Shopping for geeks at the holidays is hard, luckily we’re here to help! As nerds ourselves we know that when there’s something in stores that we want, we tend to just buy it then and there. So gauging what we could want under the tree is like trying to find oil just by throwing your shovel in the dirt.
We’re here to give you a bit of a road map, highlighting items that might’ve fallen just off the radar of the person on your shopping list. In part one of our 2012 Holiday Geek Gift Guide we’re taking a look at the books that would be welcome under any geek’s tree this holiday season. Enjoy!
Silhouettes from Popular Culture
Remember the old shadow silhouettes you could get at the fair or amusement park? When done well they looked just like you! This book shows what those silhouettes would look like for our favorite pop culture icons. The book is fun both as a trip down memory lane or even to see who’s pop culture knowledge is more robust.
And I don’t mean pop culture like reality show stars of kid musicians. Iron Giant, Reservoir Dogs, Doctor Who, Super Mario, Frankenstein (and Bride), Back to the Future, Battlestar Galactica, etc. The breadth of the references runs far and wide. It’s amazing how much you can tell and interpret from a silhouette, which something like a fleck of hair giving it away.
Olly Moss is one of very few contemporary artists who incorporate our popular culture and make it accessible to people that might not otherwise enjoy an “Art” book. He’s made quite a name for himself designing movie and music prints that shows not only a talented hand but a real understanding of the material. If there’s one thing nerds recoil from it’s being pandered to, but Olly Moss is one of us through and through. And it’s cheap!
Beyond the Wall: Exploring A Song of Ice and Fire
It’s been a long time since season 2 of A Game of Thrones on HBO ended, and even longer since A Dance with Dragons came out. You’ve played the board game, dabbled in the card game, re-read the books again, and even went to The Inn at the Crossroads and made some of the Westeros-inspired food. What else is there to do while you wait for the next part of the series?
The answer is that you should read Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. This book of essays covers many different topics among all aspects of the series, from the books to the show as well as the graphic novels and games. Some of the essays dig deep into the minds of certain characters, while others discuss everything from book printings to magic in Westeros.
This is the perfect gift for your Ice and Fire-starved loved one, and easily doubles as a great choice for your geeky book club, too.
Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones
To say that HBO has hit it out of the park adapting George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire into the Game of Thrones television show would be an understatement. It’s no small feat to bring that world to life, but HBO has done it, and done it well. With the show not coming back until the end of March, what better way to occupy the Game of Thrones fan on your list and hole them over until their beloved show returns!
The new book Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones gives you a look behind the scenes to see just how they pulled it off. Hardbound and chock full of production sketches, 300 color pictures, fold out pages, interviews with actors from the show and more. It’s enough to sate any Game of Thrones fan.
If your giftee is a bigger fan of the show than of the books, then this is the Game of Thrones related book for you!
Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal
Was there some full grown adult in your life that kept going on and on about the Muppets coming back last year? Did it seem weird? Well, it shouldn’t have… cause the Muppets ARE back! Us nerds were all pretty excited about having Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, and gang back and being awesome on the big screen. Fans of the Muppets hold creator and visionary Jim Henson in pretty high regard, and that’s the subject of this particular gift pick.
Imagination Illustrated is a look inside the mind of the man himself, compiling and recreating the diary he kept throughout his entire career. With help from the Henson archives this journal includes sketches & doodles, behind the scene photographs, storyboards, you name it. It’s about as close to a personal encounter the geek on your list can have with such a creative man.
We could all do with a little inspiration from someone like Jim Henson.
The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force [Vault Edition]
It can be difficult to find the perfect gift for those who have dedicated their lives to the study of Jedi teachings. After all, they don’t have very many possessions. Star Wars fans can get really into the world portrayed in the movies, but you can only own so many copies of the movie. However, an exception can be made for the vault edition of The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force.
This hardcover book will help focus the Jedi in your life with its ancient texts, insightful handwritten amendments, and history of the Jedi order. It comes complete with a powered sealed case (press the button and the box opens!), removable Jedi trinkets, and never before seen tips on how to train in this difficult path.
If the geek you’re shopping for this holiday season isn’t satisfied learning about The Force simply from the movies by George Lucas, this book is sure to please.
Star Trek: The Newspaper Strip Vol. 1
Here’s one from the “Holy crap, we forgot that existed!” file. No Star Trek geek would ever want to be without this hardcover collection of the Star Trek newspaper comic strip. Volume One covers the first ten story arcs of the strip starting from the strip’s debut in December of 1979, and goes right through to October of 1981.
Not only is this something that the Trek-completionist will be proud to own, it is also something that they can display on a coffee table or bookshelf that should be a great conversation starter for anybody who comes to visit.
Then they can use that as a segue to get their unsuspecting visitors to watch that Star Trek: The Animated Series DVD set you bought them a few years ago.
Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years
If the appetite of your Star Trek fan is not sated by simply watching movies and going to conventions, look no further than Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years.
This book chronicles the history of one of science fiction’s most beloved franchises. Alien encounters, battles, and technologies merely mentioned throughout the series are brought to life with this detailed guide. The wealth of new and interesting facts found in this chronology of federation history is sure to deepen your Trekkie’s love of the ever expanding Star Trek universe. This hard cover book is housed in an interactive Star Fleet display that any fan would appreciate and love to add to their collection.
If your Star Trek fan loves to consume every bit of information he or she can about the Federation, you can’t go wrong with this book.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You
There’s a really good chance someone on your gift list has read at least a few comics from The Oatmeal. Matthew Inman, the mad genius behind both the words and images, has a wonderfully twisted yet straightforward view on life, technology, Siracha and cats. In fact, the latter is the subject of his second book, a collection of comics examining the relationship between humans and cats from every angle. To no one’s surprise, it’s a hoot.
Web comics are, many times, a dime a dozen. A few stand at the top, Penny Arcade and XKCD are personal favorites, but none of them can touch The Oatmeal in consistency of hilarity and uniqueness of world view. How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You takes the internet’s favorite subject, cats, and puts The Oatmeal’s unique spin on it.
Available in both print and digital formats, all 136 pages are hilarious and feature the signature style and wit that has come to define The Oatmeal.
Saga, Volume 1
If the person you’re shopping for is a comic book fan, there’s a good chance they’re a fan of Brian K. Vaughn (Runaways, Y the Last Man, some of the best episodes of Lost). Good news for you, his latest series, Saga, has finally made its way to trade paperback. There’s so much to be happy about here, and a little something for everyone: fantasy, sci fi, Romeo and Juliet, and a bit of sexiness mixed in for good measure (seriously – this is not for kids). The writing of Vaughn mixed with the artwork of Fiona Staples is a perfect match. It’s a space opera for people who love space opera – and this is coming from someone whose favorite book of all time is Dune.
This is a great gift for the comic book/graphic novel fan in your life, or even for fans of science fiction in general. The genre translates perfectly here, and will easily be consumed over the break – possibly multiple times. Buy it, give it, then borrow it and read it yourself (so long as you’re over 18).
Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat
Here at the Machine, we’re not ones to forget our roots, and before we learned about Dr. Who, we were entertained by Dr. Seuss (not to mention that the latter is one doctor we actually agree on). Well, it turns out that while the beloved Doctor was dropping the first mad rhymes that we were down with, he was also Theodore Geisel, dabbling in more mature artistic pursuits.
Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat is a collection of what he dubbed his “Midnight Paintings,” created over sixty years. The book lovingly compares and contrasts his more well-known work with the paintings that he hid from public criticism. Not only will this be an aesthetically interestingly collection, but a historically interesting one, as we get more insight into the man behind all the children’s classics that taught and entertained us so much.
The not necessarily for children edition of the children’s book we all grew up with, is a wonderful and weird look into the past and opens up new appreciation for a title that laid foundations in our your minds.
We really hope you find something on this list that would be the perfect fit. But if not, we’re happy to try and help find something else your target might like. If you find something on our list that you end up buying, PLEASE come back and tell us how it goes! Unless it goes badly, them maybe keep it to yourself
Like we said at the top, shopping for geeks can be hard… but hopefully something in our gift guide can help you out.
Please leave us a comment or send us an email and we’ll help you out! We’ll do our best to try and find you the perfect gift!
Know something we missed or use our list to pick out a gift? Let us know in the comments!