What The? #7

Strange Relations by Philip José Farmer

1973 – Panther
Cover artist uncredited

An occasional series of book covers whose outlandish design evokes bafflement and confusion in equal measure.

Where to start with this one? A lion with women’s breasts and a bearded, long haired man’s head sits unaware that he/she/it has an enormous screaming slug on his/her/it’s back. In the foreground is a clutch of purple eggs, one of which has hatched out to reveal a fanged baby which is being bitten on the head by a snake. “What the hell is going on here?” I wonder, twitching slightly. I know the title is Strange Relations but this design is maybe stretching things a little too far.

WTF7 Farmer Strange Relations


10 thoughts on “What The? #7

  1. Bernie 04/06/2014 / 11:24 am

    Not so much outlandish, more “what WERE they thinking of?!” is this from Penguin, by Adrian Chesterman, for a Robert Sheckley collection :-


    It’s the worst cover I’ve ever seen, in ANY genre!!


    • unsubscriber 04/06/2014 / 11:30 am

      Oh dear, that’s a terrible cover and with absolutely nothing to do with the book either. At least here the artist has tried to interpret the title, albeit with rather bizarre consequences!


  2. Lestaret 04/06/2014 / 1:23 pm

    I don’t know what your making such a fuss about, all this is perfectly normal. Excuse me, I have to go and lie down again.


    • unsubscriber 04/06/2014 / 1:53 pm

      I’ll bring you a warm milky drink presently Mr Lestaret…


  3. Joachim Boaz 06/06/2014 / 4:34 pm

    This matches perfectly with the equally bizarre and shocking contents. I reviewed the collection a few months back. Loved it.


    • unsubscriber 06/06/2014 / 4:38 pm

      It’s been in my ‘to read’ pile for quite a while now, I’ll read your review then I might have to bump it up a little. It’s still a damned bizarre cover though!


      • Joachim Boaz 06/06/2014 / 4:39 pm

        Well, 50s audience of the stories in the collection would be shocked out of their skins.

        The last story especially — very damning of human explorer who can’t understand a shockingly different society.


      • unsubscriber 06/06/2014 / 4:46 pm

        Your review has intrigued me sufficiently Joachim, I think I’ll read this a lot sooner than later now, thanks.


      • Joachim Boaz 06/06/2014 / 4:57 pm

        Cool. As you can tell, I am generally not a fan of Farmer. But in the 50s context I can only imagine how people reacted to those stories. And, he explored themes that the New Wave authors would tackle with glee 10+ years later.


      • Joachim Boaz 06/06/2014 / 4:39 pm

        *a very damning tale of a human explorer


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