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By the power of Forthskull!

[Forthman and Forthwoman]

Why can't programming books have cover art like this anymore?

Where's the romanticization, where's the adventure, where's the heroic mythos?

Have all of our ninjas, barbarians and superheroes already died in epic battles against the chaotic monsters of the bloat empire? Or have they just been brainwashed to become mindless servants of the evil industry?

I guess even the lady in the picture wears much more clothes nowadays and spends her days drawing some boring design diagrams for never-ending abstraction layers. What a miserable destiny.

Some more covers gathered with Google:

The computer books and magazines of the 1980s were quite succesful in conjuring up images of strange unexplored worlds in the minds of kids and teenagers. At least the tricks worked quite well for me. Moreover, even the machines themselves encouraged a hands-on attitude and free exploration, something that isn't as prevalent in today's consumerist world that gives you everything in pretty pre-thought packages.

And yes, I still think if there had been stand-alone Forth interpreters instead of Basic ones in our microcomputers, the average quality of today's software would be much better. I'll be going deeper with my Forth advocacy at some later time, but in short: Forth represents the supreme force of the universe, with the power of turning ordinary people into superheroes.