May 07

Welcome to Planet B! Here is your cardigan!!Click for full image

Valerie Comments: Here is a little find in the young adult section. The book sounds decent enough, but I’m not sure with about that cover. Looks like nosy, boring, neighbour in space.
Published 1987

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: 5.38 out of 10)

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59 Responses to “The Settlement on Planet B”

  1. Ewan Says:

    This appears to be from my local paper in 2025.

    “Local woman protests buzzcopter nuisance”

  2. The Tag Wizard Says:

    Attack of the Killer Space Neighbor!

  3. Adam Roberts Says:

    The thing about Line Dancing is that it looks stupid if you do it in a sweater, all by yourself.

  4. Tat Wood Says:

    Dame Helen Mirren lying low after the re-release of ‘2010’

  5. Phil Says:

    Behind you! Helicopters!

    Is it not a “font problem” that modified Scrabble tiles have been used to spell out P L A N E T B ?

  6. THX 1138 Says:

    “And do you know not one newsagent on this planet sells Woman’s Weekly?”

  7. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    ‘I cut down trees, I eat my lunch, I go to the lavatory. On Wednesdays I go shopping in the settlement on Planet B!’

  8. Bibliomancer Says:

    I used to enjoy space opera science fiction. This is more like space soap opera.

  9. SI Says:

    “So I complained to the local council… we’re the only settlement on the planet… and they put a flight path right over us! I mean who would do such a thing?!”

  10. Rags Says:

    Sweet future where the mini-space shuttles rely on the awesome power of HELICOPTER BLADES!! Will the wonders never cease?

  11. Tom Hering Says:

    Plaaaaanet B is the place to be, spaaaaace livin’ is the life for me, raaaaadiation spreadin’ far and wide, keep your old Earth just give me that rocket ride.

  12. FearöfMüsic Says:

    I have seen the future…and it looks dull, frumpy, and rather annoyed.

  13. JuanPaul Says:

    In the future, women will wear their handbags around their necks.

  14. fred Says:

    The helicopters look cool but I can’t figure out how people get into them.

  15. B. Chiclitz Says:

    What is it about this cover? It gets to you, but you can’t say just why. I think, upon reflection, it’s the incongruities—on Planet B it seem everyone dresses out of a Land’s End catalogue yet lives in houses left over from a Western TV series. The buzzcopters look like electric razors and although they seem to be hovering pretty low, cast no shadows (vampire buzzcopters?), and for some reason the chimney is striped like a barber pole. I can’t find a single conceptual net to hold all of this, and apparently, neither can she. BTW, check out the popped collars!

  16. Tom Hering Says:

    From the dust jacket flap that I imagine reads: “Clare Cooper here continues the story of Zenna Henderson’s People, who have left the Earth because it just wasn’t plain enough for them. For Rachel Lapp, however, the Settlement On Planet B isn’t plain enough either. She dreams of the desolation on the two moons above her, and tries to convince her elders to move the People there. Then one day her plans are interrupted when a copter-car crashes into a birdhouse along the road to Rachel’s farm. Rachel is shocked to find that the copter-car’s driver is a police detective, and he’s bleeding from a gunshot wound in his side. Her shock will only grow when she learns that the detective has come to protect Rachel’s son from criminals – who are after the young boy because they know he’s the witness to a killing!”

  17. FearofMüsic Says:

    Buzzcoptors provided by Gillette. Santa optional for holiday purposes.

  18. Bibliomancer Says:

    This book is boring. I asked my friends at Baen Books to juice it up:

    That’s much better.

  19. FeàrofMüsic Says:

    @Bibliomancer: Ahhh, brilliant. That is a book cover I would proudly display.
    Is it just me, or does it look like they tried to ‘alien up’ the one tree there after the fact?

  20. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @B’mancer 18: Once again, good sir, I fall off my chair in tribute . . . .

  21. Phil Says:

    @FeàrofMüsic: I think you’re right about the tree. I see a big beardy face in there.

  22. Don Hilliard Says:

    Popped-collar jumper? It must be THE FUTURE!!!

  23. GSS Admin Says:

    @Biblomancer… the question is… what can’t be improved by a cat man playing a space laser guitar! 😀

    Excellent work though! Good Show Sir, Good Show!

  24. Jaouad Says:

    #19 & #21: Yes! It’s like one of those trumped oil things.

  25. The Tag Wizard Says:

    @Phil&FöM Trees With Faces – added! It’s a shame that user tagging add-on we looked at recently threatened to break the whole site; I’m sure there are at least 3 other examples on GSS but danged if I can find them now. CURSE THOU, LORD OF FACE TREES you escape us now but the GSS legion will track you down

  26. B. Chiclitz Says:

    While checking out the Face Tree on deep zoom do I see a cluster of wispy beings who appear to be 2D refugees from the Planet Flatland oozing across the lawn? Are they slinking out of, or into, the house? Are they merely bubbles and warps in the plastic over-cover? Help—it could be the key to the entire enigma that is: The Settlement on Planet B!

  27. Valerie Says:

    Chiclitz, there is a lot of bubbles on the plastic cover. There is no enigma, except that boring looking woman, the funny copters and those trees…

  28. The Tag Wizard Says:

    …and that Face Tree

    Welcome to the comments, Valerie – thanks for the cover!

  29. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Thanks @Valerie. There seems to be something oozing through those windows, though.

    Awhile back, Sri Bibliomancer mentioned Soap Operas and that got me thinking. Although Ms. Popped Collar looks totally deadpan, let’s peek inside her thought bubble:

    “That rat bastard! Divorce me again, eh? Well, I showed him this time. The first time we got divorced, back on Planet A, he took me for everything at settlement, including all the dilithium chips we had saved over the years. Honestly, I don”t know how I let myself be talked into marrying him again. I knew it was wrong. And sure enough not six months after we move to Planet B I find him shtupping the maid out in the buzzcopter garage. And then he has the nerve to say HE wants a divorce! Well, you got it boyo. Only this time I was smart. I got the best lawyer around, that old Mr. Face Tree, Esq. He has deep roots on this planet. This time I win! All the zircon-encrusted tweezers from the old mine now belong to me. Yes, I got snookered in the divorce on Planet A, but was the total victor in the Settlement on Planet B!”

  30. David Cowie Says:


  31. FearöfMüsic Says:

    Easily turned into reality television as well.

    “There are hooligans in the park again.”
    “What of it? They do call it a ‘public space’ ya know.”
    Long cold stare, camera pans, woman snorts in disgust and lumbers outside with camera crew trailing.
    In the park:
    A group of boys, faces pixellated, cluster near a burning dustbin, passing out marshmallows for roasting. Woman and camera stop at a distance.
    “Ere now you boys. What do ya think you’re doing? S’mores are not..wot’s that? Yes I am Mrs. Goodwillie Why? Quit sniggering. You, you there. Yes you with the graham crackers. I’ve seen you playing with my Dickie. Wot?? What are you…stop that laughing. I’ll just go get me husband and he’ll show you wot. See if you’re laughing when I set my Peter on you. Stop that! I don’t see anything funny here at’all. Brats!”

  32. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @FoM—now *that’s* a Britcom we Yanks should shamelessly steal and rebroadcast. Move over, Downton Abbey; make room for “Wanker Park”!

  33. Valerie Says:

    Excellent! Another laugh and a half! I just thought, that woman could not be real, but a scarecrow some extra-terrestrials had put here to scare every pest around. Or, she’s been frozen, herself and the buildings, to be part of some kind of park or museum, visited by extra terrestrials. Just some musings on a grey Friday morning.

  34. The Tag Wizard Says:

    The whole village is a false front cardboard cutout, a testing ground for a Face Tree vs helichopper army training exercise

  35. Stevie T Says:

    re: Tom Hering’s comment at #11:

    We really need “Good Show Sir: The Album”.

    I mean there must be dozens of retooled versions of popular (?) songs on this site. From “The Planet B Theme” to “Amerritt the Eighth” to “Our House (In a Middling Baen Book)”. And many more!

    The highlight would be Whitney Houston’s most famous song sung by a chorus of every character who has ever been pictured here singing it. Just imagine!

    And, of course, it would all be topped off with a dramatic reading of THE –OOM THAT CAME TO SARNATH thread by someone with a suitably dramatic voice, James Earl Jones, maybe, or Alan Rickman.

    It would go Platinum in days, I’m sure.

  36. HappyBookwyrm Says:

    A new infinitive: “to alien up”…All right, this is now my favourite comment thread on GSS. I can just hear the dialogue now:

    Art Director: What is this?!? Just look at those trees! This is Settlement B, not the Shire! Go back and alien them up right now.

    Artist: But, boss, I don’t have time.

    Art Director: Well, just do one then, but make it good. Fail and you’ll be as doomed as Sarnath, got it?

    Artist: Yes, boss. Should I change that jumper?

    Art Director: No. That is brilliant. Now go alien up that tree!

  37. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    @Biblomancer #18 is just brilliant! I had to keep myself from laughing out too loud here at work. Thank you sir!

  38. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    This is what happens when you alien up the tree.

    But this is what happens when you alien up the colon!

  39. anon Says:

    You lot? Your settlement is the plan B.

  40. Anna T. Says:

    I am EXTREMELY PEEVED that this planet does not look sufficiently alien for my tastes and that there are only baggy lilac sweaters to wear! Feel my disapproval!

  41. Ray P Says:

    Someone took leGuin’s “Science Fiction and Mrs. Brown” to heart.

  42. Tor Mented Says:

    After all these years, am I the first to suggest an “arms akimbo” tag?

  43. fred Says:

    Welcome to Cliches 101.

    ‘A sweater with a high and stiff collar’. The ‘obvious clue’ to the audience of any generic space opera that ‘things aren’t quite right’ here. This inevitably leads to the ‘consumption of drugged apple pie’ and the ‘kidnapping of the heroes’.

  44. Griz Says:

    Decades and at least 2 planets later and Grandma still refuses to accept that popped collars were only in fashion briefly in the 80s. The 1980s.

  45. Tat Wood Says:

    Fair play: they did stay off her lawn when she asked.

  46. B. Chiclitz Says:

    The best thing about Flashback Fridays, I think, is that they remind you of what a good decision you made not to read the book eight years ago.

  47. NomadUK Says:

    Damn kids! Get off my planet!

  48. Bruce A Munro Says:

    Speaking of “things not right”, this looks less like an alien planet and more like Florida at sunset. (Sure, the Moon is too big, but moons on SF book covers are almost always photographed with a zoom lens.) Are we sure this isn’t just another Florida real estate con, updated for the space age?

  49. Bruce A Munro Says:

    After planet Z was settled, a fierce debate broke out between the “Start again with A-2″[1] faction, the “colors” faction, “the defining feature AKA planetary hat” faction , and the “perhaps be creative” faction.

    [1] Soon divided between the “add a two” and “add a 1” sub-factions.

  50. GSS ex-noob Says:

    Of course I’d seen it before, but it wasn’t till now that the font problem reared its ugly (invisible) head. Because I literally didn’t see till now that the title is “The Settlement on…” It’s perfectly clear on the spine, but whose bright idea was it to put blue letters on a blue background?

    She’s dressed like the average woman who has to leave her house nowadays. Everyone else on the Old West set is still shielding.

    Looking at her outfit and stance, I am pretty sure her name is Karen, and she’s the one who called in the copper-choppers.

  51. B. Chiclitz Says:

    “Hello, Police? This is Karen. I want to report a face tree harassing me. He claims he’s just ‘birdwatching’ but he’s up to no good I tell you. What? Well, yes, it would make sense . . .yes, a face tree might have a good view of the birds . . . but my upper east side sense of privilege is never wrong and he’s got evil intentions. Good, here come the choppers now.”

  52. Bruce A Munro Says:

    Is there actually a face tree, or are we falling prey to the trickery of pareidolia?

  53. A. R. Yngve Says:

    So many jokes in this thread made me laugh out loud. Good show, sirs, good show.

  54. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @Bruce A M—Is there a difference?

  55. GSS ex-noob Says:

    In the sequel (Planet C?), Karen calls the cops on some natives (she refers to them as aliens, of course) who wrote “Green Lives Matter” on their own house, after she moves into *their* neighborhood.

  56. BMunro Says:

    @B. Chiclitz: well, I suppose there is the intent of the artist, but then people tell me the author is dead, so I suppose it doesn’t matter.

  57. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @B A M—I am firmly of the school that once an artist lets a work out into the world the world owns its “meaning,” not the artist, whether alive or not. The artist’s intention is of course not to be entirely dismissed, but it is, IMHO, in no way definitive. I could, sadly, discuss this topic at great length, but that would hardly be in the proper GSS spirit! Thanks for the exchange.

  58. Ryan Says:

    @B. Chiclitz – I would have thought that GSS would be the bane (or perhaps, the Baen) of formalism in artistic criticism.

    But I am happy to be surprised!

  59. Bruce A Munro Says:

    @GSS ex-noob: “Natives”, spoken with proper old school British colonialist pith-helmeted condescension, seems perfectly in the Karen spirit.

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