The Gallery of Hideous Covers



This is the second edition of Islands (the 1980 Pocket Books edition) featuring the floating purple turds (bottom of image, attacking ship). The purple is more obvious in the original cover.

What’s that you say? Does the cover have anything to do with the book itself? Hell, no. The sad truth is that this cover is better than the original cover of the book (see below).

This is islands-pyramidcoverthe original cover of the book, from Pyramid Publications. I have no idea how an aged Pippi Longstocking got into this, or the battleship. The blurb on the back is also a work of art:


Tia had known her fate for many years. When the immortality treatments did not take hold, she ran away — away from her lover Paul and their shattered future … away from Earth …

But she had returned. Now Tia was an aging, graying, slackened woman in a world of sensual youths. She held to her pride and sought solace in adventure instead of love. Until once again she met Paul …

Paul, youthful, unchanged, with his new girlfriend Jenny, had joined Tia on a sea voyage aboard the Ilium. They were journeying to the sunken island, Hawaii, in search of lost civilizations. Perhaps Tia was looking for SOMETHING MORE …

Now if that doesn’t inspire you to shell out $1.25 (the cover price in 1976) I don’t know what will.


islandsgermanHere’s the German cover (Moewig, 1982). It has even less to do with the book than the American covers: in the book there are no satellites being destroyed, no lightning strikes, and certainly no scantily-draped but modestly positioned buff Gods of any description. More’s the pity, eh?




A City in the North
variations on a theme

citynorthwarner1You’ll detect a horrible similarity to the original Islands covers: same artist, same year, but different publishers, neither of whom bothered to give the artist the name of the writer. So the duplication was (ahem) a mistake.

The one on the left is the 1976 first edition; the one below is the 1979 reissue, both from Warner. The German cover from Moewig, which I haven’t the heart to reproduce, is the exact same cover except blown up even bigger than the reissue. What was their excuse?









This is Pocket Book’s original 1978 cover for Journey. Not too shabby (considering the run of my covers), except that the spajourneypocketceship, in the original painting, is pasted on. The artist turned in the cover without the ship and the art director told him that this was a sciffi epic and there had damned well better be a spaceship on the cover. *sigh*

This is the British cover (1979, Hamlyn).

Rumor has it that most European publishers buy cover-art by the running foot and slap it on in any old order. I can’t prove that Hamlyn did this — there are, after all, space ships in this book although I don’t recall any red-rock deserts. But the real proof of the allegation is the German cover, below.


journeymoewigAin’t it grand? Ain’t it glorious? Ain’t it just lovely? Don’t you wish you had a cover like this on one of your books?

journeyshueishaBy the time the Japanese publisher, Shueisha, got its hands on the book I was pretty much shell-shocked, so could only make tiny gasping sounds when I first saw this cover.






Dangerous Games
The Famous Pickled Baby Cover

dangerousgamesfrontWhere to begin? Where to begin? How about Doris Day with fur on her face, lipstick, and a little pink nose? How about John Travolta in a pony tail and a stunning purple jump suit? If you look carefully at the doorways and windows, you will see a clever Escher influence because none of them actually merge into each other in a sensible way. It’s impossible to see it in this scan, but in the arched window, sort of at 4:00, is an object (I think it’s supposed to be a space ship) that resembles nothing so much as a set of barbells skewered by a dildo.

And, of course, the pickled babies, which they liked so much they wrapped them onto the back, too.dangerousgamesback