Jun 27

Hell wasn't the nicest of places at times, but the local theatre groups tried their best.Click for full image

Good Show Sir’s Art Direction: KITTY! KITTY! Get off my keyboard! If you don’t get off this instant you are going on that cover in hell we’re getting done. Cause that’s where you belong… RIGHT! You’re going on… you are going on there… with Genghis Khan… in hell! That will teach you.
Published 1989

Many thanks to A. Waltz for tweeting this in!

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: 8.93 out of 10)

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33 Responses to “Explorers in Hell”

  1. Phil Says:

    I thought Heaven was the one with clouds, and Hell was the one with flames. Looks like I was wrong.

    The cherubim look a little confused by it all, too.

  2. THX 1138 Says:

    This is the worst fancy dress party I’ve ever been to!

  3. The Tag Wizard Says:

    Your Comments: A Novel

  4. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Limbo of the Lost: A Novel

  5. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Phil: well, this is why we need explorers, innit. So we know.

    Is Fu ManStereotype providing a perching place for that cherub? What’s going on with that body language?

  6. Bibliomancer Says:

    Lower right corner. Two zombie heads and a pussy cat. OMG LOL WTF?!

    I smelled Baen Books at first glance. But it is very early Baen, check out the old logo.

    Also, is Mr. Khan holding a statue bust? Or the severed head of one of his wives?

  7. Tom Hering Says:

    ME: “I had a horrible dream last night that Hell is a place where fantasy outsells science fiction 3 to 1, and every fantasy and science fiction book is a part of one series or another.”

    RED GUY WITH HORNS: “Good morning, Mr. Hering.”

    ME: “Oh damn.”

  8. L.B. Says:

    Well, you know that cats are jerks. Honestly, I thought Hell was going to look gloomier than what’s on that cover.

  9. Rachel J Says:

    Oh look, it’s Orson again. In Hell.

  10. Rachel J Says:

    But why is everyone in Hell doing strange hand-gestures? And is it really necessary to point out that a book like this is “a novel”?

  11. THX 1138 Says:

    @Rachel J: It’s to distinguish it from a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

  12. Rags Says:

    ROFL!! Thank you Goodshowsir, I have been giggling all morning. That puddy-cat with the 2 zombies is epic.

    Kitty: “Help! Over here you jerks!! Some magician put me into his hat and “POOF” I end up here!”

    What is with the overweight demons and the contorted bodies on the Vietnam Army guy, the dancing Chinese complete with fan-fan power and why is Genghis Khan wearing hockey shin pads and NO other armour???

    10/10!! LOL

  13. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “The hordes of the damned could not quite believe the words on banner, but somehow they could not speak against them — for in their undead hearts they knew it was the truth, that they were trapped inside a place worse than hell… a Baen pocketbook.”

  14. Bibliomancer Says:

    LOLCAT sez: “I can haz eternal damnation!”

  15. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Hmm… a cover which boldly claims “We all know we are characters in a fiction”…

    Perhaps I’ve misjudged Baen all the time. It’s a “postmodern” publisher and all its covers are in fact ironic.

  16. Tom Hering Says:

    @ Rachel J, most of the books in this series are short story anthologies.

  17. Tom Noir Says:

    If this is a David Mattingly cover then that’s not just any cat, that’s Orson! Can anyone confirm?

  18. Tom Hering Says:

    ISFDB verifies Mattingly.

  19. B. Chiclitz Says:

    A wonderful thread. Thank you all for brightening up this day!

    1. @ B’mancer # 6— I am very impressed by how Baen classed up its logo, from this early version of a Gryphon dry-humping the Baen shield to a tiny phallic rocket usually pointed at some damsel’s private parts. Good Show, Baen!

    2. FACE TREE ALERT: check carefully along the tattered edge of the flag, right in the middle—is that a face in profile, some sort of grinning gargoyle type thing?

  20. SI Says:

    It’s not the best stage show… but at least you can’t see the wires that keep them floating!

  21. Rachel J Says:

    @Tom Hering. Well! All that from the premise, “various people die and go to Hell”?

    As a curiosity: the “genre” of “Bangsian fantasy” to which the article assigns the series seems very much to be a figment of Wikipedia’s collective imagination. Weird.

  22. Jaouad Says:

    So are the two soldiers in the lower right corner admiring the billboard carrying the authors’ names? Or are they trying to peek up Khan’s skirt?

  23. fred Says:

    Cover is pretty much par for the course with others in the series, ‘identify the historical character’. The ‘Hell’s Gate’ story was my favorite, a spoof of the ‘Heaven’s Gate’ movie. Every dead movie director from DW Griffith to Peckinpah has a crack at directing this turkey, and all are chewed up and spit out by the endless production, many multiple times.

  24. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    ME: “I had a horrible dream last night that Hell is a place where fantasy outsells science fiction 3 to 1, and every fantasy and science fiction book is a part of one series or another.”

    RED GUY WITH HORNS: “Good morning, Mr. Hering.”

    ME: “Wrong bedroom, Mr. Major.”

    WIFEY: “AAH! Get out of here at once!”

  25. Tom Noir Says:

    Someone needs to add the ‘Orson’ tag to a couple more books: Crown of Slaves and The Long Twilight for sure, and possibly At All Costs.

  26. The Tag Wizard Says:

    Thanks Messers Noir and Chiclitz.

    re: flag tag, ‘Pareidolic Faces’ might be too obscure, shall we stick with the less accurate but no more impenetrable ‘Face Tree’ for now?

    re: At All Costs’ Orsonage merits, a fact finding mission is called for!

  27. Phil Says:

    I’ve politely waited 26 comments, but can resist no longer. Why oh why does Fu Manchu have a jet of steam erupting from his right wrist?

    Or is it just that the cover is slightly torn?

  28. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @TH: I shan’t pick up any until this series has either FAT BALDING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS IN HELL or PUBLISHING WORLD GRAPHIC DESIGNERS IN HELL. Then I’m buying at least two.

  29. A.R.Yngve Says:

    If only Baen had the guts to release POLITICIANS IN HELL… not a single volume, of course, but an ongoing series…

  30. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @Tag Wizard 26—re: your Face Tree comment. Very well put. You are not just a Wizard and a Righteous Dude (or Dudette—can a dudette be a wizard?), but a scholar as well! Thanks.

  31. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Why doesn’t somebody just publish a novel titled “Devils in Hell, Already” and be done with this tired trope once and for all?

  32. Stevie T Says:

    If a book has to tell you its “A Novel”, its usually a warning along the lines of “Don’t touch with a 10-foot pole”.

  33. Rachel J Says:

    I must say, after struggling with Flame Halfbaked and dunmagic and Menod Straggler Awaremen, it’s nice to see that articles on That Other Wiki can be not only clear and informative, but also masterpieces of integrity. Though I think the piece on “Heroes in Hell” could do with a bit of paraphrasing and so forth, to bring out its salient features:

    “Heroes in Hell” is a shared world fantasy (completely different from a franchise, honest), created by literary genius Janet Morris, and written by Her, Her very talented husband Chris, and various hired scribblers. One of the 9,000,000,000 stories in the series won an award! Score!

    The startlingly original premise is that various dead people do stuff in the afterlife. “The Encyclopedia of Fantasy” stated, “Yes. That is the premise. Yes.”

    Critical Reception
    Orson Scott Card described “Heroes in Hell” as “almost as brilliant as the ‘Ender’ novels”, while said it was “an example” of something. Also a librarian made a really nice remark about it.

    Strangely, there has been absolutely no negative comment of any kind about the “Heroes in Hell” series. Ever. It’s just that good.

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