Smell that? That's the smell of consumerism pervading the holiday air. Don't get me wrong; I'm not a Scrooge! I love the holidays and cherish the time spent with family and friends. But I also like giving and receiving gifts, too. So, yes, I'm all for consumerism. In fact, I'm here to contribute to it by offering up some gift suggestions for your nerdiest and geekiest of friends who also happen to be book lovers.
Last week should have you covered for gift recipients who are lovers of the big film franchises, now let's take a look at some gift ideas that might otherwise fall under a book lover's radar.
For the Comics Lover
I was an avid reader of comics when I was a kid but gave it up when "it wasn't something adults did." That's not a stigma anymore, so comics lovers of all ages might like some of the comics-related stuff hitting shelves now. For the Marvel fan, check out The Amazing Spider-Man: The Ultimate Newspaper Comics Collection Volume 2 (1979-1981) by Stan Lee, John Romita, and Larry Lieber. This is the go-to gift for webheads. It takes all of the Sunday newspaper comic strips and compiles them into a continuous story that readers don't have to wait a whole week to see. It includes over 700 sequential comics; the complete run that ran between January 1979 through the January 1981.
For DC fans, there's Batman: The War Years 1939-1945 by Roy Thomas. This is a themed collection of 20 complete Batman comics that showcase The Dark Knight's involvement in World War II (Batman debuted in 1939) and his fight against some very real villains. Similarly from the same author, there's Superman: The War Years 1938-1945 (Superman debuted in 1933) and Wonder Woman: The War Years 1941-1945 (Wonder Woman debuted in 1941). All of these offer an interesting look into the comics of yesteryear.
For all lovers of comics—or, heck, lovers of good art—consider the deluxe coffee table art book The Art of Painted Comics by Christopher Lawrence and Alex Ross, an eye-popping book that traces the history of comic painters as far back as the dawn of pulp magazine covers. Think: "The Shadow" and "The Spider" to "The Black Bat" and you'll get an idea.
A Geeky Grab Bag
There's so much more to stuff the stockings of geeks everywhere.
If you're looking to get a gift that they'll cherish for years to come, consider The Folio Society's collectible upscale book editions. I don't know of any science fiction reader who wouldn't love a high-quality edition of, say, Frank Herbert's Dune. And any fantasy reader would be thrilled to own a Folio edition of Ursula K. Le Guin's wonderful classic A Wizard of Earthsea, or Joan Aiken's atmospheric The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. And horror fans will treasure such beautiful editions of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Besides containing well-told stories, these sturdy collectible editions also come with beautiful illustrations and informative introductions. Think of them as icing on an already-delicious cake.
2001: A Space Odyssey is a much-loved classic of cinema. Fans of the film would get a huge kick out of The 2001 File: Harry Lange and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film, a visual feast for lovers of film, which showcases the groundbreaking design work of the film. Is your giftee a fantasy fan? HBO's Game of Thrones is a certifiable TV hit, but book lovers no doubt prefer George R.R. Martin's books on which it is based. And if they do, they would adore A Game of Thrones Leather-Cloth Boxed Set, which contains beautifully bound collector's editions of the first five novels.
The go-to gift for your visually oriented loved ones is an art book. Science fiction and fantasy fans would adore Spectrum 22: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by John Fleskes. Its 300 pages are jam-packed with an amazingly diverse selection of art, especially considering that they are all spectacular. It's is a book you'll pick up again and again. Or maybe your giftee leans toward the creepy? The Art of Horror: An Illustrated History by Stephen Jones is a visual feast aimed at lovers of horror. It contains an endlessly impressive selection of horror art since the late 19th century. Every page deserves multiple visits.
Television's Doctor Who is one of the longest-running science fiction franchises. In its many decades of production, it has imagined seemingly countless aliens and worlds and events. Whoniverse by Lance Parkin is an amazingly comprehensive guide to all things Whovian. Liberally illustrated and entertainingly detailed, this guide is this year's must-have for Doctor Who fans. Not far behind is Doctor Who: Impossible Worlds: A 50-Year Treasury of Art and Design by Stephen Nicholas and Mike Tucker, which takes readers on a fascinating tour of the costumes, sets and gadgets used to create Doctor Who.
I, for one, welcome our robot overlords. Or at least, as a lover of robots in fiction I love Robot Universe by Ana Matronic (a vocalist with world-famous band Scissor Sisters). This hardback wonder is an all-inclusive guide to robots and automatons in literature, film, music, and real life. Each entry gets a full two-page spread with pictures and descriptions. They're all here: HAL 9000, Twiki, R2D2 and C3PO, Girt, Fembots, The Terminator, Data, WALL-E, Johnny 5, R. Daneel Olivaw, Robocop, Iron Man, and many, many more.
Science-fiction readers also tend to marvel at space and astronomy. Cosmos: The Infographic Book of Space by Stuart Lowe and Chris North is a guilty pleasure of space-related facts presented with minimalistic graphic images and charts that bring out interesting facts details. Topics include space exploration, the solar system, stars, galaxies, and other worlds.
'Tis the season for giving. Make a geek happy!