Friday Faceoff – Dead Men Tell No Tales


This is a new meme started by Books by Proxy, to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is the better. This week I’ve taken the idea in a slightly different direction – the book I’ve selected is a classic which has had a series of covers over the years, so I decided to pick the best.

I encountered Doomsday Book by Connie Willis in early 2013, and was blown away by the book – and it was from the library in this SF Masterworks series. I really love the striking difference of the cover, with the grim figure on the front. If I have a quibble, it is that it doesn’t convey the touches of humour that run through this outstanding read.


And here is the SFBC 50th Anniversary edition, published in 2007. There are a variety of other covers for this book, but for me – this is the winner. Yes… there is still the brooding menace of death in this, but this cover also manages to convey more effectively the time travelling element and other major story strands. I think it is beautiful and unusual – and entirely apt. And this is the cover that wins it for me.


What about you – do you agree with me? Have you read this book? If you haven’t, I strongly recommend it – it isn’t the bleak, miserable trudge you might imagine looking at the title and cover. In fact, it is a gripping time travel adventure with a fair amount of humour – and one of my all-time favourite reads.

11 responses »

  1. I like both these covers for totally different reasons – obviously since they’re so different! And, unfortunately I haven’t read this but it does sound pretty amazing.
    I think on balance I prefer the original and for some reason it does make me smile – so perhaps it’s managed to convey something humourous – or maybe I’m just odd!
    Great choice.
    Lynn 😀

  2. Pingback: The Friday Face-Off: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Update | Books by Proxy

  3. I love the SF Masterworks edition – in fact it might actually be one of my favourite masterworks covers of all!! Great choices this week and this book sounds incredible!

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