Friday Faceoff – In The Beginning There Was Nothing, Which Exploded


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week’s topic is comparing explosions. I decided to go for a whizz-bang wallop types of explosion, rather than the magical, glowing kinds, so selected Neal Asher’s Hilldiggers, Book 2 of the Polity series, though it works quite well as a standalone. See my review here.



This first cover was produced by Tor in 2007. I like the way the space craft is outlined against the fireball that is probably about to engulf it – an arresting image, with a gas giant, maybe Jupiter in the background.



This second cover was released by Night Shade Book in 2014. I love this one. The space battle is so much more dynamic, in devastating detail. It is also beautiful and stylish, with a darker and more limited colour palette. I think this is the best cover. Do you agree?

12 responses »

  1. I like the second one better too. It also made me think on how the covers change throughout the years (and they’re only 10 years apart1): the second one is so stunning because of the advanced digital graphics being involved (not that it’s a bad thing, quite to the contrary, I love good covers).

    • Yes, I had to look twice at the dates, because the first one does feel a lot older – and the reason it’s smaller is because it is a lot less sharp. It was quite a struggle finding suitable covers depicting explosions that had more than one cover…

  2. I too prefer the Nightshade cover, although the fact that (as you’ve commented) the Tor cover is very lo-res may have had the effect of flattening the image a bit, so perhaps the comparison isn’t quite fair.

    Interesting that the two covers should use what looks to me like identical typography (aside from the added line on the Nightshade cover).

    • Yes, I’d noticed the same typography – Neal’s name tends to always feature in the same way with his books at that time, so I suspect that is his branding. As for the lack of high resolution – it is something of a problem when hunting down particular covers that they are poorly duplicated. It’s a shame and normally, I would have not used a cover with that problem – but this week, it was something of a challenge to find ANY book with a number of covers featuring explosions.

    • Yes… when I read the book (although I added the 2nd cover after the initial link went down) it had the first cover on it. The sad thing is, in reality, it’s a better cover than the rather blurry pic shows.

  3. Pingback: The Friday Face-Off: In The Beginning There Was Nothing, Which Exploded | Books by Proxy

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