When we were asked to put together our “shelfies” for Nerds on Earth, I was a little hesitant. Recently, I’ve gotten into more of the things that this site focuses on, but I still don’t own a lot of board games or comic books, and I’m not a connoisseur of anime or science fiction.
But I am, no doubt, a nerd on this here Earth, even if I have a different brand of nerdery. So here are seven things that take up literal shelf space in my home, digital shelf space on my devices or mental shelf space in my overcrowded brain.
7 Nerdy Thing You Need in Your Life
1 Coates’ Captain America
What it is. This is the current run of one of the most well-known comic book series in the world. Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and drawn by Leinil Francis Yu, the series started over – appropriately enough – on July 4 and is now four issues in. This series focuses on Captain America’s struggles in a post-Hydra America after a much-maligned arc that briefly showed comic fans what a villain Cap looked like.
Why you might like it. This is the first comic book series for which I’ve bought more than one book. Ever. I never really got into them as a kid, and I’ve only recently gotten interested. This was the run I decided to jump in with, and I’ve enjoyed it tremendously. The art is incredible, and the story is extremely well-done. It’s got plenty of true comic book hero action, with a healthy dose of Captain America political commentary mixed in.
How you can get your hands on it. Obviously, this Marvel staple is going to be available at your local comic book shop. They’re also available digitally, and I even scored No. 1 on Amazon. Whether you’re a seasoned comic book veteran or a rookie like me, the investment will be well worth it.
2 Terraforming Mars
What it is. Terraforming Mars is an incredible board game by Stronghold Games. The premise is exactly what the name sounds like it would be – settling and developing the surface of Mars with forests, cities and a few other property types. This is done by accumulating currency and other resources, and players also develop a collection of cards that assist their progress towards victory.
Why you might like it. I’ve played this game several times with a couple different sets of friends, and I’ve enjoyed it every time. If you buy the expansion, there are three different maps that have different arrangements of hexagonal spaces with different milestones and end-game rewards.
The paths to victory are also numerous. Each player gets a different corporation with its own strengths, and combined with the multiple ways to score victory points, players can compete and win without following any prescribed method to win. As such, pretty much anyone at the table has a chance to win, no matter how things work out for them in any one facet of the game.
How you can get your hands on it. This game is available on Amazon and likely through your local game shop. You’ll probably want the expansion eventually to have all the map options, but the basic map is also suitable for replay due to the various corporation options.
3 The 100
What it is. The 100 is a science-fiction series from the CW television network. This post-apocalyptic drama is set in a future in which humanity abandoned Earth after nuclear disaster. Due to realities of the space station that the remnants of humanity now occupy, resources have become scarce, so Earth’s viability must be re-evaluated.
This task falls on a group of 100 juvenile delinquents, essentially. Instead of the near automatic death penalty that awaits adult offenders, the young people have been detained until they’re deemed more useful as nuclear thermometers of sorts.
Why you might like it. My wife and I binge watched the first few seasons of this show and watched Season 5 semi-live. We’ve loved the twists and turns as the group of young folks explore the Earth they thought to be uninhabited and make a new life for themselves. While it probably lacks some of the intellectual depth that true sci-fi fans might be looking for, there’s plenty of intriguing and creative use of science and technology.
How you can get your hands on it. The first five seasons are available on various platforms, including Netflix and Prime Video. The sixth season doesn’t have an official premier date yet, but it’s expected to be sometime in the spring.
What it is. Come on, you know what WWE is.
World Wrestling Entertainment is the largest sports entertainment – WWE-speak for pro wrestling – company in the United States. Yes, it is a scripted television product made to look like a combat sport of some kind, but it also encompasses other TV products, video games and even books. In fact, I was enlisted to start writing for NoE specifically to review The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling.
Why you might like it. Pro wrestling is a little bit of everything – drama, comedy, sports and, of course, a little violence. It’s also a battle of good and evil, so much so that I was able to find the traditional RPG alignment system at play with major WWE characters.
Like most things, it certainly isn’t for everyone, but I would wager that if you like other elements of nerd culture, you’d at least enjoy pro wrestling a little. You just might not admit it.
How you can get your hands on it. Monday Night RAW and SmackDown Live, WWE’s main TV products, come on USA Network. All current and even past WWE pay-per-view events are available on the WWE Network, a streaming service that also includes old events from other companies like the now-defunct WCW. Unfortunately, I’ve recently canceled my WWE Network subscription over the company’s handling of the situation in Saudi Arabia, where it recently held a pay-per-view event. On a more positive note, there are also other promotions from across the globe that are available online or even on the AXS TV channel.
5 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
What it is. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is an upcoming film based on the works of J.K. Rowling. A part of the Harry Potter Universe, this movie is the second in the Fantastic Beast series, which is based on a book mentioned in the Harry Potter series.
The newest installment will focus on an era that pre-dates the Potter timeline. An evil wizard is seeking to rise to power, and the forces of good must stop him.
Why you might like it. The first Fantastic Beasts film, released in 2016, was incredible. Since the story wasn’t one that was fully outlined in the original Harry Potter books and films, I didn’t know enough to be excited, but it was really enjoyable.
If the upcoming installment is even close to as impressive visually and story-wise as it looks, it could be the best Rowling-based film yet. It will be one of the rare films that my wife and I make the effort to get a sitter for; an honor usually reserved only for Marvel movies.
How you can get your hands on it. This movie is set to come out on November 16, but that means November 15 these days. If you haven’t seen the first Fantastic Beasts movie yet, I’d definitely see that one first, which is available on Amazon Prime Video and other services. You don’t have to watch the Potter movies or read the books, but I’d always recommend those.
6 Chilluminati Podcast
What it is. The Chilluminati podcast is a relatively new series hosted by YouTube and Internet personalities Mike Martin, Jesse Cox and Alex Faciane. The trio researches various topics from folklore, the supernatural, true crime and other cultural oddities and shares what each of them have learned about a specific topic each episode.
So far, the episodes have focused on well-known entities like aliens and lesser-known stories like a man who claims to have entered an alternate universe where the Beatles are still alive and making music.
Why you might like it. Since I was a kid reading my children’s encyclopedia set, I’ve been fascinated by topics like Bigfoot, aliens and similar tales. If those are things you also find interesting, the Chilluminati podcast is an easy fit.
The hosts also aren’t just loons that believe everything they read or hear. They approach every supernatural topic with an appropriate balance of interest and skepticism, and when they discuss more proven topics like true crime, they do loads of research to make the show informative. There’s a little bit of coarse language, but it doesn’t detract from the content for me.
How you can get your hands on it. The Chilluminati podcast is available on major platforms like iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud. Most of the episodes are free-standing, so you don’t have to catch up before listening to newer stuff, but I’d recommend listening to all of them at some point.
7 Dungeons & Dragons
What it is. Dungeons & Dragons is, of course, the quintessential tabletop role playing game. It’s based in fantasy world of good and evil, full of dwarves, orcs, elves and various other fictional creatures. Players seek to immerse themselves in characters with their own back stories, abilities and flaws while working cooperatively with a group to achieve goals and defeat forces of evil – or good.
Why you might like it. D&D is a lot of fun. I started playing fairly recently, and I’ve enjoyed both campaigns so far. It offers the structure of a board game with the freedom to create your own character from scratch, complete with weapons and a personality. Whether you’re a creative soul or more interested in numbers and probability, or even if you just want to drink a beer with your friends, there’s plenty to enjoy in D&D.
How you can get your hands on it. Everything you need for D&D can be found in the Player’s Handbook, available wherever books are sold. From there, you’ll need a group to play with, and how you expand beyond that is up to you!