Mar 07

Unknown to some, King Penguins are respected collectors of fine art.Click for full image

Tom Noir’s Art Direction: I want a cover that depicts the author’s existential angst and self-loathing. Just kidding! Draw a naked broad with big gazongas on it and call it a day. Ooh, and maybe have a bird squawking at her.
Published 1993

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: 8.04 out of 10)

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32 Responses to “The Book of the Mad”

  1. SI Says:

    “He may eat a lot of fish, smell a little of wet dog… and is a penguin! But he’s the best darn artist this gallery has got!”

    There’s a book right there! I know what I’m writing next… or first…

  2. Smith Says:

    Last time I saw a penguin looking like that on TV it was regurgitating fish for its young.

    That woman is about to get a nasty, and smelly, surprise.

  3. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Let’s be fair. Suppose you were expecting an Andrew Wyeth or Jackson Pollock, and when you popped open the crate, there was…a living, breathing mammal with slashed wrists. Wouldn’t you be upset? I would be.

    I’m not a big fan of the fonts. They’ve gone with a generic Olde Style font for the title, a little cliché, but acceptable. With the author’s name, tho, you’ll see that half the letters in “Tanith” are doing the shuffle, half aren’t, and none in Lee are. And why purple and yellow? To go with the madness theme, I presume. But, the different widths and lack of juxtaposition ruin the effect.

  4. patrick Says:

    I totally bought this book when I was maybe 13. Because of the cover art.

  5. THX 1138 Says:

    I call it “Burgess Meredith – Patron of the Arts”. Symbolic, naturally.

  6. A.R.Yngve Says:

    The beautiful woman on the cover (and she really is beautiful) does not help, because this cover as a whole is one big mess.

    Seriously, even if the book is *about* madness and chaos, it still has to project a sense of structure and coherence.

    And the use of fonts and letters is utterly incompetent. What a lousy thing to do to Tanith Lee.

  7. fred Says:

    The Secret Book Covers of Parodee – IV The One Where Rachel Took Acid and Thought She Was a Vargas Girl

  8. Yoss Says:

    I scanned through a few of the amazon reviews and this cover actually seems to fit. Something about a penguin being over it all and multiple realities on top of each other. I suppose symbolized by the continuing form of her leg into the painting. Terrible typography work though.

  9. Phil Says:

    Gives a new meaning to the phrase “now available in Penguin paperback”.

  10. Mrhairyman Says:

    If I was going to have my nipples pecked by a Penguin, I’d cover up too…

  11. Tom Noir Says:

    Here’s a question: what is she wearing on her wrists? Cuff links? Presumably she had time to put on just one article of clothing before the PENGUINS ATTACKED and she chose to cover her wrists?

    Okay, maybe they’re restraints. But who puts on wrists restraints and nothing else? I’ll tell you who: sexual deviants. This lady and her penguin friend are into ‘roleplay’:

    “Oh no, don’t peck me Mr. Penguin!”

    “Awk awk awk!”

    “Ooh baby…”

    And, scene.

  12. Zentinal Says:

    “No, No, No!” screamed the Penguin Art Director. “Where are her feathers? Why is her beak tiny, misshapen and soft? Why aren’t her pectorals attached to a keel bone? What? It another of those sy fy books? Whatever… She’s still hideous.”

  13. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    This is the most horrible Ritsuko Akagi/Pen-Pen fanfic ever…not that any of them are good, at any rate…

  14. Tom Noir Says:

    Follow-up novels include,


    and of course, BOOK OF THE DAD.

  15. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Tom: Oh, you’ve met my father, then?

  16. Tat Wood Says:

    ‘The Secret Books of Paradys – IV’. So there were three others. Yet despite probably deserving a Font Problems tag as badly as this one (ahem) and undoubtedly having goofy covers, this is the only one to make it to GSS.

    They really are secret, aren’t they?

  17. Bibliomancer Says:

    Tippi Hedren: The Final Years

  18. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    ‘You’re not Wally!’

  19. Tom Noir Says:

    @Tat Wood: Ahem.

  20. fred Says:

    The fingers should be a part of the cover.

  21. THX 1138 Says:

    This new Star Wars movie really is going in a new direction, isn’t it?

  22. B. Chiclitz Says:

    When Mad magazine finally jumped the shark, and the penguin,

  23. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    The brain trust of the Sheraton Cadwell Orchestra receives Victoria Leone’s replacement.

  24. Raoul Says:

    The new dance craze: The Sitting Naked Macarena!

  25. GSS ex-noob Says:

    Between this cover and @Tom Noir’s link, I must ask: are nekkid bazongas so vitally important to the overall plot of this series? Or just to the art department?

    I can’t blame either the penguin or the woman for their WTF looks.

    Is the poor nude boxed lass suffering from terrible carpal tunnel syndrome, perhaps, rather than being restrained?

    @DSWBMusic: Horrid people.

    I was once in a choir where we had to wear dresses much like that, and everyone looked fat in them. From the 50-something stout matrons to 20-something me who weighed about 110 soaking wet at the time. We sounded great but looked like overstuffed sausages. With a ruffle down the length.

    Thankfully mgmt. came to their senses and the next year we were told to all find our own white blouses and long black skirts.


    I bring you today’s find in the WTF This Is Really A Book? series:

    The truly terrifying part? Not self-published.

  26. Leak Says:

    Welp, looks like this straitjacket is cuffs only…

    @GSSen: can’t be any more terrifying than Chuck Tingle getting two Hugo nominations…

  27. Anna T. Says:

    @GSS ex-noob: It is truly amazing what kind of “literature” romance novel companies will publish. And I don’t mean in the positive sense of the word.

  28. Iluvm Says:

    Desired outcome …painted perfect picture,collateral damage…loss of faith. Still satisfied with the gain in comparison of the heartbreaking pain. Anything for you Boss

  29. Francis Boyle Says:

    That’s not mad. That’s “mildly worried you might have left the iron on”.

    @GSS ex-noob

    If you think that’s WTF, don’t even think about googling “Taken by the T-Rex”. (Although it does explain the Chuck Tingle stuff.)

  30. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Leak: what’s there to fuss about? Most of those look like political satire…not my thing, I admit, but respectable none the less.

  31. Iluvm Says:

    Everything looks yellow to the jaundiced eye. Don’t understand why the artist prefers yellow colour that much. Remove the yellow glasses and look world has other colours too that you can use for your painting.

  32. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Leak, @Francis: Chuck actually has some clever turns of phrase, a good sense of humor, and publishes it all himself, just for fun. And he writes with proper grammar.

    His first nomination was jammed through by neo-Nazis/Gamergaters, but the story had some decent SF worldbuilding before the sex part.

    His second nomination was honest (in a different category, non-fiction), for his masterful trolling of the neo-Nazis and other unsavory types. I nominated him myself, but didn’t vote for him on the final ballot the second time.

    The right-wingers didn’t bother to notice that Chuck is an unabashed liberal, so he spent a whole year trolling them and raising money for gay and feminist causes thereby. They tried to make him a joke and he turned it around on them.

    Fandom is pretty cool with Chuck. His bad faith nomination (which he had no idea about) finished 6th out of 5; his legit nomination finished 4th of 7.

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