Different Strokes

It’s been a very long time since I did a UK v. US book cover post, but the contrast between these covers grabbed my attention.

So, Connie Willis’s CROSSTALK – UK cover on the left, US on the right.

I’d seen the US cover around previously, and thought it was an interesting choice for an SF book; it reminded me of YA romance (for instance, Julie Cross’s TEMPEST) so my guess was that the publisher was trying to widen the audience for this book.  The UK cover, on the other hand, comes across as much more retro and adult, and if I’d seen this in the New Releases section of the bookstore, I’m not sure I’d have connected it with SF if it wasn’t for Connie Willis’s name.

Even the back cover copy gives out different vibes – here’s the UK copy:

Briddey is about to get exactly what she thinks she wants . . .

Briddey is a high-powered exec in the mobile phone industry, overseeing new products from concept (‘anything to beat the new apple phone’) to delivery. And she works with her wonderful partner, Trent. They’ve been together for six magical weeks, in a whirlwind of flowers, dinners, laughter and now comes the icing on the cake: not a weekend away or a proposal but something even better. An EDD. A procedure which will let them sense each other’s feelings. Trent doesn’t just want to tell her how much he loves her – he wants her to feel it.

The trouble is, Briddey can’t breathe a word of it to anyone (difficult, when the wholeoffice is guessing) until she’s had two minutes to call her family. And they’re hounding her about the latest family drama.

The race is on: not just for new, cutting-edge technology, but also for a shred of privacy in a public world and – for Briddey – a chance for love at the heart of it all.

And then the US version:

In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal—to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don’t quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely—in a way far beyond what she signed up for.

It is almost more than she can handle—especially when the stress of managing her all-too-eager-to-communicate-at-all-times family is already burdening her brain. But that’s only the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize that love—and communication—are far more complicated than she ever imagined.

The UK version feels a bit chicklit (SF-style) to me, while the US one reads both younger and more romance-y.

What do you think?

(I should say that the UK cover came to my attention because of a Goodreads giveaway email – it’s here if you’re interested in entering, UK-only though).


11 thoughts on “Different Strokes

  1. Your observations are spot-on. I would say the UK cover is definitively more mature, but it might have missed the brief if it had to convey the SF aspect of the book. I also find the UK blurb a bit confusing. I like that it gives background details on the heroine, but it’s hard to understand what the whole experimentation is about. Plus, it leaves out the biggest catch – Briddey ends up connecting with someone else.

    While it looks more YA, I guess I connect more with the US cover and blurb.

    • I feel like each publisher was going after completely different audiences – the UK publisher is targeting a non-genre adult audience, while the US one is going after the YA romance crowd…

      I noticed that about the blurb, maybe the UK publisher deemed it a spoiler! I agree that was the most intriguing piece.

      • It seems to me you’re right, both publishers had different vision for this book. I wonder if we’ll ever know who was right? LOL.

      • Well, the UK publisher, Gollancz, is one of the bigger SFF houses here, so they must know the local market well…

        The US publisher is Del Rey, I may go and check out some of their recent covers to see if they’re of a similar vein.

  2. Wow! I hadn’t seen the UK cover or blurb. I really like so many of Connie Willis’ books, but I didn’t like the cover or blurb on the US book very much–seemed more a romance that SF. If I’d seen the UK version first I wouldn’t have even thought SF so probably wouldn’t have picked up the book based on cover or blurb.

    • They’re really different, right?

      I’ve not read any of her books before, though she’s firmly on my to-read list. Must bump her up my list now that you’ve said that!

  3. Ooh, that is interesting. The US cover is so much softer – definitely going for the romance angle! I wonder…
    Thanks for the heads-up re the giveaway, btw – I’ve entered. Love Connie Willis.

  4. Pingback: Books for September | Me and My Books

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