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Forces of Geek 2024 Father’s Day Gift Guide


This Sunday is Father’s Day, an actual holiday, dedicated to selling neckties to the fathers, uncles, grandfathers, big brothers, godfathers, and paternal role models in people’s lives.

And while most dads (or paternal figures) these days are likely Gen X and are happy with an afternoon in their man cave or an uninterrupted bowel movement, here are some of our unique suggestions to help celebrate these special relationships by giving them presents!

And no neckties or paperweights for the celebrants in your life.

Here’s what we’re digging…

Eruption by Michael Crichton and James Patterson

Michael Crichton, the master of the techno-blockbuster joins forces with James Patterson, the master of the modern thriller to create Eruption, the most anticipated mega bestseller in years.

A history-making eruption is about to destroy the Big Island of Hawaii. But a secret held for decades by the US military is far more terrifying than any volcano.

Black Caesars and Foxy Cleopatras: A History of Blaxploitation Cinema by Odie Henderson

The definitive account of Blaxploitation cinema—the freewheeling, often shameless, and wildly influential genre—from a distinctive voice in film history and criticism

In 1971, two films grabbed the movie business, shook it up, and launched a genre that would help define the decade. Melvin Van Peebles’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, an independently produced film about a male sex worker who beats up cops and gets away, and Gordon Parks’s Shaft, a studio-financed film with a killer soundtrack, were huge hits, making millions of dollars. Sweetback upended cultural expectations by having its Black rebel win in the end, and Shaft saved MGM from bankruptcy. Not for the last time did Hollywood discover that Black people went to movies too. The Blaxploitation era was born.

Written by film critic Odie Henderson, Black Caesars and Foxy Cleopatras is a spirited history of a genre and the movies that he grew up watching, which he loves without irony (but with plenty of self-awareness and humor). Blaxploitation was a major trend, but it was never simple. The films mixed self-empowerment with exploitation, base stereotypes with essential representation that spoke to the lives and fantasies of Black viewers. The time is right for a reappraisal, understanding these films in the context of the time, and exploring their lasting influence.

Fight Me! by Austin Grossman

Alex used to be something special. A shape-shifting metahuman, he was part of mid-90s superhero team “The Newcomers” – alongside a princess, a cybernetically-enhanced female assassin and a helmet-clad genius. Together, they destroyed aeons-old supervillain, Sinistro, shattering the thing he most The Legacy.

Now though, with their crime-fighting days behind them, the mystery returns. Someone is stealing Legacy fragments. If restored it could spell the end of the world. The Newcomers are older, but not necessarily wiser. Lawsuits, lost fortunes and bad choices have come between them. Can they put their differences aside – for the sake of humanity itself?

The House Sparrow by T. Catherine Young

In 1986, at age fifteen, Melaine Rosso became the last surviving member of her family. Nine years later, she learned the truth. There was one more.

Intense, intimidating and gifted with a photographic memory, Melaine Rosso moves through life knowing there is one single hour missing from the rooms of memory that are carefully organized in her head. One hour that is locked tight and behind its door houses an unspeakable tragedy that she’s more than happy to not remember. An event that left her thinking she was alone in the world until an aging family friend with dementia let it slip…she wasn’t.

A nurse since the age of twenty, she plays everything by the book at work, keeping her patients alive and safe; outside of work is a different story. Impulsive with a skewed moral compass, she knows how people work and is quick to use it to her advantage, but this new addition to her life changes everything.

Confetti Snacks

A new line of veggie chips that ditch the deep fryer but deliver nutrients, crunch, color and flavor galore by up cycling “ugly vegetables.” These chips are minimally processed and never deep-fried, like other veggie chips and extruded “puff” style snacks. Because they are baked using a low heat method, the nutrients – and the beautiful colors of the carrots, radishes, purple sweet potatoes and mushrooms in the mix – remain vibrant. But it’s not just about delivering health dividends and looking good. Confetti Snacks are infused with authentic spices and flavors. Veggie chip flavors include Green Curry, Tandoori Curry, Teriyaki BBQ and Summer Truffle. Mushroom chip flavors include Green Curry, Tandoori Curry and Black Truffle.

I found the Teriyaki BBQ Veggie Chips and the Black Truffle Mushroom Chips to be particularly delicious.  Also amazing is the first selection of fruit chips, half-moon shaped crunchsters are made with one ingredient, mandarin oranges, yet they’re bursting with juicy flavor and vitamin C.  Perfect for healthy snacking.

The Most Human: Reconciling with My Father, Leonard Nimoy by Adam Nimoy

While the tabloids and fan publications portrayed the Nimoys as a “close family,” to his son Adam, Leonard Nimoy was a total stranger.

The actor was as inscrutable as the iconic half-Vulcan science officer he portrayed on Star Trek, even to those close to him.

Now, his son’s poignant memoir explores their complicated relationship and how it informed his views on marriage, parenting, and later, sobriety. Despite their differences, both men ventured down parallel paths: marriages leading to divorce, battling addiction, and finding recovery. Most notably, both men struggled to take the ninth step in their AA journey: to make amends with each other.

Discover how the son of Spock learned to navigate this tumultuous relationship—from Shabbat dinners to basement AA meetings—and how he was finally able to reconcile with his father—and with himself.

Nancy and Sluggo’s Guide to Life by Ernie Bushmiller, foreword by Denis Kitchen

The newspaper cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller once admitted that “all my characters are conceived in desperation.” Nancy was no exception. She was the niece of the star of his other strip, Fritzi Ritzi, and meant to serve as a throwaway gag character. But Nancy could not be contained: Within a few years, Bushmiller’s strip had been renamed for her, and she had begun her ascent into the pantheon of cartooning greats.

Nancy, along with on-and-off boyfriend Sluggo, delivered absurd laughs to readers for decades, all rendered in Bushmiller’s distinctive line that cartoonist Denis Kitchen once called “geometric perfection.” A masterpiece of humor and cartooning, Nancy earned both scorn and acclaim for decades, serving as a muse (and sometimes punching bag) for the likes of Andy Warhol, Joe Brainard, Gary Panter, Matt Groening, and more.

This collection of Bushmiller’s Nancy brings together a selection from the beloved Kitchen Sink Press editions of Nancy strips, including How Sluggo Survives! and Nancy Eats Food, as well as a number of newly selected cartoons.

Together, this wide-ranging collection offers a chance for readers to experience the full range of Bushmiller’s absurd humor and unexpected visual delights. As Nancy once said: “Anything can happen in a comic strip!”

The ReNew Transit Backpack

The ReNew 15″ Transit Backpack features a 15″ exterior laptop pocket for easy TSA access, catch-all zip pockets for passports and tickets, interior slip pockets for magazines and notebooks, two water bottle holders, a handy magnetic closure, and a pass-through strap that attaches to rolling luggage. Oh, and it’s made using 100% recycled polyester from recycled plastic bottles.*

*The zipper sliders and some of the pulls are metal, but other zipper pulls are recycled polyester. The only new plastic is for the zipper coil (teeth), which is not made from recycled material—yet.

Features:

  • Dimensions: 17.5” H x 12” L X 7.25” D
  • Maximum shoulder strap length: 36″
  • Minimum shoulder strap length: 18″
  • 27L capacity
  • Exterior 15″ laptop zip pocket
  • 2 zip-closure pockets
  • Luggage handle pass-through strap
  • 1 external water bottle pocket
  • 1 internal water bottle pocket
  • 2 internal slip pockets
The Legend of Mad Max by Ian Nathan

The Legend of Mad Max is the ultimate guide to the high octane post-apocalyptic film series, directed by visionary filmmaker George Miller.

This comprehensive history delves into the making of each film, exploring the unique vision and groundbreaking live action and special effects that have made Mad Max a cultural touchstone for over five decades. From the unforgettable characters and thrilling action sequences to the complex themes and deep mythology, this stunningly illustrated book provides an in-depth look at the world of the iconic road warrior from Mad Max to Furiosa.

Buckle up and get ready for a wild ride through The Wasteland as you discover the full story behind this classic film franchise.

With detailed production information, behind-the-scenes stories, and stunning photography, The Legend of Mad Max, is a must-read for fans of this celebrated series.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: A Visual Archive by Kelly Knox , Clayton Sandell, and S.T. Bende

Celebrate Return of the Jedi with this deluxe volume that presents incredible photography and concept art, complemented by anecdotes about the film’s production. Drawing connections from the film to contemporary Star Wars storytelling, this book also offers a fresh perspective on its indelible influence. Featuring a wealth of inserts such as booklets and foldout pages, this book is a fascinating tribute to the epic conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy.

Return of the Jedi didn’t just conclude the original Star Wars trilogy—its themes, structure, and emotional core paved the way for some of the most compelling elements of modern Star Wars storytelling. Filled with photography and concept art, this book celebrates all things Return of the Jedi, while also examining its ties to modern Star Wars stories such as The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, The Clone Wars, and beyond. Covering essential aspects of Return of the Jedi, this book further examines the film’s legacy by showcasing the movie’s merchandise, novels, comics, and spinoffs.

This deluxe coffee table book presents the story of Return of the Jedi in a fun and exciting format, with plenty of facts about the production of the film. From the enduring eccentricities of Jabba the Hutt’s palace, to the climactic showdown between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, this book explores fan-favorite moments from the beloved movie.  Also bound into the books
Gatefolds, booklets, and other interactive features add a new level of insight to this celebration of the iconic film. Going beyond the production of Return of the Jedi, this book explores forty years of merchandise, books, comics, and spinoffs, including Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, and the animated Ewoks television show.
Atlas of Imagined Places: From Lilliput To Gotham City by Matt Brown and Rhys B. Davies

From Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot to the superhero land of Wakanda, from Lilliput of Gulliver’s Travels to Springfield in The Simpsons, this is a wondrous atlas of imagined places around the world. Locations from film, tv, literature, myths, comics and video games are plotted in a series of beautiful vintage-looking maps.

The maps feature fictional buildings, towns, cities and countries plus mountains and rivers, oceans and seas. Ever wondered where the Bates Motel was based? Or Bedford Falls in It’s a Wonderful Life? The authors have taken years to research the likely geography of thousands of popular culture locations that have become almost real to us. Sometimes these are easy to work out, but other times a bit of detective work is needed and the authors have been those detectives. By looking at the maps, you’ll find that the revolution at Animal Farm happened next to Winnie the Pooh’s home.

Each location has an extended index entry plus coordinates so you can find it on the maps. Illuminating essays accompanying the maps give a great insight into the stories behind the imaginary places, from Harry Potter’s wizardry to Stone Age Bedrock in the Flintstones.

A stunning map collection of invented geography and topography drawn from the world’s imagination. Fascinating and beautiful, this is an essential book for any popular culture fan and map enthusiast.

The Blues Brothers: An Epic Friendship, the Rise of Improv, and the Making of an American Film Classic by Daniel de Visé

The story of the epic friendship between John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, the golden era of improv, and the making of a comedic film classic that helped shape our popular culture

“They’re not going to catch us,” Dan Aykroyd, as Elwood Blues, tells his brother Jake, played by John Belushi. “We’re on a mission from God.” So opens the musical action comedy The Blues Brothers, which hit theaters on June 20, 1980. Their scripted mission was to save a local Chicago orphanage. But Aykroyd, who conceived and wrote much of the film, had a greater mission: to honor the then-seemingly forgotten tradition of rhythm and blues, some of whose greatest artists—Aretha Franklin, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles—made the film as unforgettable as its wild car chases. Much delayed and vastly over budget, beset by mercurial and oft drugged-out stars, The Blues Brothers opened to outraged reviews. However, in the 44 years since, it has been acknowledged a classic: it has been inducted into the National Film Registry for its cultural significance, even declared a “Catholic classic” by the Church itself, and re-aired thousands of times on television to huge worldwide audiences. It is, undeniably, one of the most significant films of the twentieth century.

The story behind any classic is rich; the saga behind The Blues Brothers, as Daniel de Visé reveals, is epic, encompassing the colorful childhoods of Belushi and Aykroyd; the comedic revolution sparked by Harvard’s Lampoon and Chicago’s Second City; the birth and anecdote-rich, drug-filled early years of Saturday Night Live, where the Blues Brothers were born as an act amidst turmoil and rivalry; and, of course, the indelible behind-the-scenes narrative of how the film was made, scene by memorable scene. Based on original research and dozens of interviews probing the memories of principals from director John Landis and producer Bob Weiss to Aykroyd himself, The Blues Brothers illuminates an American masterpiece while vividly portraying the creative geniuses behind modern comedy.

Atlas of Imagined Cities: From Central Perk to Kanto by Matt Brown and Rhys B. Davies

Did you know that James Bond and George Smiley were practically neighbors, or that girls-about-town Holly Golightly, Annie Hall, and Carrie Bradshaw all lived a couple of blocks from one another?

Fourteen of the most stunning city maps show exactly where your characters lived, loved, worked, and played. Find out where to enjoy a coffee from Central Perk (Friends), a butterbeer in the Leaky Cauldron (Harry Potter), or a revolutionary tipple in the Defarge Wine Shop (A Tale of Two Cities). Navigate round London’s fictional tube network, from Walford East (EastEnders) to Hobbs End (Quatermass). Or fly between cities on one of a dozen fictional airlines (mapped to their home airports). Characters’ homes, bars, clubs, metro stations, and skyscrapers that you’ve seen or read about are all plotted in beautiful vintage-style city maps.

The maps draw from the movies, TV, novels, video games, and more, all painstakingly tracked down, mapped, annotated, and wittily divulged by the authors. Let them show you how to get to Sesame Street, and thousands of other places, in this indispensable guidebook to all those places you always wanted to visit…if only they were real.

 

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