One of my favorite things about summer is the seemingly endless time available to “nerd-out” through books, movies and podcasts that I may have otherwise missed during the school year.

This summer seemed to have even more for me to discover, most of which seemed to have one thing in common: science fiction. While I frequently enjoy a good fantasy story, watching and reading science fiction was a new adventure for me.

I began my summer with the newest installment in the Star Trek franchise: “Star Trek into Darkness.” I am a huge fan of J. J. Abrams’ work as a director, and this film definitely did not disappoint.

The overall plot was enticing and the cinematography was beautiful, rivaling that of the first Star Trek remakes. I really enjoyed watching the interactions between the members of the crew of the enterprise, showing their development as a cohesive team.

My only major issue with the film was the lack of a strong, independent female character in the cast. There are only two named female characters in the entire cast, whose actions were motivated by male roles, and not through their own choices.

I read quite a few interesting books over the summer, my personal favorite being “Divergent” and its sequel “Insurgent” written by Veronica Roth. The “Divergent”, in almost the same vein as “The Hunger Games,” takes place in a dystopian future. In this book, everyone is divided into factions based on their natural abilities and aptitudes.

The main character, Beatrice or Tris, leaves her family and friends behind to join the faction known for bravery and bold deeds, the Dauntless.  The first novel details Tris’ initiation and her discovery of secrets, making her more dangerous than her peers. The interactions between factions are compelling and easily associated with our own society.

The novel is fast-paced and keeps your interest throughout its entirety. My advice is to find the second book as soon as you realize you’re nearing the end of the first – you will not want to stop reading once the book ends! The third novel in the series, “Allegiant,” comes out Oct. 2013. The movie, which is based on the first book, is due for release spring 2014.

I am not usually a podcast type person, I am very visual. Therefore, sitting and listening to someone solely talk at me can be very difficult. However, I made an exception for one unusual podcast titled Welcome to Night Vale, produced by Commonplace Books.

Welcome to Night Vale is the fictitious community radio station of the small desert town Night Vale. Narrated by Cecil, the show highlights the daily life of Night Vale citizens, including some things that may seem rather strange but are perfectly normal in their world. Be prepared to hear stories of the Sheriff’s Secret Police, the mysterious dog park (where dogs are not allowed) and the mighty glow cloud, who sits on the school board.

If you like things that are slightly weird, yet funny and intriguing I recommend checking it out! You can find links to listen to all the episodes here. New episodes are released on the first and fifteenth of every month.

Science fiction allows us to explore the unexplored without any of the hard work involved, making it perfect for a late summer or early school year adventure.