In His Majesty's Service by Naomi Novik. Pretty much the perfect way for your friend who loves fantasy to discover this alternate history with dragons, all in one go. The first three Temeraire novels, starting with His Majesty's Dragon, are collected, allowing you to get up to speed and then go find the other volumes on your own. It's a nice-looking package but also a good way to get up to speed on the golden age of naval warfare — with dragons!
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies: The Deluxe Heirloom Edition by Seth Grahame-Smith. Got a friend who missed out on the "literary mashup" trend? Or who just really really loves the idea of Austen and zombies mingling? This deluxe expanded edition is the one to get: it's a nice four-color hardcover, which will endure for generations, it has even more zombie action, and most of all, it has full-color illustrations, like this fantastic head-kicking karate action pose.
The Last Colony by John Scalzi. Subterranean Press has put out a beautiful hardcover of the third volume of the Old Man's War trilogy, with great illustrations by Vincent Chong and a terrific new cover. There's a regular hardcover for $60 or a deluxe limited edition for $250.
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Just 4,000 copies of this fancy hardcover of Niffenegger's supernatural followup to The Time Travelers Wife, featuring a special painting by Niffenegger, were printed. They also include "special design elements," and considering that Niffenegger has taught book-making and woodcut art for years, it's probably pretty gorgeous. I'm not sure if all of the copies are signed, but some of them are. It does go for around $75 though.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. This limited deluxe edition is a slipcased hardcover, including a signed copy of the book with fancy endpapers showing San Francisco's Mission District redrawn as a circuit diagram, and eight pieces of Creative Commons-licensed art by Richard Wilkinson. Pretty much the perfect gift for the rebellious teen hacker or Doctorow fanatic in your life. It's not available in the U.S. or Canada, but the UK online bookstore The Book Depository will ship for free to the U.S., so it's OK.
The Rookie by Scott Sigler. The first book in the Infected author's "Galactic Football League" series, this follows Quentin Barnes, a 19-year-old quarterback prodigy who joins a league 700 years from now, where humans and aliens alike play ball. Sigler's offering a signed, limited-edition hardcover, out of a print run of just 3,000 copies. Sigler will personalize your copy if you ask nicely, making the book even more of a collectible.
Crimson Shadows: The Best Of Robert E. Howard Vol. 1. Subterranean Press has been putting out some lovely editions of Howard, and this one is available in a deluxe edition (with a slipcover) and a regular hardcover. This collection, with illustrations by Jim and Ruth Keegan, covers all of the varied genres Howard tackled, including fantasy, science fiction, mystery and "spicy."
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Given how nice the regular hardcover of this book is, with the endpapers showing a map of the alternate-history First World War between Darwinists and Clankers, and the pretty fantastic illustrations by Keith Thompson, this pretty much counts as a deluxe edition. Meet Alek, the possible heir to the throne of Austria, and Deryn, a girl who's determined to disguise herself as a boy and join the crew of a genetically engineered flying creature, the Leviathan.
A Working Writer's Daily Planner. Okay, so it's not a novel, but I wasn't sure where else to put this. Small Beer Press, Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link's publishing company, has put together an absolutely gorgeous-looking book full of helpful info for would-be fiction writers. There's advice on MFA programs and how to workshop your fiction, but also every week has deadlines, contests, residencies you should be applying for, and more. There's a submissions tracker to keep track of where you've sent your work, and much more. And this is a good place to mention that Small Beer Press is having a sale of all their books, with the proceeds going to Franciscan Children's Hospital. Hopefully we'll do a roundup of holiday gifts that benefit worthy causes, but in case we don't, I wanted to mention that here.