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A Challenge to the One Known as Scalzi

Dear Mister Scalzi,

You knew this day would come. Ever since Chicago, when we faced one another on the stage, hips out-thrust, chests bulging in the instinctive challenge pose, a pose written into our very DNA, the product of millions of years of geeky evolution. From the days when the very first cave-nerd dislocated his spine in order to imitate the ridiculously disproportionate and improbably attired cavewoman on the classic fantasy cave painting Saber-Tooth Vixens of Mars, the true alpha beta upsilon males of our herd have established their dominance through the time-honored tradition of the pose-off.1

As a proud upsilon male, I cannot allow your actions to go unanswered a moment longer. The time has come for you to pose-up or shut up. I challenge you, sir, to a pose off!

Tradition allows you to choose from one of three covers, which I present to you here.

As is the custom of our people, once you post your pose and whatever commentary or extras you wish to include, you shall be judged on accuracy, wardrobe, props, humor, and all-around ridiculousness.

In return, I shall attempt to duplicate the cover of your choosing.2

I look forward to your answer, sir.3


  1. And also through annoyingly wordy run-on sentences.
  2. Feel free to choose one of these, or even the same one, or something completely different. DO YOUR WORST, SCALZI! JIM C. HINES DOES NOT FEAR YOU!
  3. The challenger is not responsible for any injuries suffered in the process of attempting to duplicate these poses. Possible side effects of cover posing include muscle cramps, popped joints, pulled groins, mockery, and increased awareness of sexism. Please consult your doctor if you experience a cover pose lasting longer than four hours. Attempting these poses will void manufacturer’s warranty. Do not pose while using Happy Fun Ball.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)
You were pretty kind to him! I might even be able to do these poses. :D
Dec. 6th, 2012 01:29 am (UTC)
I don't want to completely break him in the first round. I'm saving my secret weapon for the $2500 rematch ;-)
Dec. 6th, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
I was wondering if that might be the case. :D
Dec. 6th, 2012 04:52 pm (UTC)
Your icon should present a nice challenge, too. :-)
Dec. 6th, 2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
It was the obvious choice for this topic! :) I can actually do some of the less ridiculous butt-and-boob poses, although having them used as Superhero Action Pose is no less stupid for that. This icon is one of my stretches: it is not part of my vampire-fighting kata.
Dec. 6th, 2012 02:24 am (UTC)

Pose for #3 in a g-string, Mr Scalzi. I double-dog dare you!
Dec. 6th, 2012 02:25 am (UTC)
I'm thinking the one on the left is actually physically impossible, so I look forward to the dislocation...I mean...attempt to replicate it.

You caveman and your challenges.
Dec. 6th, 2012 01:03 pm (UTC)
Am I totally misreading this? To me the left one looks like a pretty standard crouch stance ( http://alexng.net/fsuwushu/reference/crouch.jpg - don't know this guy, just grabbed a random image from the web) with some weirdness in terms of the head and shoulders being rolled forward.

(And I just double checked this with my fellow resident - he's an MD PhD student, and I'm just working on my PhD... and teaching anatomy. We're both all like "That's a crouch stance - done badly!" He had some concerns about lateral stability, but her center of mass is pretty clearly between her feet, and I've had junior martial arts students who have done crouch stances worse than that without falling over. Like, last week.)

Okay, confessions. I just tried the first two of these at home in the zendo. The first one was weirder than I would have thought - at least for me, when I drop into crouch stance (which I do at least 40 times a day if I'm not sick or injured) I naturally drop into what my yoga teacher calls "concave back" - kind of a backbend through the upper spine. In the picture, her head and shoulders are forward. For me to do this and keep decent balance means I pull my abdomen way back, so having my head and shoulders forward like this doesn't overbalance me. (Also, I can't bring my head and shoulders forward without hearing Shifu yelling "Suspend your head! Elbows shoulders dropped!" Distinctly uncomfortabe.)

The funniest bit? What feels like a natural crouch stance, with the concave back, is all like "my breasts, let me show them to you". I'm not sure what the shoulders and head forward position is meant to signify (I know in martial arts films having your head forward is often a sinister thing, but in other visual contexts it seems to be more about not being confident) but I'm kind of surprised they missed the breast stance.

Oh, and I also did not try this in heels, or in a dress. I don't think either would have made a huge difference, though keeping my balance in an already bad crouch stance while wearing heels would have been challenging, since I'm seriously not used to heels. (I don't buy clothes that significantly interfere with with my ability to train. Not that I need to be able to fight at any moment, but why would I want to own anything like that anyway? It does provide a certain amount of humor for shopping trips, though - in fact, dropping into crouch stance and doing a whirlwind kick are two of my common tests.)

The second stance... okay, I'm not sure how much she's doing the "both my boobs and butt are somewhat turned towards the viewer" thing. Her butt is kind of dark. But having previously established that the glass in the kitchen doorway makes a nice reflective surface (again, I live at a zendo, we have two mirrors in the whole place, neither of them well situated for this kind of thing) I decided to see try the full on "I'm in a superhero comic" version of the pose, and discovered, to my horror, that I could do it. (For me, at least, the arch of the back is part of what makes it work.)

Not, mind you, that I look like that (dear gods, not even to go into how I turn 40 in a couple of months, and am not built like a swimsuit model, but I don't think I've ever met a woman with a torso shaped liked that, even my sister's circus contortionist friends). Not that I don't look ridiculous. Oh, yeah, and I should mention that hypermobility runs in the family (and is particularly acute in my spine) and yeah, I'm a martial artist and train kind of a lot, even if I'm home sick today.

But...gah. I went from "What's the harm?" to "I will not be able to unknow this..."
Dec. 6th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
I'm picturing a nerdy redo of Thunderdome now.
Dec. 6th, 2012 04:07 am (UTC)
I have a humble request for pose-off #2, since that's definitely going to happen: Please try to find covers with lions, tigers, or somesuch, with the role of the noble feline to be played by Ghlaghghee.

Also, should the epic heights of 5k and 10k be reached, perhaps it's worth inquiring if Scalzi's friend Wil would be willing to pose off? (A girl can dream, right?)
Dec. 6th, 2012 03:54 pm (UTC)
..."perhaps it's worth inquiring if Scalzi's friend Wil would be willing to pose off?"

I SO second that inquiry!
Dec. 6th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC)
It sounds unlikely at this time, I'm afraid.
Dec. 7th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
Aww, no! Say it ain't so, Jim!
Dec. 6th, 2012 04:11 am (UTC)
Your Cover-Fu is more powerful than his!!
Dec. 6th, 2012 02:38 pm (UTC)
Along the same lines, was looking at Ozzy Osbourne's Ulimate Sin cover. I was struck by just how weird the woman's torso is, it's like her gluts go half way up her back.

Dec. 6th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
Step 1: stuff a pair of Nerf footballs down the back of my pants.
Dec. 6th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
I look forward to this photographic cage match; I do indeed! And I hope, oh, I hope you include this one at some point.
Dec. 6th, 2012 11:44 pm (UTC)
Ooh. That one could be interesting...
Dec. 6th, 2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
I just love you two!
Dec. 7th, 2012 11:21 am (UTC)
Just don't ask me to do any of those poses. At the current time, I have enough trouble getting out of bed to think about outlandish posturing. :P
Dec. 7th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
Very much looking forward to this pose-off! *goes to find wallet*

And on a similar note ... While checking out a link a friend sent*, I noticed the torso-twisting on this book cover's pose:

It's a romance, so the sexualized posture is quite deliberate. What was amusing to me was that this is the first time I've seen that type of pose depicted by a MALE.

*"What did you think of the chef parts?" "?? Bleeped if I know. I cook at home, not work at a restaurant nor studied it. Plus I'm not a romance reader. I didn't know this series existed until you sent it"

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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