A note: Once upon a time this was an addendum to a previous writeup, long since vanished.

All works cited below are paperback copies.

For science fiction, based on 10 classic works taken from my bookshelf :

For fantasy, based on 6 classic works taken from my bookshelf :

Right now, the C! writeups list on the right side of my browser window includes this:

And you know, I think it's just about correct. Of course, like all omens, signs, and other random occurences, it requires a certain degree of interpretation. Obviously "...the back..." refers to the entire covers of the novels in question - how could it not, with the previous phrase being such an obvious reference to the art of Boris Vallejo?

Now, one might say "Well, Boris doesn't do THAT much book cover art. He's prolific, but his art is nowhere near one of the most common characteristics of sci-fi/fantasy literature." ONE WOULD BE WRONG. Have you seen, for example, the cover to Gateway, by Frederik Pohl? He can paint SPACESHIPS! No longer are bimbos, death, and the sun the sole defining characteristics of his work. Not even his overwhelming narcissism can be counted upon any longer, though I believe I saw a work of fiction the other day at Borders called The Sword Of Aldebaran which proudly displayed Boris's lanky face emerging from the end of a rocketship. Rumor has it that he's gone so far as to depict humans wearing clothes, one of which is a Royal Canadian Mountie!

In fact, while only 54% of science-fiction and fantasy books published in the United States are adorned with Vallejo's art, studies have shown that 87% of books in private collections have cover art by Boris. Go check your sci-fi and fantasy shelf, if you don't believe me - you'll find that many of your books, formerly bearing art from the most talented and the most generic artists alike, have somehow been altered and gained illustration by BORIS VALLEJO HIMSELF*! Even now his armies of deadly solar bimbos march across our bookshelves, on their way to conquer our dictionaries and then our minds!

But as worrying as that is, we must move on to the topic of the greater infestation at hand, the contaminant most often found tainting the covers of sci-fi/fantasy novels. What I speak of is, of course, cooties. It is known fact that the majority of readers of science fiction and fantasy are nerds, and that the majority of nerds are lacking in personal hygiene. In their parents' basements, college computer labs, their friends' parents' basements, and other unseemly hangouts, the less socially adept among us are unwittingly spending the majority of their lives in a vile den of cootie breeding.

Their favorite novels being passed from one of them to another for reasons of the laziness and poverty that results from the common coincidence of nerd and slacker in the same individual, the typical nerd's cooties have had ample opportunity to lodge themselves on the covers, between the pages, and even in the stickum that holds the binding of the book together. The nerds' cooties are exchanged between hosts, and often have an opportunity to breed and increase their genetic variability within the novels themselves! This has resulted in an unprecedentedly strong cootie population, resistant to all but the most noxious and caustic treatments and poisons. Modern cooties are easy to get and hard to shake. A lapse in treatment, or contact with infected nerds or novels during recuperation, can spell doom for the curative process - the merest exposure or lack of diligence in treatment can cause a relapse and a full infection.

So remember, the next time you pick up a science-fiction or fantasy novel in your local library or used bookstore, you are also picking up cooties! Even purchasing new books is a danger, as nerds will frequently sit in the comfortable chairs provided by such kindly patrician establishments as Barnes and Noble and partake of large portions of writing or an entire novel without once paying for it!

When you buy fantastical literature, you are buying cooties, and when you read it you might as well be watching cooties breed. Tainted books are an even greater danger than socializing with nerds, geeks, and other lower-class intellectuals. Watch out, and keep your reading matter clean!

I never could've done this without the books The Fantastic Art Of Boris Vallejo and A Treasury Of Half-Nude Barbarians, which I own for some reason.

*A Vallejo infestation is not a pretty sight, especially on the cover of one of the Hitchhiker's Guide books.

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