Today, my dears, we prepare to enter the dark and dangerous world of Science Fiction. It’s science-y. And it’s fiction. Full of parallel universes, allegorical commentaries on modern society, aliens, robots, zombies, ALIEN ROBOT ZOMBIES, questions of the nature of existence and consciousness, and, possibly, some really bad Vogon poetry. So spacesuit up, make sure you know where your towel is, and get ready for a stellar (see what I did there?) tour through gifts for the Sci-Fi fan in your life!
Speaking of knowing where your towel is, this handy reminder of Douglas Adams’ one rule for successful space travel (okay, there was “Don’t Panic,” but this one is much more important) will run you £5 from the Literary Gift Company.
(Currently sold out, but you can sign up to be notified when it’s back in stock.)
If there’s anything more adorable than an enormous malevolent monster chained beneath the sea, then I don’t know what it is. Great gift item for kids! Besides being a fabulous toy, this item is also practical, as it can be used to convince a marauding returning Cthulhu of your devotion. Though I wouldn’t suggest tickling his belly and going “hoooo’s a fuzzy wuzzy wittle monster?” as part of this campaign.
£7.50 for the smaller version, £14.50 for the larger one, at Forbidden Planet
This apparently simple product soon leads us down an ethical minefield once Asimov’s laws of robotics are applied to it.
The robot is ordered to infuse your tea. The robot must obey the order, as long as it does not cause a human harm or, through inaction, cause a human to come to harm.
What if it is the robot’s carefully considered position that you would be better off without your caffeine addiction? The robot wants to SAVE you from yourself. But the robot realises the subjectivity of its opinion and possibly its own desire not to be repeatedly dumped in boiling liquid, which might be subconsciously influencing its opinion.
Give £4.95 to Imperial Teas and you can contemplate this quandary at your leisure. Pair it with the skeleton mug from the Mystery Gift Guide for a truly unique – and vaguely post-apocalytic-robot-wars – caffeine-absorption experience.
Includes The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The War of the Worlds, The First Men in the Moon and The Invisible Man.
Gorgeous binding. Beautiful craftsmanship.
Now don’t leave it on the bus, you moron.
£14.10 from Waterstones.
There’s also a Volume II.
If you know someone who is not content for their love of stories that caused mass popular chaos to remain hidden on the shelf, never fear! Buy them this funky War of the Worlds poster and wait for them to reminisce about a simpler, kinder time, when radio news caused people to riot in the streets rather than run over to Twitter and MSNBC.com to verify its authenticity.
The unframed poster is £13.99 – cost of frames varies.
It’s like the Victorian era committed incest with itself and this is its unholy lovechild.
Patterns available: dirigible, steam train, flying man, flying machine, vintage car.
£25 from Not on the High Street.
Okay, you know that guy who’s always taking everything way too literally, who gets a kick out of finding every tiny little historical inaccuracy in bio-pics while you’re trying to talk about the story and characters, and who picks apart the science aspect of science fiction until you’re ready to stuff Superman’s sweaty tights down his throat?
Get him this for Christmas.
It will either shut him up or give him enough ammunition that he will become so insufferable you’ll be justified in cutting off all contact with him. Either way, you win.
£7 from Foyles.
Very useful for encouraging children in develop salt addictions that lead to high blood pressure and heart problems, while training them in such lethargy that moving your hand to pass the salt down the table is seen as a workout.
£12 and your mealtimes will never be bland either in taste or entertainment again.
£10 from the British Library.
A series of interviews with Science Fiction writers.
Pretty picture on the front.
What else do you need to know?
Here’s the British Library’s summary: How has science fiction has responded to the impact of science, technology and socio-political change? This fascinating book examines this and other questions as it examines the scope and nature of science fiction over the last two thousand years.
From the works of Cyrano de Bergerac to Ray Bradbury and Mary Shelley to J G Ballard this book reveals the full heritage and wonder of science fiction.
For £16.99, this too can be yours.
Go forth, then, my children! Shop! Conquer worlds! With your Sci-Fi themed gift purchases, turn this earth into a post-consumerist dystopian wasteland, bereft of natural resources, only realising the irony of your error when it is too late!
Many many thanks to the fabulous Catherine Martin for help with the research on this post!
(Next time: Historical Fiction!)
- Bibliophile Gift Guide! (Part II: Mystery) (merryrequiem.wordpress.com)
- Bibliophile Gift Guide! (Part I: Romance) (merryrequiem.wordpress.com)
- Gift Guide: Future-Friendly Presents for Your Favorite Wannabe Cyborg (betabeat.com)
- Christmas gifts 2012: the best science fiction (guardian.co.uk)