This comment by a user identifying as Shirley Meier about the cover of Saber and Shadow by S. M. Stirling and Shirley Meier:

Shirley Meier here. Thanks for reading the books! Sabre and Shadow is the re-written version of 'The Sharpest Edge' that Steve and I wrote in 1984. I have to agree with you all about the no-britches part, but it was better than 'Barbie and Skipper Go to War' in front of an organic beachball with a Bic... [...] – user38445 Dec 19, 2014 at 7:50

As a response to this comment:

You gotta love how a warrior isn't wearing any britches. tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Stripperiffic – Michael Itzoe Sep 12, 2014 at 13:17

But how does "an organic beachball with a Bic" play into things? Assuming she means the Bic lighter, and Barbie and Skipper as in the Barbie franchise characters?

  • 2
    Ah, this is why my answer to that old question is suddenly getting upvotes :-) Oct 2 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


It's a reference to the original cover art from its publication as The Sharpest Edge:

A tall woman with long hair, a revealing dress and a sword and a dark-haired woman in a revealing dress and knives in each hand stand on a platform with crenellations, in front of a huge golden globe with a veined surface and a red flame shooting from the top

Note that we have a taller woman with long hair (Barbie), and a shorter, black-haired woman (Skipper) and a giant golden globe (beach ball) with a mottled or veined surface (organic) and a flame coming out of the top (Bic). The two are both brandishing weapons (go to war) and even less appropriately attired than in the later cover.

  • 1
    I like your answer much better than mine. :-)
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 2 at 12:17
  • 10
    No doubt puzzling to those of us for whom "Bic" conjures up an image like this or this (same company, different products).
    – shoover
    Oct 2 at 16:07

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