S&L Podcast - #227 - Cherie Priest and the Caverns of Inspiration

This weekend at DragonCon 2015 in Atlanta, we had the great fortune of chatting with Cherie Priest for an hour in front a live audience of Sword & Laser enthusiasts! Listen in to hear Cherie's rise from goth to glorious, the proper way to distinguish steampunk from goth, and why Lizzie Borden is not who you thought.

Then go buy her books!
Download direct show file here.

S&L Podcast - #225 - Why You Should Welcome the Robots

We chat with J-F Dubeau, author of The Life Engineered about why we should keep calm and build more robots. Also the good news of more Game of Thrones coming to TV thrilled the live audience at Nerdtacular 2015 as did our surprise host-swap! And thanks to Matt Avery of The Tadpool for the album art inspiration, and Greg Skinner for the original photo!

Recorded before a live studio of nerds, and thanks to Jeff Cannata of We Have Concerns for joining in! Download link here.

Sandra: Game of Thrones news HBO Planning Eight seasons now, and maybe a prequel season?   
Paul:    Didn't want to start a whole thread for this but I took my wife to 
Barnes and Noble for fan girl Friday and they were giving away free 
copies of Drive...the Expanse prequel short story to advertise the 
upcoming TV show. If your interested its worth it to add to your collection check if they have it at your local store.
J-F Dubeau author of Life Engineered      
Next Month: Uprooted by Naomi Novik    
Uprooted by Naomi Novik official site

S&L Podcast - #218 - Why There's No Such Thing as Writer's Block

Peter Orullian wears many hats. He is an author, musician, and has worked for many years at Microsoft on the XBox team. Today we talk about his series The Vault of Heaven, get the scoop on his all-time favorite music, and hear why Peter believes there is no such thing as writer's block.

Download direct link here!

S&L Podcast - #214 - Discworld's Inner Rage

Rucksack Universe Author and Pratchett Enthusiast, Anthony St. Clair joins us to wrap up our reading of Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters. Is Granny Weatherwax a conduit for Pratchett's righteous anger? Does Tom live next to Nanny Ogg? All these mysteries and more revealed.

Download directly here!

Tom: The Dalmore 12 year old    
Veronica: Bulleit Bourbon   
Anthony: A delicious coffee stout of some description.
Joanna:  It looks like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is going to come out soon. 7-part miniseries     

Clyde: A passage which was cut from A Wrinkle in Time has been found by Madeleine L'Engle's granddaughter and published by the Wall Street Journal.    
Tamahome: Don't know if you covered the Arthur C. Clarke award nominees. It's a juried award, different from the Hugo's, and different from Arthur C. Clarke novels as well.    
Dara: Gollancz acquires sequel to Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s A Meeting with Medusa, written by Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter
Dara: Cover reveal for Charlie Jane Anders's debut novel All the Birds in the Sky was posted on Tor. Coming Feb. 2, 2016
Sky: Mark Lawrence (Empire of Thorns, Red Queen's War) has a new 3 book deal from Harper Collins for "Red Sister", this one featuring a female protagonist.
Hi Tom and Veronica,    
Just wanted to drop a note quick and say that Tom I immediately thought oh man this is like Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy for fantasy too as I got into this book. It really has that same vibe and I also had no idea Pratchett's work was like that. Fun stuff.    
Also I am listening to the audio version and it appears to be an older recording so I could see why that has put some off but I am kind of enjoying the old school vibe.    
Drew R.
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett   
Study guide
io9 Guide to Discworld    
Next month: Sword of Rhiannon by Leigh Brackett - discussion on how to obtain it in Goodreads.   
Used copies    
EBook (Under the name Sea-Kings of Mars)    
Wikipedia article    

 Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons at patreon.com/swordandlaser 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 - #207 - Crowdfunding an Abomination with Gary Whitta!

Gary Whitta is an award-winning screenwriter who wrote The Book of Eli and worked on the first Star Wars standalone film. So when he had an idea for a dark historical fantasy story he wrote a book. Why? We ask him that, about successfully crowdfunding his novel, and much more on this episode! 

Direct download here!

Oh, and yes. We ask him about Star Wars too.

BLOG INTERVIEW: Nalo Hopkinson releases two e-books with Open Road Media

Recently we were introduced to author Nalo Hopkinson, who was kind enough to answer some questions for us here on the blog. Two of her books, The Salt Roads and short story collection Skin Folk, are being published as e-books for the first time through Open Road Media. Editor Betsy Mitchell tells us, "I had the pleasure of introducing Nalo's wondrously imaginative work to the world when her Brown Girl in the Ring won the Warner Aspect First Novel Contest. It's a delight to be able to bring out the first-ever ebook editions of The Salt Roads and Skin Folk.”

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Nalo! When did you start writing?

NH: You're most welcome. Thanks for asking me. I believe I began writing in my mid-30s. But I'd been an avid reader since I was three years old. Author Samuel R. Delany has said that one learns more about how to write by reading a lot and internalizing models for good writing. I agree. I always have a book or seven on the go. I also watch a lot of fantasy and science fiction media, and read comics, graphic novels, and literary criticism in science fiction and fantasy.

Was fantasy always a genre you were interested in writing in? Who were some early favorites for you?

NH: Yes, fantasy and science fiction about equally. Early favourites (I'm Jamaican-Canadian; I use British spelling conventions) include Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. Le Guin, Theodore Sturgeon, Terri Windling, Emma Bull.

Tell us about your book, The Salt Roads! What are some of the themes you explore? How would you classify the novel?

NH: In some ways, it's a time travel novel. It's written in four voices in three different times and locations and one timeless place. In some ways, it's the coming-of-age story of an Afro-Caribbean goddess. An exploration of the challenges faced by mixed race Black women throughout history. An honouring of women and men who do sex work, whether by choice or through lack of it. A thank you to the queers and transfolk of colour who fought for freedom during Stonewall. A praise song to Black people's survival despite, oh, everything.

It's really refreshing to hear about something outside the box of typical fantasy. Do you feel like genre fiction is beginning to move away from the Eurocentric, male point of view?

NH: I don't. And it needn't. I lurves me some Neil Gaiman, some China Mieville, some Ian Macdonald. Orson Scott Card should by all means keep writing fiction about smart, misunderstood white boys. He writes them well. (Though I fervently wish he would stop writing irrational and inaccurate hate screeds against queer folk. It's both bad science and a poor way to profess love for one's neighbour.) I don't want fewer white, male voices in the genre. I do want more centrisms, greater inclusion, a larger world view. Fantasy and science fiction are full of good stories. I want more.

Another book of yours coming out on ebook via Open Road is Skin Folk. What are some of your personal favorite short stories from this collection?

NH: You know how many parents don't like to tell you which is their favourite amongst their children? That's how I feel about my stories.

Hah, fair enough! What are you working on these days?

NH: Working on a new novel that my agent is currently shopping around. Collaborating on a short story with Nisi Shawl. If all goes well, it'll appear in a tribute anthology for Samuel R. Delany. Making Black mermaids, boudoir and fantasy dolls in various media: stuffed and painted fabric; plaster; and fabric design. Trying to perfect my skills at macaron-making and baking gluten-free bread. Teaching Creative Writing at the University of California Riverside, which has perhaps the most lovable student body in the world.

Where can people follow you online?

NH: I'm most frequently on Twitter, where my handle is nalo_hopkinson. My website is nalohopkinson.com.

S&L Podcast - #205 - Brian McClellan Grows His Own Spaghetti Sauce

When you rule the world of powder mages you can do what you want. Brian McClellan wields his powder for good. In addition to delivering us the complete Powder Mage trilogy with the third book The Autumn Republic, Brian is going to bring us a second trilogy in the same universe, all while growing his own spaghetti sauce and keeping bees. Impressive. Most impressive.

Download direct link!

S&L Podcast - #203 - Myke Cole's Secret Unicorn

We welcome back the amazing Myke Cole to talk about how he finds time to write great books, fight crime, and decorate his apartment with even more books. We also pressure him into a startling revelation about unicorns. And of course, talk to him about his new book, Gemini Cell: A Shadow Ops Novel which is out now!

Download direct here!

S&L Podcast - #201 - Don't Fear the Roomba?

Author and robotics engineer Daniel H. Wilson chats with us about his new story/app called Mayday: Deep Space about a person trapped on a ship full of monsters. Only you can help him survive! But of course we have to ask Daniel when the robots will rise up and kill us all. 

Download direct link here!

S&L Podcast - #192 - Sexual Experiences with Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett joins us on the show this week to talk about his new book, City of Stairs!

Download link here, or watch the video!

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem—and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

We also take questions from you, the audience, and ask him what the heck was going on with the video below:

S&L Podcast - #188 - It's a Dragon Con Plex

We talk with Naomi Novik, fanfic writer, Ruby on Rails coder and author of the Temeraire series, from DragonCon 2014 in Atlanta! Then, we wrap up Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

Download link here!

Tom: Dos Perros     
Veronica: Blackstone Pumpkin Ale    
Naomi: Hap and Harry's Original Tennessee Ale    
Thanks to Les for bringing us the beer!    

Blood of Tyrants came out in mass market paperback July 29 and look for Uprooted coming June 30, 2015.


We time travel and wrap up The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Next time we'll kick off Stories of Your Life and others by Ted Chiang

And check out our new STORE!

S&L Podcast - #187 - How to Win a Hugo

We congratulate all the winners of the Hugos and chat with Aidan Moher about how he took home the best fanzine Hugo for A Dribble of Ink. Veronica milks him for info on how to win, and then we learn a way you can help more people become better writers and win more Hugos!

Download direct link here!


Tom: Third Shift Amber Lager
Veronica: Hell or High Watermelon


Louie: Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice (Orbit) took the top prize of Best Novel. No surprise there. I believe Veronica called this result, months ago. What do you think about the other winners? How many of the nominees have you read?

Best Related Work: We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink) and Best Fanzine: A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher

Alain: The class of 2012 Clarion writers work shop is raising money for the non-profit Clarion Foundation.  The Clarion workshop is a six week course/session where aspiring writers who want to write Science Fiction and Fantasy can hone and improve their craft. Many now famous writers in the field have attended here is a far from exhaustive list. Anyway the class of 2012 have put together an anthology to raise funds. It's a name your price kinda of thing for .99 cents upwards. Luke R. Pebler who appears in the S&L anthology has a story in here as well as 16 other writers. A very cheap way to check out some up and coming writers.

Paul: July is biggest comic month in history making $53 million and the number one selling comic? Rocket Racoon #1. Rack up another one for the "Unknown Property" of Guardians of the Galaxy. P.S. Groot debuted in November 1960 in Tales to Astonish #13. Years Before Spider-Man, The X-Men or every one of the Avengers except for the original Captain America series (March 1941). Just For Posterity Ronan The Accuser (August 1967). The Original far future Guardians of the Galaxy which was a completely different team (January 1969). Adam Warlock (The already announced GotG 2? :) (April 1972) Drax (1973) Gamora (1975) Star Lord and Rocket Racoon both (1976)

terpkristin: Jennifer Lee, who co-wrote Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen, has been tapped to work on the screenplay for a live-action version of A Wrinkle in Time. I loved loved loved loved this book when I was a kid and am cautiously optimistic about this project...

George R.R. Martin Says Game of Thrones Readers Have Already Predicted the Series Ending

Syfy's Childhood's End Adaptation Gets Closer and Closer to Happening


Lindsay writes: Prior to reading The Name of the Wind, I read: Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis: Picked it up after listening to an interview with the author on the Skiffy and Fanty show and it was excellent YA Fantasy. Every time the main character blinks his perspective switches to a girl in a secondary fantasy world.

August 26 - The Broken Eye (Lightbringer) by Brent Weeks and Echopraxia by Peter watts (continuing on from Blindsight) Lock in by John Scalzi

September 2 - Sleeping Late on Judgement Day (Bobby Dollar) by Tad Williams

Find more upcoming releases at swordandlaser.com/calendar


SFF Art for framing?

Finally got my @swordandlaser Anthology! Love the dedication. #swordandlaser #book #anthology #scifi #fantasy http://t.co/9rOcCHVKVN

Sword and Laser do #LonCon3 ! @swordandlaser http://t.co/ahzB5y3SXf

@swordandlaser Just got this. Looks like a fantastic lineup. http://t.co/V2Bg71q3qJ


Next Month's book pick! Stories of Your Life and others by Ted Chiang

This month's Pick:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The always important casting thread

Theories from: The Re-Readers' Thread posted by Jack


Sign up for the newsletter to enter to win a copy of Half a King by Joe Abercrombie! See form on the right-hand nav on the website here!

S&L Podcast - #182 - Ken Liu Translates Success

Ken Liu's short story "The Paper Menagerie" swept the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards. His short story, "Mono no aware" won the 2013 Hugo, and his novella "The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary" was also nominated for a Hugo. We caught up with him at this year's Nebula awards and asked him if he takes writing-enhancement supplements.

Download direct here!