Friday Faceoff – Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth… Brainfluffbookblog



If I haven’t already said it to you – I wish you a very happy, healthy 2019! 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 subject this week featuring on any of our covers is a FRESH START, so I’ve selected one of my outstanding reads of 2018 – Windhaven by George R.R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle – see my review here.


This edition was produced by Gollancz in February 2015. It is one of the more stripped-back covers, but I do love the vibrant background colour with the embossed, bevelled font and the outline of the wing – the badge of the flyers. The result is eye-catching, classy and my favourite.


Published in April 2003 by Bantam, I do like the seascape and the flyer high up in the sky. But I was aggravated that the magnified image isn’t the same, given that the angle of wings is wrong. It makes me wonder if the cover designer thinks the readership are so stupid as to miss a detail like that…


This edition, published by Bantam in October 2012, is essentially the same basic cover as the first one, but it is startling to see just what a difference another background colour makes to the overall mood and feel of the design. While I like it, I don’t love as much as the first example.


Produced by Saída de Emergência in May 2013, this Portuguese edition is a strong contender. I love the artwork and the dramatic scenery, which is exactly as I envisage Windhaven. The scene highlights just how vulnerable and dangerous the flyers are as they face the elements and this cover is a close contender for the favourite spot.


This Italian edition, published by Mondadori in 2015 is another dramatic offering. This time we come face to face with young Mari, who stares straight out at the readers, defiantly wearing her wings with a stormy sky as a backdrop. The reason why this one isn’t a favourite is down to a personal peeve of mine. She is far too lightly dressed for a journey on such a stormy planet, when she will be travelling over water. I also think that sticker would be better off in the corner, rather than intruding on the rather fine artwork.

Which is your favourite?

38 responses »

  1. “I have slipped the surly bonds of earth?” That (“High Life”) was the sign-off for TV stations in my youth during the Viet Nam war, a hideous, hackneyed attempt to make murderous machines, their indoctrinated operators, and the gore they created praiseworthy and glamorous. I can’t hear those words without coming close to physical illness.That awful militaristic poem deserves nothing but contempt.

    • Oh dear – the idea wasn’t to ruffle any feathers, but given that it is in praise of flying high, written by a young airman who died in WW2, I thought the words might be apt for flyers who spend their time ferrying messages across a planet. I had no idea it had been hi-jacked for use during the Vietnam war…

  2. The first cover is my favourite and is the most eye-catching. I agree with you about the magnified image on the second cover, that would really annoy me if it was a book I owned. I do love this post, it’s always interesting to see the different covers for a book.

  3. I didn’t know before this post that the original idea for Friday Face-Off was to compare US and UK compares! That makes sense, though.

    Windhaven is also new to me. I’d guessed incorrectly from the Gollancz edition that the story involved batlike creatures, not winged humans.

    The scene in the Portuguese edition gorgeous and enticing. That cover is easily my favorite of the bunch.

    • Yes… it’s a meme that’s grown like mustard and cress and everyone has their own particular take on it, which is lovely:).

      It’s a fabulous book and the Portuguese edition depicts the planet very clearly.

  4. Happy New Year to you too! I love the first cover as well. It’s simple yet very effective, and in my mind, I tend to associate George R.R. Martin with fiery colors so that red-orange just feels right to me.

  5. Great choice Sarah. When I was a child we had to memorize “High Flight”, I always liked that poem. I also had no idea it had been hijacked to use for the VietNam war. I agree with your choice her. I do not like the Bantam cover at all, I agree, that is a bit insulting. I wouldn’t have seen the flier if there had not been a huge circle around her.

    • I’m very relieved that I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t aware that ‘High Flight’ had been used during the Vietnam War!

      Glad you like my favourite, Carla. Yes… the Bantam cover is very unfortunate isn’t it?

  6. Hi, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Well, MAMMA MIA!!! I LOVE that Italian cover!! Except…..WHY in the world would they put a sticker on top of the image?! GRRR. I do agree, though, that the young woman on this cover is too lightly dressed for her journey, but it’s still a very striking image.

    I also LOVE the Portuguese cover!! It reminds me of the work of Frank Frazetta, which I love, with the exception of his more — AHEM — explicit pieces…… Lol.

    The other covers don’t do much for me, I’m afraid….. 😦

    Btw, I really NEED to read this book!! I LOVE that the female protagonist’s name is “Mari”. That happens to be my family’s nickname for me!

    Thanks so much for sharing!! Hope you’re having a nice week!!! HUGS!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • And a happy New Year to you, too, Maria:)). I know what you mean about the Italian cover – but being a stuffy, practical sort, who also suffers from the cold, I always shake my head over skimpily dressed females when they are fighting/guarding/flying, etc…

      And as for this book – I think you’d love it. Such a fabulous read! Thank you – I’m having a very good week as it’s lovely to be back teaching at Northbrook again… And I hope your week is equally lovelyxxx

  7. Hmmm. I agree with you that the first one’s elegant, but I think I dig your contender more. How cool this girl’s flying, flying in a contraption, so close to rocks and waves like that. And the painting’s gorgeous! I think the one drawback is that everything’s a green palette. Maybe if they used a bit more color this would stand out more…?

    • Actually, I particularly loved the green palette as I thought it gave a major hint that this wasn’t necessarily Earth, but a colony world, albeit with many terrestrial qualities. But I fully understand why you’d go with it – I so nearly did, myself…

  8. I like the first one, but I feel like there isn’t enough contrast between the background and the lettering, so in opposition to you: the Portuguese one is my favorite (did I mention my love for beautifully illustrated covers? 😀 )with Gollancz being close second. 🙂

    • That Portuguese cover was such a close contender for me, and the artwork is beautiful. I very highly recommend this one, by the way. My favourite George R.R. Martin book by a long way…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.