Author: Algis Budrys
Cover artist: Robert V. Engel
Yours for: $10
Best things about this cover:
- Hard to snark — this is one of my favorite scifi covers of all time. That creeptastic design on the robot face is fantastic. Looks like Crow from "MST3K," but way more disturbing.
- The hands on this thing are probably the second-most striking element — they look remarkably alike; very expressive. Amazing articulation in that prosthetic hand. Looks like he might have a large sausage or loaf of bread in those clown trousers of his. Very alarming — and he's coming Right At You — into the heart of the "Allied Sphere." Searchlight + barbed wire completes the dystopic effect. Great design all around.
Best things about this back cover:
- See, this designer knew what the real money shot was on that front cover — The Hand!
- Seriously, I have to give it to Pyramid on this one. The blurbs are gripping and unhilarious. This book may actually go onto my "Read It Someday, You Lazy Oaf" pile.
"But I'll tell you something, Mr. Rogers—" He turned suddenly and faced across the barn. The light was behind him and Rogers saw only his silhouette—the body lost in the shapeless, angular drape of the coveralls, the shoulders square, and the head round and featureless. "Even so, people don't like machines. Machines don't talk and tell you their troubles. Machines don't do anything but what they're made for. They sit there, doing their jobs, and one looks like another—but it may be breaking up inside. It may be getting ready to not plow your field, or not pump your water, or throw a piston into your lap. It might be getting ready to do anything—so people are afraid of them, a little bit, and won't take the trouble to understand them, and they treat them badly. So the machines break down more quickly, and people trust them less, and mistreat them more. So the manufacturers say, 'What's the use of building good machines? The clucks'll only wreck 'em anyway,' and build flimsy stuff, so there're very few good machines being made any more. And that's a shame."
Possibly the best "Page 123" excerpt I've ever offered up. Congrats to Algis Budrys for bringing class and dignity to this blog. Next week, more boobs and bad writing, I promise!
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