Friday Faceoff – No soldier outlives a thousand chances…


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 soldiers, so I’ve chosen Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein.


This is the cover produced by Ace in 1987. I really like the overall bright yellow/orange colour and the no-nonsense font. It’s a long time ago since I read this one, but I don’t recall that space ships roaring into the action was much of a thing. My recollection is that they are all about the bloody hand to hand combat with the insectoid aliens, but it does make for a dramatic cover.


This paperback edition by Ace, produced in May 1987 is far more in tune with the content, given it features a trooper in one of those awesome suits. They also have recreated Heinlein’s signature for some reason that escapes me, which rather spoils the balance and impact of the cover.


Published in July 1982 by Berkley, this is another cover featuring a trooper wearing one of these amazing suits – although this version manages to look rather alien. Even with the fame of this book, the publishers still decided the author’s name would sell more copies by emblazoning it across the top third of cover, rather than the title.


Produced in August 1997 by New English Library, this cover is clearly in response to the recently released film. These covers aren’t usually my favourites, but I really like this one – there is real sense of battle going on and I also think the styling of the title font is eye-catching and attractive.


This is another Berkley cover, this edition published in November 1977. The vivid turquoise and font, along with the artwork give this cover a retro feel. I want to like this one, but I don’t. The aliens look far too static to be the terrible threat described in the book and that harsh colour puts me in mind of 1950s bathroom suites… Which one do you like best?

41 responses »

    • Thank you:)). Yes… the movie cover has definitely captured the feel of the book. That said, the movie wasn’t a success because they took the decision not to go with the suit – and the suit was at the heart of the troopers’ effectiveness.

  1. I like the first one the most! Even if it’s not very accurate xD that guy in the third one! He looks like he’s wearing one of the storm trooper suits from Star Wars almost! Bit of a rip off, of you ask me 😀 but pulp covers will be pulp covers (although I realize Heinlein isn’t pulp… but some of those covers are :D)

    • Oh yes – you’re right about the suit in the third cover – it’s so WRONG for this book:). Himself prefers the first one and he’s a real fan of the book.

  2. I’m drawn to the one by New English Library. Probably because it directly shows what the movie was like, which i enjoyed and own:)

  3. I like the range of covers here…the first one is pretty vivid with the bright colour. For once I do actually like the film cover. Not often you can say that! Thanks for visiting my blog this week!

  4. Oh, this is a book i need to read! I love the film.
    As for covers, i like the first and the last. The middle is okay, but I prefer the focus not on a human? The last one might pinch it, because pulpy cover ♥

  5. I think I like the first one the most as it has that classically sci-fi feel. Although that is a shame it fits the content less, in that way the ones with the suits on it do seem like a better fit for the story, but they scream sci-fi less to me than a cover with a planet and spaceships. I agree with you that while the last one has that nice retro look it does look a bit static, where the one above that with the battle scene looks way more dynamic.

  6. Putting an author signature on the cover seems like a strange thing to me too. I don’t like that. From your descriptions, I think that the Aug 1997 film one is the best. But unique sci-fi suits can make for really great covers, so I totally get the appeal of the July 1982 one!

  7. Hmmm. I think, if I could, I’d take the color scheme of the first, the suit of the third, and the action of the fourth. The third, honestly, is my favorite, just because despite having the author name so big, the font itself is also dramatic, so you still get a dramatic presentation. But if I could take the best elements of all those designs…you know. 😉

  8. Pingback: BEST FICTION AND WRITING BLOGS | M.C. Tuggle, Writer

  9. I really like the first one! I love the size ship and the sandy colored background–very nice. And I like the third one–something about the lettering and dark night background reminds me of Star Wars.

  10. I’ve often wondered why they do two covers (except perhaps as part of collector’s values)… but I have also wondered what it means that I usually like the British covers better, as they seem more sincere to the spirit of the books and less connected to merchandizing than our American ones….

    • I think it is often because books are often released with different imprints or publishers. And you’re right – UK and US covers are often very different. I’d agree that I generally prefer UK covers, but then that is probably quite a strong cultural bias. I’ve noticed US covers often feature characters doing something dramatic, while UK covers feature objects relating to a theme or plotpoint in the book. I’m also struck at how often US readers prefer US covers, too. Though not always… But this meme has taught me a great deal about my own taste in book covers and those of my regular visitors. Thank you for swinging by and taking an interest:)

  11. I like all of the covers. Of course, the old ones feel old, but they seem accurate for their times. I think I’ve read the Polish edition that has reproduced the first cover, but I can’t be sure. It might have been something similar.

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