were just waiting for Steve Jobs to die before getting into the arms trade….

  16. Alessandra Says:

    The man-bull is ultimately derived from a Sumerian Lamassu, a protective deity with the face of a man left in honkin’ big statues all over Mesopotamia. I don’t know the source of the blue woman nursing the baby.

    The sad thing is between color and atmosphere this is a not bad riff on early Renaissance realism, with some echo of alchemical symbolism. That figure, although kind of disturbingly 1970s, is really well-painted.

    I think the artist knew his stuff. Can we blame the art director?

  17. Tom Noir Says:

    The more you know…!

  18. Scott B Says:

    He’s also The Most Interesting Man-Bull In The World.

  19. Phil Says:

    So he’s not a man-bull or man-bull, he’s a lamassu. That makes it even more a hilarious: a lamassu without wings!

  20. Alessandra Says:

    This is the same artist who did the cover art for “Retief’s War,” also on this site:

    He also did the very strange art for “Dream Park,” the one with the warrior fighting, as someone put it, the big dragon with the strawberry for a tongue:

  21. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Phil: Maybe the whale nicked ’em?

  22. Claire Says:

    I, weapon, you, tool.

  23. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    The scene looks like Jesus hanging out with some Greek mythos characters struggling to figure out this newfangled language of computers…You can see from the whale-bird’s smiling face that he’s thinking to himself “did anyone tell them that they have desktops now?”

  24. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    “And lo, the beast who had a face as a man said, ‘BLEAGH.'”
    — The Book of the Revelation of Good Show Sir, chapter 4.

  25. Winter Says:

    If that book is the one I think it is, it deserves that cover. A more unreadable, nonsensical pile of dren I have never finished. Perhaps my mistake was reading it while sober.

  26. JoeC Says:

    The book is pretty good sci-fi. A little sparse in characterization and probably too much narrative summary for today’s audience, but overall a unique and worthwhile work.

    Those aren’t punchcards, those are strands of DNA. The whole point of the novel is that humans were nearly destroyed by an alien invasion that wrecked the Earth. In the resulting radioactive hell that Earth became, as well as across the ruins of humanity’s former stellar empire, new “forms” of humanity arose. These included the bull-men on the cover, who were raised for their meat and eaten by other forms of humans. There are other forms of humanity (though I don’t know where the blue lady comes in) which are enrolled in a breeding program to produce a “super-being”. Obviously it stretches the imagination to think that these different forms of humanity would still be able to interbreed and would not be classified as separate species, but it makes for an interesting story.

    The best part about the book is when the super-human produced by the breeding program heads off to investigate the Vim, the race that had nearly destroyed mankind once and has suddenly returned (perhaps to finish the job). Finding out who the Vim are and why they’re so intent on conquering is a neat little mystery that the author came up with.

    So yes, the cover is pretty funky, but the book itself is fairly strong on ideas, if not necessarily on execution. I would recommend it just for its breadth of imagination.

  27. anon Says:

    Naturally somebody thinks “the ultimate man” and “humankind’s last hope for survival” is an iWeapon, but was it really necessary to write a book about it?

  28. Tat Wood Says:

    I, Weapon do take thee, Willendorf Venus, to be my lawfully wedded wife, from this day forth…

  29. GSS noob Says:

    @Tat: and then they chowed down on bull-man at the wedding dinner? Who’s the father of the baby, then? I guess Willendorf Venus isn’t about to hold with our middle-class monotheistic sexual rules.

    Punched paper tape was barely still around in 1977, if you weren’t important enough to deserve your own permanent disc space — as I wasn’t as a wee schoolNoob working with obsolete equipment that someone’s father had rescued from his office and then given to the school. It was out of style and old fashioned even then, as the real futuristic types had moved onto those giant tape reels that signified COMPUTER! back in the 60’s-80’s.

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