Friday Faceoff – It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life…


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 the theme is lions, so I’ve chosen an alien approximation to this subject by going for The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh.


This cover, produced by Daw in January 1982, shows a bunch of lion-like aliens. Unlike many covers of the time, it doesn’t have the ugly, intrusive banding to display the title and author. This is my favourite – it certainly has carried its age a lot better than many covers from that era.


This edition, produced by Phantasia Press in April 1987, is far less cosy. The backdrop is effective in establishing this as a science fiction novel, while the Chanur don’t look at all friendly. Eye-catching and dramatic, I really like this one.


Published by Mandarin in June 1989, this cover is also arresting and attractive. I love the detail in the backdrop and the fact that the leonine alien is looking off to the side, clearly hearing or seeing something of interest. However, we do have that ugly block at the top crunching through the artwork, carrying the title and author in an attempt to look cool and space-like, but actually simply looks awkward.


This Czech publication, produced in 1994 by Návrat, again has an interesting backdrop and attractive font and titling – but I do have a problem with that sultry-looking lion face simpering at me. It certainly looks oddly alien, but not in a good way…


This Croatian edition, published in May 2014 by Algoritam, is certainly more modern with a pleasingly streamlined title and author font. However, I get the sense that someone has simply grafted a lot of appropriate-looking images onto the rather lovely backdrop, giving it a rather generic, bland look – which whatever you say about the previous offerings, they certainly aren’t that. So which is your favourite?

20 responses »

    • They are rather an odd bunch, aren’t they? We have to follow the subjects for the week, which adds to the challenge but it does take my searches down into some unusual paths…

  1. Not having read or knowing the story, it is hard to choose the best. The one I would take down from the shelf is the Croatian one. I agree the 1989 one is ruined and am not impressed by the Czech cover either. What’s with their artists?

  2. I’d be honest but I don’t like any cover , that said the first cover does make me feel intrigued about what possibly could be the plot for the book

  3. What a collection! I agree that the floating head just…blech. The last cover, as you said, it’s got potential with that sleek background, but then they pulled a Star Wars to have all these layered character heads. Nah. I’m torn between the first and the third covers you show here. The first has me because there’s this human barely peeking over the lion-folk. What’s he doing there? I wanna know! The third cover just captures so much of the genre, with the alien landscape, the humanoid-but-clearly-not figure standing, armed for a conflict, and attentive to something we can’t see. That black bar, though–ugh! The title style from the second cover would have been the trick for fixing the third, don’t you think?

  4. The first two are definitely the best, given the correction of the change of style. I agree that the Czech one is not very appealing, and the Croatian one, even though pretty, reminds me of a movie poster rather than a book cover: as if someone tried to force an association with Star Wars.

    • Yes – that’s a good point. I do think you’re right – someone is trying for a Star Wars connection. Which is daft as it isn’t remotely similar.

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