Friday Faceoff – With this ring… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffringcovers


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 being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and this week we are featuring covers with RINGS. I’ve selected the science fiction classic Ringworld by Larry Niven, which I read a very long time ago.


This edition was produced in September 1985 and all I can discover is that it is a mass market paperback and a US publication. It’s a very understated, rather gloomy affair, I think. While I think the Ringworld itself looks rather lovely, I think a beautiful nebula in the background would give the cover more visual impact. As for the title and author font – they are very clear, if rather boring.


Published in January 1988 by Orbit, this is a far better effort. The Ringworld is easier to see and the spacescape is more interesting. There’s just one major problem… and perhaps I’m being really thick here – but I can’t see a title. Is it just me? Or have Orbit actually forgotten to add the name of the book to this cover? Perhaps they figure everyone ought to know what this legendary best-seller is called.


This paperback edition, published by Del Rey in April 1988, gives a different view of the Ring. We’re near the centre looking outward at the struts. This is certainly the best effort so far. I also like the effort to make the title font more interesting and the overall effect is an attractive, eye-catching cover that gives a good sense of the genre.


This Polish edition, produced by Solaris in June 2010, is my favourite. I love the more dramatic rendition of an earlier Ringworld – that centre really pops. While the spacescape in the backdrop looks beautiful with two moons and the hint of spaceship… maybe. And I also like the attractive title and author fonts.


This ghastly effort is courtesy of Gollancz in April 2009. They went through a really dodgey phase regarding covers around that time, as I recall them bringing out a series of utterly dreary Discworld books. But this one has to take the biscuit for sheer awfulness. What WERE they thinking?? Hallo – the title of the book is Ringworld and it’s all about a world shaped like a ring. So why is there a paper STAR featured against a black background? I wouldn’t know this is a science fiction classic set in space by looking at the cover, in fact I’d probably assume it’s about origami. Apologies if it’s your favourite – but I needed to get that rant off my chest! Which one do you like best?

20 responses »

  1. This is a great choice! And you have some interesting covers. I actually like the first one, something about the blue and black with stars works for me. And that second one, the title is there but it’s black and completely fades into the background! Maybe on the actual book the letters of the title are raised? I love your favorite too, and that last one is hysterical!

    • Thank you, Tammy! As it happens, Himself showed me the covers on his machine – I currently have my screen tilted as I’m busy writing and at that angle the title on the Orbit cover is completely invisible, whereas on H’s computer it’s there. Which I think makes my point – although looking at it, I think you’re right to speculate that it might well be raised, or embossed:). It was a fun theme this week, wasn’t it?

  2. Great choice for the book! I would not have thought about it for this week’s meme!
    As for the cover, this time I’m thinking of a cross between the ring image in the first cover, with the background of the second one: that would approach perfection for me… 🙂

  3. I like your favourite here too. And what the heck is going on with that book with no title – if you scroll right in the title is there but it’s so faded out it’s almost impossible to see – what is the point of that?
    Sorry I’m so late with my comments. I’ve definitely fallen behind but can’t quite believe how far.
    Lynn 😀

    • Oh, please don’t worry about falling behind! My commenting and response has been outright disgraceful over the last month:). Yes – himself showed me the title on his machine which gets more natural light, but it really look invisible on my screen.

  4. I totally agree with your rant! Why the heck would a star be the featured shape for a book called RINGworld?!?! And that font color for the title in the second entry is oddly dark, I agree. That’s such a shame, because the rest of the coloring looks nice to me! Such a bummer with that first entry, too, because that ringworld does look really neat.

    • Thank you, Jean:). I know… I ought to post a list of the WORST covers I’ve encountered on my Friday Faceoff articles – and I think this one would probably be a huge contender. Shame on Gollancz.. And yes – I had my screen tilted at an angle and the title simply disappeared. It wasn’t until I saw the cover on my husband’s monitor, I realised it actually existed.

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