9 Great Gift Ideas for the Modern Geek

  • 01 of 10

    Gifts for Geeks, Science Majors & Sci-Fi Fans

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    The term "geek" may have been considered uncool in the 20th century, in the decades before laptops and smartphones. In a world where everyone totes an Android or iPhone, and the BBC's Doctor Who has become a cult favorite, geek has become an endearing, even admiring description.

    What Gifts do Today's Geeks Want?

    Pencil protectors? Slide rules? Oh heck, no. In the age of smartphones, iPads and entire TV channels devoted to sci-fi, geeks are the epitome of cool. In fact, at the rate we're going,...MORE even bow ties are destined to become cool, too.

    You may find that this "gifts for geeks" list works equally well for your hipster sweetheart and your college kids. Who knows, it may work for you as well!

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  • 02 of 10

    Geek Gifts: Rock Star Scientist Posters

    This steampunk-inspired poster, designed by Florida graphic artist Megan Lee Welch, gives physicist Niels Bohr the rock star treatment.
    Image courtesy of Megan Lee Welch

    Scientists and engineers tend to decorate their dorm rooms with movie posters and their offices with white boards. A little boring, no?

    You can add considerable style to their living quarters (or cubicle) with these incredibly cool, steam punk-inspired posters that celebrate the rock stars of the science world.

    Celebrate Danish physicist Niels Bohr and his model of the atom. Tout Nikola Tesla and his contributions to alternating electric current and ultimately radar, robotics and computer science.

    G...MOREive a nod to radioactivity rock star Marie Curie, who earned Nobel prizes in both chemistry and physics. Or pick one of the other famous scientists in Megan Lee Welch's Etsy portfolio.

    The Details

    • Name: Rock Star Scientist Posters, made by Welch, a Florida graphic designer with a penchant for science, math and all things lovably geeky. Her design line includes cards, posters, T-shirts and hoodies that celebrate scientists, astronomy and, yes, Doctor Who and the Daleks too.
    • Specs: The posters come in seven sizes, ranging from postcard to 24x36 inches.
    • Find it: Welch's Etsy store
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  • 03 of 10

    Geek Gifts: Doctor Who

    Doctor Who Season Six
    Courtesy BBC Worldwide

    Forget Star Trek. , the 33-year-old BBC series that involves a mysterious time lord, his blue, time-traveling police box and adventures that span millennia and galaxies, has hit the big time.

    When stars Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) and Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) landed at Comic-Con during the summer of 2012, fans went crazy. The Doctor Who craze has not stopped!

    Your Doctor Who geek can catch up on all of the adventures from any of the previous episodes and series in their...MORE preferred movie-watching format.

    The Details

    • Name: "Doctor Who" TV series
    • Specs: Available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and download from BBC Worldwide.
    • Find it: At local bookstores and online. 
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  • 04 of 10

    Geek Gifts: Tardis Toys

    Doctor Who Tardis Water Bottle
    Courtesy ThinkGeek

    It is a rare college kid who doesn't own multiple water bottles. There is something about heading off to school that makes them simply proliferate. But a Tardis water bottle? Now that's cool!

    This Doctor Who-inspired, stainless steel water bottle will keep sci-fi fans hydrated in any timeline or parallel universe. It's TARDIS blue, of course, and officially sanctioned.

    There are Tardis travel mugs too. Also, Tardis cookie jars, Tardis beach blankets, Dalek key fobs and alarm clocks, Van Gogh-style...MORE exploding Tardis posters and sonic screwdrivers in varying sizes.

    The Details

    • Name: Tardis water bottle, officially licensed Doctor Who collectible.
    • Specs: Holds 25 ounces. Blue stainless steel, with a carabiner so it can be snapped onto a backpack strap or belt.
    • Find it: Available at ThinkGeek.com
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  • 05 of 10

    Geek Gifts: Year Zero by Rob Reid

    Year Zero
    Courtesy of Del Rey Publishing

    There is no doubt about geek trendiness. Suddenly sci-fi is hot and this hilarious, quirky, sci-fi-meets-Metallica novel by Rob Reid may end up as  for a new generation.

    In this book by the founder of Rhapsody (the music-streaming site), a mild-mannered attorney, Nick Carter, is singled out to save the planet from music-downloading, copyright-infringing extra-terrestrials who believe the only way out of their massive copyright debt is to erase us. Carter is recruited to the cause by a pair of...MORE well-intentioned aliens who mistake him for one of the Backstreet Boys. He gets that a lot.

    Reid has a firm grasp on both lawyerly lingo and pop culture absurdity. The names the aliens give to the elements on their periodic table will make you laugh out loud. He also skewers modern foodie culture, reality TV and scores of other pop trends along the way.

    This a great pick for any iTunes-loving 20-something who enjoys a few aliens with his hilarity. It is a great pick for any mom or dad who fits that description, too.

    The Details

    • Name: Year Zero by Rob Reid (Del Rey, 2012)
    • Specs: Available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle and in audio, narrated by John Hodgman (who does a great job).
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  • 06 of 10

    Geek Gifts: The Pandemic Board Game

    Photo by Jackie Burrell

    Even the most high-tech 20-something enjoys a little low-tech fun every now and then, especially when it comes in the form of Pandemic, a highly addictive, intense, adrenaline-fueled board game. 

    In a nutshell, players take on the role of CDC scientists racing to stop plague breakouts before pandemics erupt around the world. It is a great gift for science and med students, but you don't need to ace biology to enjoy it.

    Pandemic's popularity has grown immensely since its release. There are now...MORE many board versions available to choose from.

    The full Pandemic game review...

    The Details

    • Name: Pandemic, a board game by Matt Leacock, published by Z-Man Games.
    • Specs: Designed for 2-4 players, ages 13 and up. When you tire of one version, there are expansion packs that add more plagues (packed in petri dishes), roles and variations, including a bio-terrorism option.
    • Find it: At board game stores and online.
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  • 07 of 10

    Geek Gifts: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

    Ready Player One
    Image courtesy Broadway Books

    Ready Player One is another fantastic novel that takes place in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian future. Sci-fi geeks are going to love this one!

    In this book, the population has escaped into the vast online haven of OASIS. Recently deceased OASIS creator James Halliday (who was a huge 1980's pop culture fan) has left his considerable fortune to the player who finds the Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in this online universe.

    The story that plays out in Ernest Cline's brilliant novel will...MORE appeal to any video-game loving 20-something and to anyone who has ever loved Monty Python, Zork or War Games.

    The Details

    • Name: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Broadway, 2011)
    • Specs: This book, which was named one of Amazon's "Best of the Month" for August 2011, is available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle and as an audiobook, (read by Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: Next Generation).
    • Find it: Local bookstores and online.
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  • 08 of 10

    Geek Gifts: Redshirts by John Scalzi

    Redshirts
    Courtesy Tor Books

    What could be better for any science fiction lover than a novel that takes the fictional conceits of Star Trek and extrapolates them from the perspective of the red-shirted ensigns, who kept getting killed off on Captain Kirk's away missions?

    Award-winning sci-fi writer John Scalzi's Redshirts is funny, heartfelt and oh-so-very meta. What would happen if the fictional characters of a not-terribly-well-written TV show became real in a parallel universe? And what would happen if they got tired...MORE of dying randomly - watch out! ice shark! - all the time?

    The Details

    • Name: Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Tor, 2012)
    • Specs: Available in hardcover, Kindle and as an audiobook. The audiobook is read - brilliantly - by Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: Next Generation.
    • Find it: Local bookstores and online.
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  • 09 of 10

    Geek Gifts: A Pivot Surge Protector

    Quirky Pivot Surge Protector
    Images courtesy of Quirky

    A surge protector is one of those unsexy, but extremely necessary dorm and office tools that safeguard your electronics when the power ebbs and flows unexpectedly. This one bends and twists to hold the six power bricks its six outlets promise, and it looks stylish too.

    The Details

    • Name: Quirky Pivot Surge Protector. (This clever gadget was a runner-up in the 2012 Readers' Choice Awards for Best Dorm Essential, by the way.)
    • Specs: This adjustable, pivoting power strip has six outlets at the...MORE end of a 6-foot cord. Compatible with wall sockets and electronics in the United States and Canada, not abroad.
    • Find it: Available specialty retail stores and online.
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  • 10 of 10

    Geek Gifts: Quirky Digits

    Quirky Digits Mini Conductive Pins
    Images courtesy Quirky

    Anyone who has tried to jab at an iPhone or Android screen while wearing gloves knows how well that works. It doesn't!

    The same company that makes the pivot protector makes mini conductive pins that snap onto your kid's favorite gloves and let him use a smartphone even when he's all bundled up for winter. They fit together like a tie tack. OK, your college kid will have no idea what a tie tack is - just say it's like one of his or her pierced earrings.

    The Details

    • Name: Digits, made by Quirky.
    • Spec...MOREs: These black pins, which come in packs of four, are made of conductive silicone. You put the back side of a "digit" inside the tip of your glove's index finger or thumb, so the pin pokes through, then attach the flat button on top with a twist.