Friday Faceoff – The more I see, the less I know for sure…


As luck would have it – I was running behind and hadn’t completely written up my Friday Faceoff yesterday before the internet went down – for the rest of the day. Thank you Sky for picking and choosing WHICH of your customers got the advance notification that you would be messing around with the phone lines (my sister did get the warning text – I didn’t!). So this article didn’t get posted and please accept my apologies for the lack of interaction on the blog in general…

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 panorama, so I’ve selected Cryoburn – Book 14 of the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.


This Hardcover edition was produced by Baen in October 2010. It’s a panorama of the edifice where thousands upon thousands of people are stored in cryogenic stasis, which is the setting for this particular murder mystery. It’s a classic Baen cover, with large, blocky lettering featuring the author and title font. In this case, it’s shame they are quite so large as they blot out a lot of the excellent cover art – but it’s Baen’s trademark and I can’t fault them for their astute marketing model.


This Kindle edition was published in May 20111 and is, quite frankly, horrible. The clunky, charmless effort gives no hint about the genre or the fact this book is part of a highly successful series and an awesome read.


This Croatian edition, published by Algoritam in 2010, has attempted to recreate the vast scale of the cryostasis repository with Miles walking down one of the aisles. I’m interested to see that there is some attempt to depict his physical deformities, which is something the US covers often don’t do – although he is still without his cane. However, it is rather crude, even though it’s miles better than that dreadful, blobby egg-timer shown on the previous cover.


This edition, produced by Blackstone Audiobooks in October 2010 has taken the original cover and tweaked it, so that the title and author fonts don’t cosh you between the eyes. The result is a far classier version of the original cover which also shows the wonderful artwork. This is my favourite cover.


This French cover was published in November 2011 by J’ai Lu. I really like this cover. The dark tones reflect the fact we are dealing with a futuristic cemetery and the birds-eye view creates an eye-catching effect. They have even managed to give an echo of the Baen treatment of the title font without blotting out too much of the action – this is a very close contender for the top spot for me this week – which is your favourite?

21 responses »

  1. I’m going to have to go with the Blackstone Audio version. I love both the artwork AND the title treatment. And a futuristic panorama is my favorite!

  2. I like the Blackstone audio- it shows off the cover art and I love the futuristic scene. The Baen hardcover is of course nice too, but yeah the blocky letters obscure the art. The Croatian edition is not bad, I like the cryostasis aisle but the protag looks a bit cartoonish. The French edition is not bad either.

  3. I like several of these. The first and fourth have a nice pulp look to them. And the last one has a more modern feel.

    • Yes – the Baen and Blackstone covers would have a pulp feel to them as that tends to be Baen’s house style:). The French cover nicely chimes with the book’s content, too.

  4. The Baen cover is the one of the book I read, and I was going to vote for it until I saw the Blackstone cover, and fell instantly in love 🙂
    An honorable mention should go to the French cover as well: its claustrophobic feeling is perfect for the core theme of the story.

    • Yes – until you mentioned it, I hadn’t realised that the Croatian cover looks as though it is a children’s book, but you’re right, Katherine!

      Thank you for your kind comments – once isolated from the internet, I find I feel very alone… Fortunately, it is a rare occurrance here, but my heart always goes out to anyone who has to cope with a lot of outages.

  5. I agree with you when it comes to the best cover. I also liked that they tweaked up the contrast of the city, so you can actually see and appreciate the details.
    Though I have to say that the French edition has its appeal too…

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