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Holiday gift suggestions: Books based on beloved sci-fi movies and series

Posted by on December 14, 2013 – 10:00 am

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The holidays are fast upon us — and nerds have needs. Nerdvana has a few ideas to aid in your selfless quest!

Books make great gifts because they’re easy to pick up at the last minute and drop in a gift bag or stocking on the way to a holiday gathering. Let’s look at some recent releases from beloved sci-fi franchises that would make excellent presents…

The author of this post received copies of some of the books below for review.

Razors_EdgeStar Wars

Kenobi: This is one of the finest works in a long line of Star Wars tie-in fiction. John Jackson Miller spins a tale of a defeated Jedi Master in exile finding his place in a community who still has need of him, despite his conflicting need to remain under the radar. Hardcover.

Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual: First the starship Enterprise and Millennium Falcon and now the most iconic planet-destroying space station gets the owners manual treatment from Haynes. This book looks mainly at the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, also known as the first Death Star from Episode IV: A New Hope, but also has some information about the second incarnation stationed at Endor. Hardcover.

Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge: The first in a new series of adventures featuring the stars of the Classic Trilogy, this one focuses on Princess Leia — a character that despite being fleshed out in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe is crying out for development in the Rebellion Era. Hardcover.

Scoundrels: Han Solo. Lando Calrissian. The incident that drove a wedge between them AND an Ocean’s Eleven-style impossible heist. It didn’t live up to its promise, but it’s still a fun Star Wars adventure. And it’s by Timothy Zahn, who is the Tom Clancy of Star Wars novels. Hardcover and paperback.

Crucible: There’s lots of EU material out there — how to tie it all up in a pretty bow before a new trilogy comes along? Who knows, but Troy Denning’s Crucible brings many of thosee hanging storylines to an end while launching several new possibilities. In terms of prose, it may be the last big hurrah for Luke, Leia and Han, at least as starring characters — so if someone has collected many of their EU exploits, this would be a good addition to their collection. Hardcover.

292px-Revelation_and_Dust_coverStar Trek

J.J. Abrams’ cinematic reboot aside, the original timeline of the Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager TV series lives on in a vast series of novels depicting the aftermath of DS9′s Dominion War, which was chronicled on screen, and a subsequent final Borg invasion that wasn’t. The Federation is struggling to return to its exploratory roots (listening, J.J.?) but has to content with terrorism, internal strife and the rise of an opportunistic new threat: the Typhon Pact, an alliance of its enemies including the Romulans, Breen, Gorn, Tholians, Tzenkethi and Kinshaya. It all started with the Deep Space 9 “relaunch” books (Avatar) and expanded with Voyager, Titan and Enterprise-E tales that came together in the Destiny trilogy with the final defeat of the Borg, followed by the Typhon Pact series that saw a seismic shift in the balance of power, and continues in the ongoing series The Fall, which explores a cancer within the Federation and the cabal of principled (and familiar) officers rising up against it.

Doctor Who

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whoologyBBC Books has reissued 11 popular Doctor Who novels, one for each incarnation of the Time Lord for his 50th anniversary on our screens. Some of these were part of BBC Books’ “Past Doctor” and “Eighth Doctor” series which kept the flame alive between the original series’ 1989 cancellation and 2005 relaunch, so they hold a special reverence for longtime fans who stuck it out. The Seventh Doctor’s outing, Remembrance of the Daleks, is a novelization of a great Season 25 story. All have distinctive new cover art that uses a consistent style but still allows fun touches unique to each volume. Paperback.

Who-ology is the reference guide every Whovian needs, from the most grizzled veteran of the Time War to the newest convert. It’s a fun volume to pull out when you’re bored or use as fodder for trivia contests that erupt between hardcore fans from time to time. Hardcover.

What sci-fi books do you enjoy giving as gifts?