The holiday season is just around the corner, so do yourself a favor and get your shopping done early. There's no need to overthink it: These science fiction and fantasy books make for great gifts for the science fiction and fantasy fans in your life. Whether you're looking for an epic storyline or just something that looks good on a coffee table, these eight entries are sure to be hits. Let's get started.
8 Great Books to Give This Year
The Award Winners
The Kaiju Preservation Society
Dinosaur-like monsters roam the multiverse in John Scalzi's standalone romp, which follows dead-end food-delivery driver Jamie Gray during the COVID-19 pandemic. In need of cash, Jamie takes a job visiting other dimensions and caring for some of the most dangerous creatures imaginable.
The Kaiju Preservation Society earned the 2023 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, while R.F. Kuang's Babel took home the honor for Best Fantasy Novel (Babel also won the 2023 Nebula Award for Best Novel.) It was Scalzi's third time winning the award. He previously won for Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas and The Collapsing Empire.
Saint Death's Daughter
As daughter to the Royal Assassin and Chief Executioner of Liriat, you'd expect protagonist Lanie Stones to be a dangerous killer. She isn't. In fact, she has a literal allergy to violence. But when her parents are murdered and her family's enemies descend upon their crumbling mansion, Lanie must find a way to survive while protecting her cheerfully psychotic sister Nita.
Saint Death's Daughter won the 2023 World Fantasy Award. If you know a sci-fi/fantasy fan who prefers to listen to a narrator, author C. S. E. recorded the audiobook herself. It's worth a listen.
Nettle & Bone
Nettle & Bone tells the story of Marra, the third-born daughter of royals who is sent to live in a convent. Her older sister, meanwhile, is married off to a powerful but dangerous prince. After witnessing years of abuse, Marra decides she'll put an end to it. She needs a witch's help, though, and to earn it she must complete three impossible tasks.
The subversive fairy tale by T. Kingfisher won the 2023 Hugo Award for Best Novel, and the hardcover edition offers custom illustrations by the author herself.
Marvel Studios The Marvel Cinematic Universe An Official Timeline
Odds are that your sci-fi/fantasy fan is also a Marvel fan. Even the most dedicated fan of the MCU can get lost in the endless number of movies, TV shows, and universes. This illustrated book, which was made in close collaboration with Marvel itself, addresses movie-goers' biggest questions about who, what, when, where, and why.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe An Official Timeline is big and beautiful enough to function as a coffee-table book but doesn't lack on information, either.
The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport
Published in October of 2023, The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport follows Lina, the daughter of failed revolutionaries who would do anything to save her people, and her brother Bador, who happens to be a small monkey bot. The trouble all begins when Lina finds an artifact capable of reshaping reality (and granting wishes) in a story that “reads like a mash-up of Aladdin and Murderbot.”
Speaking of works that read like Murderbot, Martha Wells's System Collapse really reads like Murderbot … probably because it is Murderbot. Book 7 of the popular series that began with All Systems Red publishes November 14.
There's something wrong with Murderbot in this one, which follows the events in Network Effect. No one is sure how to fix the self-aware SecUnit, least of all Murderbot itself. Can they work out a solution before it's too late?
“Yeah,” says Murderbot in the marketing copy, “this plan is… not going to work.”
Defiant brings a conclusion to Sanderson's Skyward series, which follows aspiring pilot Spensa in her quest to reach the stars. The book publishes November 21 and details Spensa's adventures with her strange Cytonic gifts. She and her team, Skyward Flight, must defeat The Superiority if they have any hope of long-lasting peace. But as Spensa grows into her own, she is forced to make hard choices and ask herself how far she's willing to go for victory.
The Narrow Road Between Desires
You probably already know whether your friends and family members are fans of Patrick Rothfuss: They've likely been complaining about delays in publishing for over a decade. At last, The Narrow Road Between Desires returns readers to Rothfuss's fantasy world, complete with illustrations by Nate Taylor.
While The Narrow Road Between Desires is more of a companion piece to the bestselling Kingkiller Chronicle, it's certainly better than nothing. The story follows the mischievous Fae, Bast, and his misadventures with the children of Newarre.
Featured image: Nina Mercado / Unsplash