Mar 08

1960! Only 95% sexist!Click for full image

Frank Comments: Now here we have an example of how to punch up a work by giving it a new title and new cover art. The story is from 1950, and was previously published as “The House That Stood Still”.
Published 1960

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: 7.84 out of 10)

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34 Responses to “The Mating Cry”

  1. Ian Sales Says:

    It was also rewritten to “spice” it up. Beacon Books did the same to about a dozen sf novels of the 1950s. The House That Stood Still, incidentally, was published in the UK as The Undercover Aliens, but it has no aliens in it.

  2. Phil Says:

    It’s actually a very well executed cover painting, if you can put up with its probable inappropriateness (on so many levels).

    Very much of its time. It reminds me of a couple of recent Ellison re-issues which play on the “nostalgia” value of such images, but reverse the gender roles:

  3. Tat Wood Says:

    Being Van Vogt, I expect that the doll in the chair is a psychic projection of one of the figurines on the shelf (‘doll’ being the only word that fits the bill) and the guy on the far left is some kind of cosmic judge deciding whether Humanity deserves to be given celestial advancement. Many of his books turned out to be ‘Earth’s Got Talent’.

  4. Adam Roberts Says:

    That’s pretty foul.

    Where’s whip-guy’s left arm, by the way?

  5. SI Says:

    Maybe this is very wrong of me to think. But she has the expression of, “Oh sorry did a bee just sting me… you call that a whip do you?”

    @Phil – Agree with you there! It’s more the content rather than the quality with this one.

  6. THX 1138 Says:

    They didn’t think the picture was offensive enough, so added the strapline to remove all doubt. They couldn’t be doing with friendly puns or whatever, no sir.

  7. Bibliomancer Says:

    This isn’t science fiction. There aren’t any cat people or dinosaurs on the cover.

  8. Tom Noir Says:

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with this cover.

  9. FearofMusic Says:

    Ah, the good old days when women were submissive objects of repressive male desire. Really, why did women want to change things. Oh so fun!! Wasn’t this originally the cover off an issue of True Detective Stories, or Shocking True Crime! She repaid them with…hot lead and droll one linets!
    “I’m sending you back to mommy…in a pine box!”
    “I’m here for your pleasure…as long as a slug between the eyes is your idea of pleasure.”
    ” He couldn’t take his eyes off my legs, so I closed them for good, sealed with hot lead from my .38.”

    Can someone explain the dolls on the shelf in the background?I know I am supposed to be fixated on Betty there, but she is lower center, and they fill the focal point. Is she being held captive by a group of failed toy makers, driven insane by their failure to come up with a viable alternative to Barbie? “Where’s your Ken now,eh, huh?”

  10. SI Says:

    “I have come to pay my debt… in the way I discovered men prefer…”

    “Excellent.. well hurry up then. Dinner, beer and a Die Hard dvd Marathon aren’t going to happen all by itself!”

  11. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Obviously she has discovered that the best way to pay off a debt to a man is to rearrange and carefully dust his collection of G.I. Joes and funeral urns on the bookshelf, while dressed in a casually dishabille manner, of course.

  12. fred Says:

    I find this cover is better appreciated if you assume the lady is NOT the debtor.

  13. FearofMusic Says:

    @Fred: Yipes! Now that is twisted thinking. I salute you sir.

  14. David Cowie Says:

    What’s worse:
    EITHER the publishers thought that a rapey picture would help sell the book,
    OR they were right?

  15. Jaouad Says:

    Nothing like celebrating International Women’s Day with… erm… an A.E. van Vogt novel.

  16. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    Hey is that a Storm Trooper helmet behind her right shoulder?

  17. A.R.Yngve Says:


  18. A.R.Yngve Says:

    I don’t know which is worse: the editor who thought this was the only way to convince men to, you know, READ… or the author who put up with being treated that way.

  19. David Cowie Says:

    From what I’ve heard, most authors have very little say in what goes on their covers. So the editor is worse in this case.

  20. EeroSarkkinen Says:

    Same story, different covers: and About differences btw editions:

  21. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    I’ve decided the look of disbelief on the captive’s face is due to her having accidentally discovered that the bloodthirsty gang she was investigating is really just a front for three thuggish dudes to get together and play with their gigantic collection of action figures.

    They are whipping her because she was laughing so hard she couldn’t run, and now their egos are bruised.

  22. FearofMusic Says:

    Wasn’t A.E.van Vogt buddies with L.Ron Ubbar? Or was that e.e. Cummins? Or C.J. Cherryh? No, no, pretty sure it was that Ubbar guy.

  23. Tat Wood Says:

    Elrond Ubbar invented a religion based on van Vogt’s stories, to which van Vogt apparently converted. I never did figure that one out.
    And (@Jaouad) most of his later books were salvaged from total unreadability by being largely rewritten by his wife, so IWD is exactly the day for it.

    I don’t think CJ Cherry was especially chummy with him, as he’d retired before she started. Or died. Or moved back to Canada. I can’t remember.

  24. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Older readers may be familiar with how critics have debated Van Vogt literally for DECADES — was he a hack or a misunderstood savant genius, what’s the meaning of his stories, are they just incoherent power fantasies or art…

    Perhaps a Van Vogt book is like one of those ink blots you’re being asked to look at — you’ll see what you want to see. (I see an ink blot obscuring parts of a narrative, so to speak…)

  25. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Adam, fred:Then, she’s bitten off his left arm, but he hasn’t gone into shock yet???

    Is that Huitzil on the shelves?

  26. RachelJ Says:

    Can it be that we are entirely misjudging and misinterpreting this cover? Maybe the woman represents the reader and the “tied up and beaten” theme is actually a clever metaphor for the experience of subjecting oneself to an A.E. van Vogt novel?

  27. Ian Sales Says:

    The hero of the book rescues the woman in the chair from Mexican cultists (who later prove to be nothing of the sort). who have her tied up in a room in the same building as his own office. Her name is Mistra Lanett and she’s a classic noir femme fatale. At least she is in the original novel. In the spiced-up The Mating Cry, she’s less Lauren Bacall and more Sylvia Kristel.

  28. David Cowie Says:

    Her name is Mister Lanett?

  29. Rags Says:

    – “The men will be sentenced……..TO DEATH!!!!”

    (all men gasp!)

    – “By snu-snu!”

    (all men cheer!)

  30. FearofMusic Says:

    @David Cowie, re#28: Ah, so this is a bit like Ed Wood’s “Glen or Glenda” for the sci-fi crowd then? Kinky, but then, well, that sells.

  31. Tat Wood Says:

    @FearofMusic: no, that would be this I was going to photograph it and send it in but I have to remember which box it’s in).

  32. FearofMusic Says:

    @Tat Wood.: Oh dear. Hmmm. I like that the seller put in the description ” nice cover art”.

  33. Rags Says:

    I am banking on a “Crying Game” surprise for these gentlemen.

  34. Anna T. Says:

    @Anti-Sceptic: No. It’s a Scout Trooper helmet.

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