WE BREAK THE RULES AND JUDGE THREE BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS
Intro by Wes Verner
I’ll be totally honest here: I’ve done this. I’ve done this many, many times. Yes, I admit it. I have formed opinions of things based entirely on my first impressions without going to any effort to get to know it/him/her better. I’d say we all have at one point, am I right?
Maybe I shouldn’t. Who knows, that crazy homeless guy asking for crack outside the donut shop at 3a.m. might have been a genuinely nice, sane, happy person, and Stacey Feldort who used to moan in my seventh-grade English class might not have been a total freak. But he probably wasn’t, and she definitely was.
Point is, sometimes snap judgements can be very useful; never more so than when you are at the library or the bookstore and are trying to pick out something to occupy your free time for the next few weeks. You don’t want to waste your time with crap, do you? No, you don’t. !ere are certain things that you don’t have time for. Shitty books is one of them.
So you comb the literary haystack looking for your diamond in the rough, the icing on your cake, mixing metaphors up and down the stacks. And why not? Time is money OK I’M DONE.
While it’s not necessarily the best habit to have it does tend to make things easier. !is week we’ve done it for you.
Judged by Marco Beltran
The fading face thing is a little mysterious and makes me think it’s a spy book, but the clusterfuck of computer imagery, flowers, and the words “New Machine” make me lean towards technophobia and how this whole book might be a metaphor about how we’re becoming really dependent on technology.
Okay, let’s see what else we got here. A snake made of blue stuff. Snakes are phallic, right? Also, that guy on the cover looks a lot like Carl Sagan. Okay.
So Roger Zelazny was watching TV one night trying to mellow out after a long day of trying to come up with an idea for a book and fell asleep. When he woke up a few hours later, the TV was on Cosmos, the Carl Sagan space show. He then jumped up and said, “Fuck yes! This is it!” and ran towards Fred Saberhagen’s house. It’s like three in the morning, so Fred was probably asleep and answered the door a little irritated.
“What do you want, Roger? Whatever hair-brained idea you have can probably wait ‘til morning,” Fred said.
“Just listen to me, Freddy. Your last name is Saberhagen. Hagen sounds like Sagan,” Roger said as Fred nodded, sighing and rolling his eyes.
“Fuck you for waking me up,” Fred said as he closed the door.
“No! Wait! Carl Sagan having sex with really busty Asian girls and robots,” Roger said at the top of his voice four times, causing nearby dogs to yelp.
Fred stopped at the bottom of his stairs, his eyes full of tears. It was the best thing he’d ever heard. Robots. Boners. The future. The possibilities were limitless. His wife was at the top of the stairs and mouthed, “Go to him.” Fred ran out the door only to catch Roger trying to climb up the side of Fred’s house.
“Can it be like Tron, but in real life?” Fred said between breaths.
“Yes,” Roger said, and they both kissed.
And that’s how Coils came to be.
STRANGE TALES OF THE UNUSUAL
Judged by Colleen Brown
Let me break down for you exactly what I see here: Immediately, constipation is apparent. Actually, I take that back, diarrhea is apparent. The man in the foreground is clearly suffering from some uncomfortable shits. He even has his hands clutching below his butt in a physical manifestation of his psychological struggle to hold those poops in. It seems as though the little Buddha-troll on the stairs is causing him this pain, cursing him with “THE SOUND OF DOOM!” I imagine that the sounds of doom are the urgly-gurgly stomach noises of a bad lunch.
Anyway, these two little friends are in a cave, which I’m pretty sure is one of Dante’s levels of Hell. For those of you who haven’t read the book, this is the level where your dad yells at you until you shit your pants. The father is sitting on the throne/tombstone, clothed in a monk’s robes that the poop guy obviously hates (because that’s what he always dreamed of being, but was never man enough to become). The only task the poop man must accomplish to escape this hell is to jump up and ring the Liberty Bell replica, while the father takes gold-star assignments off of the fridge and reminds his son that he was always a mediocre lover. It’s hard to tell from the cover if our pooptagonist accomplishes this task, but the look on his face isn’t promising.
The Six Gun Tarot
Judged by Wes Verner
Ok first of all, look at that dang eye. That kid has got some balls to be holding that thing with no gloves. Correction, I can now see that the eye is not an actual human eye, and is some sort of manmade contraption, possibly to eyeball the distance to something like a rangefinder, or maybe it helps eye-dentify foreign languages. The latter kind of makes sense, because then you’ve got the whole Asian character motif going on, floating in front of everything in the æther.
We’ve also got this crazy looking gun the kid is holding, and he should really learn proper gun safety, because he is cruisin’ for tinnitus if his trigger finger slips. On the other hand, he could be the coolest twelve-year-old ever, who is some crazy gunslinger who keeps the revolver out because the gun belt doesn’t size down enough for his little kid waist.
Now we look at this weird border thing. Holy crap it’s a giant snake skeleton. I bet that kid killed it himself. !ere are two possibilities, and only two. That is one, and the other involves that snake skeleton being the Material Plane avatar for an ancient demon that killed his parents, and we are dealing with a strange western/kung-fu/fantasy potpourri that does its own interpretation of Batman with fewer rules about no killing. More accurately, no rules about no killing.
And the ancient demon speaks Chinese but no one else does and that’s why he needs the eyeball to track it down.
I am so excited to read this book.