Jun 19

Sir... is it wise to do your blacksmithing naked? Click for full image

DPN Comments: This one of sort of popped out at me!
Uncertain publication date (circa 1996?)

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: 7.56 out of 10)

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40 Responses to “Prentice Alvin”

  1. FeařofMusic Says:

    “Prentice Alvin, I warned you if you didn’t stop touching yourself..”
    “Ma! You said I’d go blind.(This is pretty cool!)

    Prenticr Alvin is gonna need an asbestos prophylactic.

    And where’s Orson?

  2. A.R.Yngve Says:

    You’ll have to excuse the copy editor for that obvious blurb typo… anyone who has actually read Stephen Donaldson understands that the full review quote must read:

    “The most self-important work of American fantasy since Stephen Donaldson’s original Thomas Covenant trilogy.”

  3. FearofMuÅŸic Says:

    “Most important work of American fantasy fiction since..Thomas Covenant.”

    Apparently they have redefined important to mean relentlessly grim, soul crushingly depressing and generally aggravating. Who knew?

  4. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “I’m HUGE!!”

  5. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Sigmund Freud could write a whole book about this cover alone. (Come to think of it, he could write a whole bunch of books about Orson Scott Card’s authorship…)

  6. A.R.Yngve Says:

    So… is the book anything like the cover? Because that would be more than a little ironic…

  7. Sophaloaf Says:

    I sure hope he doesn’t lose focus and drops it.

  8. Druaightagh Says:

    Anyone for a shmoke and a pancake?

  9. THX 1138 Says:

    Tetris: The Next Generation.

    Incidentally, who’s the little guy looking on in admiration at the bottom right corner? I think he wants a go next.

  10. Jaouad Says:

    Ah yes, nothing says “Orson Scott Card” like a homo-erotic cover.

  11. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    ‘And IIII’M too sexy for the FORGE, too sexy for the FORGE would you look at my rising gorge?’

    Bottom right corner: is that the face of a small child whose innocence has just come to a screeching halt?

  12. Tom Hering Says:

    I’m just really, really glad I don’t have to hit mine with a hammer to get the desired effect.

  13. Bibliomancer Says:

    The Man With the Golden Boomerang

    It just keeps coming back.

    This is the gold medal winner.

    Our silver medal still goes to: The Silver Hand

    Winner of the Bronze: Kesrick

  14. Tom Noir Says:

    The oversized ‘D’ in Orson scott carD makes me want to pronounce it “car-DUH.”

  15. L.B. Says:

    Are you sure that’s not ‘Pretense Alvin’ or ‘Pretentious Alvin’?

  16. Rachel J Says:

    Ah, questions, questions! And I have the answers!

    1.The cover does depict a scene from the book, wherein Alvin the Maker forges his mighty Golden Plough. He’s meant to be naked, too, but the kiddy isn’t present.

    2. Said kiddy is Alvin’s Black sidekick, who possesses not the slightest trace of personality whatever and whose sole function in the story is to a.) adore him and b.) provide constant opportunities for Our Hero and the other Good Guys to demonstrate their nobility by defending him from the Bad Guys. (This being set in an alternative-universe version of the pre-war South.)

    3. Judging from this, “important” also means “pointless”, “tedious”, “self-indulgent” and “borderline racist” (see #2.)

    The question I cannot answer is, “how did this pile of tripe get a Locus Award?” Although, from some things I’ve read, it might be Card’s shockingly uncompromising stance on the issue of slavery. (He’s against it, just so you know.)

  17. Tom Hering Says:

    After thousands upon thousands of authors and titles have received the designation, exactly how is “New York Times bestseller / bestselling” a mark of distinction?

  18. Rags Says:

    “One Golden Boomerang Shlong to rule them all, One Golden Boomerang Shlong to find them,
    One Golden Boomerang Shlong to bring them all and in the darkness bind them..”

  19. B. Chiclitz Says:

    So I just realized that the “O” and the “D” are oversized, not because Orson Scott Card has such a special delicious name, but because that’s what you feel like doing after looking at this really fatuous cover. Ah, to sink into the bliss of unknowing. Seems like a good alternative to this visual bleh.

  20. B. Chiclitz Says:

    And if I may borrow the Blurbinator [(c) Doofenshmirtz Corp.] for a moment:
    “The most American work of fantasy since original Stephen Donaldson’s covenant about Important Thomas trilogies.”

  21. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Thought the child looked familiar…

  22. Tat Wood Says:

    So this must be what a Koo-Ka-Choo really looks like.

  23. Adam Roberts Says:

    That’s a still from the ‘all nude’ episode of Mister Maker CBeebies decided not to broadcast.

  24. Phil Says:

    Years ago, there was not only an Alvin Stardust (and an Alvin Shockemohle, Alvin Hall and Alvin & the Chipmunks), but there was also a Prentice Pete in the comic called SPARKY.

    Orson Scott Card must have know these in his childhood, and inadvertently created a character which build on the best (or worst) of both.

    (Proof of Prentice Pete here: – although I can’t for the life of me remember what he looked like.)

  25. A.R.Yngve Says:

    B. Chiclitz: The Blurbinator is Public Domain. Have fun! 😉

    Let’s have another go:

    – “The most Stephen Donaldson American fantasy since Thomas Covenant.”

    – “The most important dork of American fantasy since Stephen Wonaldson’s original Thomas Covenant trilogy.”

  26. Neal Says:

    “Ah yes, nothing says “Orson Scott Card” like a homo-erotic cover.”

    That sums it up right there.

  27. Rachel J Says:

    Ah, but the scene depicted here wasn’t such a bad choice, in my opinion, since it is both the, er, well climax of the story and quite memorable in its own right. Not in a good way, more in a what-the-hell-did-I-just-read-now-I-can’t-unread-it-help way, but memorable nonetheless. (The rest of the book being merely dull and annoying.)

    Besides, it certainly gets across the important idea that you should under no circumstances attempt to read this book, which I believe counts as an important public service on the part of the cover artist.

  28. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Rachel J, you have given us an important insight about the SF/F publishing field. I’d like to name it “Rachel’s Law” in your honor:

    Rachel’s Law
    In SF/F publishing, the function of the book cover is often to warn prospective readers NOT to read the book.

  29. Power Hydrant Says:

    Prentice Alvin in: Goldmember!

    “Yo dawg, who dat Alvin?”
    “Mang, he just my ‘prentice. Learning magick tricks n’ shit.”

  30. Rachel J Says:

    Thank you, A.R.Yngve, I am indeed honoured.

  31. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    One Athletic Cup to rule them all, One Athletic Cup to find them,
    One Athletic Cup to bring them all and in the darkness bind them…

  32. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    hell, looks like Rags beat me to it.

  33. David Cowie Says:

    I’ve never read the Thomas Covenant books, but I understand that Mr Covenant is a whiny rapist. How does Alvin Maker compare?

  34. FeàrofMuşic Says:

    @David Cowie: A whiny rapist with leprosy. Whom you really, really, REALLY want to see die horribly. Don’t know about Alvin and his chipmunks here, because myself, any book that has Thomas Covenant printed on it’s cover, I avoid like…like someone with leprosy.

  35. Rachel J Says:

    @David Cowie. Nah, Alvin is just your typical Chosen One Gary Stu– only rather worse than most in that the story consists almost entirely of him levelling up and the other characters obsessing over him. (There’s some eeeevilll bad guys, too, but that’s just to give Alvin someone to beat up in a morally justifiable way.)

    Characters like this are no doubt *why* everyone worships Donaldson for having a rapist leper protagonist.

  36. Sesquipedalian Says:

    Hey, I’d like to thank GoodShowSir for introducing me to some truly interesting sci-fi books through your site. I can’t thank you for making me read “The Demolished Man” but, I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to Lois McMaster Bujold’s books!

    And for a comment on this book, our bizarre smith says “Well, of course I do all my blacksmith work without clothes on. I’m too tough to notice the sparks and fragments of metal, and you ladies really like a man with scars all over him, right? Ladies? Ladies?….”

  37. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    Behold…my golden manhood!

  38. GSS noob Says:

    That blurb really is praising with faint damns. CarD was already famous enough by then, you’d think they could have gotten a better blurb.

    Or it simply could have been subtitled “OSC’s latest Mormon Gary Stu homoerotic pedophilia fantasy”, but that doesn’t narrow it down at all. *

    I will say that Alvin is better than Covenant b/c at least he isn’t rapey or a leper. He’s Too Pure for that. It makes him duller than Covenant; you still want him to die, but just for being so damn boring.

    *Honestly, like ARY @5 said, Freud could have gotten an entire book out of OSC’s obsessions — which would have been more interesting than this one. Ditto Jung, who would have had to say “In this case, Sigmund’s right.”

  39. L.B. Says:

    According to Goodreads, the publication date is 1989. It actually won awards.

  40. Emster Says:

    A copy has been sitting on the same shelf of my local used bookstore for as long as I’ve been going there, which is rather telling. Bookstore owners must have been wondering what that loony customer was giggling about this time, and I’d prefer not to tell them…

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