I found this cover for SLIMER by Harry Adam Knight (pseudonym of John Brosnan &
Leroy Kettle) I think this is the 1988 U.S. edition (it was first published in
the U.K. in 1983). According to the LOCUS INDEX: "A genetically engineered
monster stalks a deserted oil rig." And I don't think they mean women from
Dallas with hardcore Big Hair.
Front cover copy: "One by one it took them...and death was only the beginning!"
...and then I found this Mark Taylor reprint cover for Shaun Hutson's SLUGS (first published, U.K., in 1982) It's not ugly, it's actually well-designed and very well executed. But it is slimy. Yeesh! Do check the Official Shaun Hutson Web Site Cover Page where you can find Taylor's rough sketches and a screen-sized version of this one and others. (Even bigger than the one below.) There are little bitty versions of some foreign editions, too. In France it was La Mort Visquese.
Here's the UK cover copy: SLUGS
They slime, they ooze, they kill...
One female slug can lay one and a half million eggs a year - a fact that holds terrifying consequences for the people of Merton. As the town basks in the summer heat, a new breed of slug is growing and multiplying. In the waist-high grass, in the dank, dark cellars, they are acquiring new tastes, new cravings. For blood and flesh...human flesh.
And for the 1986 U.S. edition (Leisure):
SLUGS - oozing out of dark, dank basements, driven by an insatiable thirst for human blood, an overpowering craving for warm flesh.
SLUGS - boring into human bodies, attacking the soft, internal organs, eating their victims from alive within.
SLUGS - swarming over the helpless, reducing them to a writhing mass of sinew and bone.
SLUGS - the most repulsive creatures on earth - the most terrifying book of the year.
There was a sequel to SLUGS called BREEDING GROUND. (La Mort Visquese in France.) The Taylor cover is a couple of slugs, some slime, and a hand with a finger gnawed to the bone. Well done, but not as gross factor as that festering lip and trail of slime from SLUGS.
The blurbs, however, are more, uh, truly poetic --
From the 1985 paperback:
Deep in the sewers of London there is a BREEDING GROUND. The slugs have returned... slowly... silently... they slither along dank, fetid tunnels into the City in search of human flesh. Their insatiable needs know no bounds.
With them they bring a new horror... a plague which spreads insanity and death, transforming its victims into grotesque crazed killers.
Caught in this maelstrom of Horror is Dr Alan Finch -- the only man capable of destroying the BREEDING GROUND forever.
The mind-numbing sequel to SLUGS.
From the 1986 US paperback:
They oozed from the dank fetid sewers, their numbers swollen, their bodies engorged with the flesh of their victims.
In writhing masses, they attacked the young, the old, the defenseless, leaving behind only gnawed, bloody slithers of bone.
Or, unseen, unfelt, they penetrated the bodies of their sleeping human hosts -- devouring them from within. With their razor-sharp teeth and insatiable appetite, they brought with them a new menace -- plague.
One touch of their slick, slimy trails turned ordinary people into demented, savage killers.
The search for slime brought me, inevitably to THE SLIME BEAST by the incredibly prolific Guy N. Smith and its three covers:
New English Library 1976
Now I was getting somewhere! I soon discovered there were two novels actually entitled SLIME. One from Leisure (1988) by William Essex (pseudonym of John Tigges). Couldn't find the cover on this one. LOCUS lists it as a "Horror novel about a "Blob"-like monster." I found a better description from a customer on Amazon.com. (slightly edited):
"Carnivorous toxic sludge threatens the world
[I]f you were a farmer and found your herd of cows dissolving in pools of green slime, would YOU stick your finger in it? Didn't think so. But if the characters in this book didn't behave in such an illogical manner the story could not have been told. Grade b-schlock as titular slime eats its way towards town, inching inexorably to the standard showdown with the Intrepid Hero That Goes Unheeded Until It's Almost Too Late..."
The other SLIME was by John Halkin (possibly a pseudonym). It was actually a
SLITHER (U.K. 1980) "Out of the murky sewers they suddenly attacked - snapping, biting, ripping..." The cover reads: "You'll never feel safe in your bath again..."
Then came SLIME (U.K. 1984). Horror novel of man-eating jellyfish, by the author of Slither. The cover reads: "Turn on the tap...and die of terror!" After SLIME came...
SQUELCH (U.K. 1985) Horror novel about lethal caterpillars, sequel to Slither and Slime. Cover: "The shuddering touch of skin-crawling terror..." And finally...
BLOODWORM (U.K.1987) novel, by the author of SLIME, SLITHER, and SQUELCH; fourth in the series. (Couldn't find the cover on this one.) All four had subsequent U.S. publication.
I'm confident we've only permeated the surface of slime fiction. But we did finally find a cover with both slime and big breasts, I think we can stop here. Considering we are dealing with carnivorous creatures and toxic ooze, perhaps that's for the best.