Friday Faceoff – We are all like the bright Moon; we still have our darker side… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffmooncovers

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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 the word MOON in the title. I’ve selected The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.

Hodder & Stoughton, March 2005

This cover was produced by Hodder & Stoughton in March 2005 and caught my eye because of the funky author font which really pops. I’m a bit surprised at the very plain treatment of the title font by comparison, given what a famous book this is, as well as being a bit disappointment. Other than that, I think the spaceships/prison cells are a bit generic. I would have liked to have seen at least a nod to the 1960s within the cover design out of respect for this book’s longevity.

Gollancz, December 2008

Published in December 2008 by Gollancz, this SF Masterworks edition is rather disappointing. The title and cover fonts are utterly plain and underwhelming, to the extent that in thumbnail, they completely disappear. While the cover design is very generic – that could be any old planetary satellite, with any old spaceship approaching. Given how used we are to iconic moonscapes after 1966, I feel the designers could have done a lot better.

Berkley Medallion, September 1968

This edition, published in September 1968 by Berkley Medallion, is a bit more like it! That setting is recognisably the moon, with one of the railguns that Heinlein featured in this revolutionary story. While the fonts are rather boring, at least they are easily readable when this cover is in thumbnail. And the design and feel of the cover is of the period when this ground-breaking book was first published.

Berkley, May 1981

Published by Berkley in May 1981, this is my favourite. I love the period feel, the lunar landscape and the drama of the spacecraft crashing in the foreground. I also love the treatment of the author font – it looks fabulous. And the icing on the cake is that we also have Earth hanging in the sky. I only wish the book’s title had been given just a bit more care and attention. That said, I think this cover really jumps out in comparison to the previous offerings and would certainly tempt me to reach for it.

New English Library, 1998

This edition, published in 1998 by New English Library is so nearly a contender. I love the remains of the spacesuit, with an arm still clutching a gun in the foreground which creates a real sense of drama. And it is also refreshing to see the title actually appearing in colour. However what stops this one from being my favourite is the appearance of that huge planet in the sky – really?? Who towed the Moon so much closer to Earth – or have we now imported another planet into the Solar System in the near future? This sloppy mistake is a dealbreaker for me. But which one do you like best?

20 responses »

  1. Ah, that old, old classic — perfect for this VintageSciFi month. I haven’t read much science fiction, esp. hard science fiction, so can’t comment much on cover designs. But I actually like the second one best (2008, Gollancz) because it gives a more accessible modern makeover to the book.

    My own pick was Wodehouse’s Full Moon (https://lexlingua.co/friday-face-off-2-moon-in-title/), not sci-fi, but satisfyingly funny. Happy FFO!

    • Thank you! And I’m really interested that you like the Gollancz cover best – it hadn’t occurred to me that it is more accessible to modern audiences, but of course you’re right:)).

      I loved your choice – for some reason, I am unable to leave a comment on your site. But I did pop into Twitter and leave a comment there.

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