Friday Fiction: Stress Pattern

stress pattern cover

Stress Pattern

I have no words for this cover. Naturally, I had to have this book after seeing the cover. I don’t even care what this is about. Sci Fi from the old days usually has some of the most bizarre cover art. From the book’s description I am guessing that the phallic looking “thing” is called the wormway or rather a subway for this bizarre alien culture. I will leave it to you all to come up with your own jokes for this cover.




stress pattern inside summary

title page of stress pattern

synopsis of stress pattern



  1. “Novel-length package of interplanetary surprises” has the makings of a liberry pick up line.

  2. That looks as if it would be fun to read. Look at all the possibilities suggested by the flap summary.

  3. Another comment: On the cover art, the human (I guess) looks as if he’s wearing one of those tin hats to keep him safe from aliens. Fat lot of good it did him, huh?

  4. It looks like a bad knock-off of Dune. I suspect there’s a reason I’ve heard of Frank Herbert, but not Neal Barrett Junior.

    1. The similarities to Dune seem very superficial. Giant worms have appeared a number of times in science fiction, and this doesn’t seem to have the religious or messianic overtones that Dune did.

  5. It looks like the kind of “science fiction” that is wacky just for the sake of it – if the back cover description is accurately, and unfortunately, telling you the entire story. Like “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, but not as good. Presumably they calculated that giving away the entire plot wouldn’t reduce your enjoyment, and I expect they were right. And I believe I detect a joke about “alimentary canal” – canals being a mode of transport mainly used before there were railways – that the author couldn’t make work.

  6. “Ride the wormway to no-wonderland.”

    I’ll have to try that line with my girlfriend sometime.

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