The movies and books we'd give as gifts
For the voracious reader on your list, Wanderers is a must-have. Tipping the scales at 800 pages, this apocalyptic end-of-the-world tale dives into a world bewitched with a mysterious malady that turns its victims into sleepwalkers. Difficult to harm and dangerous to touch, these sleepwalkers do not speak or wake; they just walk toward a singular destination known only to them. Their family and friends serve as shepherds defending these "flocks" as they shamble forward, which quickly becomes a deadly proposition when an ultra-violent militia starts targeting the sleepwalkers. Teenaged Shana is one such shepherd. Her quest to save her sister hinges on solving the mystery of the sleepwalker sickness, but the secret behind the epidemic could very well tear an already fractured nation far beyond its breaking point. -- A.T.
The Expanse and The Boys have both been breakout hits for Amazon Prime this year. The Expanse follows a ragtag team of antihero spacefarers as they defend the solar system from alien threats and human conspiracies. If there's a fan of the show on your holiday shopping list, they're going to flip if you get them this eight-story set of Hugo Award-winning novels by James S. A. Corey, ahead of the ninth and final book's release in 2020. Conversely, if the sci-fi fan on your list is big on antiheroes but not so much space adventures, introduce them to The Boys. This four-volume graphic novel series tells of a world dominated by corrupt superhuman "heroes" and the corporate powers that control them. The only ones willing and able to stand up in this dystopia are a motley team of special operatives, assassins and one poor schmuck in way over his head. This story is a must-read, but be warned: Things get real bloody, real quick. -- A.T.
There are few things as fun as sitting down to watch a cute family movie that's as entertaining for adults as it is for kids. And there's something for everyone in Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, now available on 4K Blu-ray. For grown-ups, it's a pretty serious film noir about a boy looking for his lost father. For kids, his sidekick is a bright yellow mouse that shoots electricity out of its rear. The story is interesting enough, but you're really there to be swept away by the charm of Ryan Reynolds. Since you can't play Deadpool in the family room, this will have to do as the next best thing. Plus, there are enough knowing winks and gags to keep everyone entertained between action set pieces. The fact that it's based on a spin-off is a bonus, since showing how Pokémon battles would play out in the real world might look like animal cruelty. -- Daniel Cooper, Senior Editor