The holidays are just around the corner and that means the stress of picking the perfect gift should be in full swing. But fear not! If you have someone on your list who is a fan of science fiction, fantasy and horror, you’ve come to the right place. Armed with this gift guide, continued from Part 1, holiday shopping will be a breeze.
For fans of film director Stanley Kubrick, Taschen is offering a pair of book-DVD sets commemorating Kubrick’s forays into science fiction.
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey,edited by Alison Castle (Taschen), celebrates the groundbreaking 1968 film, which was based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke. The account of mankind’s first contact with aliens is grounded in realistic science and has given us such iconic film moments as the “Also sprach Zarathustra” opening sequence, the monolith, and the sentient (and conflicted) computer named HAL. 2001: A Space Odyssey was the first serious treatment of science fiction on film, made at a time when mankind was taking its first steps on the moon. This book commemorates Kubrick’s monumental achievement through film stills, behind-the-scenes photos, drafts of the original screenplay (co-written by Kubrick and Clarke), and additional material from Kubrick’s archives. The set also includes a poster and a DVD of the remastered film.
Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, edited by Alison Castle (Taschen), pays homage to the 1971 film based on the 1962 novel by Anthony Burgess. The story concerns the murderous leader of a young gang who agrees to undergo experimental violence-aversion therapy in exchange for an early prison release. The shocking depiction of violence, accompanied by a Beethoven-infused score, drove home the film’s commentary on youth gangs, juvenile delinquency and psychiatric treatment. Like the 2001 set, this one also contains lots of memorable imagery from the movie, a poster, and a DVD of the remastered flick.
For Fans of Giant Robots
When it comes to giant robots, nobody beats the Transformers. Launched in the mid 1980s, these toys look like humanoid robots, but have the ability to “transform” into vehicles or creatures. What helped elevate Transformers beyond mere merchandising into a cultural phenomenon was its backstory about a civil war between two kinds of sentient life-forms: the heroic Autobots led by Optimus Prime, and the malevolent Decepticons led by Megatron. Transformers became so popular, they spread to television, video games, and film. Transformers: A Visual History by Jim Sorenson (Viz Media) collects the best artwork from the franchise’s 35-year history in a gorgeous coffee table book organized by media categories such as packaging, comics, animation, video games, and movies. The images include illustrations, covers and interior artwork from comic books, sketches, and concept art. For the hardcore Transformers fan, there’s also a limited edition entry, packaged in a sturdy, colorful collector’s box with a variant cover design and set of five frame-ready prints to hang on a wall.
For People Who Love (or Hate) Clowns
If your gift recipient wasn’t afraid of clowns before, the recent theatrical adaptation of Stephen King’s It and its sequel just might do the trick. Across the two films, Pennywise the clown terrorized the Loser’s Club, a group of kids who reunite decades later to end the nightmare once and for all. If it really helps to face your fears, The World of IT by Alyse Wax (Harry N. Abrams) may just be what sufferers of coulrophobia need. As director Andy Muschietti points out in his foreword, this picture-packed book offers behind-the-scenes details on the making of the films and demonstrates that creating a horror duology is no small feat. There also is information about casting, costumes, and visual effects, as well as tons of set photos, sketches, and storyboards.
For SciFI TV Viewers
We’re in a golden age of television science fiction, offering plenty of choices for SF fans. Here are a few behind-the scenes books that would make perfect gifts for fans of those shows.
The Art and Making of The Expanse (Titan Books) is a picture-filled companion to the popular television series. The book offers loads of awe-inspiring concept art, images from the show, and photographs that capture the allure of the program’s look and feel. The Expanse is an adaptation of the eponymous space adventure series by James S.A. Corey, a pseudonym for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who wrote the essay “The Evolution of The Expanse” for this volume. The Art and Making of The Expanse explores the challenges of transitioning it from page to screen. Accompanying quotes from cast and crew members are peppered throughout the book and offer different perspectives on bringing the well-imagined future civil war to life.
The Man in the High Castle: Creating the Alt World by Mike Avila (Titan Books, Dec. 17) is about how the filmmakers achieved the impressive look of Amazon Prime’s The Man in the High Castle. The show, which is based on Philip K. Dick’s alternate history story that imagines a world in which Hitler won World War II, does an excellent job at depicting a dystopian America. The book brings that world to life through production art, on-set photography, and numerous costume designs used on the show. Previously unseen storyboards add to the VIP set visit experience. Also included are interviews with key cast and crew members, who explain how it all comes together.
HBO’s Game of Thrones may be over, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to fill the Game of Thrones hole in someone’s life. The gorgeous new The Art of Game of Thrones by Deborah Riley and Jody Revenson (Insight Editions) is a massive 432-page deluxe coffee table book (it comes with its own ribbon bookmark), which looks back at the entire eight-year run of the series with an eye towards its visual design. It is filled with concept art and sketches. You’ll find plenty of images of castles, weapons and locations, including now-iconic ones such as King’s Landing, Winterfell, Dragonstone, and Castle Black. Each image is accompanied by a brief description that gives it context. Taken together, they show how perfectly the set designers matched the desired look and feel with the story. With contributions from Emmy Award-winning production designer Gemma Jackson and showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, The Art of Game of Thrones gives fans the perfect reason to revisit Westeros.
For Star Wars Fans
Do you know how to spot a true Star Wars fan? Either they already own one of the amazing Sideshow Collectibles Star Wars statues or they would battle a wampa to get one. The 350-page deluxe Star Wars: Collecting A Galaxy: The Art of Sideshow Collectibles book by Samuel C. Spitale (Insight Editions, Dec. 31) is the next best thing to owning and showcasing these awesome keepsakes. With more than 10 years of sculptures in their catalog, the book gives the professional treatment to many of the beloved characters from the Star Wars films and other media. (The Gamorrean Guard first seen in Return of the Jedi is a personal favorite and Sideshow created an even mightier Gamorrean named Lomrokk.) The pictures in the book are far from being quick snapshots of statues; instead, each character is photographed with special attention paid to lighting and corresponding background to bring these works of art to glorious life. The book includes preproduction artwork, showing the evolution of pieces from design through implementation, and interviews with the sculpting and design teams. This is a must-have for Star Wars collectors and a worthy art book in its own right.
Two other Star Wars-themed gifts offer fans something beyond reading. The first, aimed at younger readers, is Star Wars: The Ultimate Pop-Up Galaxy by paper engineer Matthew Reinhart and illustrator Kevin Wilson (Insight Editions). It’s an elaborate and creative way to commemorate some of the most pivotal scenes from the blockbuster films, which literally pop off the pages as you turn them. Surrounding them are impressively crafted smaller pop-ups that walk readers through memorable moments, including Yoda training Luke in the ways of Jedi mastery on the planet Dagobah. (One pop-up even offers a sneak peek of the forthcoming film The Rise of Skywalker.) Each construction includes details about the scene and where it fits in the Star Wars saga storyline. Perhaps most impressive: All 24 scenes fold out into a single massive layout and can be viewed together.
For the more adventurous Star Wars fan—one who’s not afraid to put Mustafarian Lava Buns where their mouth is—there’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbookby Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Marc Sumerak (Insight Editions). With dozens of recipes inspired by the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge themed lands at Disney parks, you’re sure to find something to suit your appetite. If Spicy Mandalorian Stew sounds a little too wild, try the Nerf Kebabs. Recipes are divided into sections—snacks, soups, breads, main courses, desserts, etc. —making it easy to find the perfect dish or drink, and each is accompanied by a picture of the dish, so you don’t have to guess whether Huttese Slime Pods look appetizing (they do). In addition to simple-to-follow instructions, dietary specifications are noted, so you know which dishes are gluten free or vegetarian/vegan. This cookbook could be the foundation for some fun get-togethers.
For the Batfan
It’s hard not to like a superhero such as Batman, especially when the character has an 80-year history and a variety of incarnations. If Adam West’s campy TV Batman from the 1960s is too light for you, perhaps Christian Bale’s more somber iteration from the Christopher Nolan films fits your darker tastes. Maybe it’s the lively animated version voiced by Kevin Conroy that you like. Or possibly the serious video game version, or the humorous Lego version. Whichever interpretation of Batman you prefer, you’ll find them all in Batman: The Definitive History of the Dark Knight in Comics, Film, and Beyond by Andrew Farago and Gina McIntyre (Insight Editions). This 400-page retrospective covers the last eight decades of the Dark Knight, beginning with his 1939 debut in “Detective Comics,” and includes photos, interviews, concept art and never-before-seen content from various media. An assortment of additional goodies includes a reproduction of a promotional Batman mask distributed at ComicCon. This comprehensive book also boasts an A-list of contributors such as Conroy, Nolan, Tim Burton and Michael Keaton (director and star, respectively, of 1989’s Batman), Mark Hamill (the voice of the animated Joker), comic book writer Grant Morrison, Julie Newmar (Catwoman), director Joel Schumacher (Batman & Robin, Batman Forever), comic writer and artist Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns) and more.
Turn Your Kid’s Love of Comics Into a Career
The comic books that your child is hiding behind may be hiding his or her creative genius. If your young comic book reader is showing any desire to create a comic, Stan Lee’s Master Class (Watson-Guptill) is a thoughtful gift. This thorough instructional guide about creating comic books walks the budding artist from beginner stages—including tools to acquire, terms, and drawing basics—to more advanced topics such as shading, storytelling, pacing, logos, and laying out panels. Manga style and digital drawing are also covered. Stan Lee’s name is synonymous with comics and his helpful, easily-digestible tips help young artists advance their skills by leaps and bounds.
The Ultimate Science Fiction and Fantasy Art Book
Fantastic or speculative fiction—that is: science fiction, fantasy and horror—is one of the coolest sources of inspiration for artists working in any medium. As proof of this, thumb through the pages of Spectrum 26: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by John Fleskes (Flesk Publications) and try not getting lost in its otherworldly beauty. This new volume of the long-running art book series is as jaw-dropping as previous editions, offering scores of excellent artwork from books, comics, film, horror, illustration, sculpture, conceptual art, fine arts and video games. These works prove that the concepts behind fantastic fiction are not confined to words; the visual contributes just as much to the mind-expanding imagination that fans love about the genre. In other words, Spectrum 26 presses all the right buttons for SF/F and horror fans.