Last time I was in Bakka, I decided to browse through their used book shelves. This is something I do occasionally, especially when I have no money and cannot buy any of those lovely, brand-new books that fill the store, but just might be able to spare a couple of dollars for a slightly used novel. So I was scanning the spines, half-listening to the conversations of friends around me, when a name caught my eye. More specifically, my
name caught my eye.
I reached up and grabbed off the shelf a book published in 1982 by Michael Coney called Cat Karina
. One look at the cover and I knew that I had to own this book.
The cover illustration is ... really something. In the background there is a large, odd-looking sailboat, and further behind that there are mountains. The foreground has a nice stretch of hilly grass (cut short enough to be called a lawn) and a little strech of cobblestone road. And standing on the cobblestone road are four women, each posing so as to flaunt her unique and voluptuous curves. They are wearing boots or leather sandals with laces that tie all around their legs, and leather bracelets and arm band and necklaces. As for clothing ... well, they're not wearing much of that at all, nor are the few bits that they're wearing doing a very good job of keeping them covered. This must be for greater ease of movement, because surely with the long spears and knives that they're holding and have strapped to various places on themselves, they need to be ready for a sudden attack.
Oh, and their ears. Must not forget about their ears. They're pointed. And either they've taken a whole lot of very interesting recreational substances that have left them with very strange, wide-eyed and somewhat blank stares, or their eyes are supposed to be cat-slit.
The enticing tag line that runs across the cover reads: "The svelte bodies of the felinas were irresistable--and strictly off-limits for human men. The felinas had a wonderful
So at this point I'm laughing up a storm. I turn the back over and read the two paragraphs that are nearly as amusing as the front cover. My favourite bit says, "But more successful than any of these who call themselves Specialists are the felinas, descended from jaguars. They are beautiful, carefree, and casually cruel, and loveliest of them all is Karina."
Even opening the book to a random page proves to be amusing:
Karina said, "You see, I'm still alive. Your crocodiles couldn't kill me--not for want of trying."
See, the sexy, descended-from-jaguars Karina can even take on crocodiles! I bet she did it without even muddying her sassy push-up bra.
I have tried to tell myself to stop being so mean; after all, if I wrote a book--a good book!--and it was given an absolutely terrible cover, and silly back cover copy and the rest, the last thing I'd want to do is have someone with the main character's name giggling and quoting me in a semi-public forum. (And hey, there really might be people out there named Ashanté, or Tieren, or Kii, or ... well, you get the idea.) And I'm told that Michael Coney is actually a very good author, even though no one that I've spoken to who knows his work has heard of this particular novel.
Maybe it is a good book, or at least a decent book. But I sort of don't want to read it, in case I can no longer laugh about it. Of course, there will always be the cover...