Here's this year's complete Boing Boing Gift Guide: dozens of great ideas for stocking stuffers, brain-hammers, mind-expanders, terrible toys, badass books and more. Where available, we use Amazon Affiliate links to help keep the world's greatest neurozine online.
Edu-Toys Night 'n Day Mechanical GlobeElenco's Night 'n Day Mechanical Globe uses a system of translucent, exposed gears to rotate an internally illuminated globe that displays the seasonally adjusted, real-time night/day terminator as it spins. [Read More]
iPhone 8 PlusNow on its eighth numbered generation, the iPhone remains my entire creative studio and almost everything I need to do my work: it replaces my fancy camera, my audio gear and everything else I had to lug around. This thing really is everything. I go big on screen size and storage capacity, with that in mind: the Plus, and 128 GB.
Audio Technica AT-LP60Forget those vinyl-destroying, vintage-inspired all-in-one units. They're all crap. The Audio Technica AT-LP60 is a fantastic beginner (or revivalist) turntable for the price. Its built-in pre-amp means all you need to do is plug it any powered speakers with an audio input.You won't find a better turntable than this for under $100 unless you hit the second-hand market.
Flitt Flying Pocket Selfie Camera Drone ($100)I honestly didn't expect that this tiny fold-up drone would perform as well as it does. It does a great job of hovering in place, and is easy to control with a smart phone. It's the first drone I can fly without crashing it into a wall or getting it stuck in a tree.
Kano Computer KitBuild your own computer and learn to code art, music, apps, games and more with the Kano Computer Kit, an introduction to the bare metal you just won't get with crap-laden commercial machines. Hundreds of schools use them, and Includes everything you need, including the Pi that acts as its brain, case, speaker, wireless keyboard, RAM, and cables. And unlike most edumuacational computer gear, it looks absolutely cool as heck.
An airbag for your motorcyclistDo you love your motorcyclist? This simple, tether activated airbag inflates less than .10 of a second after a rider becomes separated from their bike. Helping to secure the neck, and protect the torso and internal organs, the Helite Turtle, is a top choice for next-generation motorcycle safety.
Kindle E-reader loaded with free classicsFor $50, the entry-level Kindle E-reader is priced right, and comes in black or white! This model has a 6” display and the battery lasts for ages between charges. (If you want to get fancy, go for the Kindle Paperwhite with a built-in reading light so you don't bug bedmates.) Load it with free classic books from Project Gutenberg before gifting!
Igloohome Deadbolt2 ($238)The Igloohome Deadbolt2 has a programmable keypad instead of a keyhole. It took me about 20 minutes to install on my door. You can send your friends or other people single-use PINs. The smartphone app can also be set so the door unlocks when you touch the keypad - no PIN needed.
Mixcder Wireless & Wired Over Ear Headphones ($80)I bought these relatively inexpensive headphones for my daughter, who wanted wireless headphones for when she paints and sculpts. These are comfortable, have good sound quality, and pair easily with an iPhone.
PacSafe Transit Travel Hoodie ($130)The thing I like about this pocket-covered hoodie is that the interior pockets have little line drawings indicating what you should put in them - pen, eyeglasses, tablet computer, phone, passport, earbuds, wallet, etc. I like having a garment that tells me what to do, it keeps life simple while traveling.
Elf ear earbudsOnce hard to find, these low-end but unique earbuds are now at Amazon. For elves who can't quit their record collection even for a moment, they're still, sadly, only available in lily white. But cheap, at just $13.
Raspberry Pi 3 Model BThe best $35 you can spend on a wee yet straightforward and accessible barebones computer, Raspberry's Pi is now in its third generation and lives atop a vast and growing ecosystem of accessories, cases and general craziness to have fun with. The latest flagchip model has a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU with twice the Pi 2's performance, integrated WiFi and Bluetooth, and backward compatibility with earlier models.
Black & Decker CHV1410L 16-volt Lithium Cordless Dust Buster Hand VacStill the best selling hand vac for keeping your office, home, workshop or hackerspace tidy. CHV1410L has strong suction, and a bagless dirt bowl that's easy to see and empty. Holds a charge for up to 18 months when it's off the charger. High efficiency Lithium ion chargers protect it by automatically shutting off when the battery is charged, so you can store it on the charger.
ArduboyBeautiful 1-bit graphics in your wallet! Arduboy is an open-source platform to create and share games and the hardware is made to the dimensions of a business card. Best of all, this tiny toy is only $50. Want more? The PocketChip, at $70, plays Pico-8 games with a dazzling 16 colors; the dev community is more mature and there are countless games already.
Second-gen Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch With the lastest 12.9" model I've changed my mind about Apple's biggest iPad. Its unmatched pencil latency and powerful processor leave Microsoft (and even Wacom) trailing, while markedly improved third-party applications make Photoshop less critical, at least for me. Finally.
The EC Artists Library Slipcase (Vol 3 $54)This high quality box set of four hardbound books has 904 pages of the very best comics of the 1950s. Volume one of this series is out of print and sells for over $250. Volume three is just $54. With art by greats like Wally Wood, Joe Orlando, John Severin, and George Evans, this set is a must-have for comic book aficionados.
Canadaland Guide to Canada (Published in America), by Jesse Brown and friendsBrown finds plenty of hilarious awfulness in Canada's past and present, especially in the way that Canadians talk about themselves when they expect Americans might be listening to them. From Justin Trudeau (who talks about refugees abandoned by Trump but takes no action to improve their lot, because he's too busy taking away the citizenship rights of naturalised Canadians with objectionable politics, greenlighting climate-destroying pipelines for the Tar Sands, and making the most of the sweeping surveillance powers he promised he'd abolish after taking office) to Rob Ford to Quebec separatism and the long, deplorable traditions of drunken, racist Canadian leaders who are remembered as wise, even-handed leaders, Brown punctures ever bubble that Canadians have ever blown over the border toward our American cousins. [Read more]
Briggs Land Volume 1: State of Grace, by Brian WoodStories matter: the recurring narrative of radical Islamic terror in America (a statistical outlier) makes it nearly impossible to avoid equating "terrorist" with "jihadi suicide bomber" -- but the real domestic terror threat is white people, the Dominionists, ethno-nationalists, white separatists, white supremacists and sovereign citizens who target (or infiltrate) cops and blow up buildings. That's what makes Brian Wood's first Briggs Land collection so timely: a gripping story of far-right terror that is empathic but never sympathetic. [Read More]
Kindred (Graphic Novel), adapted from the novel by Octavia ButlerKindred is the story of Dana, an African-American writer married to a white man in 1976, who finds herself being violently yanked through time and space to the side of her distant ancestor, Rufus, the son of an enslaver who lives on a plantation in antebellum Delaware. Rufus -- a self-destructive, traumatized and spoiled child -- periodically puts himself in mortal danger, and when he does, Dana is torn from 1976 to save him, and is stranded in the violent, totalitarian south until she experiences mortal terror, whereupon she returns to her present, only moments after she left. Luckily for Dana, mortal terror is a commonplace occurance for black people in Delaware in the 19th century. [Read More]
The Magic Machine: A Handbook of Computer Sorcery ($4)This 1990 BASIC programming book is long out-of-print, but is still valid and a great way to explore fractals and artificial life. I loved this book when it came out and just bought a replacement for my lost copy. Use copies are cheap on Amazon. Get it for a smart kid in your life.
Voyager Golden Record In 1977, NASA launched two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of interstellar space. Attached to each ofthese probes is a beautiful golden phonograph record containing the story of our planet expressed in music, sounds, images, and science. It’s a message for any extraterrestrial intelligence that might encounter it. And now you can experience on Earth as a lavish 3xLP Box Set or 2xCD-Book edition.
The Photographs Of Charles Duvelle - Disques OCORA And Collection PROPHETDecades before the term "world music" became common parlance, Charles Duvelle was traveling the globe recording the sounds and sights of indigenous people around the world. To enable us see the world through Duvelle's eyes, Sublime Frequencies' Hisham Mayet in collaboration with Duvelle released this magnificent tome contains field photographs from 1959-1978, a deep interview, a report he prepared for Unesco in 1978, and two CDs of music that will move you.
Art Sex Music by Cosey Fanni TuttiThe stunning memoir of musician, artist, and cultural provocateur Cosey Fanni Tutti is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of avant-garde music, performance art, underground culture, radical living, and female empowerment. Best known as co-founder of pioneering industrial groups Coum Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle (famously called “wreckers of civilisation” by a British MP), Cosey has also explored the fringes of sex, music, and creativity as a pornographic model, video artist, electronic composer, and, yes, writer. This is her story so far and it’s a doozy.
Little Book of Wonders: Celebrating the Gifts of the Natural World by Nadia DrakeNational Geographic contributor Nadia Drake’s science writing sings with knowledge, rigor, and her own infectious curiosity. This slim and delightful book is no exception. A lovely miniature wunderkammer of Earth’s magical places, startling phenomena, and amazing wildlife, it pairs beautiful photos with Nadia’s poetic and informative captions that spark the imagination and instill a sense of wonder about our world.
Dalí: The Wines of GalaFirst published in 1978, Salvador Dalí’s The Wines of Gala is a stunning and strange guide that groups wines “according to the sensations they create in our very depths” such as “Wines of Frivolity,” “Wines of the Impossible,” and “Wines of Light.” Featuring more than 140 of Dalí’s surrealist illustrations, this is the most bizarre, sensual, and sensational book about viticulture and libations that you’ll ever experience.
THEFT: A History of Music, by James Boyle and Jennifer JenkinsTheft traces millennia of musical history, from Plato's injunction against mixing musical styles to the outrage provoked by the troubadours who appropriated sacred music and turned it into bawdy songs about wanting to have sex with hot teenagers (a trick Ray Charles repeated hundreds of years later!); from the racist outrage over rock and roll's challenge to white supremacy to the fights over sampling and the exploitation of African-American musicians who were ripped off 40 years ago versus the interests of their musical progeny whose sample-based music has been distorted and even outlawed by the same musical corporations that screwed the R&B artists, in the name of defending those artists (!). [Read More]
The Free, by Lauren McLaughlinIsaac West is a mixed-race kid who never knew his dad; he and his sister have raised their alcoholic, abusive mother as much as she's raised them. But Isaac has a plan: his little sister Janelle is smart, better than he'll ever be, and he's going to get her out of their mutual hellhole and into a private school -- and to make that happen, he's graduated from petty theft into grand theft auto, under the supervision of his high-school auto-shop teacher, a cut-rate Fagin who trains and oversees a gang of junior car thieves. [Read More]
The Complete Elfquest Vol. 4Fresh out in November, this volume contains some of the most exquisite and touching episodes of Wendy and Richard Pini's Elfquest saga, a great alternative to genre fantasy and its grim 'n' gritty modern counterparts. One of America's best indie comics, it's illustrated by Wendy's wonderful artwork – even at its most lighthearted, unanswerable questions of identity, family and freedom lurk between the lines. (Newcomers should not feel they have to start at the beginning, but it sure helps. And you don't have to be a fan to appreciate Line of Beauty, a deep-dive biography of Wendy penned by Richard himself)
The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware, by Andrew "bunnie" HuangThe book draws heavily on Huang's own hardware projects, which have included substantial manufacturing in south China, with many hard-won lessons about how things can go wrong and how to make them go right. This is more than a checklist or memoir: it's nothing less than a masterclass in modern manufacturing, and even if you never plan on manufacturing anything, reading these chapters will explain the material world around you like few other texts. [Read More]
New York 2140, by Kim Stanley RobinsonIt's 2140 and trillions of dollars' worth of the world's most valuable real estate is now submerged under fifty feet of water, resulting from two great "surges" where runaway polar melting created sudden, punctuated disasters that displaced billions of people, wiped trillions off the world's balance sheets, and turned the great cities of the world into drowned squatter camps. [Read More]
WAKE UP!, by Rick Lieder and Helen FrostLife is a continuing cycle of newness, then growth, and then gone: then birth and growth again. Photographer Rick Lieder started thinking about that theme of new life and new beginnings several years ago, and WAKE UP!, published by Candlewick Press, is the result. Working with his collaborator, poet Helen Frost, our book is about opening eyes—our own, first—and pointing to the world that’s right here, containing us all. Helen and rick are both based in the US Midwest, so we started there, with a world that we didn’t need to travel far to explore, only wake up enough to actually see. [Read More]
Penguin Galaxy Boxed Set, introduced by Neil GaimanLast October, Penguin released its Galaxy boxed set, a $133 set of six hardcover reprints of some of science fiction's most canonical titles: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin; Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein; 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke; Dune by Frank Herbert; The Once and Future King by TH White; and Neuromancer, by William Gibson. [Read More]
Brutal London: Construct Your Own Concrete CapitalBrutal London: Construct Your Own Concrete Capital tells the stories of nine of London's greatest brutalist structures (with an intro by Norman Foster!), including the Barbican Estate, Robin Hood Gardens, Balfron Tower and the National Theatre -- and includes pull-out papercraft models of these buildings for you to assemble and display. [Read More]
SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL v.1: Earth Girl Made Easy, by Cecil CastellucciLoma Shade, as her own unique character, was a way of being steeped in the world of Shade the Changing Man, while being its own thing. Some people say that Shade the Changing Girl seems to be a direct sequel of the Milligan run. I say not so. I’ve always approached it as a kind of side-quel. Creator Cecil Castellucci wanted to take care to have nods and echoes to them both, but to be able to stand narratively on its own. It was a way of striking out in a new direction while plucking elements from the Ditko original and the Milligan run. [Read More]
Paper Girls 1, 2 and 3, by Brian K Vaughanhttps://boingboing.net/2016/12/14/brian-k-vaughan-and-cliff-chan.html https://Paper Girls stars an all-girl cast of newspaper delivery kids for a fictional Cleveland newspaper, circa 1988 -- they are instantly and wholeheartedly likable, like the Goonies or the cast of Stranger Things. They convene on November 1, when the mean teenagers of Cleveland are still out an about and making mischief, picking on the likes of them, and they band together in mutual self-defense. (Don't forget books Two and Three) [Read More]
Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults, by Laurie PennyIf you've followed Penny's work, you'll know that the thing that sets her apart from other enraged columnists is her empathy: her ability to understand the self-serving rationalizations, radioactive bullshit, and emotional damage that drives men to threaten her with rape and murder for pointing out that things aren't exactly fair. [Read More]
Walkaway"Walkaway is what science fiction can look like under modern cultural conditions. It’s ‘‘relevant,’’ it’s full of tremulous urgency, it’s Occupy gone exponential. It’s a novel of polarized culture-war in which all the combatants fast-talk past each other while occasionally getting slaughtered by drones. It makes Ed Snowden look like the first robin in spring." - Bruce Sterling
Lizard Music, by Daniel PinkwaterLizard Music is a novel about Victor, a kid who falls asleep while doing a model airplane and wakes up when the local TV station is going off the air, who discovers that the true late-night programming comes from humanoid lizards who live in a secret nearby volcano and worship Walter Cronkite. [Read More]
Landscape With Invisible Hand, by MT AndersonIn 2002, MT Anderson blew up the YA dystopia world with Feed, his zeitgeisty, prescient novel about "identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains" -- in his latest, Landscape with Invisible Hand, Anderson takes us to a world where neoliberal aliens have sold Earth's plutocrats the technologies to make work obsolete and with it, nearly human being on earth. [Read More]
Stories of Your Life and OthersTed Chiang's writing is rare and precise, weaving threads of science fiction into something so haunting and humane I've woken up dreaming about it more than once. Here you can read most of his published work, including the novella that was recently filmed as Arrival and is currently in U.S. theaters. But my favorites are the Borgesian "Tower of Babel," about an engineer breaking through the vault of heaven, and "Division by Zero."
The Power, by Naomi AldermanIn The Power, a day dawns, not so long from now, in which every 15-year-old girl finds herself with the power to deal out electric shocks, emanating from an unsuspected organ called "the skein," which rests along the collarbone. What's more, any woman can do the trick, once a 15 year old shows them how. Chaos. Glorious chaos. [Read More]
Archangel, by William GibsonFrom the start of its run in 2016, Archangel went from strength to strength, packing in so many goddamned O.G. cyberpunk eyeball kicks per page that it felt like some kind of cask-strength distillation of all the visual and action elements that gave the original mirrorshades stuff its dark glitter. [Read More]
Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches, by John HodgmanMy first impression of Vacationland was that I'd found a modern version of Steve Martin's classic Cruel Shoes. Hodgman is so very witty, and as he sets up his memoir -- the story of how he was a weird kid raised by loving but largely unconcerned parents -- he has so many tinder-dry asides and beautifully turned sentences and jokes with long fuses that unexpectedly detonate paragraphs later that I was really getting ready to relive my own childhood. [Read More]
Under The Weather SportsPodAs seen on Shark Tank, the Under The Weather SportsPod is a single-person pop-up shelter to sit inside that my big brother Rick came up with a while back. (He was sick of getting soaked at his kids' soccer games and was inspired by a portable toilet he saw by the field.) Under The Weather is designed for spectator sports, fishing, and other outdoor events where it's raining, windy, or cold, but you are either obligated to watch or having so much fun you don't want to leave.
Sport-Brella XLPortable wind, sun, and rain shelter that's easy to set up. Can you open an umbrella? Can you drive a couple stakes into the ground? You got this, then. Haul it to the beach, outdoor gatherings or events, camping, sports, and you feel like you have a little private room outdoors. Comes in 6 different colors. Provides UPF 50+ shade. Opens to 9 feet wide, has a metallic undercoating for additional sun protection, internal pockets for stakes, valuables, and gear, plus top wind vents and side zippered windows for efficient airflow. Water resistant, weighs only 11.5 pounds. I first saw someone else on our local beach use it, and asked them where they bought it. Amazonned one for myself. Now I use it nearly every weekend, and love it.
OXO Good Grips Solid Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop ($15)The old ice cream scoop we had wasn't really an ice cream scoop. It was a disher, and was more suited for scooping mashed potatoes than ice cream. When the trigger mechanism on it finally broke, I happily got rid of it and replaced it with the OXO Good Grips Solid Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop($15). This surprisingly heavy scoop is made from a solid chunk of stainless steel with a comfortable rubber grip, and comes with a pointed end that digs right into hard ice cream, especially if you run hot water over it. It's supposedly dishwasher safe but why put it in the dishwasher? Just rinse it and dry it with a towel.
Brondell SourceI bought the Brondell Source in 2015 and it alleviated allergy symptoms; here's the latest model, adding a touchscreen, remote control and an adjustable air quality sensor. Rids the air of dust and dander and tiny particles you don’t need to be breathing—but also filters volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Three-stage advanced purifier system includes certified True HEPA and Granulated Carbon technology. Glowing light indicator tells you when it’s working. One time my dog farted a particularly noxious plume and this thing kicked into high gear with an emergency red glow. That’s when I knew I’d be giving it a five star recommendation.
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food ProcessorThe latest model of the best food processor for people who are serious about broadening their happy foodie horizons. Shove entire fruits and veggies into the giant feed tube. Listen to the 720-watt motor fill a 14-cup work bowl with steel slicing and shredding discs. It still comes with a free recipe book.
Rainbow SlimeA glittery additive mixed with kid-safe Elmer's glue, Rainbow Slime is what you make of it. Fun when forming and flexible when dry, the results are beautiful, weird and extremely cheap at $6 or so.
The Intellivision Flashback ConsoleRemember the unlucky kid with the parents who got them an "Intellivision" instead of an Atari? Make someone that miserable again! With games no one can remember except maybe that OK one with a snake that couldn't touch its tail but isn't SNAFU, the Intellivision really sucked.
Ejector Seat Button For Your CarA perfect stocking stuffer, this very clever eject button fits into most automobile cigarette lighter sockets. Unfortunately, the product listing clearly states that it's "designed for show only." It is a functional cigarette lighter though so I guess they mean it won't actually trigger your ejector seat.
Swish card gameA beautiful and deeply compelling card game, Swish is challenges your spatial perception to find matches of balls and hoops on transparent cards. It’s a wordless game of pattern recognition that has entranced my entire family including our youngest child, age 8.
Palomino Blackwing 602 Pencils ($23/doz.)This is a faithful reproduction of the Eberhard Faber original, which is no longer being made. Blackwing 602 have dark, soft lead (the motto printed on the pencil reads"Half the pressure, twice the speed") and features a unique eraser holder. I've been using them for years.
Make your own Crazy Aaron's Thinking PuttyThe one thing my 10-year-old enjoys more than making her own floam or slime is playing with Thinking Putty. Textured quite like the legendary Silly Putty of yore, Crazy Aaron's putties come in a rainbow of colors and styles. This set lets you design your own! I am pretty sure Mark could be easily distracted by a can of magnetic Thinking Putty.
Copic Ciao Marker SetAt about $200, a full set of 72 Copic markers is a pricey proposition. But that's because they're the absolute best, with perfect colors, easy blending, and a big brush tip good for detail and wash alike. Dip an elbow in the water with a relatively inexpensive 12-marker set; great deals on partially-used sets can also be found haunting eBay.
Star Wars Viewmaster gift setI am not sure how the whole putting gifts in a sock thing works, but this Darth Vader themed Viewmaster Viewer looks like it'd fit in a traditional Christ inspired gifting sock. Star Wars Viewmaster reels are always pretty sweet. This also makes a good Hanukkah day 4-7 gift for kids who can pull off the entire 8-day challenge. My kid starts getting a hug after day 3.
You sank my holiday experience!While it doesn't look much like the genre-defining 'This game isn't as much fun as a commercial made it look' toy of our youth, Electronic Battleship is now more exciting looking while boastin' the same old lows in game-play disappointment! Eeeeelectronic Battleship is no more fun than regular old Battleship, which is also a pretty god damn boring game. This is an excellent gift for someone you do not like, but want to appear you gave a cool gift at opening time.
MastermindInvented in 1970 by an Israeli telecom expert, Mastermind is still the terrific game of strategy, logic, and deduction that you might remember from childhood. True, the packaging lacks the Bond-inspired photo of the dignified man and woman that appeared on the original box, but the game is just as elegant and addictive.
Wink Plus ($79)In William Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch, Steely Dan III from Yokohama was the name of a stainless steel sex toy. The USB-chargeable Wink Plus vibrator from Crave is probably not what Old Bill Lee had in mind, because it is quite small, but it is made from stainless steel, and packs quite a vibrational wallop, with five intensity levels and two patterns.
Spend your holiday season TwistedThe Twisty Glass Blunt is a brain-hammer. Fill the glass chamber with your favorite herb, screw in the brass mouthpiece, and you are prepared to smoke a lot of weed. Perfect for a day at the beach, or an outdoor music festival, the Twisty Glass Blunt is an absolute favorite. I've got the mini as well.
Poop emoji Santa HatWar on Christmas? Christmas seems to be integrating into todays meme-filled emoticon world. Now your Santa can proudly display his favorite emoji, or perhaps this is mean to signify something else.