One of my favorite book covers happens to cover one of my favorite books.

Roadmarks is the story of Red Dorakeen, who drives a beat-up pickup truck up and down a unique highway. The highway travels through time – exits lead to different historical periods and worlds. The novel deals with Red’s attempt to recreate history as he remembers it, running guns to the Greeks at Marathon. There are dragons and a retired warrior-robot who works as a potter, and sentient computers built into copies of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Flaubert’s Flowers of Evil, and a man named Adolf who drives up and down the road in a black VW bug, looking for the exit that leads to the world where he won. 

It is the very image of the picaresque novel.

The original title was Last Exit to Babylon.

In this case, you pretty much can judge a book by its cover. 

Wikipedia: “Roadmarks”

#books #scifi #Zelazny #Roadmarks #cover #illustration

Traffic control markings, District of Columbia, 1945 (T.W. Kines; National Archives [45-2200])

During the 1930s and 1940s, traffic control officials tried out a variety of pavement markings. The Bureau of Public Roads and the states all ran their own tests using different designs for the center and barrier (the line at the right edge of the roadway). The District of Columbia experimented with center lines and crosswalks using a broken-line pattern that would be easily visible for drivers. By the 1950s, most states and municipalities settled on universally-accepted standards for roadway markings.

The American Highway by William Kaszynski (2000), p. 117

The road runs from the unimaginable past to the far future, and those who travel it have access to the turnoffs leading to all times and places—even to the alternate timestreams of histories that never happened.

Why the Dragons of Bel'kwinith made the road—or who they are—no one knows. But the Road has always been there, for those who know how to find it, and always will be!

Published in 1979

What A Cock Up: ‘Penises’ Painted On Road By Council Contractors, Residents Suggest

One of the mysterious symbols (SWNS)

Red-faced council bosses were left scratching their heads, wondering why ‘dirty’ markings adorn their roads.

The botched job in Staffordshire has sent the Internet reeling – with many claims that the signs look a bit like men’s genitals.

The plan was to re-do old road markings on the undisclosed residential area.

But bungling workers who made the balls up claim to have used the wrong paint - leaving some interesting shapes behind!

And the signs, scorched into the tarmac, caused 300 furious locals to complain about the “disgusting mess”.

The road markings are peculiar, according to resident Graham Wood (SWNS)

Angry resident Graham Wood said: “There are some very bizarre, obscene shapes. One of them looks like someone’s giving someone the finger sign.

“It’s a huge mistake and difficult to quite explain really. Anyway, it has left the road in a right state.”

In addition to - what some people say resembles – phalluses, tyre marks from cars driving over the wet paint and smudging it, have made the road appear worse.

Highways contractors Amey undertook the job on behalf of Staffordshire County Council.

Councillor Mark Deaville, who is cabinet support member for highways and transport, said: “When the work was carried out, the material caused a reaction with the painted white lines on the road, which caused them to mis-shape.

“The effect was purely cosmetic and the material has now settled.

“Our highways team are now working with the contractor to resolve the aesthetic issues on site.”

But another neighbour admitted she is able to see the funny side. Annette Bullick said: “I was shocked when I first saw them. We found the shapes amusing but the state the whole estate has been left in is disgusting really.”

Some say the signs resemble male genitals (SWNS)