Friday Faceoff – You can’t sow an apple seed and expect to get an avocado tree.


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 a cover featuring a seeds or spores, so I’ve selected The Seeds of Time by John Wyndham.


This edition was produced by Penguin in 1959 and I do like it as a piece of history more than because I think it’s a great cover. It has the generic Penguin orange and white cover with an additional dandelion clock moulting seeds which is reasonably effective though not particularly imaginative or exciting. An average effort.


Published in 1964 by Penguin, at least this cover displays a modicum of imagination. The lime-green cover is eye-catching and attractive, though the artwork would have looked better if it had been in black, which would have contrasted well with the cover. As it is, it’s a struggle to make out what is going on.


This edition, published by Penguin in September in 2014, is evidently going for the retro look, judging by the looping font and eggshell blue background. The snag is, the face is far too poorly executed to be the work of the average cover artist of the time. I cannot even work out if it is supposed to be a man or woman…


This Spanish edition, produced by E.D.H.A.S.A. in 1958, is certainly a huge improvement on any of the previous efforts. The quirky abstract design fits the tone and style of a science fiction short story collection, while the colours are attractive and eye-catching.


This cover, published in 1988 by Penguin, is at long last a worthy effort. The spacescape featuring a nicely exotic space ship and a planet – presumably Earth either emerging into daylight or being plunged into darkness immediately alerts a prospective reader as to the genre. And Wyndham’s name is also attractively highlighted, which certainly makes marketing sense, given his fame as the author of The Day of the Triffids. This one gets my vote, with the Spanish edition a very, very close second. Which is your favourite?

27 responses »

  1. I like the lime green one for some reason, although it might be a little too bright? But I also like the last one- I tend to prefer illustrations to more abstract or ambiguous covers- and it also has an ominous tone with the Earth looking like it’s being engulfed in rivers of fire- or something?

    • Yes – I would have loved the lime green a lot more if the artwork had been drawn in a more constrasting colour. I resent having to strain my tired old eyes to work out what is going on:). Yes… whatever is happening to Earth, it doesn’t look all that good, does it?

  2. Yes. The last one . The last one is the best . Also the Spanish cover is decent . I think last week was also a decent Spanish cover . Guess the Spanish people do know how to do the covers

    • Thank you, Rash:). Yes – I am rather disappointed at how very lacklustre many of these covers are. And yes, the Spanish one is the honourable exception – there are a number of Spanish covers that are contenders and I agree, they often have a certain flair that is missing from other editions:)

  3. Ah, I have not read this one by John Wyndham! Hard to choose which cover is my favorite this week since none of them really stand out for me, but there’s a certain simplicity that appeals to me about the first one even though you are right in that it is quite average.

  4. The first one was the simplest, and I liked it best. None of them gave me much about what the story contained, and I wouldn’t buy any of them because of “cover appeal.” None had any. LOL

    • LOL – I still have a hankering after the Spanish cover – but I am very surprised at how many books by quite famous authors have really average or substandard covers:).

  5. What a variety of styles and themes do these covers have. The first four give me a totally different feel and I wouldn’t have guessed it was sci-fi, but the last cover does make me think it’s sci-fi. Do the dandelions have something to do with the book? Or is that just a play on the title? The dandelions do seem to pop up on two of the covers.

    • No… the dandelions don’t seem have anything to do with the stories, as far as I can tell. I read this collection a VERY long time ago and I don’t recall dandelions…

  6. I honestly thought you had a typo for that third cover. 2014? Wha? But retro is in, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I also like how the plug on the front has a weird backhanded tone…”he’s known for bizarre plots.” Not amazing, or captivating, or thrilling. Bizarre. A…questionable word choice. And what kind of face IS that? Bah! What *I* would like to see, now in a snooty mood, would be the 1950s dandelion seeds of Cover 1 slowly transform into stars as they shrink into the background. Get some spacey seeds, yeah!
    I need more coffee….

    • And in actual fact, I don’t think his plots are particularly bizarre – I’ve always been very struck by his matter-of-fact style and how much it packs a punch… But there you go – what do I know?? Yes – none of them really do the author justice, do they?
      Make that two coffees…

  7. I LOVE these cover features!! It’s just GREAT to contrast several covers for the same book!! And you ALWAYS do such a FABULOUS job, too, Sara!! 🙂

    I’m DEFINITELY with you on this one! My favorite cover is also the 1988 Penguin cover. The Spanish edition is a close second for me, as well, although this one doesn’t look very “science fictiony” to me, lol. I know which artist is featured, too — it’s Joan Miró, a Spanish artist from the Catalan area. He’s not one of my favorites, but I do think this is a striking cover.

    GREAT post, Sara!! LOVE these cover posts!! HUGS!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. Hmmm, I think I have to go with the spaceship as well! I like to know my book’s genre by the cover, or at least to have an inkling :).
    Oh dear, your third book is coming! I’d better get on the ball and read your second one- I’ve been looking forward to it, but it seems like I’d just recovered from Christmas and then it was Easter! 🙂

    • Yes – I really agree regarding the cover giving strong clues about the genre:).

      You have a few months’ grace before Breathing Space hits the shelves. And I know what you mean about the year – I’m still sure that at least half of March rolled under the fridge..

  9. I think the first one is the best – “classic” but with a twist. The second one looks interesting, but it lacks contrast, and the two following… Well, I think they’re just plain ugly. The last isn’t bad, but it feels generic, with a contemporary military aircraft brushed up to look like a spacecraft.

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