Friday Faceoff – There’s more of gravy than ghost about you… #Brainfluffbookblog


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 meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the theme this week to feature on any of our covers is ghosts. I’ve selected The Ghost Brigades – Book 2 of the Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi.


This edition was produced by Tor Books in May 2007. ‘Spaceships, baby!’ has become the warcry for my marketing maven and I when designing a new cover for my space opera adventure series. But these ships are completely overwhelmed by the huge blocky title and author fonts and the chatter cluttering up the artwork. I don’t think this one works at all.


Published in June 2008 by Minotauro, I think this Spanish edition is really clumsy. I don’t like the stylised treatment – while those savage-looking space-warriors look suitably threatening, that green sky doesn’t sit well with me. While that horrible yellow blob as a background to the title font is completely unnecessary.


This Tor edition, published in November 2015, is a classic science fiction cover featuring a cool spaceship against a huge half-ruined world. The detail is lovely, yet there definitely a feeling of menace. I really like this version – it’s my favourite. Spaceships, baby!


This Romanian edition, produced by Nemira in February 2016, is all about the lethal space warrior. However, he does look disturbingly like the Borg in Star Trek. I don’t like the boring font and the chatter across the top of the cover, either.


This cover, published in November 2007 by Subterranean Press, is again featuring the genetically formulated soldiers. I don’t know how anyone without prior knowledge of the series would know this is military science fiction, instead of horror. And Scalzi’s name merges into the cover background, which completely vanishes when the cover is a thumbnail. Which is your favourite?

25 responses »

    • You’re right, DJ – that is the brand look. But I have to say, I’m not too much of a fan – the only people who manage to use that blocky font and get away with it are Baen, in my opinion…

    • Thank you, Laura! I’m delighted you like the new covers so much – they certainly have helped sales! And I’m pleased that you agree with my choice in this week’s FF:). I am also fascinated at the range of opinion over my selection.

    • Yes… it’s a problem if the cover misdirects a prospective reader regarding the genre! The Romanian offering is certainly a nicely detailed cover with a strong eye-catching image:)

  1. Intriguing choice for this week’s *ghost* theme! 🙂
    The Tor 2007 remains my favorite despite the fact you mention that the title and the author’s name take up a LOT of space: the artist who did all the covers for this series produces some amazing work…

    • Oh yes – behind the clunky fonts, I’m prepared to believe the artwork is wonderful… the trouble is that I can’t sufficiently appreciate it! That said, this is me on one of my BIG hobby horses:))

  2. Hmm. At first I was thinking the spaceship just a vague element, but the soldiers do throw off the feel of the genre. Like, what if the spaceship was in the background and then you have a close-up of top half of a soldier’s head with inhuman eyes? Hmmm. I just want more to get that “ghost” feel. But it’s Monday, and I’m cranky. 🙂

  3. I think this time my favorite is the same as yours (because yeah, spaceships, baby!), though I have less objections to the first one. It’s an example of what happens, when the author becomes big: it’s the name that sells the book, not the image (you can see it especially well in book covers of Stephen King or John Grisham, and similar), so I appreciate they actually make an effort to merge the text with the illustration, and the non-central placement almost creates an impression that the name and the title are part of the picture.

    • Yes – you’re absolutely right and so are your reasons. But given that I am something of a cover junkie and am influenced FAR too much by a cool cover, I am dismayed at just how many well known authors have terribly boring covers which are eaten up by huge letters featuring their names…

      • I agree (I’m not sure if I’m a junkie, but I love pretty covers). And covers with huge names feel like they are “cheap getaway” from actually getting a cover with interesting art/design.

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