Aug 17

Gwad... I should have just stuck with having the bird...No larger image available

Binky Commnets: She only wished she had to deal with a backseat driver.
Published 1992

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: 8.44 out of 10)

Tagged with:

35 Responses to “Take Back Plenty”

  1. THX 1138 Says:

    “I don’t need to look where I’m going, we’re in space! What could I possibly bump into?”

  2. Ian Sales Says:

    It’s a shame the heroine, Tabitha Jute, is a POC. Another piece of whitewashed sf cover art…

  3. Hep C Says:

    I think this cover is desperately trying not to appear racist. With no great success. I do wish I had this kind of baby flying saucer at his age, though.

  4. Peper Says:

    Is that the Mekon’s cooler cousin?

  5. Seamyst Says:

    Quick! Is the baby inside or outside her ship?

  6. Ian Sales Says:

    Hep C, why would it be racist to show Tabitha Jute as she’s actually described in the book?

  7. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    Seamyst — It’s inside. What we’re seeing here is what happens when you don’t properly secure your baby-saucer before starting a trans-galactic road trip. You hit something, and your alien baby made of some kind of reflective metallic obsidian material goes flying through the windshield and into the vacuum of space, killing everyone aboard by catastrophic decompression.

  8. Doug Says:

    I liked the cover of my copy better.

    It was way boobier.

  9. Don Hilliard Says:

    A giant sentient jelly baby with its own flying saucer? Oh dear, the weird bloke with the scarf’s been round again…

  10. Jaouad Says:

    Is that baby her ship AI?

  11. fred Says:

    So the parrot is house trained?

  12. Phil Says:

    I like her Smashie & Nicey Bachman Turner Overdrive Let’s Rock lever most of all.

  13. Tom Noir Says:

    Is she supposed to be looking at the obsidian-baby-saucer in exasperation? The perspective here is WAY screwed.

  14. David Cowie Says:

    Is her neck broken?

  15. Lilah Says:

    That woman has the most “DURRRRRRR”-looking face I’ve ever seen.

  16. Tat Wood Says:

    Space-Baby has no legs and a hi-tech surfboard ra-ra skirt. (Or maybe s/he is behind a Jean Michel Jarre-style curved keyboard) Is this Wordy from ‘Look and Read’ after the yellow nodules were shaved off his head?

  17. Phil Says:


  18. Sneaky Burrito Says:

    @Lilah — I clicked on the comments to say exactly the same thing, but you beat me to it.

  19. Alessandra Says:

    I’m amazed no one has commented on that very strange looking parrot.

    The artist seems capable of painting each individual thing quite well, so I am assuming there is something deliberately weird about the parrot in the story. Perhaps it is the ship’s AI, and the obsidian baby is an interloper.

    The whitewashing of the MC is pretty disgraceful, though.

    Perhaps there should be a “whitewash” or a “racefail” tag?

    I believe every edition of Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea books on this site could use that tag, if added.

  20. Don Hilliard Says:

    Alessandra (and Ian) – In weak defense of the artist, this is an early ’90s Science Fiction Book Club cover, and at that time it was odds-on whether the artist had even skimmed the book let alone read it; I think many of them were just handed a short list of elements to work in, if not just the cover blurb.

    (There was a very obvious case of this with their brief printing of the RED DWARF novelizations, the jacket art for which had a white Dave Lister and a Cat with an actual cat head. The other horrible example was the art for Mercedes Lackey’s LAST HERALD-MAGE trilogy, which looked like the art direction was “Gay guy, white ren-faire outfit, white horse, GO!”)

  21. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    Oh sh!t, THERE IS A PARROT. I couldn’t tear my eyeballs off that freaky-looking baby-thing long enough to see it.

  22. Hep C Says:

    Ian Sales, I’m not talking about Tabitha Jute (I haven’t read the book anyway), I’m talking about the baby. Well, you know, we are going to have a black person on the cover, and they kind of overreacted :p
    At least that’s the impression it gives me.

  23. Alessandra Says:

    @Don Hillard: In light of that, I wonder if they gave the artist the cover of Doug’s edition and said “this, from a different angle.”

    I had been assuming that the author’s descriptions were so precise that both artists made most elements of the cover essentially the same. But it could also turn out like this if someone saw Doug’s cover without reading the story and tried to recreate it.

    I note on Doug’s cover the MC is only very subtly a PoC, for example, which could easily have been overlooked.

  24. Nephilim Says:

    The green monitor shows the Death Star has cleared the planet right at that moment 2001 Space Odyssey space race baby pops through the floating Stargate portal causing Erin Gray from Buck Rodgers to throttle her Star Trek warp drive controls to dual six red bars (warp 6?) almost snapping her neck and twisting upper Stephen Hawking’s chair as she loses left forearm from remote control pointed at blue screen time code CRT monitor which was showing the Galaxy Quest historic archives in Betamax all while Aladdin’s parrot Iago looks on deviously. Obviously this all has something to do with the Genie. 

  25. Sneaky Burrito Says:

    @Don: SFBC covers are indeed horrible. Mine for the omnibus of the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has a guy in a blue robe holding a staff against some evil tooth-monster things. You might argue that that’s semi-relevant to the story, but the guy has all his fingers on both hands, which ruins it for me. (For what it’s worth, frequently the insides are typo-riddled as well.)

  26. Don Hilliard Says:

    @Sneaky: To be absolutely fair, SFBC has sometimes come up with great cover art for their one-offs and omnibus editions.

    As an example, the Victoria Poyser painting that graced McCaffrey’s Harper Hall of Pern omnibus was far lovelier than anything I ever saw on the paperback editions.

    And here’s a comparison of the SFBC,/a> and paperback covers of Stephen Leigh’s The Crystal Memory. This was one where the SFBC artist (AC Farley) obviously read the book (and the Avon artist just as obviously didn’t!

  27. Alessandra Says:

    @Don Hilliard:

    Dear gods. After you said that, I went looking for the legendary awful SFBC Red Dwarf cover, and I found it.

    It’s a pity GSS doesn’t do media tie-ins, because this is the most WTF version of Red Dwarf imaginable. Rimmer and Lister both as middle-aged caucasian guys. Cat as a lynx-headed thing in a suit. Holly as … what, Yul Brynner?

    So instead of two black guys and two white guys, it’s three white guys and a cat?

    Why did they even bother using the real Red Dwarf logo?

  28. Ian Sales Says:

    @Don Hilliard – Colin Greenland hasn’t been well-served by cover art on his books in the US. When he saw the original massmarket paperback of Take Back Plenty, he was less than happy with how Tabitha Jute had been depicted – see here. And then there’s what the US publisher did with Harm’s Way – see here.

  29. A.R.Yngve Says:

    I think it’s the title that “Take Back Plenty” that puts the final nail in the coffin (above everything else that’s odd about the cover).

    You achieve a similar “Eh what?” effect by using this cover with alternate titles such as:

  30. Ian Sales Says:

    @AR. Er, Plenty is the name of an alien space station. The title is a pun.

  31. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    @Phil, that was funny…Following the same vein though, leads me to believe that the third book (if this were a trilogy) would be named “DON’T FORGET THE MILK!”

  32. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    It looks like the pilot is talking to the parrot from the side of her mouth…
    “Hey Polly, is that weird baby still staring at me?”

  33. Stephen Daugherty Says:

    It’s not the pilot’s fault. She got a whiff of the intergalactic baby’s super-diapers.

  34. anon Says:

    “This is not what I had in mind when I said I wanted a white woman looking after a black kid on the cover.
    And is that a parrot?!?”

  35. fred Says:

    Take Back Plenty sounds like a Bond girl.

Leave a Reply