Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I needed to get away from A) romance novels and B) cats. Back to the loving embrace of horrible Sci-Fi for me!

Queens of Deliria by Michael Butterworth. Please note this brilliant idea was by Michael Moorcock.

Well, let's be rather honest. You don't have to be male to notice there's two enormous mammaries framing what appears to be a large Phantasm ball. Also, the face of the female specter is donning rad shades, and has an amazing lens flare on her teeth. I think there's a demon down on the floor of the... I guess this is pinball field. Okay. Spirit trapped in a Phantasm pinball rolls around facing demons as a giant demon boobbeast looks on with smug glee? Really, that's my best guess.

What I Got:
Sweet God. This book is horrible. It's so horrible, I'm having a hard time expressing what it was about- I'm sure I could write a dissertation on the plot and still it would make very little sense. (Of course, this is the second in a trilogy... maybe the first book has some kind of cipher to help comprehend this). I'll attempt to paraphrase.

In the future, there's a Death Machine that makes horrible death music that slowly kills anything that hears it. The whole world has been destroyed in the previous book by death music so the only remaining people are crazed rock fans that listen to the Hawklords- who are the Children of God that are rock legends and zany guys. They play constantly some kind of magical rock music that can stave off the Death Music. They can also play recorded music by blasting it out of guns. There's a ghost of another guy, spirits of angst, some kind of metal bird machine, floating motorbikes, vortexes into the unknown, killer hogs, sexual organ instruments... Oh god I bet you already lost me. And my head hurts. Let's just say this book is such an abyss of WTF, one can lose themselves in it and suddenly- the book is over and you feel, somehow, it's drained you of your life.

And you can never get it back.

Cover Execution:
There's actually a scene where the Hawklords are sucked into a mystic game of pinball by the Queen of Deleria, who appears as a monstrous fat red woman in the sky. Actually, aside from the fact that the "demon" was really a Hawklord and the man "in" it was a reflection of said Hawklord... this is fairly accurate. However, god damn does this not even begin to cover what happens in this book. At. All.

PS: I totally will find the first book and the sequel. I can't help myself.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Which accounts for my complete lack of horrible books lately.
But I have several suggestions lined up. Really, books with cat covers are just becoming too easy. I see what you did there.

Is this seriously a man in a kilt with a cougar?

Sunday, September 25, 2011


So remember when I found that hilarious ad spot for "the bigfoot romance novel" in the back of on of those Cat Fancy's? I had to find that book.

Something Wild by Kimberly Raye.

I don't see a damn bigfoot on this cover at all. It's just a nearly nude man and some of the worst blinged-out gold-scroll I've ever seen. "Legendary Lovers" really? REALLY? Ugh, I... oh man. Okay it's just going to be some crappy romance novel.

What I Got:
A crappy romance novel. You know, I admit- I've read a lot of these things. Way back in school a friend of mine set her dreams on being a romance writer. She would constantly let me borrow these to gauge what plots interested me or what mysteries of the mannish sex we could discern from smut forays. It's a curious industry... there's niches for every woman's dream scantily clad man packed into these wretched titles - and in this book someone is pinpointing the "really tall hairy guy that doesn't talk and has no idea what a boob is". I mean, there's a whole part of this book devoted to the leading man curiously squeezing the leading lady's breast in naive befuddlement.

I'm just saying, I have no idea whose fantasy it is to hang out with a daft mountain wookie that doesn't know what a boob is. But there you are. Ladies, he's all yours.

Anyway, prissy writer goes out to cover a bigfoot story, falls down, breaks ankle, huge mountain man saves her and takes her to his cave... blah blah- I'm sure you can see where this is going. Oh there was a raven-spirit and some telepathic bears. That was kind of cool.

Cover Execution:
It's a crappy romance novel. The only point is docked for the fact that he's covered in an epic beard for most of the book so this is partially a lie. Also, because I'm just bitterly disappointed there wasn't really a bigfoot in this story.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


My coworkers have now learned that if I am presented with a horrible book... I will indeed read it. I owe this one to the flea market divings of one such person, who apparently claim it was inspired with http://www.seacaptaindate.com/. Usually romances are sucker punches because the ratio of bad-cover-to-bad-book is freakishly high, but this really presented a special challenge.

The Sea Tyrant by Peter Freuchen
Okay, seriously. The first thing I saw was Captain Haddock beating the crap out of TinTin. And a woman in a fur rug begging for mercy... and love, I guess. That's what the tag line says. So that's my guess: vintage pulp smut of Captain Haddock beating TinTin and refusing beautiful damsels his affections.

What I Got:
... I learned something from this book. If you are a Captain on a whaling ship, your job was to punch everyone in the face. Everyone.

Your sailing recruiter? Beat him and throw him below decks to die.
Your new, eager sailing recruits? Rumble with all of them and nearly kill one with a chair.
Someone offer you tea? Call them a wimp and punch them.
The native woman you're trying to rape not complying? Beat the everliving hell out of that wench with a knotted rope.
Your crew worried about the storm? Hit them until they are unfit for duty.
Have a bad dream? Wake up and punch everyone in arm's reach.
The mail boy not have a letter from your wife? Push him to the floor.
Mutiny? Not when you can punch your whole crew into submission!
Someone took your goddamn chair? Elbow them down.
That woman who removed all her cloths and draped herself on your bed? I don't think so, you hussy- I'm not that kind of man. I'm noble, so I'm going to beat you out of my cabin and leave you naked and bleeding on the deck.
That stupid crewmember who ran you too close to the reef? Punch him into the effing ocean.

Cover Execution:
Captain Haddock is, indeed, a dick. +9
Not actually a romance novel, but a violent, angry adventure with an unsympathetic hero and a lot of blubber. - 1

PS: The weirdest thing about this book is it was written by the author as based on his experiences on a whaling ship. I'm never getting near a whaling ship. Ever.


Well. You know what they say... third time's the charm?

The Cat's Fancy by Gwynn E. Ambrose

You know, I'm not even sure anymore. The last two guesses were so far off, I'm actually afraid to presume this book could be as normal as I suspect it will be. A) Written by some crazy cat lady. B) Probably a romance C) Bad. I could make wild speculation as to this cat actually being a demon or this cat transforming into a handsome, droll gentleman to woo unknowing human ladies but I'm keeping this simple. A, B, C will be true.
Please, God. Let that be all.

What I Got:
A, B, and C completely true. What's more offensive, the book was actually... boring. Boringly bad. Clever cat sees his lady-keeper lonely and unloved and starts orchestrating an inter-apartment romance with a single hot guy. With excruciating points of the cat-lady baby talking at the cat and painting through the misery of her singleness. When I'm reading a Cat Fancy book and actually wishing for magical hi-jinks or at least a laughable sex scene- you know it's dull times.

Cover Execution:
This cover tells me nothing other than there's probably a cat in this book. And someone crazy who uses pink leopard-print pattern. Maybe Snooki wrote it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Some co-workers of mine purchased this book for me to add to my Horrible Reading List. (Either as a kindness or in effort to incite pain, most likely the latter). At first glance, I wasn't to horrified, really the art is reasonable - but perhaps a bit... ludicrous. Let's see.

The Last Stand of The DNA Cowboys by Mick Farren

Space cowboys, and some kind of bard...and a lady. They ride lizards on faraway planets, and are visiting a lovely futuristic city. Probably to cause a ruckus. That's what cowboys do. In ... space.

What I Got:
Exactly what I was expecting, and SO MUCH MORE. The plot feels like the author NEEDED, with a sense of desperate abandon, to cram as much "cool shit" into this book as possible. There's the space mercenary cowboy with blasters...SEX.. the space minstrel cowboy with a space guitar...SEX... the space "religious" type cowboy...SEX ... and a loose woman who proceeds to sleep with all of them THREESOMES. The space mercenary army of men and mutants. RAPE The religious group. TANTRIC SEX ... The space scientists. TIGHT SPANDEX The crystal city. HOOKERS. Cloning people TO BE SEX SLAVES. Luckily most of the capslock topics happen in an offscreen or non-descriptive manner. It just felt like it was written by a guy doing drugs and writing for an audience of pubescent males. Oh, also there's some kind of great psychic void eating the world and at the end, everyone dies. Sorry, spoilers.

Cover Execution:
Seriously, this is pretty much a scene from the book rendered exactly. The only thing that keeps it from being a 10/10 is there's no way to imply SEX is happening offscreen somehow. Could have also used some lasers.

PS: Also-
Butterfly women.
Cyborgs having some kind of plug-in sex.
Space truckers.
Midget assassins.
DNA Mutants.
Dimensional travel.
Getting drunk all the time.
Complete lack of plot direction or character arc resolution.
oh and,
Apocalypse of the Universe.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

SPAWN (God Dammit)

Clearly the last baby book wasn't frightening enough. I was prepared to tackle a more terrifying baby book. This wretched paperback beat me once before... (I was too fearful of the cover. LOOK AT IT), so I dug it out of my "horrible book box" and decided to man up and try and read SPAWN (again).

SPAWN by Shaun Hutson

Super mutant evil huge babies. That capture men and put them in jars, who scream in terror for escape- knowing the lopsided baby has nefarious, evil plans for it. LET'S DO THIS, HORRIBLE BOOK. BRING IT ON.

What I got:
God dammit. Again. This time I got through a few chapters; and as soon as the main character, weeping fearful tears- suckles a reanimated fetus by cutting his nipple... I just lost it. There's only so much "burying dead babies in a field and Frankenstein-ing them to life and cuddling them" I can take before my nerves shatter, and I am overwhelmed in disgust and horror.

Cover Execution:
If, indeed, later in the book the undead babies grow huge and capture men in jars- this could be spot on. I will never know. This time I threw the book in the garbage- to rid myself of it forever. Babies prove themselves yet again to be my greatest fear, and I cannot face them. In time, perhaps I will overcome their paralyzing goos and gaas, flailing tiny limbs and need for suckling human fluids... but not today.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


So, it was time to stop reading any book that claimed to have anything to do with cats. Now was the time to tackle literary BABIES; probably my least favorite thing other than perhaps, literary monkeys. This hideous cover delight was a birthday present- so I felt compelled to read it. Steeling myself for the worst, I entered baby HARLIE's world.

When HARLIE Was One by David Gerrold

I first assumed this was a book about quilting and babies. Then I realized this was one of those covers from the 1970s when pastel bookcovers with earth-tone pattern were totally groovy... and that was actually some kind of representation of a chip board. This made me feel better, because robot babies aren't actually babies and aren't as scary. They tend to be particularly intelligent and usually turn on their human creators. Unless they also look like babies and then they are even more terrifying. This book must be about a rampaging killer cyborg baby! Oh God what have I done?!

What I got:
Oh. Well. Firstly, HARLIE is not actually one. It's more like ... 8 in developmental years. So, not a baby. Also, a supercomputer that takes up a whole room. So, it clearly isn't a baby. Whew. The plot revolves around a painfully reserved scientist having very long, very deep conversations with a computer, who is mastering the process of being "human". HARLIE the computer spends about a chapter discussing love, another discussing rationality, and a few more discussing morality. The best part is when the computer learns to get high by dumping its memory with artistic and irrational logic and starts spouting poetry. I'm actually going to say the book was a bit tedious, but interesting. If you like having conversations with computers all in CAPS LOCK. BECAUSE HARLIE TALKS IN CAPS LOCK.

Cover Execution:
Seriously? There were no babies, and you can't tell me that pattern looks a thing like a circuit board. No babies at all. And the book was far from horrible. I escape this adventure relatively unscathed.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


I never learn a goddamn thing. I went back to another Cat Fancy. But... you know... I'm not going to let one horrible book called Cat Fancy keep me from reading another horrible book called Cat Fancy. That would be admitting defeat. And no book will defeat me.

The Cat's Fancy by Julie Kenner

Naked man-back, as he wistfully smiles back at us, holding a cat. The logo at the bottom indicates this will be "A Time of My Life"... and the font treatment screams "generic romance novel". Okay, I'm guessing this naked handsome man is some kind of Humane Society worker who loves cats... and somehow some lady is going to fall for him while bringing in a stray. He's going to at some point say "you're my rescue, __insert romance lady name here__". I'm sure of it. Man, I could have written this myself. I've got this nailed. Ladies LOVE men who love cats. FACT.

What I got:
.... what the...wait...what....what.... The CAT loves the naked man. The CAT goes to a magic cat to turn into a human. The CAT becomes a hot, voluptuous lady and has several ludicrous adventures trying to keep the naked man (he wears cloths) from marrying his bitchy fiancee. The cat makes friends with "Hoops" the best friend of Naked Man and his sister "Arty Girl that Believes in Magic". The CAT has sexy times with the man. The CAT gets her wish to be human. It's like the Little Mermaid, but if the mermaid wasn't even half-human, but was a freaking tuna.

Cover Execution:
I was tricked again by a Cat Fancy!?! What the hell? I'm docking this half points for not having any kind of magical logo or anything to warn me. Look at the look on that cat's face now. You know what she's thinking? She's going to turn into a lady and hit that. How was I supposed to know this by looking at the cover? This is exactly the kind of face my husband's cat makes and now I REALLY don't trust her, that hussy.

Holy crap the ads in the back of this book are incredible.
"Something Wild"
Tara Martin seeks to make a name for herself as a star photojournalist...but when a plea from her best friend sends her off into the Appalachian wilderness to snap a Sasquatch, a twisted ankle leaves her in the most precarious of positions. When she looks up, she sees the biggest foot she's ever seen...attached to an even bigger man... with a colossal heart and a body to die for...

You. Are. Kidding. Me.

Bigfoot romance novels EXIST, ladies. The truth is out there.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I feel the need to explain myself a bit, or at least defend my reading habits. I've recently been asked if I "actually read any GOOD books"- and in fact I do. Reading is a lot more fun if you mix it up with a bunch of different flavors. I actually read books in a cycle:
1. "Classic" from the BBC list which I would like to finish, or an otherwise excellent older book.
2. A book club book (I have two VERY different book clubs I read with... so this usually means a more modern "good" book and a "good" sci fi).
3. A terrible book that equates to eating literary junk food.

I've also mastered reading on the treadmill or stairmaster, so the gym ends up doubling as reading time. Which is consequently RIGHT on the way from the library. So many books are consumed.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I needed to fully cleanse my mind after the horrors of Cat Fancy, so I headed for safer waters in the realm of science fiction. Just look at this cover? How could this be less than awful?

The Right to Arm Bears by Gordon R. Dickson

Awful pun for a title. A bear with an AK 47, smoking a cigar with some kind of bear half-smirk. Spaceship in background... my guess was aliens use some kind of technology to make bears smart enough to be the ultimate guerrilla warriors? Oh, boy- look at that tagline. I bet there's irreverent poop jokes abound. (Please, no bear sex).

What I got:
What? Wait... this was basically a compilation of three small books collected into one novel. There are no guns in the whole thing. There are no bears smoking or wearing berets. Each story was a very politics-heavy story about a human thrown into a foreign planet where... bears have a very primitive and twisted honor-based code of ethics and behavior. There's some other aliens too, and they want to be friends with the bears first. It's like each story was the same. Human gets in trouble. Human has to fight a 9 foot tall bear-man to retain honor for all humanity. Other aliens try to make humans look bad. Human somehow tricks bear into losing the fight and humans get respect. NO GUNS. NO CIGARS. NO CAMO.

Cover Execution:
Total fail. The only thing that was correct is there's a spaceship mentioned at some point and the aliens look like big bear people. I can only imagine the publisher realized how damn hard it would be to market a serious bear-space-politics book and just gave up and put a "totally awesome bear like Che Guevara on the front and like, puns and, like a poop joke". I was seriously upset to not have bear gun wars as promised.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I dared to read a book with a Poser model composed cover. Sometimes, when your gut says "don't take that dare", you should listen to it. Or you just might force yourself to read a 40 page novella that ends up being the literary equivalent of drinking orange juice and milk mixed together; then spending the next few hours feeling regretful and nauseous.

Cat Fancy by Julia Talbot.

Well this isn't the Cat Fancy we all know and love, as I see no Persian cats and article titles such as "Tuna or Whiting: Which is Healthier for Your Kitty?"... but there's three poser models that look like they are probably in some kind of romantic triangle or something- man, look at how bad that hair rendering is! Oh I bet this is Twighlight with werecats? Hahaha- that font for CAT FANCY. Or were...leopards? Who names a romance novel CAT FANCY? Or... man I give up.

What I Got:
God. Dammit.
A book about 3 werecats having explicit, poorly written sex with dialogue such as "God, look at how hot you are for me, babe" and "I like extra cream...with everything" and "When her arms gestured her tits bounced" and "Pretty, pretty, pretty kitty". I'm just imagining some woman... at home with her cats, writing this at her coffee table and thinking "someone must share my werecat threesome fantasies!".

Cover Execution:
I should have studied it closer... the telling signs were there. I was blinded by the bad cover and didn't heed the warnings. The gilded pink font...The terrible 80's hair. The bustier and booty shorts... the poser hand at his fly. The clasped mandibles... The too-tight shirts. "Changeling Press"... What a fool I was. This cover said "horrible threesome porno novella" all over it. I'm sticking to sci-fi for a while to bleach my mind.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

HEADS (This isn't the same Heads)

I was somewhat disappointed by reading a good book about heads. So I I had to post another book about heads that lived up to my horrible expectations. This book was not good and named "Heads"; so it clearly suites the whole blog better than a good book called "Heads". Both also host a prominent head on the cover.

HEADS by David Osborn

This man is clearly getting the most terrifying head massage ever! Perhaps a truly fear-inducing spinal adjustment! No, I bet it's about doctors taking people's heads off.

What I got:
A splendidly bad piece of sci-fi involving Scooby-Doo obvious mysteries, a love triangle where one player doesn't have a body- and a lady doctor catfight scene. Delivered a room full of talking, problem solving heads with a tendency for committing suicide.

Cover execution:
7/10. The blond doctor gets his head taken off by dark haired doctor. I suppose they could have been more overt- (and in fact they don't pick the heads up and carry them around or anything), but a little mystique helps. Bonus for the awesome Heavy Metal inspired font for the title.


HEADS by Greg Bear

A huge space head rules the moon.

What I got:
A very good book exploring an interesting vision of the future and a set of cultures/political groups residing on the moon. The book delivered not one massive head but 410 frozen heads, in addition to a rather clever and biting attack on cult religions ::coughcoughSCIENTOLOGYcough:: and cool negative-time experiments. And an ending I had to read twice for full effect.

Cover execution:
The theme was there, but the forced perspective left me hoping for some Galactacus-esque head that would eat the moon or something. Also, if that's supposed to be the main head causing the source of contention in the book, it's sadly not accurate in depiction. If it was the head I'm thinking the illustrator intended, it would be an obese person's head, not this trim icy visage. Also, lack of cooling station allusion- which plays a more important role in the book almost, than the heads.

Still, frozen head on the moon is the gist of it.


The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee.

There's going to be a very foppy silver robot man. He will woo a woman with poetry, roses and show her the meaning of true love.

What I Got:
An extremely foppy robot man woos a very vapid 16 year old in the space future with roses and songs. She cries endlessly in wanton misunderstanding of emotion and eventually becomes stronger through learning to love her robot man and breaking away from her controlling mother and rich life. They have magical, Dickens-esque poor times together. Silver, (the aptly-named robot man), is recalled. The girl cries a lot, but with purpose and sorrow. Then the robot's ghost-program talks to her through a ouiji board at her friend's house. She becomes a strong woman of THE FUTURE.

Cover Execution:
8.5/10. All it needed was a weeping, doe eyed woman child on the cover and it would be a near-perfect image of the book. They even got his velvety-long red hair just right!

Onward to "Heads" by Mr. Bear. Which, on the first chapter, promises me not just a few... but over FOUR HUNDRED frozen space heads.

What is this?

So, recently I got to thinking about how amazing* book covers can be. I'm on the search to find some of the most astounding artifacts, and then I am going to choose the best** and read a few to see if it can possibly live up to the astounding*** cover. Instead of annoying my coworkers with this useless info, I'm blogging it. For posterity.

* could mean truly wonderful, could mean simply horrible
** could also mean worst
*** astounding does by definition mean "startling or bewildering", so this is accurate