Friday Face-Off: Soldier

Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme created by Books by Proxy! Each Friday, we will pit cover against cover while also taking the opportunity to showcase gorgeous artwork and feature some of our favorite book covers. If you want to join the fun, simply choose a book each Friday that fits that week’s predetermined theme, post and compare two or more different covers available for that book, then name your favorite. A list of future weeks’ themes are available at Lynn’s Book Blog.

This week’s theme is:

“No soldier outlives a thousand chances”
~ a cover featuring a SOLDIER

Mogsy’s Pick:
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Still my favorite John Scalzi novel even after all this time, Old Man’s War is the author’s exciting and hilarious take on military space opera which draws heavily on the themes of Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein for inspiration. In this story, 75-year-old protagonist John Perry is given a second chance to be young again, but the only catch? He has to enlist in the Colonial Defense Force in order for his consciousness to be transferred to a young, genetically enhanced (and green) body so he can help fight for Earth’s colonies against hostile alien races.

Generally regarded as the book that brought Scalzi to prominence, Old Man’s War has since been reissued multiple times, not to mention translated into many different languages. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of covers, so let’s take a look at a selection of them now.

First row, from left to right: Tor Hardcover (2005) – Tor Paperback (2005) – Subterranean Press (2007) – French (2016)


Second row, left to right: German (2007) – Romanian (2015) – Hungarian (2012) – Spanish (2007)


Third row, left to right: Portuguese (2015) – Russian (2016) – Turkish (2012) – Polish (2016)



Hmm. No clear favorite for me this week even with all these choices, though in general I think I prefer the newer covers over the ones pre-2010. The one exception would be the Tor Paperback (2005) because it has that old-school sci-fi look that I think many genre readers would feel a natural affinity for, and it’s also the cover I know best. I also really like the designs for the French (2016) and Polish (2016) covers, but unfortunately neither of them are a good representation of the tone and style of the novel.

Taking in account these factors along with a whole bunch of other considerations, ultimately I think I’m going to have to go with the Portuguese (2015) cover as the winner. For one thing, it’s very action oriented, depicting the conflict between the aliens and Colonial Defense Force soldiers. Its style is also very reminiscent of Starship Troopers, which tells me that the designer understands the intent behind the novel and demonstrates that by giving a nod to the story’s inspiration.

What do you think? Which one is your favorite?

19 Comments on “Friday Face-Off: Soldier”

  1. I think I actually like the Tor paperback cover the best. The Romanian would be next for me, followed maybe by the Polish (I must like the faceplate thing for some reason). The Tor hardcover one is okay, mainly because I like the sci-fi feel of the tank in the background with someone in it.

    You’re right though, the Portuguese cover is the most action- oriented one, and definitely evokes that Starship troopers feel!


  2. The Tor paperback remains my favorite, because it’s the cover I’m most familiar with, but the Portuguese one is very interesting and I like the color choice. What’s also fascinating is the different ways in which the title is translated (as far as I can tell…): the French, Spanish and Portuguese edition chose to stress the age factor, keeping the link to the “old” in the original title, while the German edition went with “War of the Clones”, and I know that the Italian translation chose a title that in English would be “Die so you can live”. These cover comparisons are really fun! 🙂


    • That is so cool, thanks for sharing your knowledge of languages! I could only read the French title and extrapolated from that to determine that the Portuguese and Spanish versions also included the “old” age factor. How cool that the German is completely different (and it’s neat too, because while the character’s young body is indeed a clone, it’s definitely not something I would think to emphasize). And haha! The Italian is best, because it sounds like a perfect tagline to the book! 🙂


  3. What a fabulous choice of book – and I love your selection of covers. I’m going with your choice, but a very close contender is the 2016 French contender – because it has actually displayed the green skin. I also love this book – what a cool idea.


  4. I also like very much the Tor Paperback (2005), and your pick is great! Makes me want to read it even more. I KNOW I’ve been saying for a long time I wanted to read this series, but… you know how TBRs are haha!


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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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.

%d bloggers like this: