This stunning illustrated edition of Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred from Folio Society ($59.95)
Folio Society publishes some of the most beautiful special editions out there, and this one of Kindred looks stunning. In addition to the illustrated cover, the book features nine illustrations by award-winning artist James E. Ransome, who also illustrates many children’s books. Each Folio book is illustrated and comes in a slipcase. Also, check out their editions of Dune, Howl’s Moving Castle, His Dark Materials, A Wizard of Earthsea, and so many more.
Subterranean Press publishes both reprints and unique science fiction, fantasy, and horror books in limited and regular hardcover editions. The limited editions are signed and bound in leather, while the hardcover editions are cloth bound. This is the only place to find these two Sookie Stackhouse novellas by Charlaine Harris. Other books included in their collection are Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer, On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard, and Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin. Prices range from $30 to $1,000, depending on how special the edition is.
A deluxe limited edition of The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov, signed by illustrator Bob Eggleton, from Easton Press ($395[!!])
Bound in leather with gold filigree, Easton Press books are some of the most expensive special editions out there. This copy of The Foundation Trilogy is a whopping $395 and is illustrated by Hugo Award-winning artist Bob Eggleton. While it’s one of their more expensive books, their science fiction and fantasy selections starts at $75. Also, check out eBay and used bookstores for Easton Press editions. I’ve collected some beautiful, out of print Eastons by Ursula Le Guin and J.R.R. Tolkien that way over the years.
Every December, J.R.R. Tolkien, as Father Christmas, would write and deliver a letter to his children complete with a stamp from the North Pole. These whimsical letters describe escaping reindeer and clumsy polar bears and often included little illustrations he drew in the margins. This special edition of Letters from Father Christmas is being published 100 years after his first letter to his first son John in 1920. It’s a lovely gift for Tolkien fans.
In this memoir, Okorafor — the award-winning author of many books, including Binti and Akata Witch — describes her paralysis and slow recovery after a scoliosis surgery goes wrong. Before the surgery, Okorafor was a star track athlete and had not envisioned herself as a writer. During her recovery, she has morphine-induced hallucinations of bugs and portals. She begins taking notes in the margins of the science fiction books she reads as solace. These notes slowly transform into something more when she returns to college and begins writing in earnest. This memoir is brief and moving and a beautiful examination of finding creativity amidst devastation.
While best known for her award-winning fantasy and science fiction novels, Le Guin was also a prolific poet. Her poetry, however, doesn’t explore the fantastic, but rather the beauty of nature and this Earth. Her poetry reminds me most of Mary Oliver’s. It’s accessible, wise, and lovely.
This book collects beautiful artwork inspired by Studio Ghibli films like Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and My Neighbor Totoro. There’s a diverse array of art mediums, from sculpture to realistic paintings to more abstract work, including food art. It’s thick, well-designed, and a perfect coffee table book.
Discworld fans will love this atlas. It gives hilarious travel tips and maps for each area in Discworld and has a giant, double-sided map of all of Discworld. The illustrations are fantastic, and there’s a lot of new, written material that adds to Discworld’s mythos.
Get it from Amazon for $31.32.
The Dark Fantastic examines the portrayals of Black characters in popular, white-authored SFF series. Thomas focuses explicitly on four Black characters — Bonnie Bennett from The Vampire Diaries, Rue from The Hunger Games, Gwen from Merlin, and Angelina Johnson from Harry Potter. She also discusses other series and the broader implications of how white authors portray Black characters and how audiences react to these portrayals. It’s an excellent deep dive into the genre that readers who strive to think critically will appreciate.
Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas ($23.88/year)
Pieces from Uncanny Magazine have won the Hugo Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Locus Award, and many more. They’ve published stories by Catherynne M. Valente, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Liu, and many more groundbreaking and award-winning authors. Subscriptions are for ebooks, and each issue contains 6+ short stories, three poems, four nonfiction essays, and two interviews, in addition to a beautifully illustrated cover. Uncanny Magazine publishes bimonthly.
Fiyah founded by P. Djeli Clark and Troy L. Wiggins ($11.96/year)
What makes Fiyah unique is its dedication to publishing speculative fiction by Black authors. Each issue contains 4+ short stories and 3+ poems, and a badass cover that can be purchased as wall art. In addition to winning a World Fantasy Award, the team at FIYAH created the Ignyte Awards, which honors diverse books in science fiction and fantasy. Subscriptions to FIYAH are for ebooks which publish quarterly. Their most recent issue contains pieces by Aurelius Raines II and Yvette Lisa Ndlovu.
For a print magazine subscription, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, founded in 1949, is a bedrock of SFF short story publishing and has won countless awards. It publishes bimonthly and recent authors include Kelly Link, Jeffrey Ford, Melissa Marr, and SL Huang. Each issue is packed with content. The latest issue contains six novelettes, four short stories, three poems, and four essays/reviews. Subscriptions to ebook versions are also available.
This YA fantasy box from Cratejoy contains a newly released YA fantasy title, two original bookmarks, an artist-created print, an exclusive button, a curated book club card, and an invitation to their online book club. Their most recent pick was These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, and past books have included The Wicked King by Holly Black, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, and Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Plans start at $16.67 a month, and you can purchase a single month, a 3-month subscription, or a 6-month subscription.
Each Strand Book HookUp box contains a signed, first edition of a recently released science fiction or fantasy novel, a paperback SFF title, and spotlight goodies chosen by Strand employees. Past titles include Radicalized by Cory Doctorow, Artemis by Andy Weir, To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu, and The Future is Female!: 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories from Women by Lisa Yaszek. A single box costs $50.
Tailored Book Recommendations (TBR) offers a unique service for readers. Readers communicate with a TBR bibliologist about the kinds of books they’re interested in and what they don’t like in books. Readers can even link to their Goodreads account so that the bibliologist can choose books they haven’t read before and/or are similar to the types of books they’ve loved the most. There are two options to choose from: In the Hardcover Books plan ($80 one-time purchase, $315 year-long), the reader receives three recently released hardcover books (sent from Print Bookstore in Maine) and a letter from the bibliologist detailing why the books are fantastic and why the reader will love them. For $16, the reader can receive just the recommendation letter, and then purchase or borrow the titles on their own.
It’s too bad we can’t really travel to these Middle Earth locations, but these beautiful prints ($15+) are the next best thing.
If the Sarah J. Maas reader in your life prefers A Court of Thorn and Roses, this mug ($22+) will do the trick.
For an unexpected take on a classic gift, Sainted Writers’ candles ($18) — featuring authors like Madeleine L’Engel, Octavia Butler, and more — are fun, and each one comes with a customizable prayer and charm.
With the Dune movie coming out soon, Dune readers will want to show off their love with this spicy sticker ($6.75).
This 1984 puzzle — available in 500 pieces ($39) or 1000 pieces ($49) — is going to keep somebody busy for a while.
This Shire tote ($25) is perfect for hauling books.