Friday Faceoff – Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars


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 the moon, so I’ve chosen A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke.


This cover, produced by Gollancz in March 2002, evokes the era of when this classic was written back in 1961. I like the period feel and sense of drama, with the spaceman presumably going for help or rescue and the half-buried ship in the background. Great stuff!


This edition, produced in March 1971 by Signet, takes us right to the heart of the book – nothing generic here. We have the rather mountainous moonscape with the ship evidently trapped in the fine regolith and outcrop featuring in the foreground. Or is it the dust-covered corpse of a long-dead spaceman? I love the balance and dramatic contrast between the bright moon and dark sky. Despite the poor resolution, this is my favourite.


Published by Pan in 1969, this offering is far more generalised with a spaceship cruising through space. That said, the detailed artwork on the ship is beautiful and the spacescape is well done. I don’t like this one as much as the others, though.


This cover, produced by Spectra Arpil 1991, is also another effective, eye-catching cover. This one depicts the colony on the moon and a ship setting off – it may well be the one about to get into trouble. What particularly sets this one apart is the striking font. Inevitably on most of the covers, Clarke’s name is in the larger, brighter font as an established author with a strong fan following.


This edition was produced by Rosetta Books in November 2012. This is the cover I’ve been most conflicted about. Initially, I rolled my eyes and thought, somewhat huffily, that it was another lacklustre effort for the Kindle market. But… it absolutely nails the plot. A ship stranded in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by an ocean of lethal dust with the dark skies above. I also like the nifty handling of the font and author. The more I look at this one, the more I like it. Which one do you like best?

30 responses »

  1. Pingback: The Friday Face-Off: Shoot For The Moon – Books by Proxy

  2. I like the second one but agree with you. The Rosetta cover, while playing to the mainstream, is stunning. I would pick this book up for no other reason but that cover.

  3. I actually really like the Rosetta cover from 2012. It’s very simple but quite arresting when you stare at them for a while!! Great pick for this week! 😀

    • Thank you, Proxy:). It was right up my street this week:). Yes, I’m glad the Rosetta cover is getting so much love, as I think it is really effective.

    • The lovely thing about this week’s covers is NOTHING there is bad – it’s all a question of personal taste, which I think, makes it far more interesting to see what visitors choose:). It’s also a great story.

  4. I’m not sure what I think about the last cover. Visually it’s striking but I love the vintage science fiction look of the others. I haven’t read this one but I’ve been wanting to try Clark.

  5. Yeah, I’m totally with you on your choice this week – it was the one that I immediately picked on an initial scroll – I have a quick look, pick my favourite and then go back and read which one you’ve picked 😀

    • They are both strong contenders – I think it is a very smart move of Gollancz to have given the cover such a retro feel and again, absolutely is all about the content which is very important.

    • It’s a great cover, isn’t it? Gollancz often have great covers these days – far more fun than those plain yellow efforts they used to use…

  6. I like the first two and the fourth one. Have to say the second one is my favorite too. It just screams classic sci fi.

  7. Hmm! I like your point about that last cover. It’s the tininess of the ship that gets me, in that sea of dust. You’re right that it’s just…that isolation, and bleakness, and impossibility of survival that makes me think there’s got to be more than hopelessness here.

  8. I haven’t read the book, but I agree with you on the first – it’s really eye-catching, and the third one’s ship has indeed some interesting details. I like the 2nd and the 4th the least (they both look “cheap” and generic to me).
    The last one, though… I grabbed me instantly. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, very elegant, and with a strong sci-fi vibe. I think the cover designer nailed “minimalistic” without overdoing it.

    • Yes – I have really enjoyed this week’s choices as I don’t think there was a single awful cover here – so it comes down to personal taste. And it looks as if your choice is the favourite:)

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