S&L Podcast - #353 - Whiskey by Bob

Locus Award finalists! Great supplementary material for the Martian Chronicles! Why we need utopias! AI Whisky! ALL THAT AND MORE! Sorry. We're really excited about this episode. We hope you will be too.

Download directly here!


Tom: Water

Veronica: Golden State Cider


Nokomis.Fl Dennis E Taylor's rewrite of Outland coming to Audible on May 16th.

Dara 2019 Locus Awards finalists announced

CY: My wife and I went to see "Exploring Mars," by National Geographic, the day before I began Martian Chronicles. If it's going to be in city close to you, it's worth the ticket price.

Mark: Dedication of Ray Bradbury statue planned for August 2019 in his hometown, Waukegan, Illinois.

William: On Thursday the 16th of May the BBC podcast/radio show In Our Time will be about Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.

They have discussions on 853 other topics to download including the famous “Year Without Summer” that sparked the writing of Frankenstein.

The format of the show is that several leading experts are invited to discuss the topic in a sort-of narrative style. You feel as if you are listening to a story even though you’re really listening to top experts having a discussion. The host, Melvyn Bragg, deserves a lot of credit for keeping things flowing and understandable.

Trike: NASA has officially named the 2024 moon landing after Artemis, the sister of Apollo. It will include the first woman to walk on the moon. I think the entire crew should be women astronauts.

William: The Guardian has published an article advocating for the writing of more positive Science Fiction.

It briefly looks through the history of both dystopian and utopian fiction and considers why we are so suspicious of utopias.

It argues that while the world is far from ideal, many of us are in what others would call a utopia to the extent that rather than most people dying before adulthood we even ""have time to be outraged that chickens are ill-treated"". Positive visions of the future can allow us to build a better world.


Mel says: Joining in with @swordandlaser as they’re finally reading The Martian Chronicles. I’ve been voting for it for years and had this copy waiting the whole time!

Scott says: Hey folks - saw this and instantly thought of the distillery business in the Bobiverse!


David says: Catching up on sword and laser podcast, saw that Veronica is looking for comic book recommendations.

Echo by Terry Moore or Rachel Rising by Terry Moore.

Scooby-doo Team up is a great book, I like it because it's one book = one adventure

Batman: Long Halloween

RASL by Jeff Smith

Sam and Fuzzy by Sam Logan (www.samandfuzzy.com) a fun web comic




"Jenny says: Hi Tom and Veronica,

It's your loyal librarian, bringing you the OED entry on ""scrumpy.""

I also wanted to say that I know I read Rivers of London because of others in Sword and Laser and was surprised to realize it was never an official pick! That series is amazing in audio.




The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Book Briefing May 2019 - The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury


Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons. Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks

S&L Podcast - #352 - The Sword Conspiracy

To Gene Wolfe! Thank you for Shadow and Claw and Pringles. Plus, William Gibson’s Alien 3, what you need to know before reading The Martian Chronicles, and our final thoughts on the vast conspiracies that make up Theft of Swords….and OUR SHOW?!!! DUH DUH DUH!

Download directly here!


Tom: Strongbow

Veronica: Stoked Cider in "Scrumpy"


Dara and AndrewP: Author and SFWA Grand Master Gene Wolfe passed away on April 14th at age 87.

Robert: Coincidentally, shortly after hearing the news, I was snaking on some Pringles chips and looked them up on Wikipedia to see how they were made. And according to Wikipedia:
Gene Wolfe, a mechanical engineer-author known for science fiction and fantasy novels, developed the machine that cooks them.

Our interview with Gene Wolfe

Dara: Tor announced the British Science Fiction Association winners on their website.

Dara: Titan Books is publishing The Art and Making of The Expanse in October.

Nokomis.FL - William Gibson’s Unproduced ‘Alien 3’ Script Getting an Audio Drama Featuring Michael Biehn as Hicks! Offered on Audible!

TRP: As previously mentioned as a possibility round here
Aaronovitch Ben has just tweeted that the TV series adapted from his Rivers of London books are to be made by Simon Pegg & Nick Frost’s Stolen Picture production company

TRP: Circe by Madeline Miller has been shortlisted for the 2019 (UK) Women's Prize for Fiction

TRP: Tom Merritt (yes, that one) said on Cordkillers (a podcast apparently) that Laura Donnelly has been cast in Joss Whedon's The Nevers
According to IMDB The Nevers is "An epic science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world."
Sounds a bit like The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss which is also in development

Nokomis.FL - A manuscript in author Anthony Burgess's archives appears to be a follow-up to the book A Clockwork Orange. The 200-page work is titled The Clockwork Condition and contains thoughts on the human condition and moral panic in reaction to the release of the film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange.



Thea says: Hi, I recently discovered your podcast and am working through the archive. Back in 2009, Tom mentioned he was reading Evelyn Waugh's The Sword of Honour Trilogy. Currently a bit disappointed with the SF and fantasy books I've been reading, I decided it was time to switch genres. I'm enjoying it immensely, so thanks.


New Twitter Review from Beth Mitcham! She says "HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, J. K. Rowling. Had fun rereading this #book with @swordandlaser. Great kids eye view of the world and clearly made for reading aloud. I had more sympathy for Malfoy this time round; he’s a good Harry foil."


@sblackmoore (a.k.a author Steven Blackmore) says: "I would like to publicly say, and this might be the only time I say it or he'll get a swelled head, but @BrianTMcClellan is awesome.

So awesome that he gave me a shout out on @swordandlaser for the Eric Carter books.

Thank you. Your check is in the mail"


@El_Commutador says: "@swordandlaser I like the sense of humor in this one! :wink:

I'm listening to "Theft of Swords: Riyria Revelations, Volume One" on @Scribd!


The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Book Briefing May 2019 - The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Wrap Up

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan


Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons. Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks

S&L Podcast - #351 - Uncanny Collateral Brian McClellan

Brian McClellan is the author of the Powder Mage Universe books as well as essays on the life and business of being a writer. He describes himself as living on the side of a mountain in Utah where he writes books and nurses a crippling video game addiction. His most recent book, Uncanny Collateral, is described (on Brian's Twitter) as "Harry Dresden meets Dog the Bounty Hunter in a fast-paced urban fantasy about a collection agent who works for the supernatural."

Download directly here!

Brian McClellan


Stephen Blackmoore

S&L Podcast - #350 - Rye-ear-ah

So many great books are nominated for Hugos. Independent Bookstore Day is coming up and the proper pronunciation of Riyria! and we kick off our impressions of the refreshing and comfy feelings we’re getting from the thoroughly enjoyable Theft of Swords.

Direct download here!


Tom: Smithwick's Red Ale

Veronica: Bulleit Rye


The finalists for the Hugo Awards have been announced.

"Mark: It’s that time of year again - that’s right, Independent Bookstore Day is almost upon us! Celebrations will be held on Saturday, April 27th in locally-owned and operated bookstores across the US (I couldn’t find any information on international participation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still support your local bookstores across the globe regardless). To find out more info, you can visit the official Independent Bookstore Day website:

In particular, if you want to find out which stores near you are participating, you can search for them via this interactive map.

Dara: Patrick Rothfuss was on the The B&N Podcast and talked a bit about progress on The Doors of Stone and the Kingkiller TV adaptation. Newsweek has the story if you're not interested or able to listen to the podcast.

From the article:

'Kingkiller, my work on the books, is—again, it might seem strange for people to hear—but nobody laments the lack of tangible progress more than me, in terms of the next Kingkiller book,' Rothfuss said. 'But things are moving forward, if not fast—again I’ve never promised fast, ever since I knew what I was good at professionally.'

'But I am moving forward,' Rothfuss told B&N’s blog editor Joel Cunningham. 'More importantly, I’m finally getting my life sorted out so that I can go back and approach my writing and my craft with the joy that I used to feel back in the day, when I was just an idiot kid playing D&D or working on my unpublishable fantasy novel.'"

Take your time, Pat. We'll be here when you're finished. <3

Dara: Via Barnes & Noble SFF blog, Catherynne Valente Is Writing a Sequel to Space Opera. Yes, it Is Called Space Oddity. Expected release date is Spring 2021.

Mark: Fonda Lee's first podcast short story is up at The Overcast.

Julie and Tamahome: N. K. Jemisin makes her comics debut (with artist Jamal Campbell) with Far Sector, a unique Green Lantern story for DC’s Young Animal imprint.

John and Seth: Vonda McIntyre has died.l


"I know mispronouncing things is a cornerstone of Sword and Laser, but when its the name of the entire series, I though I could provide the suggestion.

Michael J. Sullivan says the official way to say it is:


Rye as in the grain

Ear as in the body part

and ah, that's how you say Riyria." William Keaton


Just finished the enchanting Kingdom of Copper (sequel to City of Brass) by @SAChakrabooks, which has had me under its spell for weeks. The Daevabad trilogy is absolutely worth your time, as is her interview on @swordandlaser. Can’t wait to see how it ends. Peter V. Brett

The book shop that wasn't quite just a book shop


Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Book briefing


Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons. Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser

Thanks to Andor Andorson, Ethan Poole and all the folks who support us at patreon.com/swordandlaser

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks

S&L Podcast - #349 - Sit Down Kid, I Got This

So many books became options! We’re hopeful. Also we’re excited to read our March Madness winner, Theft of Swords. And why Dumbledore may or may not be an irresponsible headmaster.

Download directly here!


Tom: Yes Way Rosé

Veronica: Pacific Coast Bone Dry Hard Cider

Thanks to everyone who took part in March Madness!


Joe: Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series of novellas has been optioned for television.

There are four novellas published so far, more on the horizon, and it is legitimately one of my favorite things. The first, Every Heart a Doorway, won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award for Best Novella. I wrote in my review at Nerds of a Feather that "Every Heart a Doorway is a beautiful and heart wrenching story of kids who don't belong anywhere except perhaps the one place they can't get back to." It is a story that feels like coming home.

Tamahome: Love, Death & Robots has been released on Netflix. It's a series of animated shorts. A lot of them are adapted genre short stories by John Scalzi, Alastair Reynolds, Ken Liu, Joe Lansdale, Marko Kloos, and Peter F. Hamilton. ... The tone is kind of like Heavy Metal (It has some roots in it). Plenty of sex and violence. Of course the Scalzi ones are more humorous.

Mark: Brian McClellan's new self-published fantasy novel, Uncanny Collateral, is available direct from the author before official release date.

Adrian: The Laundry Files by Charlie Stross has been optioned for a TV show. This time it's by an English producer so the author is more optimistic

Dara: Nnedi Okorafor is set to write the Wild Seed series adaptation for Amazon Prime. Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions will be producing and Wanuri Kahiu will direct.

"Wild Seed is a love (and hate) story of two African immortals who travel the ages from pre-Colonial West Africa to the far, far future. "


Started from the first one again a few days ago for the @swordandlaser and as a warm up for @readathon :) re: Harry Potter. Readathon is a twice-yearly 20 hour readathon, happening again on April 6th. Learn more here! http://www.24hourreadathon.com/

Read all the books! (From the S&L bookshelf)

Subject: Tom pronounces something wrong shocker
Message: Berwick-upon-tweed
ˌberɪk əˌpɒn ˈtwiːd
See OED.
You can try the Geordie of Newcastle as well but that isn't standard.
Superhero bit of bullet dodging Veronica.


Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Book briefing

Final stats:

Final Thoughts onHarry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone

HP: Dumbledore Is a Horrible Teacher (spoilers for the end)

A Star Wars Is Born – “Shallow” Parody (Nerdist Presents) - YouTube


Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons. Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser

Thanks to Erin, Scott and Juliana

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks

S&L Podcast - #348 - Book Battle Royale

We review the final four books in our Mad March Tournament. Plus lots of great new award-winners and nominees to fill your to-read list and our continuing thoughts on our re-read of Harry Potter.

Download directly here!


Tom: Regret

Veronica: Despair


Ruth: Michael B Jordan's production company and Warner Bros have scooped up the movie rights to Black Leopard, Red Wolf.

Dara: March is Women's History Month and Syfy's Fangrrls is celebrating women with a limited podcast series called Forgotten Women of Genre. The first episode is about Carol Clover and the Final Girl.

ALSO: It’s early morning. You’re tired. You were up late listening to the latest episode of the Sword and Laser podcast. You look in the mirror as you brush your teeth. Your reflection is Sam Sykes.

"Good morning! I bet you think I’m going to tell you to buy my book. I’m not. I’m here to tell you that nominations for the 2019 Hugo Awards are open and you should nominate Sword and Laser. I know I am! (Also buy my book.)"

How he managed to get all of that out through a mouthful of toothpaste, you’ll never know.

Instructions on how to vote can be found here. Check your email for individual links for online nominating. Voting ends Friday 15 March, 2019, 11:59 PDT.

Silvana: Circe, a past S&L pick, is included in the long list for the 2019 Women's prize for fiction, along with some other writers, such as the one highlighted in this article, a non-binary trans author from Nigeria Akwaeke Emezi with her novel Freshwater.

Stubble: The episode titles for the first four Wheel of Time series episodes have been revealed and seems to indicate that the first season will be based on book 1 and 2. The titles have been revealed by images of each script's first page.

The episode titles are
1 Leavetakings
2 Shadow's waiting
3 A place of safety
4 Dragon reborn

On the fourth script image there's a faint trace of episode 6 being named The flame of Tar Valon which indicate events in the beginning of book 2.

You can find information about this on the Daily Trollock

Dara: Martha Wells's Murderbot will return in a full-length novel in 2020 called Network Effect.

TRP: Trailer is out for the Starz adaptation of The Rook by Daniel O'Malley It all looks a bit dark and serious. I seem to recall the book had a lighter touch. Probably worth a watch

Game of Thrones' Final Season Trailer: Be Prepared for Death

Amazon revealed a finalized map for its Lord of the Rings series March 7 with the island of Númenor in the lower left hand corner, which confirmed the Amazon show’s Second Age setting. In “The Lord of the Rings,” trilogy, Númenor has been destroyed for thousands of years and serves as a lost city in Middle-Earth’s history. (Hat Tip to Stubble who noted this as well)


I am committed to reading every single @swordandlaser starting from the beginning. And if I like the first book, I’ll continue with the entire series. -- From Priscilla Basilio

Mark Ferrando has our old set! It's amazing! "I'm a former employee of Pixel Corps, the company which used to shoot the video episodes of Sword and Laser. After the show wrapped the company had to dismantle the set, but it had nowhere to store it and was just going to throw it out. I managed to arrange it so that the set elements were transported to my parents' home in Petaluma where we rebuilt it in their garage (with some modifications to fit the geometry of the available space). Ever since we have used it to host community games nights, family reunions, and other festivities, and we have added our own embellishments over the years, including a custom carbonite statue of my sister, mementos from various conventions, and a menagerie of dragons to take the place of Lem (I'm not quite sure where he ended up, although I think we might have the smoke machine and tubing that was used to help bring him to life)."

Just found the new episode for @swordandlaser , thank GOD. It’s Tuesday evening but this is like audio CRACK. :pray::+1::heart: -- Benedict



Theft of Swords by Michael J Sullivan

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone

Book briefing

HP: The Dursleys were kind of right


Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons. Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks/

S&L Podcast - #346 - Accio Book Pick!

So many good TV shows based on books that we love are coming, and we even got a movie with a casting announcement that made Tom very excited! Plus, our final thoughts on The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal and the kick off of what we assume is a re-read for most of you, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling. Come on. Read it again! It’s fun!

We are GO for March Madness! Head to Goodreads or find the link on swordandlaser.com to vote for your favorite books.

Download directly here!


Dara: The Nebula Award Finalists were announced:
- The Calculating Stars, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
- The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager US; Harper Voyager UK)
- Blackfish City, Sam J. Miller (Ecco; Orbit UK)
- Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Macmillan)
- Witchmark, C.L. Polk (Tor.com Publishing)
- Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

Dara: There's a new teaser for season 4 of The Man in the High Castle. It also announces that this will be its final season

A man sits alone in a cabin. A cap is perched on his gray hair, glasses are askew, suspenders are taut. A computer running WordStar 4.0 sits abandoned. On a laptop, a Livejournal entry is incomplete.

"This is my true purpose," the man mutters.

A browser page is reflected in his glasses. 2019 HUGO NOMINATIONS, it reads. A field labeled Best Fancast stands empty, pregnant with potential. "Sword and Laser," he says aloud as he types.

Instructions on how to vote can be found here. Check your email for individual links for online nominating. Voting ends Friday 15 March, 2019, 11:59 PDT.

Joanna: The two latest casting news for Villeneuve’s Dune:
Josh Brolin is Gurney Halleck and Jason Momoa is Duncan Idaho.

Dara: All 6 episodes of Good Omens will premiere on Amazon Prime on May 31st. Also announced: Bandersnatch Cooterscoot will be playing Satan.

Clyde: Asimov's magazine have made all of their Readers’ Award finalists available for free reading on-line.
Some good reads there. I particularly enjoyed Kristine Kathryn Rusch's and Linda Nagata's stories.
Thank you Asimov's.

Dara: Adam Christopher is writing the Stranger Things prequel about Hopper. Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town will be out June 4th.

Genesee: Article on a recently released fantasy book, the "African Game of Thrones". Roxane Gay talks to Marlon James about his African myth-inspired 'Black Leopard, Red Wolf'

“The thing about a lot of West fantasies is that it’s still following European archetypes,“ James said. “Evil is clearly evil. Evil is Sauron. That reflects a Calvinist, Christian worldview.”

Louie: Daniel H Wilson ( Robopocalypse ) pens sequel to Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain .
The Andromeda Evolution will be released on November 12

Colin: Philip Pullman news. The details of his next novel in the Dark Materials universe are out. Includes a link to an excerpt.


Footnotes in Sci Fi and Fantasy Novels


Being a patreon means receiving little surprises in the mail. Thank you @acedtect @Veronica for the all too relevant political sci-fi and @swordandlaser sticker

I'm trying to access the interview with RA Salvatore at but the video is no longer available. Do you happen to still have a copy of this? My understanding is that it covers some of the reactions to WotC (Wizards of the Coast) changing the Forgotten Realms with 4E D&D from the perspectives of the poor folks working with the material and I'd really like to hear that kind of thing.




Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone

Book briefing

Last thoughts on The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal


Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons. Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks/

S&L Podcast - #345 - Math as a Magic System w/ Mary Robinette Kowal

We chat with Mary Robinette Kowal, the author of this month’s pick, The Calculating Stars. From acknowledging and learning from your biases, to de-stigmatizing mental illness, to using math as a magic system, we had a lovely time and don’t care WHAT people would think.

Download directly here!

March Madness is upon us! Nominate books for the tournament next month in our Goodreads forum until 8 PM Eastern February 25.

Hugo-award winning author, Mary Robinette Kowal is a novelist and professional puppeteer.

Sword and Laser video episode

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Book Briefing

S&L Podcast - #344 - Steamy

So many news stories! We have to speed through them but there are some good picks from lots of award winners in there. Plus, the best pajamas ever and whether Calculating Stars is steamy!

Download directly here!


Tom: Armagnac

Veronica: Irish Bessie


Dara: Instructions on how to vote for the Hugos can be found here. Check your email for individual links for online nominating. Voting ends Friday 15 March, 2019, 11:59 PDT.

Dara: In order to drum up support for nominating the podcast for the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Fancast, I asked a few authors for an endorsement on Twitter*.

"You want me to support the Sword and Laser podcast for Best Fancast? You guys have read three of my books so I guess I have to." – John Scalzi

"Buy my book." – Sam Sykes

"Don’t buy his book, buy MY book." – Myke Cole

"You’ve read three Scalzi books but none of mine? No thanks." – Mary Robinette Kowal

"I get it, you loved Jade City. Please stop bothering me. I’m going to block you." – Fonda Lee

There ya have it, folks. Even authors love the podcast! Nominations are open! Go vote!

* Please note these are all 100% satire and made up for the lolz.

March Madness is upon us! Nominate books for the tournament next month in our Goodreads forum until 8 PM Eastern February 25

Dara: The Wheel of Time TV series will go into production in the fall of 2019. Tor has all of the details.

Seth: This year's American Library Association mid-winter conference just wrapped up, and in addition to their more famous awards for youth titles (like the Newbery and Caldecott), they also make adult picks in a number of genres. Their pick of 2018's crop of sci-fi is next month's S+L pick - “The Calculating Stars” by Mary Robinette Kowal. On the fantasy side they chose “Foundryside” by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Full list of picks across genres is here

Anne: Tor is now offering a newsletter with short fiction on a bimonthly basis which seems like a nice way to get SFF stories delivered straight to your inbox. More information is here.

Aaron: Clarkesworld Magazine is expanding into books with a new translation.A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight and Other Stories by Xia Jia

Mark: An excerpt of the deleted novella from the Wheel of Time, "A Fire Within the Ways" is on Tor's website now. This will be included in the Unfettered III collection out in March.

Joe: The Locus Recommended Reading List is has been published online (it will also be in the February issue of Locus Magazine.

I don’t think this is an original idea, but I’ve long considered the Locus Recommended list to be one of the best snapshots of what is going on in the genre in a given year. It’s certainly not exhaustive, and there’s always going to be favorites left off the list (Scalzi didn't make it for either of his books, the newest / final Sin du Jour novella from Matt Wallace didn't make it, only one of Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut novels are on the list, etc), but from a high level - these are most of the important and noteworthy SFF books and stories from the previous year.

Aaron: There is a new J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic set to release May 10, 2019.

Mark: From Locus, the announcement for the Crawford Award. 2019 winner is The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Crawford Award is given to a fantasy author whose first fantasy book was published during the preceding 18 months. It's one of several awards presented by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, and is presented at the conference each March in Ft. Lauderdale.

Rob: The Expanse Season 3 goes worldwide on Amazon Prime February 8th!
Additionally Seasons 1 and 2 will now be on Prime everywhere (previously it was just North America).

Anne: There's an interesting article on WIRED about how women were actively written out of Sci-Fi history by omitting their contributions from anthologies. There's a podcast episode about it, too, though I haven't gotten around to listening to it yet.

Nokomis.FL - New Robert Heinlein novel to be published in November 2019 from a manuscript written in the early 1980s.

Moar Lists!!

From the House of Random Penguins

The Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time
The Best Fantasy Novels of All Time

Should I be suspicious that these lists are on a publisher website even though they are the best of All Time?

Lots of S+L picks. Maybe there is a future S+L pick too.

-- and as Shad notes, this does seem to be the best books of all time from Random House owned publishers


Feedback from the audienceWhile is raining like crazy outside, nothing like a good book and a fireplace - @yaniv05

Poetry Slam happening over in the Ninefox Gambit discussion - @markmtz

If you were a high school English teacher what would be the first book you would make your students read?


The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Book Briefing

TCS: Is it just me, or does this pick feel like Veronica is missing vaginal fantasy?


Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons. Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks

S&L Podcast - #343 - Math Is Hard

We’re very pleased that the Hugo Nominations are open and we’ll keep reminding you. Also we’re pleased to discuss pairing beer with novels and pleased to look over the new Philip K. Dick award nominees. We’re pleased to be reading Ninefox Gambit too, even if it makes our brain hurt.

Download directly here!


Tom: St. George's Terroir Gin

Q Spectacular Tonic

Veronica: Ballast Point Sculpin


Dara: SFWA Announces Newest Damon Knight Grand Master – William Gibson

Dara: Hugo nominations are now open

Dara: Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel writes about "Siamese twin" books on his blog, including one that opens 6 different ways. They're almost like the Frankenstein's monsters of books but serve a cool function.

"They are like Siamese twins in that they present two different entities joint at their backs: each part has one board for itself, while a third is shared between the two. Their contents show why this was done: you will often find two complementary devotional works in them, such as a prayerbook and a Psalter, or the Bible’s Old and New Testament. Reading the one text you can flip the 'book' to consult the other."

He also says, "In the 20th century this type of binding enjoyed a revival with the Double Ace books, which featured two short science fiction stories." The post has some pretty cool images of the books.

Conal: Dennis E. Taylor announces Bobiverse sequel to be duology -"this means that I’m now back to writing the next Bobiverse book(s), working title “The Search for Bender.” I say book(s) because it looks like it’s going to be a duology. And spoiler alert — the end of book one will be a cliff-hanger,"

Mark: We need more lists like this. Granted, it's a short list, but two of the five books are S+L picks, and there's beer!

Speculative Fiction on Tap: Winter Books, Winter Beer

Dara: The nominees for the Philip K. Dick award were announced. Via Tor, "The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States during the previous calendar year."

BARE YOUR SWORDDave Barrett: Review of Animal in Man by Joseph Asphhani

Help me find a Sci-fi slice-of-life story, please

Veronica has been reading comics! She has read Sage Vol. 1+2, Wicked + Devine Vol 1, reading Bitch Planet, and download Locke and Key and Shuri Vol 1


Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Book Briefing

NG: I have no concept of any of this

From the thread via David: Yoonh Ha Lee has aphantasia; he can't visualize things.

We're changing our tiers! If you're at a tier right now don't worry this doesn't affect you BUT for new people The entry level tier will be $2 now AND include the monthly book briefing. . That change will happen before the end of the month!


Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons. Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks

S&L Podcast - #342 - So, You're a Crow Nut?

We’re SO excited for books coming out this year, AND we award our favorite Sword and Laser reads for 2018! We finish with our final thoughts on Crows.

Download directly here!


Veronica: The Patsy: Coconut Rye Stout from Barley Forge Brewing Co.

Tom: Caffeine-free Coke Zero


Rob: Jim Butcher posted a free Dresden Files short story on his website. Until it crashed. Then he re-hosted it on Google Drive.

Pratik: The Verge has put together a handy list of anticipated science fiction and fantasy books to be released in 2019 written by some of our favorite authors. These include: Katherine Arden; S.A. Chakraborty; Charlie Jane Anders; edits and translations by Ken Liu; Ann Leckie; William Gibson; and many more. Checkout the article for the full list!

Julie: Fonda lee's Jade War, the sequel to the August pick, is out in July.

Trike: A whole bunch of classics entered the public domain on January 1st. P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha. Bristle, Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, etc.


In the spirit of the Giving Season: Patreons of favorite authors?

Favourite Sword and Laser Book Pick 2018

Reading printed editions vs digital

Comic Book Recommendations:

Fredrik says: I'm reading Captain Marvel, and @Veronica should do too!

Tamahome says: The first three volumes of Saga comics (from Image) are perfect.

Linnea says: I think there are several series' from Image Comics that you might like, Veronica. Saga, Rat Queens, Wicked + Divine, Descender, Bitch Planet and Lazarus. Maybe even Monstress and Fatale, though they venture a bit into the horror genre (not very scary, just a fyi).

KBTibbs says: Some have recommended Saga and Bitch Planet and those are some great comics in collected editions. I also think Monstress (which did VERY well at the Eisners this year) has a potential. As does Wicked and Divine. Neil Gaiman's Sandman is an omnipresent recommendation for a reason.


Kick Off

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Book Briefing

Which Faction Are You?


Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crowley

S&L Podcast - #341 - All You Need is Brain

The Sword and Laser bump returns! Also, Veronica wants to start reading comics. And we realize we need brain, but that’s all we need. Isn’t that festive!

Download directly here!


Sean Lookielook: The Sword & Laser bump continues. Circe, our pick from June this year, has won Goodreads Choice Awards for Fantasy. The winner in Sci-Fi was Vengeful by V.E. Schwab. (We read her in April of 2016 so I think that still counts)"

Mark: Fall, or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson is coming June 2019. Looks like HarperCollins hired the same graphic artist(s) that designed covers for Chuck Wendig novels Zeroes and Thunderbird ;-)

Shad and Mark: Brandon Sanderson's secret project has been revealed. The secret project is a Magic the Gathering novella that will be available for download for free tomorrow December 12.

Rob: G. Willow Wilson is leaving Ms. Marvel next year. She will be writing Wonder Woman for DC instead.Saladin Ahmed will be replacing her with a new series called The Magnificent Ms. Marvel.

Joe: Fans of Martha Wells and Murderbot will be excited to see this new Murderbot short story over on Wired.

Dara: Instagram is helping save the indie bookstore via Vox. Author Nisha Chittal explains how indie bookstores are thriving due (in part) to Instagram. People like taking photos of their books, shelves, and what they are reading at any given time and bookstores are providing plenty of Instagrammable locales. She features The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles and Books Are Magic in Brooklyn for their design and photogenic wall art."


That Time of Year

What Else Are You Reading - December 2018

Check in on Reading Challenge



Terpkristin on Crows


Poll up for January Read (ends Dec. 23)

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crowley

Ka: Similar to Jonathan Livingston Seagull?

S&L Podcast - #340 - No Birdy Poos

The Verge is writing SciFi for a better tomorrow, plus is Roald Dahl Fantasy? Is It's a Wonderful Life SciFi?

Download directly here!


Tom: Gun Gun Gurt

Veronica: Eye of the Hawk Imperial Ale from Mendocino Brewing


On January 14th, The Verge will be publishing Better Worlds: 10 original fiction stories, five animated adaptations, and five audio adaptations by a diverse roster of science fiction authors who take a more optimistic view of what lies ahead in ways both large and small, fantastical and everyday.

Netflix announced original animated events, series and specials based on Roald Dahl's novels including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, The Twits, and more. Production starts next year. Missing from the list are The Witches, Fantastic Mr. Fox and James and the Giant Peach.

Is "It's A Wonderful Life" A SciFi Film?

TRP: The Londonist website has put together a fictional map of Britain.

It is mostly made-up Film, TV and Literature locations and there are a few Science Fiction and Fantasy locations (Harry Potter, Midwich Cuckoos, 1984, Winnie-the-Pooh, Dr Doolittle, Judge Dredd etc.)

Mark: The October Man, the next Rivers of London novella by Ben Aaronovitch, is available for preorder from Subterranean Press, I think this signed limited hardcover edition, scheduled for May 2019, comes out about a month before the regular release.

Mark: Is the laser mightier than the sword? A comparative study for the urethrotomy

NOTE: Full text is only available via libraries with a SpringerLink subscription.
and Mark also knows where to get a miniature arm holding a sword and or laser


#339 - Nope Ropes on a Tren (about Mary Sue stuff)


Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crowley

Ka: Animal POVs and bird knowledge

S&L Podcast - #339 - Nope Ropes on a Tren

We’ve got options! For TV shows! Well we don’t but Annalee Newitz, Mira Grant and Kristine Kathryn Rusch do! Plus our feelings on Zeroes.

Download directly here!

Get Gallium read by Veronica on Audible.com


Tom: Fake Hot Apple Cider that is mostly sugar but tastes really good

Veronica: Water



Nokomis.FL - Hulu developing G.R.R. Martin's Wildcards series.

TRP: Looks like Theodora Goss is developing The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter made into a TV series by CW

Dara: Autonomous by Annalee Newitz has been optioned for TV by AMC.

David: Aaaand adding to the optioning parade: Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire)'s Rolling in the Deep got optioned to be a film

KevBayer - Kristine Kathryn Rusch's excellent Retrieval Artist series has been optioned for TV. (Right now, the series is around eight gabillion novels, novellas, and short stories)

In her latest newsletter, she says "The entire universe has been optioned for TV. That doesn't mean the series will show up on your favorite streaming service soon, but it does mean we're one step closer. If this becomes more than just a wish and a promise, I'll let you know."

Dara: George R.R. Martin is apparently sequestered away in a bunker to finish The Winds of Winter. This isn’t super newsworthy but this quote from the AV Club’s article is worth sharing for the lolz: “It’s kind of like he’s some sort of villainous supervillain, if said villain’s plan was to finally figure out how the f*** to wrap up that Brienne/Lady Stoneheart cliffhanger from 13 god*** years ago.”

Rob - Worldbuilders 2018 kicked off Tuesday and runs through December 11th. That is a shorter run than normal. See Patrick Rothfuss's blog post for more details.
Auctions end 12/6

John (Taloni)
The Mortal Word, fifth book in the Invisible Library series, is out. Squee!

William: Margaret Atwood just announced a sequel to the The Handmaid's Tale. It is called The Testaments. The Testaments will be set 15 years after Offred’s final scene in The Handmaid’s Tale and narrated by three female characters. It will not be connected to the television version, which has extended beyond Atwood’s 1985 novel to continue Offred’s story.

Dara: Joe Abercrombie is returning to the First Law world with a new trilogy via Orbit books. A Little Hatred marks Abercrombie’s much anticipated return to the world of the First Law. The novel features exciting new characters, along with the return of some memorable faces for longtime Abercrombie fans. Written and told in a way that only Abercrombie can, the new trilogy is a visceral story of bloody revolution. Sounds interesting. I didn't love the First Law books but I like Joe's style so I'll likely check it out.


Twitter book review from Beth:
JADE CITY, Fonda Lee. This @swordandlaser pick was too gritty for me. The rich characterization made it hard to keep going — there are no good endings when two mafias fight, and the best luck went to the least deserving. Good #book for the brave hearted. Me, I’m shallow.


Next week we will kick off:

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crowley

Wrap up Zeroes by Chuck Wendig

Present Tense

Seven-Point Story Structure

The ending (Spoilers)


Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons. Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks

S&L Podcast - #338 - Hygge Punk

Tom inadvertently affects a listener feud, the truth about George R. R. Martin and why we think Zeroes is number 1.

Download directly here!


Tom: Cass

Veronica: Bailey's on the rocks


Dara: BBC America has ordered an 8 episode adaptation of the City Watch novels of Discworld. 'The Watch is described as a “punk rock thriller” that takes its inspiration from the "City Watch" books in the Discworld series, following a group of 'misfit cops as they fight to save a ramshackle city of normalized wrongness from both the past and future in a perilous quest,' per the network."

Mark: A new Laundry Files novel by Charles Stross was released this week, The Labyrinth Index. The author has thoughtfully provided a briefing for readers who may not be up to speed on his peculiar insights about mobile phones, mathematics and eldritch horrors.

David: The World Fantasy Awards were announced in Baltimore today:

Victor LaValle's The Changeling and Fonda Lee's Jade City tied for Best Novel!

I was at the World Fantasy Convention when this was announced, so that was a fun experience! I got to hear Fonda Lee do a reading as well

Trike: New interview in The Guardian with George R.R. Martin:

Iain: Douglas Rain, the voice of HAL, has died.

Dara: Game of Thrones season 8 will premiere in April 2019


Quantum Computing and Cybersecurity novels

A "cozy" fantasy?


Zeroes by Chuck Wendig

Hey if you like books about space mining salvagers and you like Veronica then you should try the audiobook of Tom's book Gallium as read by Veronica on Audible!

The next episode will be November 28 followed only one week later on December 2 then we'll be back on the normal rotation.

S&L Podcast - #337 - Hackers, but Bears

Well we are certainly interested in Molly Gloss after that Ursula K. Leguin blurb, we’re mad on behalf of Chuck Wendig, each for different reasons, and coincidentally Zeroes by Chuck Wendig is our next pick. Plus we wrap up the journey that is Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country.

Download directly here!


Tom: Sidral Mundet

Veronica: Nope


Joe: Saga Press will be re-publishing 3 novels and a brand new story collection from Molly Gloss in 2019. I've read The Dazzle of Day and thought it was fantastic. I've been thinking about it and mentioning it to folks more than a decade after reading it. It's only grown in my esteem.

The pull quote from the announcement is from a conversation Joe Monti had with Ursula K. Le Guin: “Yes. Outside the Gates. They published it as young adult, but I never thought that was fully the right audience. Terrible cover. But if you brought it back into print, I’d blurb the shit out of that.”

Dara: Chuck Wendig was fired for being vocal on Twitter

Mark: The season finale of IRL: Online Life is Real Life features audio presentation of a pair of speculative fiction short stories describing what elections might look like in the future. Authors are Malka Older and Genevieve Valentine. Host of IRL is the Supreme Sword.

Dara: How a fan fiction for Cixin Liu’s Three-Body Problem became an official novel via The Verge. Spoilers marked in the article. Interesting piece.

Mark: This list by Reading Glasses' Mallory O'Meara was tailor-made for the Supreme Sword ;-)
10 Great Horror Books for Wimps

Mark: 2018 British Fantasy Award winners announced


SciFi NonFi

My 2019 'no new books' reading challenge

@swordandlaser Loved the Dresden series with Paul Blackthorne!

"Lovecraft Country: A Novel" by Matt Ruff @Scribd


Zeroes by Chuck Wendig

Book briefing

WRAP UP Lovecraft Country: A Novel by Matt Ruff

LC: The muddle in the middle

LC: If you enjoyed tangential Lovecraft, try these next

LC: The Green Book

NEXT MONTH: We're moving around our normal recording times to accomodate for the Thanksgiving holiday in the US among a couple other things. So that means the next episode will come out three weeks from now on November 15 then one on November 29th then we make up for the three weeks with a one week break and come right back on December 5th and we're back on schedule.

Guest post: Teaching Writing, or Expressing the Inexpressible

Guest post by Joseph Asphahani

I conducted perhaps the grandest of my life’s grand experiments about three weeks into the new school year in 2007. The students—a rowdy bunch of snot-nosed punks about a decade deep in the crumbling school system that was failing them. Me—an over-caffeinated snot-nosed punk about a day past my college graduation and the start of my first real job. The place—a rickety third-floor classroom in Chicago’s Gage Park High School. The task, which ultimately became the experiment, was to teach these kids how to write.

Joseph Asphahani.JPG

Joseph Asphahani

Teaching Writing, or Expressing the Inexpressible

...Or, to be more specific, how to write creatively.

That’s right: High School Creative Writing Class. I’m willing to bet that at least two-thirds of you reading this at one point in time thought to yourselves that you liked reading cool stuff so much that maybe you’d take a turn at writing some of it yourself. That enthusiasm was my reaction, too, when the school programmer told me on my first day, “You got two sophomore American Lit, two freshman Survey Lit, oh and a freshman Creative Writing? That can’t be right…” But, yep, it was right.

And three weeks in, it was going utterly nowhere.

I’d started the class like I’d started all my classes that year (remember, this was my very first deer-in-the-headlights year as a teacher). I’d run a bunch of gettin’-ta-know-ya type icebreaker stuff. I’d taken a couple of paper airplanes to the back, all in good humor. I’d managed to keep my smile up somehow. But eventually I had to actually start teaching things: storytelling, how to write creatively.

One experiment involved a track by the Icelandic band Sigur Rós (who, if you don’t know, perform in a language known only to the band!). The idea was to close your eyes and listen to this entirely unfathomable song and let the sound and the singing kind of carry you away to the fog-veiled realm of your own imagination, and then the dawn would break, and the light would burn the fog away and reveal a story of some kind. I wrote an example, which I read enthusiastically after the track was over. And then, the educator’s most overused line: “And now you guys try!”

That early experiment yielded mixed results. Some of my students got into it. Some of them tried. Some others gave it a half-hearted attempt, but I could tell there was something in them we could work with. But the majority of the class blew it off. They vocalized—at that moment and throughout the coming weeks—their confusion as to how in the world they even wound up in this class.

I tried a couple more experiments: surveys, interest-inventories, and questionnaires, all designed to excavate their personal interests and assemble them into poetry. In the next unit, we read some really juicy short stories and imagined beyond the cliffhanger endings. There were more units after that, but nothing ever yielded truly positive results.

I fell into a bit of a dark place. I asked myself if I was part of the system that was failing them. I asked myself what they had really been asking me all along: what difference is creative writing going to make in my life?

The grandest of my life’s grand experiments was to justify the importance—the quintessential, nuclear-significance—of creative expression. To clarify how it helps. Like all teachers, it was something I felt in my soul, that doing what I was doing had purpose—that learning was really the only way out.

So one day, about three weeks into the school year, I gave it my best shot. I told them that there would come a day when they really needed to tell somebody something. When they would no longer be able to hold in whatever they were feeling, when they’d have to let it out. And at that time, I told them, simple words would fail them. I told them there are some things in this life that just cannot be expressed through literal language. There are ideas and feelings that can only be expressed through stories. And that there would come a day when they would have something important to say. And would they be ready to say it? Would they be capable of making it make a difference?

Looking back on it now, maybe I was suffering from a bit of that snot-nosed, fresh-out-of-college, over-caffeinated energy. Maybe it was all balderdash.

But when I was standing up there, the grandest of my life’s grand experiments yielded an unexpected result: a buzzing in my own head. It wasn’t just them I’d been challenged to convince. It was me, too. It was my own existence I was justifying.

It was this epiphany that defined me from that point on as a writer and storyteller. There were—there still are—things I want to say, things I have to say, about our world and who we really are inside, but simple words fail me. Dear reader, I worry every day that we may just be beasts, so I wrote The Animal in Man to ask what you think about it. I don’t think I would have been able to ask if I hadn’t at one moment in my life justified why writing anything really matters.

You probably want to know how the class turned out after that. Well, I honestly don’t remember the rest. We wrote some stories (this time without soundtracks). We filled out some more surveys and tried a few more poems. Actually, as I write this, I suddenly recall that the confounded school programmer finally figured out a fix for his mistake, shuttered the class, and rolled the roster into some other graduation requirement. That’s probably why I can’t remember: because it’s not a story with a real ending.

But maybe it ends right here, in writing this.

The purpose of the experiment was to see if I could teach some students how to write, to figure out how one could possibly accomplish such a thing. I know some of those snot-nosed freshmen, more than a decade later, and they’ve grown into fine adults who have gone on to use their imaginations to great effect in their careers. I’ve seen them tell their stories on social media, expressing the inexpressible, and I kind of like to think that maybe I played a part in showing them they could.

Joseph Asphahani is an avid video-gamer, effective high school teacher, and enthusiastic candidate for whatever sort of cybernetic limb enhancement your megacorp is planning for the inexorable dystopian future. When he’s not getting hopelessly lost in simulated worlds, he’s often dreaming up worlds of his own. The Animal in Man: Violent Mind is his first novel. He resides in Chicago with his wife and two children.

S&L Podcast - #336 - Optional Excitement

We're excited for optioned TV series for Circe and Dresden Files even if they are just options. Also we brainstorm Type 3 civilizations and female gearheads.

Download directly here!


Pujashree: Circe by Madeleine Miller has been optioned for a TV series. Looks like Real Housewives of the Aegean is a go.

Eric: Mistborn Era 2 novel "The Lost Metal" is getting delayed in favor of finishing Skyward trilogy.

Tomp: Amazon has given the green light to a series based on Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Showrunner Rafe Judkins has been tweeting teasers as he writes the scripts. Production on The Wheel of Time is expected to begin in 2019, possibly to air on Amazon in 2020.

Dara: The Dresden Files have been optioned for TV.

Joe Informatico - The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association handed out the Prix Aurora Awards “for Canadian literary and fan works that members of the CSFFA feel are exceptional” this past weekend. Our recent S&L read Jade City took Best Novel, and Fonda Lee also tied for Best YA Novel (Exo).


Time to read!

Type 1,2, or 3 Civilizations

Female gearheads?


Lovecraft Country: A Novel by Matt Ruff

Book Briefing

S&L Podcast - #335 - Do You Know the Way to Slan Jose?

Gorgeous LeGuin books, more Bobiverse! and our final take on Slan.

Download directly here.


Tom: Summerland Pinot Noir from Fiddlestix Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills

Veronica: Nothing because GERD


William: The Folio Society has released a nigh-on perfect cover for S&L-read book The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (as seen on The Verge)

Terpkristin "" Jonathan Coulton & Greg Pak wrote a book back in the day called The Princess Who Saved Herself (based on the JoCo song of the same name).

They now have a Kickstarter for a sequel, The Princess Who Saved Her Friends.

Nokomis.FL - Dennis E Taylor signs option deal for his Bobiverse series. (also he's finishing a book called "The Search for Bender")

Terpkristin - The Riftwar Saga has been optioned for TV. As we all know, this doesn't necessarily mean much, but it's a step. I love these books (at least the ones I've read...and I have to get back to that world soon!).

Tor has discovered the power of Listicles

Shad - Tor.com put out a list of the 10 best completed SF and Fantasy series. Check it out if you are looking for something good to read where you don't have to wait for the end.

AND Mark noted Tor also put out The Greatest Science Fiction Robots of All Time.

Veronica: My friend Ted Kupper (we went to elementary school together!) co-wrote a graphic novel called Let Go: "LET GO is a science fiction story about a family struggling to adapt to technological changes in the near future. Buy it and learn more at http://www.letgocomic.com.


Help me remember....

Library Extension for Chrome


Next month: Lovecraft Country: A Novel by Matt Ruff

Slan by A. E. van Vogt

Slan: Political Worldview

Slan: Do you know the way to Slan Trope-ez? (expect full spoilers)


Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons. Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks