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Jim Hines Strikes Back. Again.
January 21, 2013 6:21 PM   Subscribe

And now he has a posse. Mefi's Own cstross and jscalzi plus Patrick Rothfuss, Mary Robinette Kowal and Jim Hines posed for a remake of the cover of the Poul Anderson book Young Flandry. Hines promised to remake the cover if his readers raised $5,000 for the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation. They raised over three times that amount and Hines gathered his cohorts and fulfilled his promise. [via]
posted by deborah (76 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously and previouslier.
posted by deborah at 6:22 PM on January 21, 2013


My only thought:
Baen covers just get more gaudy.

I haven't read huge amounts of Poul Anderson, but surely he deserves better?
posted by Mezentian at 6:24 PM on January 21, 2013


Haha oh my god, infinite love. Rothfuss's smoochyface is the best.
posted by kavasa at 6:27 PM on January 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Has anyone read Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey? Was it good? Publishers Weekly gave it a luke warm review, but I was intrigued.
posted by smoke at 6:29 PM on January 21, 2013


Baen covers just get more gaudy.

Ugh yes. The Vorkosigan series covers made me cringe.

The swimshorts are too big. They need to get supertight speedos for a more, uh, accurate effect.
posted by Alnedra at 6:31 PM on January 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm just glad that Baen is reprinting Anderson's work!

Props to Mr. Hines and his posse. Aicardi Syndrome sounds pretty terrible, so any charity that helps the affected children and their parents is a worthy cause.
posted by Kevin Street at 6:31 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey now, this isn't the Gawker comment section!
posted by Mezentian at 6:39 PM on January 21, 2013


Has anyone read Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey?

I liked it a lot, but I did the audio version and Kowal is such a talented voice actress that I think she could probably make terrible fanfiction sound sweet and compelling. I haven't picked up the sequel yet because I'm hoping against hope she'll do an audio version of it too.
posted by NoraReed at 6:43 PM on January 21, 2013


Shades of Milk and Honey was pretty much the answer to anyone who reads Jane Austen and thinks, "Huh, needs more magic." I think it's fabulous, and the sequel was good as well - some things happened to the main character that were somewhat unexpected and took a certain amount of courage as an author to pull off, and I quite enjoyed it.
posted by skycrashesdown at 6:54 PM on January 21, 2013


Ugh yes. The Vorkosigan series covers made me cringe.

Ye gods, yes. Appalling. Their cover artist is a monster.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:56 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Heh.

I have that gun.
posted by Artw at 6:57 PM on January 21, 2013


Jscalzi should really be wearing a whatever-the-heck that kind of swimsuit is called. (A tankini, maybe?) I mean, cstross found a piece of diaphanous nothing to drape across his chest.


But seriously, this is hysterical and for a good cause. Props to all involved and to deborah for posting.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:03 PM on January 21, 2013


Hines does coy extraordinarily well, doesn't he?
posted by maudlin at 7:03 PM on January 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks! The sequel JUST came out in audio, actually. Finally.
posted by maryrobinette at 7:05 PM on January 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Jscalzi should really be wearing a whatever-the-heck that kind of swimsuit is called.

Check the pattern of body hair on his torso: it really is a very good match for the suit (well, minus the shoulder straps).
posted by maudlin at 7:06 PM on January 21, 2013


i was rec'd Shades of Milk and Honey by somebody whose taste I trust, and who adored it. I thought it was cute, but far fluffier than I wanted so I didn't keep my copy.

Hah, well. Heh. Whups.
posted by PussKillian at 7:06 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


those guys should probably try and go to a gym maybe

I think they're all attractive men and brave for doing this. Especially given societal expectations for body images as demonstrated by comments which expect men to conform to the "gym" ideal.

I had it easy, being the only one fully dressed.
posted by maryrobinette at 7:20 PM on January 21, 2013 [45 favorites]


Are there any becoming-mod-versaries coming up? This would be an amazing group present.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:22 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The guy version of that bikini would probably be the banana hammock a la Borat.
posted by porpoise at 7:41 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sooooo, that's Mefi's Own jscalzi, cstross *and* maryrobinette, then, plus Patrick Rothfuss and Jim Hines. Two out of five is ok, but three out of five is great.

What do we have to do to get Rothfuss and Hines to join so we can start building hotels?
posted by motty at 8:09 PM on January 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


First off, kudos to everyone involved.

And, secondly, this seems like the best possible thread to play "Worst Baen Cover Ever"

My submission is the cover to Hard Magic (which turned out to be surprisingly great, especially on audible). The cover, however, manages to have (a) the worst drawn human beings, (b) a women in an impossible dress, (c) OH GOD LOOK AT THE GIRLS THUMB

Your turn, Metafilter.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:13 PM on January 21, 2013


Shades of Milk and Honey was a delightful book if you are interested in Regency romances. I am not, particularly, so I enjoyed it well enough but with the distinct feeling that it was aimed somewhere completely other than me. The sequel was closer to my tastes, and if the trend keeps up, the fourth book will be my favorite book ever. It's certainly well-done, I just am bored to fucking tears by straight romance.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:19 PM on January 21, 2013


I AM CHARMED AND DELIGHTED.
posted by The Whelk at 8:20 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think they're all attractive men and brave for doing this. Especially given societal expectations for body images as demonstrated by comments which expect men to conform to the "gym" ideal.


because I am an awful person my first thought was "heh, they all look surprisingly better shirtless then I would have thought."
posted by The Whelk at 8:21 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


And, secondly, this seems like the best possible thread to play "Worst Baen Cover Ever"

Or "Baen covers MeFi's OwnTM folks should do next":
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. In Vorkosigan's world women are dancers or occasional tables....

Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight of Terra - In the dark future chicks wear bellybutton rigs and a come-hither slime... and that's all.

Someday, the person who authorises the covers at Baen is going to give an interview, and I'll be curious to read it. I'd love to know what LMB thinks of her cover artwork...
posted by Mezentian at 8:29 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


One thing I noticed in the picture (before my retinas committed suicide) is that Rothfuss isn't doing a completely accurate recreation of the pose. As this was originally designed to show how ludicrous women's poses on book covers are, I feel that I should point out that that she-Rothfuss on the original cover has her head bent at a 90 degree angle to her body.

I demand satisfaction!
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 8:43 PM on January 21, 2013


Rothfuss isn't doing a completely accurate recreation of the pose.

If he had, his beard would have upstaged Mr. Stross. And maybe knocked his glasses off too! Too dangerous.
posted by Pudhoho at 8:51 PM on January 21, 2013


And, secondly, this seems like the best possible thread to play "Worst Baen Cover Ever"
Chicks 'N Chained Males
posted by 445supermag at 8:54 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh yes. The Vorkosigan series covers made me cringe.

Over on the Tor blog, someone wondered whether LMB had made some deal with the devil, whereby she was given the talent to write wonderful books, but they all had to be published with terrible covers. Then LMB came into the thread and said she'd wondered about that as well.

What I don't understand is this: there are so very many extremely talented artists, both professional and amateur. How is it that we still have covers which aren't just tacky, but incompetent? As bad as the Poul Anderson cover is, at least the artwork is semi-competent. Sexist and off-putting like the cover for Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, but not looking like they used MS Paint.

Also, someday I'd really like to see a Vorkosigan cover with a convincing picture of Miles - not just a head shot or something at an odd angle, but also not looking like a troll drawn by a six year old as on one of the Young Miles editions.
posted by jb at 8:55 PM on January 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


All I could think of when I saw the photo was "thank God I lost ten pounds last month."
posted by jscalzi at 9:05 PM on January 21, 2013 [18 favorites]


And, secondly, this seems like the best possible thread to play "Worst Baen Cover Ever"

Well, they're all pretty amazing and awful in equal doses and when I Googled "worst Baen covers" I found this, which isn't a Baen book and which I now actually want.

Worst one I can immediately think of, though, is this one. I actually don't even understand that cover. The title of the book is "AT ALL COSTS" and it's by David Weber, who is a military sci fi writer (I've only read In Death Ground and, y'know, it was actually pretty good), so going by the title and the author you might see the spine at your local bookshop and think "wow this is gonna be like Space-Rambo, badass".

But...no. It's...I dunno, is that woman about to baptize that infant? It really looks like she's some kinda space-priest with a space-missal, and what's with the sentient cat? It just doesn't exactly scream "READ ME". It screams "WE ARE THE RC COLA TO SCIENTOLOGY'S SPACE-COKE".
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 9:28 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

Oh god I think I'm about to die of laughing. It's female Rogue Trooper and she's all "look how many fucks I give!" except she's real depressed at the same time. omg
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 9:31 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


All I could think of when I saw the photo was "thank God I lost ten pounds last month."

You mean like, in a bet?
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 9:33 PM on January 21, 2013


^ Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. In Vorkosigan's world women are dancers or occasional tables....

What?! Oh, no. Well, this is a first, but - damn, this cover is so bad that I genuinely can't bring myself to buy it. I'll just have to hope that a less appalling edition comes out in a few years. I just don't think I can read that in public. I'd be all awkwardly trying to cover it with my hand, and then people will think I'm trying to caress the 2D ladies or something.

Folks who enjoy complaining about the Vorkosigan covers should check out this gem, which I recently saw in a bookstore. It's even worse than the Baen ones! I've read the book four times, and I don't know who any of the people on that cover are, or how they're connected to the story at all!
posted by mandanza at 9:33 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Over on the Tor blog, someone wondered whether LMB had made some deal with the devil, whereby she was given the talent to write wonderful books, but they all had to be published with terrible covers. Then LMB came into the thread and said she'd wondered about that as well.

I gave a copy of LMB's Cordelia's Honor to my s/f loving sister-in-law a few years ago and she asked aloud why I was giving her a "bodice ripper".
posted by Ber at 9:34 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now I'm going to get sporadic emails from Amazon full of book covers like this, you realize.
posted by ODiV at 9:38 PM on January 21, 2013


All I could think of when I saw the photo was "thank God I lost ten pounds last month."

You mean like, in a bet?


Buuuuuuuuuuurn.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:44 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Folks who enjoy complaining about the Vorkosigan covers should check out this gem, which I recently saw in a bookstore. It's even worse than the Baen ones! I've read the book four times, and I don't know who any of the people on that cover are, or how they're connected to the story at all!

Wow, that's awful.

However, I read that book three days ago, and that would appear to be Miles deep in thought contemplating last night's finale of of Fringe, while he fills up the petrol tank on Elena's Stay Puft Marshmallow Man suit (she can't do it herself, as she is crippled with jaundice - the eyes, look at the eyes!), while Bothari, in the background, recovers from just eating a large, bitter lemon.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:50 PM on January 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


But having said that, I think this cover for The Warrior's Apprentice is worse. Why, Baen, why? Who are, like, any of those people?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:55 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


445supermag, that cover gets a pass for satirical intent, as do all the Chicks books.
(For those who don't know - and your lives will be improved by this information if you put it to use promptly - Chicks 'N' Chained Males is one of a successful and excellent series of anthologies edited by the wonderful Esther Friesner. Since the common feature of the anthologies is fantasy stories about ass-kicking barbarian babes, the covers reflect the wardrobe of most of the heroines. Most of the stories in the original 1995 Chicks in Chainmail anthology had tongue firmly in chi- er, cheek. The majority of the stories, across volumes, were written by women - although Jim Hines wrote one.)
posted by gingerest at 9:55 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't read huge amounts of Poul Anderson, but surely he deserves better?

The one book of his I started to read had a libertarian going off to mine asteroids, where a man can be free! Free of the government! So probably not.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:03 PM on January 21, 2013


So, I just discovered that in the TV Trope entry 'Contemptible Cover', Baen is the first publisher mentioned (in considerable detail) under 'Literature'.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:14 PM on January 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I want to defend Anderson, but, okay. That's a not unfair description of not only much of his work but kind of a lot of famous SF of his era. The Prometheus Award is a real thing that exists in the world.
posted by gingerest at 10:15 PM on January 21, 2013


To be fair, they put the nasty part of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance on the back cover rather than the front, at least.

But man....
(a) Ivan should not be ugly.
(b) why is Tej in her underwear, upside down, about to fall off the couch? Also, she ain't that stacked as the book says.
(c) why is Rish resembling Bridgette Nielsen and doing a random jete in the back?
(d) Also, she's fucking bright teal, not LAPIS blue like she should be.

That's even worse than the cover of A Civil Campaign, otherwise known as "I...guess that's supposed to be Gregor and Laisa on the cover or something?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:25 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Prometheus Award is a real thing that exists in the world.

Which has been awarded to some really great books by great authors, FWIW.
posted by Artw at 10:28 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Saran sarong so wrong.
posted by fleacircus at 10:30 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


mandanza: I don't mind that one. it's not brilliant, but it's clearly a scene from the book: Miles helping Elena into battle armour, with Bothari in the background. And I wouldn't be embarrassed to read it on the subway.

None of the characters look exactly as I pictured them, but it does what so few other covers do and actually shows Miles standing. I always pictured Bothari as larger and uglier, and for Miles I was always really influenced by the face on the Baen edition I have (like this one). Actually, of all the Baen Vorkosigan covers, the ones with the faces in profile (Miles and the Cetagandan, Miles and Mark, Miles and Ekaterin) are some of the most successful -- they are less bland than the cityscape images for Cryoburn and CVA and reflect the character driven nature of the stories.
posted by jb at 10:31 PM on January 21, 2013


Welp, here's a cover for Podkayne of Mars. After Heinlein wasn't under Alice Dalgleish's thumb any more, his girl-heros often mention how dumb nudity taboos are in a temperature-controlled or tropical environment but what is that thing on her shoulders supposed to be?
posted by gingerest at 10:35 PM on January 21, 2013


Oops, I left out the relevant point that Poddy's supposed to be 15 Earth-years old. (8 in Mars years.)
posted by gingerest at 10:36 PM on January 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


That thing on her shoulders is either the world's most elaborate (and pretty useless) nipple shield, or metal she earned in battle.
posted by Mezentian at 10:40 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the Vorkosigan series and reread them all about once a year - but I long for a reissue with black covers, as was done for the Harry Potter and Diskworld series. Then I could actually read them on the bus.
posted by Gilgongo at 10:41 PM on January 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Kindle is a wonderful thing.
posted by Artw at 10:45 PM on January 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


My first thought at seeing Scalzi pose was that he got a serious Freddy Mercury thing going on there, which looked surprisingly good. Also that I was going to post about this once the competition was over but forgot.

Worst one I can immediately think of, though, is this one.

Anyway, both the worst Bujold cover and somehow the best, is the one for a German edition of one of the novels: the hideous, hideous teeth. It's awful in both senses as it does accurately put across Miles' self image...

I want to defend Anderson, but, okay.

Anderson is one of those writers where you want to sort of stop reading everything he's written after 1970 or so, with some exceptions. His fifties and sixties work is some of the best written in the Analog stylee of competent men solving impossible problems and unlike many of his contemporaries he both has a good grasp of culture and could actually write well enough you don't want to poke your eyes out with a knitting needle.

He does have his tics however, is conservative in the old fashioned sense of the word, pessimistic ("the gloomy Dane") and after a certain point, doesn't improve anymore.

But even with that, he has written a slew of classic sf and f novels: The Corridors Of Time, Star Fox, Tau Zero, Operation Chaos, The High Crusade, The Broken Sword, Three Hearts and Three Lions, Brain Wave, etc etc.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:10 PM on January 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh god, I'm so sorry I derailed this thread into a Vorkosigan groan fest....not really. Almost fell off my chair laughing at some of the comments!
posted by Alnedra at 11:11 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The cover that traumatised me most in the Vorkosigan series was this one. I just...I don't know wtf to say.
posted by Alnedra at 11:18 PM on January 21, 2013


Alnedra - that's exactly the one I think of as a troll drawn by a six year old. Pretty talented for a six year old, but horrific for a cover.

As for that Podkane of Mars cover, it makes me want to throw up a little. Seriously, it's child porn -- and it's actually quite a good book.
posted by jb at 11:56 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Poul Anderson is one of the greatest writers in the SF genre. It might just be imo, but I rank him right at the top, in a "holy trinity" with Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. Stories like "The Queen of Air And Darkness," "Tau Zero" and "No Truce with Kings" are just amazing, even if the latter contains some odd views of feudalism. Reading these Baen collections, again and again I've rediscovered Anderson stories that thrilled me as a child, making me shiver with wonder. Asimov was the logical thinker who presented (and solved) puzzles, Bradbury was the unashamed romantic who brought out the emotion in situations, and Anderson was the swashbuckling adventurer who showed us how crazy, beautiful and fun the future could be. He deserved the Grand Master Award the SFWA gave him in 1997, and anyone looking for science fiction written by a true master of the form could do a lot worse than check him out.

But yeah, the Flandry books have always had bad covers. They were originally written as a James Bond pastiche, and the covers have usually been variations on the Bond style of half naked women and guns.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:58 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are there any becoming-mod-versaries coming up? This would be an amazing group present.

At least 8 mefites will be looking hopefully up at monklike faces beseeching beneficiance in the form of the world's greatest beer on 2/3rd Feb. We could easily try to parody the Gregorian video of Metafilter's Choice Awards to our Mods 2013.
posted by infini at 2:48 AM on January 22, 2013


Baen is now publishing one of my favorite fantasy authors, P. C. Hodgell. The heroine of her ongoing series is a slender young woman who is sometimes mistaken for a boy, to the point that her twin brother eventually grew a beard so that people would stop confusing the two of them.

When Baen started publishing her, somehow this became "the woman walked into the room with large breasts" in the cover art.

Well, at least she's mostly wearing clothes, I guess.
posted by kyrademon at 4:19 AM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight of Terra - In the dark future chicks wear bellybutton rigs and a come-hither slime... and that's all.

Man, whatever she's got, I hope it isn't catching.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:52 AM on January 22, 2013


Spend more time at the gym? No. Spend more time writing. I'd rather have brave, ironic, talented, prolific writers with less than Greek hero physiques instead of tighter bodies and less or poorer quality writing.

Dear Jim Hines, John Scalzi, Charlie Stross, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Patrick Rothfuss: exercise to keep your bodies healthy so you can write more, not to meet someone's unfortunate expectations.

Love, Plinth
posted by plinth at 6:31 AM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


blahblahblah: "First off, kudos to everyone involved.

And, secondly, this seems like the best possible thread to play "Worst Baen Cover Ever"

My submission is the cover to Hard Magic (which turned out to be surprisingly great, especially on audible). The cover, however, manages to have (a) the worst drawn human beings, (b) a women in an impossible dress, (c) OH GOD LOOK AT THE GIRLS THUMB

Your turn, Metafilter.
"

I would, but my thumb's too normal. As well as the fact, that despite my chubbiness, I not only do not have the cleavage to rock that dress, but look bad in red and would be suffering a severe case of Thompson envy.
posted by Samizdata at 7:05 AM on January 22, 2013


Mezentian: "Or "Baen covers MeFi's OwnTM folks should do next":
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. In Vorkosigan's world women are dancers or occasional tables....
"

I could do the blue thing in that one. I used to threaten my ex-girlfriend in SCA with the idea of me going to the next event as a costume-accurate Pict.
posted by Samizdata at 7:07 AM on January 22, 2013


His thoughts were red thoughts: "All I could think of when I saw the photo was "thank God I lost ten pounds last month."

You mean like, in a bet?


Buuuuuuuuuuurn.
"

Ice burn, even.
posted by Samizdata at 7:09 AM on January 22, 2013


And on a more serious note, good on all involved parties, both for raising money and awareness for/against a nasty condition, making a good point about the media, and rocking it all with mad, awesome style!

Wow. That sentence was pretty fragging awkward. Too early/undercaffeinated.
posted by Samizdata at 7:15 AM on January 22, 2013


I would love to see a whole series of genderswapped scifi covers featuring mefites, but mind you I am not volunteering.

(I am also super excited for the Jay Lake fundraiser to end so someone can post about it here, speaking of awesome ridiculousness featuring Mefi's Own.)
posted by restless_nomad at 11:22 AM on January 22, 2013


Thanks! The sequel JUST came out in audio, actually. Finally.

yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay
posted by NoraReed at 11:44 AM on January 22, 2013


The Baen covers are awful, but the NESFA press versions are much better. I especially like this cover for Barrayar with Cordelia back from shopping.
posted by penguinliz at 12:41 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is that an R2-D2, or does it make coffee?
posted by Artw at 12:55 PM on January 22, 2013


It's a uterine replicator.
posted by penguinliz at 1:04 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked the stylised cover for Barrayar that has just the swordstick and two hands grabbing it. Baen does better when they stay away from pictures of people.

and yeah, sorry for turning this into a Bujold-fest. These are just the terrible-cover books I've read the most of.

I could switch over to Mercedes Lackey, which aren't great though usually not completely horrific. I was always so confused by the covers for the Last Herald Mage series: why does Vanyel look 30 in the book where the character is 15, but like a teenager when he's 30-something? Maybe he's born backwards in time or something.
posted by jb at 1:27 PM on January 22, 2013


Is that an R2-D2, or does it make coffee?

If R2D2 made coffee, it would truly be the perfect machine.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2013


Pretty sure IG-88 doubles as a samovar.
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Artw: "Pretty sure IG-88 doubles as a samovar."

Самовар смерти, вы имеете в виду ...

(A samovar of death, you mean. Seriously, I wouldn't put it past IG-88 to paint his innards with the most toxic substance he could find...)
posted by Samizdata at 5:05 PM on January 22, 2013


I wish this conversation mystified me but I know too much about Admiral Naismith.
posted by infini at 7:05 PM on January 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is the new password "Are you a friend of Naismith?"

Though, unlike Elli, I prefer Lord Vorkosigan.
posted by jb at 8:44 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


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