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Ten Books for Fantasy and Science Fiction Fans Who Think They've Read Everything
© Mark Finn

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.

Jitterbug 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 best bet.

I 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 Charlton Heston.

Practical 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.

The 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 somewhere before… Adapted (again, badly) into the movie The Ninth Gate.

The 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.

Gun, 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!

The 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.

Bimbos 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!

Destroy 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.

Gods 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!

[Editor's Note: Being the shy and unassuming type, Mark wanted to skip mention of his own book. I am not remotely shy and unassuming, and I threw a big ol' hissyfit until he agreed to leave it in. Everyone reading this should do yourselves a favor and check out Mark's work over at www.clockworkstorybook.com. or here at Amazon. Really. - Peggy Hailey, Books Editor]

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