Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games


So the 1,000th issue of Analog pulls a cutesy trick by revisiting the cover of the first issue, except this time with the sexes reversed.

You know, this might be another one of those “get off my lawn” moments for me, but I’m just not that impressed. And there are any number of things to complain about here: the lack of a beard on the cave man, his waxed chest, his unreasonable muscles. Then there’s the awkwardness of the punch, the dumpy clothing on the space princess, the complete lack of any skin showing on her and (worse) the fact that you can’t even discern the slightest hint of her curves.

This is space fantasy that would evidently satisfy the exacting standard of both the PMRC and the shareef. Seriously, how is that a good idea?

All snarkyness aside, things generally go downhill fast once they pass the point of self-parody. Think how bad the Batman movie franchise got after Michael Keaton left it. Think about how Arnold Schwarzenegger went from being the ultimate heavy to being a running joke.

The attitude here is like a small town kid that comes back from a couple years at college all ready to let everyone back home how they are such hicks. You know… you can go on to bigger and better things if you want. That’s great. But I don’t think it’s necessary to show such contempt for your roots, though. And I know that the editor probably thinks that this might even be a celebration of those roots. I see it as more of a mockery.

As to the Magazine itself? No thanks. Not when there’s several A. Merritt novels left for me to dig into. If there are any others that are on par with Dwellers in the Mirage or Creep, Shadow!, then there’s not much that this magazine can do to compete with that.

And while I would be ecstatic to be proven wrong, I think it’s safe to say that Analog Magazine will never come close to being as awesome as this:

That’s how it’s done.

Update: The editor has this to say: “You may notice that there’s one big difference between this cover and the original–there’s no cowering cave-woman being protected by a two-fisted adventurer; this time, she’s more than capable of handling the bug on her own. Taking the things that work without being beholden to the things that don’t is about as Futurist a concept as there is.”

Obviously, I’m going to have to disagree here. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and E. C. Tubb’s stories all work just fine today.

13 responses to “OH ANALOG NO

  1. Blue Tyson May 14, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Nothing, like, say, Dune? :)

  2. Blue Tyson May 14, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Yes and guess which magazine Dune appeared in first? :)

    • jeffro May 15, 2015 at 3:18 am

      Yes, Analog did well to host that. But doing well in the sixties does not justify extending a middle finger to the past right now. I’m quite willing to forgive and forget though. Maybe they can make restitution by doing some kind of “Red Sonja in Space” type cover…?

  3. TheConservativeDM May 15, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Yeesh. Forget the politics, that’s just not a very good piece of art. Not being an art critic the vagaries of true analysis are beyond my skills, so the best I can do is say that it looks like a really bad photoshop. The focus of the painting is all over the place, the figures oddly posed, and the heroine’s head cocked at an odd angle. And not in a good way. This isn’t even a case of “so bad it’s good” like many of the early issues. It’s just bad.

    Oddly enough, a scan of the original cover is hard to find. It would be interesting to see a side by side comparison.

  4. Cirsova May 15, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Space Lady: “Yawn, I’m so bored punching this robot bug. I’m such a boring space lady. I can assure you that everything within is as boring as me.”

    Guy in the background: “Why the hell is David Bowie striking a pose over there?”

    The original isn’t exactly a masterpiece, but it has a quaint old-timey charm to it. This looks like something you’d see on Goodshowsir at best or Lousybookcovers at worst. The guy looks photoshopped in and like he would be 15 feet tall if brought into the foreground.

    ::and yes, File 770 is a place best avoided; the last time I checked, some lady (not even the filk one I’d been talking to) had gaslit herself into my having called her a “bitch” and was waving that like some kind of battle flag (no one called anyone a bitch anywhere in the thread)::

  5. 2W2N May 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Please notice that five of the six writers advertised on the cover are men. If there’s a greater testament to the self-defeating insidiousness of critical theory and the ever-New, ever-useless Left, I haven’t seen it. The underrepresented are still as underrepresented as ever, but let’s make some empty gestures on their behalf to make them think they’re represented!

    That’s a terrible fucking cover, by the way. I welcome a woman doing the punching, as long as that woman has the muscles and stance for it (Charlize, yes?). I wouldn’t mind the piece’s overt political resentment if it were done cleverly, or even decently.

  6. Cambias May 16, 2015 at 9:37 am

    It would have been cleverer to have the heroic beetle defending the Space Princess from a sneering space pirate. I’d like to read that story, in fact.

    • jeffro May 16, 2015 at 9:44 am

      If you don’t write it, Cirsova probably will. Or what I mean to say is… Abraham Strongjohn wrote a whole 200 page novel on that very theme!

    • Cirsova May 18, 2015 at 8:53 am

      I’ve never come across the version that was worked into a novel, and it was a giant mantis, not a beetle, but I recently dug out “A Princess in Distress, or Anna and the Thing “. It’s like Rashomon in space, but with a cat girl.

  7. BobtheCertifiedIdiot May 18, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Look at the old cover. Sure the pilot has a good punching posture. The girl’s posture is pretty good too. Some might interpret that as cowering, an instinctual posture caused by panic. I can see calculated defense. Hair clear of her face, she can watch both the near and the far enemy. Her right arm’s position gives her a couple of choices for using it. Her posture minimizes the target she presents. Her feet let her watch, make small shifts in position, and be ready to run away. Even the foreground beetle has been sent flying by a blow.

    Whereas the new cover has a guy from romance cover, and a girl that seems like an authoritarian political propaganda poster. The aliens feel like scenery.

    A lot of periodicals fail in the first issue, or otherwise early on. Being advertisement, the first cover is very important. Hence, the first cover here is very good, and gives a sense of action. Whereas a publication with solid financial reserves, a reputation, and loyal subscribers, can adsorb some bad covers, or even a run of shoddy issues.

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