Mar 01

Looks like Balzan forgot his glasses again. OYE BALZAN! They're behind you!Click for slightly bigger picture

Now showing in IMAX

Alessandra Comments: The cover isn’t really awful, although it is pretty behind the curve for 1975. What got me was the hideous font lightning effect, the confusing typography (the title is actually “The Blood Stones”), and the extreme genericness of the cover — oh, and the Conan-gets-a-mullet hairdo.
Published 1975

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: 7.03 out of 10)

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39 Responses to “Balzan of the Cat People”

  1. Rachel J Says:

    Love the mini-skirt!

  2. Rachel J Says:

    I also like to think of the little light-bulb that must have gone off in the author’s head when he realised he could create an instant sci-fi version of Tarzan by the simple expedient of substituting “outer space” for “Africa” and “cat people” for “apes”.

  3. Phil Says:

    Speaking of apes, that cat person in the background is dressed in a gorilla uniform from the original PLANET OF THE APES movie!

    And speaking of missed opportunities (which we weren’t, but often are), surely there should be a foregrounded cat person in there. Holding a sword. One that goes ting!

  4. Claire Says:

    Phil beat me to it. Of all the times to actually have a cat person on the cover stage centre and they put some muppet cross dressing in a cheerleader skirt!

  5. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    My dear Mr. Balls On, that planet’s staying where it is, no matter how viciously you swing your dirk at it. 🙂

  6. THX 1138 Says:

    The Cat People stand at a distance waiting for Balzan to stop posing and open their cans of Whiskas.

  7. A.R.Yngve Says:

    (That one practically wrote itself)

  8. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Isn’t “The Tarzan of outer space” equivalent to “The utterly out of his depth”?

  9. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “BALZAN of the Woodcraft People” would’ve sounded better…

  10. A.R.Yngve Says:

    BALZAN – lord of the lightweight model airplanes!

  11. SI Says:

    Catz love their Ballz.

    That’s the best that I could come up with. I’ll try again later.

  12. Yoss Says:

    You can’t help but be tough if you grow up wearing fluttery fringed skirts around a bunch of cat people. Might also explain the Blood Stones title.

  13. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Yoss–spay or neuter your Balzan, maybe? But then it would be Balzoff.

    Mayhap that explains his wince…

  14. Adam Roberts Says:

    Is that ‘The Tarzan of Outer Spacel’, or the more Latinate ‘The Tarzan of Outer Spacei’?

  15. SI Says:

    When 70’s tennis players go bad!

  16. fred Says:

    Tarzan didn’t need a belt. And this leaves me with a craving for Magnus Robot Fighter set in Colonial America.

  17. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Robot fighting is cool, but to me the name “Magnus” always sounded a bit off — like “Melvin – Ninja Commando”.

  18. Rachel J Says:

    Wikipedia has this (and this only – it’s a very short article) to say about Balzan and his furry friends:

    “The protagonist is a young human who was accidentally ‘transferred’ as a baby to an alien world during the trip to Mars in the 26th century. The planet has green skies, 2 moons, and several different sentient species. The similarity to Tarzan of the Apes is rather obvious, as the young Brian Rice was rescued from the stasis cube in the crashed spacecraft by the Endorian ‘Cat People’.

    It has been derided on the internet as ‘cretinous swill meant for slack jawed teenagers [1]. Balzan is well armed with his therb, a 40-foot whip with a hollow handle containing a highly virulent poison and a wicked barb on the business end, with the poison fed through the whip by capillary action. One scratch and an opponent is dead. He has a neutron sword for close in fighting.”

  19. Alessandra Kelley Says:

    @Rachel J: I guess the lawyers for the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs must have missed this one.

  20. Tom Noir Says:

    Alessandra – I submitted this exact cover to GSS a while back! Great minds think alike.

  21. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    If he’s “The Tarzan of outer space”, he must have had a really, really looooong vine to swing from one planet to another….man, that even sounded cheesy to me 😛

  22. AA Says:

    I have #2 and #3 of these- guess I will have to send them in.

  23. Tom Noir Says:

    Given the title, this cover has a distinct LACK of cat people. Disappointing, really!

  24. Tat Wood Says:

    ‘Balzan’, so he’s like midway between Balzac and Tarzan.

    But his name’s really ‘Brian’.

  25. B. Chiclitz Says:

    When you’re in trouble
    And all on your own,
    With the cat people’s claws pricking
    Your bloody stones,
    Do not despair, there is one you can call on,
    A guy with big hair, we just call him

  26. Tom Noir Says:

    By the by, here is a fairly entertaining review of the book:

  27. Rachel J Says:

    Thanks for the link, Tom. I particularly enjoyed the revelation that one of the characters is Kitta the Cat-person. As the reviewer says, “God this book is lazy”.

    Still, at least the author took the trouble to think of his own title for this one.

  28. Don Hilliard Says:

    @fred and A.R. Yngve – Coincidentally (or not), the ‘Gerard F. Conway’ who wrote these under a pseudonym is better known as Gerry Conway – who’s been writing comics for most of the last 40 years.

  29. Bruce A Munro Says:

    This is insulting to cat people. Clothes wearing, civilized cat people =/= to a troop of apes. No doubt his cat-parents are disappointed that he ran away from home to become a barbarian warrior rather than a cat-lawyer or cat-doctor.

    When I was a young whipper-snapper I recall creating for my amusement “Bar-zan, Lord of the Grapes.” Can’t recall if I went much further with the idea, but I imagine he got pulled over for drunken vine-swinging pretty often.

  30. fred Says:

    I wonder what color the Viscount Greystoke’s name was changed to.

  31. B. Chiclitz Says:

    I am going to have to sue GSS for (perhaps deliberately?) feeding my already dangerous obsession with swords and scabbards. All I see now is that he appears to be a righty, yet has a scabbarded dirk on his right side, and the dirk in his hand appears to have no scabbard at all! Unless his headband doubles as a scabbard.

  32. THX 1139 Says:

    Sequel idea: Calzan of the Bat People.

  33. fred Says:

    @THK 32 I fear contemplating all the possible covers available with the alphabet and “_at”. Especially ‘e’.

  34. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @fred—”Calzone of the Fat People”?

  35. Tor Mented Says:

    @Yoss (12) GSS.

  36. Tag Wizard Says:

    Check out the Pussy Platoon in the background:

  37. Bibliomancer Says:

    The original appears to be hanging in some kind of private museum:

  38. GSS ex-noob Says:

    As IF cat people would follow a hairless monkey. Anyone who lives with a cat knows that much better. Maybe the cat people use him as whatever cannon fodder is called before gunpowder.

    “Sure, Balzan, we’re following! Go swing your mismatched dirks at the enemy by yourself! We’re right behind you. Several meters behind you.”

    @12, 34: GSS.

  39. Bruce A Munro Says:

    @GSS: I’d certainly let anyone flicking around a 40 foot poison whip lead from the front. Well in front.

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