Friday Faceoff – I send my words through Time and Space to greet you… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffFuturisticcovers #SciFiMonth2019


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 this this week we are featuring FUTURISTIC covers. I’ve selected the classic sci fi adventure Use of Weapons – Book 3 of the Culture series by Iain M. Banks. I have linked this week’s Friday Faceoff to @SciFiMonth2019.


This edition was produced by Orbit in March 1993. I like the colour tones of the cover, but I’d like that cool, futuristic city to be more visible, rather than lurking in the background. And while I’m aware that it is Banks’ name that is selling the book, the title font is all but invisible in that colour against the background, the minute this cover gets minimised.


This French edition, published in November 2011 by Ailleurs & Demain, far more successfully evokes the feeling of a far future settlement. I love the use of those cool blues… This one would have been my favourite, but for that hideously ugly textbox plonked off-centre as a complete afterthought. What a shame!


Published by Le Livre de Poche in September 2007, this French edition is the reason why I picked this book for this subject. I love this scene with the huge mothership looming above with the nippy fighter craft zipping about and all those cool-looking futuristic weaponry on display. The title and author font has a pleasing synergy with the tone and feel of the cover design. I think this one nails it and is my favourite.


This Hungarian edition, published by Agave Könyvek in 2006, takes a different approach. I get the sense that you wouldn’t want to be sitting in that chair with all those nasty, sharp-looking armaments pointing at you… This cover radiates an effective sense of menace, but the title font is again, very underpowered when set against that punchy artwork.


This German edition, published in April 2015 by Heyne Verlag, is a great spacescape – what’s not to love? While it hasn’t got the cool detail of the French edition, it’s space, baby! And both author and title font also are effectively displayed and complement the design. Which is your favourite?


27 responses »

  1. Ah, Banks! 🙂
    The first cover would be my choice, if nothing else because it’s the one on my copy of the book, but there is something to be said for the Hungarian edition and the choice to portray the famous – or rather, horrifying infamous – chair for its bleak meaning…

  2. I love the first cover – but see your point about the title. I also like the second cover – but what is that text box all about – it totally spoils the effect. I like your choice too but on balance the purple won me over.
    Lynn 😀

    • Yes… I’m still trying to figure out exactly why that one didn’t do it for me. It has all the ingredients I normally love – but it simply didn’t. I am increasingly aware of just how instant and strong our reactions to covers are, having taken part in this Friday Faceoff post for a while now…

  3. I like the first one, and I can see why the title got such a treatment on it: with a name line Banks, the title itself isn’t what draws the attention, it’s the name itself (appropriately big) and the art that will tell the reader “you don’t have this book by Banks yet”.
    From what I gather, once an author is a household name (relative of course, SFF rarely produces mass-bestsellers), the name gets more attention than he title, so opposite to debut/unknown authors (nobody knows them, so it’s the title that has to spark the initial interest).
    I would have liked the German edition, but it feels a bit too much like poor Photoshop skills with too much filter and poor layering.

    • Ah… I love it when you comment on the Friday Face-offs, Joanne:)). Your skills in graphic art really help – as in your comments regarding the German edition, for instance. And yes… I know what you mean about the author name being the selling point – but given the frequency that editions have cover changes, the title should also matter. Because I used to get very frustrated when I saw what I thought was a new book by a favourite author, only to discover it was a re-release, or a new edition… It’s something that a number of publishers didn’t used to pay sufficient attention to – I think title fonts are now generally better presented. Is that something you’ve encountered in Polish SFF?

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