Jun 06

..... < o_0 > .....Click for full UNSHEEPED image

Joachim Comments: Old man breasts, stump hands, back slug, purple eggs, fanged man baby chillin’ out in one of the purple eggs while a snake bites…
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: 8.88 out of 10)

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43 Responses to “Strange Relations”

  1. THX 1138 Says:

    If you were related to that, it would indeed be strange. If you wanted relations with that, “strange” would be a mild way of putting it.

  2. StevenLP Says:

    I know the positioning isn’t quite right, but isn’t there implied slug/ hemaphrodite sphynx coitus?

    If so, what do they see in each other?

  3. Draheste Says:

    Do not let children look at this, they would be traumatised for a long time, if not for life!

  4. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Sexual Education: the Benedict XVI Years.

  5. Phil Says:

    Good Grief, Sir!

  6. Bibliomancer Says:

    Hideous. I think I’m having an acid flashback. Or a stroke.

  7. Tom Noir Says:

    No space sheep could ever be enough to protect our eyes from this cover!

  8. Adam Roberts Says:

    “I am the eggman … you are the eggmen …”

  9. Bibliomancer Says:

    “… I am the freaky old lion-man with tits … goo goo g’joob!

  10. nmkeating Says:


  11. Rev Says:

    Gosh, I hope this scene is in the book…

  12. fred Says:

    That sphinx is posing a tough riddle. “Why should you read this book after seeing this cover?”.

  13. THX 1138 Says:

    Kenny Rogers has taken his plastic surgery too far this time.

  14. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Philip José

  15. Rags Says:


  16. SI Says:

    The cover is so odd no one noticed someone, not pointing fingers, forgot to add tags!

  17. NCB Says:

    Thanks sheeping that out – I mean, do I REALLY want to see man boobs?

    Ah, no.

    SI’s right…the tags. Where are the tags? Was our esteemed GSS Admin so freaked or grossed out by this cover that the tags were forgotten? Not that I could blame him.

  18. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    GOOD SHOW TROPES: Strange Relations

    Philip Jose Farmer’s Strange Relations is the novel of Marissa, an out-of-work sphinx with a Dark Past. She can’t get over her ex-boyfriend and flatmate Rog, a Nudist periwinkle! Rog fears commitment and an unlikely Love Dodecahedron between Marissa, Sven (her gynaecologist python), and billiards legend Steven Davis. Hilarity Ensues.

    Tropes appearing in Strange Relations include:

    All Snails are Hermaphrodites
    Coupling (Not the Television Show)
    Devil’s Dumplings
    Here Panther Panther!
    Font Problems
    Monster Mash
    Once You See It You Want To Tear Your Filthy Eyes From Your Head
    Our Sssserpentssss are Different
    Space Sheep
    Sphinx Stinx
    Tag Wizard Drops the Ball
    I am unable to alphabetise and I must scream
    That’s Me in the Spotlight
    Thousand-Mile Stare
    Unlikely Arbors
    Xeroxed Art

  19. Bibliomancer Says:

    @Tagperson — only one tag needed: “WTF?”

  20. RachelJ Says:

    @Dead Stuff. You forgot to claim that at least three of the tropes have been “averted” or “subverted” or something.


    All Snails Are Hermaphrodites (subverted)
    Hunk (averted)
    Zoology (semi-inverted)

  21. FeárofMüsic Says:

    Look, it’s Phillip José Farmer. Which means there is a good chancetthat the cover actually underplays an actual scene in the book.

  22. Tat Wood Says:

    ‘Billiards legend Steven Davis’

    That’s… ‘interesting’

  23. Jeff Vader Says:

    “I sing the body electric” toppled from the throne of good-show-siryness by a frisky slug.

    Who woulda thunk it?

  24. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Ok so the baby has fangs too! What does this mean?

    The snake’s fangs are so long they’ve pierced the baby’s skull and their tips are coming through
    the roof of his mouth?
    The baby is the bastard offspring of the snake’s mate and the milkman (hence, “Strange Relations”),
    and the snake is just at the moment of discovering this on the cover?

    And the slug, what is he whispering into Old Lion-Sphinx-Man-tit’s ear?

    Wow, you need a sports bra big time!
    Hey, sis, how’s they hangin’?
    I think the baby needs to nurse.

  25. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Great. It’s “awaiting moderation” time again. Ah the perils of a GSS post gone through the wormhole. . . . again.

  26. NomadUK Says:

    So, it’s not all that difficult to find out what the book is about, if anyone actually cares:

  27. Tom Noir Says:


  28. GSS Admin Says:

    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

  29. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @NUK: No, but thanks anyway.


  30. Tat Wood Says:

    @NUK: I’ve read it, but I don’t recognise it from these descriptions. I’m also intrigued by the reviewer’s idea of ‘stereotypically French’: I’m in Lyon at the mo and the lack of naked drunk women in the supermarket is noticeable.

  31. FeárofMüsic Says:

    @Tat Wood: Thanks for the tip. That was the only reason I was going to Lyon. Maybe I shall have better luck with spotting the elusive Naked Drunk Frenchwoman in Marseilles. Last time I use a sci fi/fantasy novel as a travel guide.

  32. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @RachelJ: have a heart! It was bloody well enough for me to use the word ‘ensue’ on the Internet. I may as well walk around with a sign saying ‘I CAN HAZ MUSTASH TATU ON FINGUR’ or ‘I ARGUE ENDLESSLY ABOUT WHAT NAME TO CALL MY HAT’.

  33. anon Says:

    @StevenLP Difficult to say, but we see it results in eggs with weird snakefood babies in them.

  34. Badtux Says:

    The cover is likely less strange than the contents of the book. Acid. That’s my only explanation for the output of Philip Jose Farmer :).

  35. Tom Noir Says:

    The mouse-over text sums up my reaction to the cover very nicely.

  36. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Farmer was actually a very early example of a successful fanfic writer — long before E.L.James…

  37. Anna T. Says:

    It’s the Sphinx of Thebes doing a very poor job disguising herself as a man.

  38. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    I would feel more comfortable reading the Baen edition in public, bizarre Silverberg quote and all.

  39. Tat Wood Says:

    @Dead Stuff: this is LARPing taken to a whole new level.

  40. THX 1139 Says:

    RIP Kenny Rogers. He gambled… and won!

  41. Tor Mented Says:

    Is that sphinx tired? It seems a bit sluggish.

    (gets coat.)

  42. Ryan Says:

    @THS 1139 – The Gambler should’ve known when to hold ’em.

    This was that time.

  43. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @DSWBT (wherever you are): The original cover is suitable for bus reading.

    The Panther/Granada 1982 one isn’t too odd. Their 1985 cover is perhaps not bus-suitable but does illustrate the first story well.

    The Japanese one is nowt to do with it, but not embarrassing.

    And the BAEN!manly man and alien babe, duh… well, it’s not orange and there aren’t any explosions, but the font abuse is more embarrassing than the artwork. PJF seems a bit out of their usual milieu, though.

    And how out of it am I that this is the way I learned Kenny Rogers is dead?
    (The “condition that his condition was in” was… very bad.)

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