The Geekender: July 31-August 2: Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Neal Stephenson, and more!

The weekend is upon us, and with it a chance to sit back, relax and consume massive amounts of sci-fi, fantasy and horror pop culture. In The Geekender, our writers share a bit about what they're reading, watching and playing -- and we want to hear from you. Let us know what's on your plate in the comments!

Aaron Sagers: This weekend I'll be gathering a bunch of friends together for a little barbecue -- and a lot of war. I recently picked up the Game of Thrones editions of both Monopoly and Risk tabletop games, and plan on doing battle for supreme reign of my backyard. Each edition is pretty excellently designed, with an amazing attention to detail that allows players to slip right into the world of the HBO show. I will save Risk for the after-hours crowd -- if they are still up for it. But I have a dragonclaw goblet ready for mead, and now only require the lamentations of my enemies/BBQ guests. 

Matt Dorville: Since fava beans are in season, I’m going to pour myself a nice Chianti and binge-watch Hannibal this weekend. I’ve always been a fan of Bryan Fuller shows (I still lament the writers’ strike killing Pushing Daisies) but, since we’re in a golden age of television, it has been difficult to keep up on all the shows that are good as well as still make time for the shows that used to be good but I still can’t quit (I’m looking at you, Modern Family). Also, with news that Amazon might be taking on Hannibal, I’m hoping my streaming the show on Amazon Prime will help encourage the executives to give it new life.


Trent Moore: I've spent the past few weeks playing the iOS sci-fi game Lifeline, and I must say it's one of the most addictively fun and creative mobile games I've seen in ages. It basically works like a choose-your-own-adventure story, with the player giving advice and chatting with a young man stranded on an alien planet. The cool part? It plays out in "real time," with the character Taylor keeping you up to date throughout his quest to survive. Does he need to hike to a crater? Check back in a few hours. It adds a unique angle to the experience, and will leave you anxious while you wait to see what happens next. Well worth the $1.99 price of admission.


Krystal Clark: Does Mr. Robot live up to the hype? I've heard great things about the freshman series, which was renewed for a second season before the first one began. The show centers on computer programmer Elliot, who works as a vigilante hacker during his free time. Judging by the trailer, I get a cyber Robin Hood vibe from this guy. I've also read several articles where they've praised Mr. Robot's attention to hacking detail. Apparently it's one of the few shows or films that get it right. Mr. Robot stars Rami Malek and Christian Slater and airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on USA.


Don Kaye: Marvel just recently brought out a new printing of Doctor Strange: Marvel Masterworks, Vol. 1, and I am getting a copy delivered today. The collection encompasses many of the Sorcerer Supreme's earliest adventures and the original edition, long out of print, goes for big bucks these days. I've always been fascinated with Strange even though, in all honesty, I have not read a ton of stories starring him, so I look forward to finally getting a chance to delve into his past. And since it's also research for coverage of the upcoming Doctor Strange movie, I can write it off on my taxes!


Ernie Estrella: My copy of the Ex Machina Blu-ray should arrive on Saturday, so, for me, the weekend doesn't start until it's in my hand. It's neck and neck with Mad Max: Fury Road as my favorite film of the year so far. On a technical level, I can't think of a better film that I've seen thus far, which is why I can't wait to experience the first of many repeat viewings in my home theater, where I can appreciate the detail in the sound mix. And I need to see Nathan and Kyoto strutting their stuff again! I will be sifting through the special features including the behind-the-scenes stuff because I've got to see how the visual magic of Ava, the SXSW Q&A with the cast and crew, and the 40-minute "Through the Looking Glass: Making Ex Machina" featurette. This may not be as esoteric as other weeks, but I know it's going to monopolize all the free time I manage to get.


Jeff Spry: While trying to escape the severe heat this weekend by swinging in my hammock and slurping popsicles, I'll be catching up on the last two issues of Mark Millar's and Sean Murphy's amped-up time travel adventure, Chrononauts, and diving back into a crazy Marvel Secret Wars tie-in from Felipe Smith and Juan Gedeon called Ghost Racers. Ghost Racers takes all the Ghost Riders in history, from Carter Slade to Johnny Blaze, and rounds them up for a series of insane, hi-octane death races inside a gladiatorial arena in Battleworld named the Killiseum! Both these comics are total guilty pleasures with killer art and stories and perfect for leisurely summertime reading.


Evan Hoovler: This weekend, I'm especially excited to geek it up. My video game clan has a fantasy football league, and I'm the commissioner. I've decided that draft order (the order in which we pick players) should be decided as follows: Everyone picks a wrestler, and then I hold a computerized Royal Rumble to determine who picks when. The thought of angrily cheering for pixels with a dozen of my online friends makes me crack up, and, hey, Syfy still hosts WWE wrestling for the rest of the year. So it's genre. In other video-game-news-that-relates-to-me, Faster than Light was free for Steam users, yesterday. When I'm not busy installing, exploring, and frivolously complaining about Win 10, I'll be trying out this flight game.


Carol Pinchefsky: This weekend, I plan on kicking back and reading. I’ve been working my way through Charles Stross’ fabulous Laundry Files series — think James Bond’s tech support guy meets Cthuluesque chthonic horrors — and I’m finally on book 3, The Fuller Memorandum. The books are fabulous adventures, written with humor, intelligence, and just enough exasperation to make me think that author Stross knows the world of technology all too well. Note: It’s best if you start with his first novel in the series, The Atrocity Archives.


Matthew Jackson: Every once in a while, I go through a phase in which I mainline '70s genre films of all stripes, and some of my favorites are the kung-fu films produced by the Shaw Brothers, including gems like The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Shaolin Mantis. This weekend, I'm hoping to make time to watch one I've never seen before, a strange mix of Hammer Horror and Shaw Brothers martial arts called The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires.


Cher Martinetti: I have this thing with buying books at the airport; like maybe if I buy one it will somehow guarantee I give myself time to electronically disconnect and read. It works about 59% of the time. But this week, I feel like something is sending me a very specific message of how I should spend my time. It started when I saw Jill Lepore's The Secret History of Wonder Woman at Hudson News. Of course I bought it and a second book because I'm a girl that likes options. Then yesterday, I ended up finding a pair of Wonder Woman Chuck Taylor high tops. I wasn't looking for them or any pair of shoes, for that matter. It's like that same force willed me towards the store and made it so. Also, they only had two sizes left, one of them being mine. Listen, if the universe is adamant that I fully immerse myself into all things WW this weekend, who am I to refuse? I'll be chilling in my sweet new kicks, not online, and reading if anyone needs me.


Lisa Granshaw: This weekend I'm finishing up Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, the first book that was released in the new Star Wars canon. I enjoyed the first season of Star Wars Rebels so it's been fun reading about the first interactions between Kanan and Hera after seeing them as a team on the show. It has also been interesting learning more about what the Empire was up to during this earlier time. My favorite parts have been those that shed some much needed light on Kanan's past with the Jedi Order, which I take as yet another sign that I really need to read the Kanan: The Last Padawan comics! As I complete the book this weekend I have a feeling it will only make me even more eager for the second season of Rebels to arrive this fall.


Adam Swiderski:I'll be somewhat unplugged this weekend as I head out to a reception-and-Internet-lite wilderness area for a wedding, and I can feel the shakes kicking in, already, but I'l have some quality reading to keep me company: Seveneves, the latest novel from mad genius Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon, The Baroque Cycle, Anathem), the e-book version of which just became available from the library. The book, which posits a future in which an exploding moon causes a cataclysm on Earth and leaves a small population that has been evacuated to the International Space Station as the last hope for the propagation of the species, has come under some critical fire for its sprawl ... but, well, that's Stephenson, and it's been my experience that the rewards in sifting through his epic, dense prose are pretty great. Nothing will better help me deal with being out in the wilderness like the warm, glowing, warming glow of good sci-fi being beamed into my eyeballs.

You've read our picks -- now let us know what you'll be geeking out over this weekend in the comments!

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