Catherynne Valente’s Space Opera (Saga, $19.99) reads as if Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and David Bowie had a baby, except this baby is even funnier, more glamorous, more queer, more, well, everything. Space Opera is over the top, it is fabulous, sparkly, and incredibly entertaining. Valente's prose brims with stage effects and makes your whole self vibrate with color and glam and pure joy. And yet it is also a book about the times we live in and how we treat those who are different, and how we deal with dictators (or a whole planet of them), and make wars, and make love. This is the book everyone on your list needs this year.
Space Opera by Catherynne Valente