Friday Faceoff – Who doesn’t want to fly around in a spaceship? #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffspacebattlecovers


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 SPACE BATTLES. I’ve selected Earthlight by Arthur C. Clarke.

Ballentine, September 1975

This offering was produced by Ballantine in September 1975. And no… I know there aren’t any spaceships as such – or are there??? Look carefully at those twinkles in the sky – they are far too regular and in formation to be anything other than an armada of ships about to attack this peaceful colony! This one is a very close contender. I love the artwork, the lighting and the funky font – and the vintage feel of it. If it wasn’t for the next cover, this one would be my favourite.

Del Rey Book, October 1977

Published in October 1977 by Del Rey Books, this is my favourite. I love the really clever, creative use of the author and title fonts, where the spaceship seems to flying under it. The use of the strong reds, oranges and the sizzling yellow of the explosion down near the bottom of the cover and right in the middle, gives both a pleasing symmetry and grabs my attention. This is such a cool, imaginative design that consciously harks back to an earlier time. Why don’t we see more fonts like this nowadays? It sings out in thumbnail and looks really effective.

Thai edition, March 2018

This Thai edition, published by สำนักพิมพ์เวลา in March 2018, is a more muted affair. But it is an effective cover, nonetheless. The darker sky allows us to see the battle raging overhead, which looks beautiful from the planet surface. I also like the colony building in the foreground – this is a more modern version of the first cover. However, I’m not convinced about the title font, which simply disappears into the cover when in thumbnail.

This Persian edition, published in 1994 by پاسارگاد, is another strong offering, particularly if you are a fan of space battles (I am!). We have the Moon to the right and Earth near the centre of the cover and an exploding ship lighting up the whole scene in a really dramatic way. While I love the design, I would have preferred to see more made of the title font, with a more contrasting colour and maybe a bit bigger.

Orion Publishing Group, August 2012

This edition, produced by the Orion Publishing Group in August 2012, is cleverly disturbing. A planet or the Moon is in the foreground, while a molten blob that looks like a planet in mid-implosion provides most of the backdrop. Putting the lettering against the blazing yellow of the lava would have been an even smarter move if they hadn’t used such a very wussy font that immediately disappears. And I loathe that text strip near the bottom of the cover, announcing it is Gateway Essentials… really? They couldn’t have just coloured the font white and let the contrast provide the necessary visibility? Because that nasty yellow stripe immediately draws the eye away from the drama, compromising the impact of the design. Such a shame! Meanwhile, do let me know which is your favourite.

29 responses »

  1. Wow, it’s so difficult to choose a favourite. I loved the Ballantine as soon as I saw it. Then I loved the Del Rey and then I was wowed again by the final cover from Orion. But, I do agree with you that the final cover is spoiled somewhat with the banner along the bottom. At the end it comes down to the two covers and I’m inclined to go with your choice this week, especially for that great font.
    Lynn 😀

  2. The second cover is really cleverly done yes! I like the one by Orion Publishing. But then again, I should just keep quiet. I know nothing about sci-fi and even less about vintage sci-fi.

    I haven’t joined Friday Face-off in a few weeks and will start again in February.

    Have a good weekend Sarah!

    Elza Reads

    • Thank you for swinging by, Mareli – and please don’t keep quiet! I spout all this stuff, because I’m opinionated – not because I have a particular skill set regarding covers:)). Do join in with your opinions, if you feel you want to!

      Looking forward to have you jumping back aboard, though no pressure. In the meantime, I look forward to catching up with you on Sunday and stay safe and well in the meantime:)).

  3. Yeah, I like the first two (artists: Dean Ellis and Stanislaw Fernandes).

    Note: The Dean Ellis cover first appeared on the 1972 Ballantine edition (the cover was reused by later editions — is the best place to sort the citations).

    Although I’m a bigger fan of the 1955 first paperback edition by Richard Powers

  4. There are Thai and Persian editions! This must have been/ must be a really famous book. I’d only head of the author, but not his specific works. Learnt something new today 🙂

  5. I prefer the first to your favorite, but probably that’s because that one was the cover I bought (from the local swap n shop paperback store, waaaaayyy back in the day! LOL

  6. I love that second cover, too! It reminds me of all those pulpy space B-movies that came out in the 70s. Plus the font strikes that perfect chord of retro and future together. It just brings a smile to my face. 🙂 I hope YOU have had some reasons to smile lately, my friend! xxxxxxxxxxx

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