Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The terrible cover
As many of you know, my real job is as a small town newspaper editor. About ten years ago I was working for a semi-weekly (2x a week) newspaper in Bowie County, Texas.
One of my regular duties was to attend and report on the deliberations of the local school board. Now, there are a number of subjects that a school district deals with which, under Texas law, can be discussed behind closed doors for reasons for privacy. Student discipline and personnel matters are two of the most common reasons for an "executive session".
I was a board meeting when the members had to leave and deliberate in private, which meant myself, members of the public and the school district staff had to wait in the board room and kill time. Knowing from the agenda this was planned, I brought a book I could read while waiting.
I've done this a number of times, and as I have a large number of books at home I had picked an anthology pretty much at random and began to read it, held up in front of my face, while waiting for the school board members to return.
After a few minutes, I became aware that the other people in the room were looking at me with the strangest expressions. It hit me like a flash:
"Oh, crap, what's on the cover of this book?!"
I knew - being a reader of s-f and fantasy - there was a distinct possibility the cover was pretty wild.
I turned the book around, and chuckled. Yes, this is the photo of the cover.
I apologized to the other people and explained that no, I wasn't reading a book on Satanism, but science fiction. And I stashed the book.
I will still sometimes take a book with me to read in similar circumstances - but I always remember to look at the cover!
This is one of my best ever alternate histories.