It's tough, really tough to buy books for people who read a lot. It's even
tougher when the book readers in your life are fantasy and science fiction fans.
Add to that the fact that you may not be a fan yourself and you have a recipe
for a gift-giving fiasco. God help you if you pick out a Star Trek book
when they are into Star Wars, and vice versa. Well, don't give up just
yet. It's not hopeless. There are lots of books out there that your favorite
geek hasn't read, and probably doesn't know about, but are tailor-made for their
tastes and interests. Here's a few of them, in no particular order.
Perfume by Tom Robbins
One of Robbins' best efforts, a sweeping (and funny) story about beets, immortality,
perfume, and the Greek god Pan. Not necessarily in that order. A lot of Tom
Robbins' books contain weird elements like this in them, but this one is a sure-fire
Am Legend by Richard Matheson
This is perhaps my favorite vampire novel of the 20th century. Matheson is
best-known for his work on The Twilight Zone. Even if your geek isn't
a vampire fan, trust me, this is a compelling read about a guy in a world overrun
with vampires. It was adapted (badly) into the film Omega Man, starring
Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore
A funny, funny book about a World War I doughboy and his pet demon in the modern
world. In fact, any of the Christopher Moore books are sure to please, if only
for their titles alone: Bloodsucking Fiends, Coyote Blue, Island
of the Sequined Love Nun, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. Once
you read one, you'll have to read them all.
Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte
This "mystery" is also an adventure story, and it's a fine example
of how a book can be literate AND entertaining at the same time. Lucas Corso
starts out authenticating a page from The Three Musketeers and ends up
in a web of conspiracy, occult riddles, and the sense that he's read it all
Adapted (again, badly) into the movie The Ninth Gate.
Hereafter Gang by Neal Barrett, Jr.
Author Neal Barrett, Jr. has one of those distinctively Texan voices, and his
books are always wildly imaginative and strange. In this case, our hero, Doug,
is deader than a doornail, and has to come to grips with the stuff of his life.
A rollicking, funny book for the oddball in your life.
With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem
Conrad Metcalf has problems. He's got a monkey on his back, a rabbit in his
waiting room, and a trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. A pithy little near-future
noir science fiction mystery. Good stuff!
Bear Went Over The Mountain by William Kotzwinkle
This story is about a bear, a real bear, who becomes a successful author and
has to deal with the untamed savagery of the publishing world. Odd? Yep. Quirky,
too. That's what makes it work. This is a good light reading piece from the
author of E.T.
of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb
Oh, boy, if only all mysteries were like this! McCrumb won a Stoker award for
her terrifyingly accurate portrayal of gaming fans at a convention and a first
time author who becomes embroiled in a mystery. All geeks must read this book!
All Monsters by Ken Hollings
An apocalyptic retelling of recent world events: America has become hopelessly
bogged down in a protracted Operation Desert Storm, and Elvis Presley returns
as a tormented political assassin. Aliens in the White House, giant monsters
and crazed combat robots on the rampage, the total destruction of Japan, and
insane conspiracy theories.
New and Used by Mark Finn
Another Texas author with a skewed perspective on the real world. These four
novellas are loosely connected by the common themes of how gods are created,
how they change, and how they die and are reborn in new forms. Oh, and it's
got Elvis and Cupid on a roadtrip to South Padre Island, Texas, in a pink Cadillac.
Amusing and entertaining!