Sep 25

Dude... I thought chasing a naked women couldn't get stranger... look at that guy dancing on rubbish!Click for full image

Vincent’s Art Direction: So here’s what I’m thinking. A man and a woman in a landfill. I want the woman tastefully nude, so have the man covering her naughty bits even though they’re standing about twenty feet apart. Lastly, have an army of giant preying mantises coming over the hill.
Published 1976

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: 8.37 out of 10)

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29 Responses to “Starlight”

  1. SI Says:

    I like to think the guy is directing some sort of post apocalyptic Broadway dance number.

  2. THX 1138 Says:

    “Either we’re really small or something’s getting bigger!”

  3. Tat Wood Says:

    Which story is this supposedly depicting? ‘The Mantis Who Murdered Mohammed’? Is his left arm preternaturally long? He seems to be attempting foreplay from twenty feet away. To allow this he has absorbed his right foot and forearm. But not his clothes.

  4. weaver Says:

    “They Don’t Make Life Like They Used To” would be my guess. No giant mantises though there are some insectoid heads; no nudity though there is semi-nudity. All limbs were of normal length in the story, as far as I can recall.

  5. A.R.Yngve Says:

    I have that book! Awesome stories. Awful cover.

  6. Adam Roberts Says:

    “In this volume we’ve assembled all the great short fiction of Alfred Bester. In the other volume is the not-so-great stuff.”

  7. Phil Says:

    Bester writes some of the smartest SF around, but we know the SF market is made up of people who just like giant insects, so let’s put some on the cover and hope they’re not disappointed when they discover there aren’t any in the book. They’ll only make the discovery after they’ve bought it, so it doesn’t matter.

  8. Herm Says:

    The largest praying mantises are females. Your whole sacrificial maiden thing may be about to backfire, Tastefully Flailing Arm Guy!

    (Accuracy demands that I mention that the post-coital snacking of female mantises on their mates does not happen all, or even most, of the time. See Snopes for details.)

  9. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    Beware the clothes-eating giant space mantids!

  10. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    “Jill, I think if you do the Watusi and I do a Luau they will be highly entertained and not want to eat us….Plus, you should take your clothes off for extra effect.”

  11. Yoss Says:

    There by his right knee. Is that the head of the robot maid from the Jetsons?

  12. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    ‘Cheer up, human! If he’s all that into you, he’ll GLADLY let you chew his head off in your carnal ecstasy while his pulsing loins continue to sire your hideous monkey larvae.’

  13. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Editor: “Whew! That was a close one. We ALMOST released a book with just the author’s name and the title on the cover. Lord knows what could’ve happened! Thank my lucky star I found that poster for THE DEADLY MANTIS and slapped it on the cover at the very last minute…”

  14. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Wait, is that a music cue I hear?

    We represent the Lollipop Guild
    The Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild.
    And in the name of the Lollipop Guild
    We’d like to welcome you to Mantis Land

    Followed by:

    Ding! Dong! my mate is dead
    He dropped his sperm then lost his head
    Ding! Dong! my mantis mate is dead . . .

  15. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Star Light, Star Bright, Star Knaked

  16. GSS noob Says:

    Ah, yes, the SFBC. You paid less in money, but more in embarrassment.

    I just checked the copy on my shelves. Damsel seems to be wearing the shredded remains of a bikini. So she’s about 2% short of starkers.

  17. JuanPaul Says:

    I know what happened. Imagine the cover art minus the people. Pretty cool, I think. That’s what the artist submitted. Publisher says, “put some people in the foreground, so that customers know there are people in it, and not just a bunch of insects.”
    Artist says, “fine,whatever.”

  18. Francis Boyle Says:

    I see that in eight years nobody has commented on the fact that the buildings in the background are pointing randomly in the way that buildings don’t. Maybe this is a planet with random gravity. That would probably explain what the hell is going on in the foreground. But not the giant mantises. Nothing explains the giant mantises.

  19. fred Says:

    What if the ‘The Man in the White Shirt’ had to use nukes instead of ordinary explosives.

  20. Bruce A Munro Says:

    TFW you accidentally travel into the post-apocalyptic future and leave your clothes behind.

  21. B. Chiclitz Says:

    “Hey, Earl, when does she bite off his head?”
    “SShh. Quiet Bob. They have to have coitus first.”
    “When will they do that?”
    “As soon as he figures out how to take off his clothes, I guess. Until then, just hold perfectly still.”
    “We’re good at that.”

  22. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Francis: apparently this illustrates the ever-popular “giant bugs after nuclear bombs” meme and that’s why the buildings are all cattywumpus. Which I don’t remember if it’s in the book or not. Never mind that the odds of all of her clothes disappearing and all his remaining are very slim, and the giant bugs can’t exist.

    Less gravity might make the mantises possible but it would have to be a LOT less, and more oxygen in the air.

    Maybe they’re very large mantises, in the 6-7 inch range, and the people are actually tiny dolls. It would explain her clothes being missing — Barbies always end up naked.

  23. Tor Mented Says:

    The reason she lost her pants is
    They were eaten by a mantis
    Cause the mantis eats them up like red currants.
    Are they pants or are they trousers?
    Still it makes me go “oh, wowzers.”
    When a praying mantis preys upon her pants.

  24. Bruce A Munro Says:

    The Grimdark Future, where there is only Interpretive Dance (and giant bugs).

    @GSS ex-noob: the fact that something can’t exist has rarely stopped SF writers, especially in the old pulp days of writers like Edmond “basic physics-smasher” Hamilton. I would be a bit surprised if people actually were unaware of the “radiation leads to giant insects” meme, but then again it’s been 60 years since the 1950s ended and even “Mystery Science Theater 3000” has been (mostly) off the air for two decades.

  25. B. Chicltiz Says:

    @Tor M—nice verse, GSS!

  26. THX 1139 Says:

    Well, it’s the “great short fiction”, and everyone on the cover is very short, so…

  27. JuanPaul Says:

    @gssxn I think you nailed it with the Barbie dolls. This makes the mantises extra terrifying as they may actually exist.

  28. Bruce A Munro Says:

    Here’s a big one…

  29. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Keeping perfectly still, as is their wont!

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