Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Gift of SF – It’s Not Just for Birthdays, Arbor Day, and Easter Anymore

Yes, son, it is cool to buy SF stuff for the holidays! Today is, of course, the day we in the US celebrate Thanksgiving. The Canadians, ahead of us in so many more things than we willingly admit, already did theirs, Jour de l'Action de grâce, last month. But it's never too late for a party. After we finish the turkey (or ham), the fixin’s, the pie (or pies), the football game (or marathon Risk game), and the perfunctory family chats about holidays of yesteryear, eventually our minds turn toward the other part of this weekend’s traditions: Black Friday. Tomorrow, some of us will be up at pre-dawn, joining the rest of the “Open Open Open!” crowd for that great bargain price on the latest electro-high-def-wonder-spiffy-amazing gizmo. Still others of us will be at home, cowering in fear for what our significant others are doing to our cumulative credit card debt.

Yet there are other ways to gather your holiday gifts, ways that say “Enjoy!”, “Live life!”, and “Celebrate!” without busting the bank or forcing you to merge with the larger herd of shopping frenzied humanity. Yes, my dearest daughter / son / wife / husband / girlfriend / mom / dad / Barely Acquainted Facebook Friend (BAFF), you can learn the ways of the shopping force and become an SF shopping master like your “person of interest” before you. Just buy me something from the Science Fiction gift tree.

Other than making me happy, which of course is a virtue with its own rewards, there is all the good it does to support our beloved authors, artists, and creators of all these wonderful, inspiring, imaginative worlds and characters. No facetiousness here: they feel the tough times just like we do. So throw them a bone and spare me the usual trip to Goodwill to donate all those "imaginative" sweaters.

Don’t know what to buy me? Hmmm, lemme think. Oh, yeah! Here’s a short list:
  • Cool stuff from Bradley W. Schenck’s Retropolis line of inspired SF art wares. These include T-shirts, coffee mugs, and the usual Café Press fare, but with some outstanding illustrations. And yes, there are Bradley’s books, too. My favorite item has got to be the Space Piracy poster, though it would make a great coffee mug, too. And the clocks, boxes, and blank books are also pretty cool. Other favorites of mine include Don’t Trifle with the Big Brain and Ask Me about My Death Ray. It would not be fair to skip over Bradley's gorgeous Celtic art works, either. The style, design, and color choices are just very wow indeed.

  • A copy of Digital Domains, edited by Ellen Datlow. I heard good things about this anthology and it speaks to my love of the fine stories that appeared in OMNI under her watch back in the day. (See Ann Wilkes’ intereview of Ellen here: )

  • A copy of New Model Army, by Adam Roberts, mostly because I want to see what the fuss is about and see if I can detect ‘literary scifi’ within.

  • A copy of the Inception DVD. Yeah, I know I saw it in the theater, but my DVD player really wants to play it!

  • A copy of the DVD set for the original Invaders TV series, seasons 1 and 2.

  • Tickets to Tron Legacy! But at the theater with the good seats and the popcorn made the same day we see the movie. ( Catch Ann Wilkes’ “TRON Legacy – First Glimpse” article here: )

  • A decent copy of the entire Star Trek TOS on DVD. It’s not too late for me to step into the 90’s. Buy me something slightly newer, even if you get it used off of eBay. My old, crusty VHS-conversion copies are frail and pale compared to the DVD versions.

  • A subscription to Analog, Asimov's, Locus, or Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.

That’s all I can think of for now. But hey, you know what I like. There are literally hundreds of very awesome sites out there with amazing fiction content, art content, even SF-inspired music. If you are having trouble figuring out the whole on-line purchase thing, I know at least a couple of close friends/relatives who can help you. And yes, Holiday SF shopping can also be green, or at least greener. You can always drop by my favorite bookstore if you want to think globally but shop locally.

This year, I promise not to peek.

- D. E. Helbling

Image courtesy of Bradley W. Schenck. Any plugs for Bradley's wares and those of other authors, artists, and enterprises are unencumbered, "for the love" recommendations.

Lincoln Note: Last week I mentioned the Time Lincoln comic from Antarctic Press, which I inadvertantly ordered in hardcopy, thinking I had ordered access to on-line copy. Well, the magazine arrived in just 3 mail days and I really enjoyed the issue. I don't really need more reasons to buy stuff, given that half or more of my volitional spending is already on books, but this could lead me to a new comic buying habit. Hey, fun is fun!

Happy Thanksgiving! Shopping or no, a sincere wish to you all for a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend, no matter how much snow, ice, wind, bad stuffing, and airport probing you have to endure.


Roberta Walker said...

I wonder if Black Friday would ever happen here in Canada? Would anybody step over the threshold of Best Buy, or would the day progress in a series of "After you's" "I'm sorry's" until the everyone just turned away empty handed? I don't think we're cut out for a Black Friday here!

M Pax said...

I dare to stay home on Black Friday. Great links. Thanks for sharing. :D