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.

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

S&L Podcast - #334 - Is it a Slan Dunk?

We’re excited for TV with Henry Cavill as Geralt, and maybe even some Witchlands! Plus our initial non-spoilery impressions of this month’s book, Slan.

Download directly here!


Any news or announcementsAmy: Susan Dennard’s Witchlands series is coming to TV! It’s been optioned by the Jim Henson company. This is IMO a very underrated series. Book one was good and two was fantastic, with an excellent magic system I can’t wait to see portrayed in a visual medium.

Kelli: Henry Cavill to Star in The Witcher Fantasy Novel Adaptation at Netflix (as Geralt)
...yes, please. I can get behind this casting!! [[[Tom adds:: Production will start October 18 andThe show will now likely premiere in late 2019 instead of 2020. ]]]

Mark: Here's an unfamiliar, but interesting award. The Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award was founded in 2001 to draw attention to unjustly forgotten SF authors.


Feedback from the audienceWhat other fantasy books have this trope?

Stormlight Archive Soundtrack Project


Slan by A. E. van Vogt

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

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 - #332 - Losers and Lovin' It

We lost the Hugos and it was AWESOME!  Plus we have great news about a new novel coming from Rivers Solomon, and a new ebookstore from Wal-Mart. Plus we kick off Slan by A. E. van Vogt and our final thoughts on Jade City.

Download directly here.
Tom: Nothing    
Veronica: La Croix MANGOOO    

Silvana: Hugo winners: Next year for S&L!  
Joe: Rivers Solomon (author of the brutally awesome An Unkindness of Ghosts), a finalist for the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer, will be writing a novel inspired by / based on Clipping's Hugo Award nominated song "The Deep".  The novel will be out June 2019. This will be a major, major book for the year.

Mark: Walmart has opened an ebook/audiobook storefront (including audiobook subscription). Service is linked with the Kobo ecosystem. US only for now. Audiobook subscription option provides one audiobook per month for $9.99. Free 30-day trial for the subscription. First-time customers signing up get $10 off their first eBook or audiobook purchase. 
Mark: Random Penguins is reissuing books that were adapted as movies. Vintage Movie Classics spotlights classic films that have stood the test of time, now rediscovered through the publication of the novels on which they were based.

One of the first titles in the series is Logan's Run by William F. Nolan. So far its the only SF&F title but there are many classic SF&F films based on books, so probably more to come.
Mark: Another digital doomsday article. Are we skimming our way to idiocracy? Soon to be followed by a doomsday article about all the S&L 2.5x audiobook speed readers ;-) 
Louie:  Tiamat's Wrath, Book 8 of The Expanse delayed to March 2019. "We know that you have been looking forward to TIAMAT’S WRATH this December. But because we are now entering the home stretch of this amazing series and we all want to make sure we get it right, we have asked the authors to give our editorial and sales teams some extra time to prepare for the launch."    
Nokomis.FL: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: 17,500 Entries on All Things Sci-Fi Are Now Free Online.
Two new S&L book reviews in 280 characters from Beth Meachum:    

CIRCE, Madeline Miller. This @swordandlaser #book had a great feel of Ancient Greece and also an engaging character arc from wishful passivity to dynamic strength. The ending with the tough women swapping kids worked really well - letting go is hard. 

MORTAL ENGINES, Philip Reeve. In my youth I appreciated how everyone in a Reeve #book faces jeopardy, even kids, pets, MC’s. In my feeble middle age it hits me in the feels. Good pick, @swordandlaser I am now ready for the movie. (Was the scar in the preview? I missed it.) 
Lovecraft: The good, the bad, and the sometimes really awesome!
SFWA Grand Masters and S&L

Kick Off    
Slan by A. E. van Vogt    
Book Briefing
Jade City by Fonda Lee
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 - #331 - Where Have All the Good Guys Gone?

SFF readers have more mature relationship views. It's science. And hey! We're still Hugo-nominated! Will we stay that way or become winners? Who can say? But we have other things to say, like what we think of Jade City by Fonda Lee.

Download directly here!
Tom: Templeton Rye    
Veronica: WATERLOOOOO    
Worldcon meetup at 2 PM Sunday in front of hall 1
Mark: Text-based live coverage of the 2018 Hugo Awards Sunday Aug 19 8:00 PM PDT (UTC-7) will be available at. If you have good bandwidth, details about live-streaming coverage will be available at the Worldcon76 website.    
Dara: New research suggests SFF readers make good romantic partners. Apparently SFF readers "have more mature beliefs about romantic relationships than readers who gravitate toward suspense, romance, or even highbrow literature."

Only 404 adults were surveyed so take of this what you will. 

Trike: Statistical correlation not found.
Dara: AMC is developing an animated series called Pantheon based on the short stories of Ken Liu. Craig Silverstein, who created and produced AMC’s American revolution drama Turn, will serve as showrunner, producer, and writer. The network has a writer's room turning out a a whole season of scripts before deciding to green light or not.
Tomp: Rafe Judkins who is the screenwriter for the (possible) Wheel of Time series on Amazon Prime has posted images of the front pages of the first two scripts on twitter.  So far it has been posted on Mondays but they will shift it to Wednesdays. The first script is not under this hashtag but can be found on Rafe's twitter history.    
Dara: New “Deleted” Wheel of Time Novella to Appear in Unfettered III in 2019 written by Brandon Sanderson, this story was apparently on the cutting room floor for A Memory of Light.    
Dara: Announcing Three New Novels From Annalee Newitz. The link has details for 2 of the 3. I'm on board for all 3. Autonomous is excellent. 
Frankenstein-related news and creations,
Favorite Book Loglines

Jade City by Fonda Lee!
Book Briefing
JC: Where are the good guys?
JC: Inspirational Viewing
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 - #330 - Best Jade Plans

The Tor vs. Library saga continues, we're pumped for the World Fantasy Award nominees, and the serendipity of reading a book about the place you are at while you're reading it. Trust us. It will make sense in the show.    

Download directly here!
Tom: Strongbow Gold Apple Cider
Veronica: Una Lou Rosé
UPDATE via Joe Informatico: Following reports that Tor Books, a division of Macmillan publishers, was scaling back library access to it's frontlist e-books, the American Library Association, and the Canadian Urban Library Council have both issued public statements protesting the move.
Iain: Just out: 2001: An Odyssey in Words: Celebrating the Centenary of Arthur C. Clarke's Birth where a bunch of great writers celebrate by writing SF stories that are exactly 2001 words long. Enjoy.
David: 2018 World Fantasy Award finalists announced--awards to be given at Baltimore in November. I hope to see some of you there since I'm going!"    
Dara: The final season of Game of Thrones will premiere in the first half of 2019.
ATalkingDogMovie: Charlie Jane Anders posted cover art and a blurb for a new SFF book "The City in the Middle of the Night" to be released February, 2019.
Dara: Altered Carbon was renewed for season 2 with Anthony Mackie in the lead role as Takeshi Kovacs.
Scott: Hugh Howey's WOOL is getting a new adaptation - 20th Century Fox had previously acquired the movie rights to “Wool,” with Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian attached as producers.(apparently that didn't get off the ground, bummer)

Now: LaToya Morgan will executive produce the project in addition to writing the pilot. Howey is also attached as a producer. Morgan, who is currently under an overall deal with AMC, is no stranger to the dystopian genre. She currently serves as writer and co-executive producer on AMC’s “Into the Badlands.” She previously worked as a co-executive producer and writer on AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies.” Her other television credits include “Shameless” and “Parenthood.”
"Hi Guys

I’m writing in support of double speed.

I subscribe to 110 podcasts. I listen to almost everything between 2x and 3x. Pocket casts also strips out silence for me.

You get used to it. Sometimes I have to slow down foreign accents. There are two comedy podcasts that I listen to at 1x because otherwise it ruins the timing.

This allows me to squeeze in over 5 hours of podcasts per day. I also subscribe to quite a few YouTube channels which also must be watched at double speed.



"i hope #jadecity is a good book as @AmazonUK seems to have sold out of #paperback since you chose it as book of the month" @bomwan
Another Twitter book review from Beth Mitcham: "NIGHT’S MASTER, Tanith Lee. I suspect @swordandlaser is getting more followers at @KCLS because it is taking me longer to get their picks. Good thing podcasts wait for me. This was a hazy, lyrical dream of a #book but with a lot of depressing sexism."
Reading Where it Happens 
Kick Off Jade City by Fonda Lee!
Book Briefing

S&L Podcast - #329 - Mad Love for Dog

We're excited about new monsters and solarpunk but mostly we're excited about Mortal Engines! Except for all the murder.

Download directly here!
Tom: Coke Zero    
Veronica: Watermelon Sparkling Water    
What Else Are We Reading?    
Tom: The Armored Saint by Myke Cole    
Veronica: European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #2) 
William: S&L readers may be interested to know that Theodora Goss has released Book 2 of the Athena Club called European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman which is the sequel to the S&L picked The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter. (Out as of July 10)

 European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #2) by Theodora Goss

It picks up exactly where the last one finished (I've got my copy already). 
Nokomis.FL-  Galaxy Magazine now available on Archive.org   
Mark: Fonda Lee sent out her newsletter today with a link to an excerpt of Jade War, the followup to Jade City. You can subscribe to her newsletter at her website     
Shad: Looks like Tor is starting to delay making new releases available to libraries through Overdrive for 4 months.
Dara: Announcing a Pair of Solarpunk Novellas from Becky Chambers via Tor.com. No idea what solarpunk is but I'm interested. Becky Chambers is dope.
I listened to the joint @swordandlaser @ReadingGPodcast last week. I'm still entertained by the answer to the question of how to privately rate and review books: Don't use an online service! It's one of those super simple kind of answers that is easy to look past. - @scottpantall    
If I had more time to read this is what my TBR would be every month: -1 Shakespeare play - a classic novel -a Non-fiction -a @vaginalfantasy pick -a @swordandlaser pick And if I had more time, I’d read a random one I’m in the mood for. - Priscilla Basilio
Is 2001 A Space Oddysey appropriate for my 11 year old?
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Book Briefing    
Clio isn't named after Miss Cleo ;-) - Tassie Dave   
ME: Favourite character(s)    
ME: Hunting Ground
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

Reading Glasses/S&L Podcast - #328 - SUPERCOMBO TEAMUP!

We team up with Mallory and Brea from Reading Glasses for a supercollaboration with reading advice, emails, and discussion of Mortal Engines.    

Download directly here!
Tom: Templeton Rye "The Good Stuff"    
How to Change your Mind

What we will be drinking in October thanks to a tip-off from Mark    
Nokomis.FL, Phil, Tassie Dave, Trike, Richard and Ed: Harlan Ellison dies at 84

He was a multiple award winner SF writer best known for his short stories.
Mark: 2018 Locus Award winners have been announced. Here's a list posted at Tor.com
Mark: Author Richard Kadrey has a demented and entertaining new project going called Pulp Sabotage: Ruining your memories, one book at a time. He's modifying and repurposing old book covers, because why not?   
Terpkristin: More on Cockygate, including this gem of a court exchange.

THE COURT: You present in your papers about a dozen instances of prior use of ""Cocky"" in a title: Bite Me Cocky; A Little Bit Cocky; The Cocky Cowboy; Cocky Balls Boa, described as an erotic parody; Cocky Cowboys; Cocky SWATS; Cocky: A Stepbrother Romance; Cocky: A Cowboy Stepbrother Romance; and so on.

MR. REUBER: Your Honor, if I may?

THE COURT: No. You are out of the case.

MR. REUBER: I understand, your Honor. But I penned the brief, and there is an error that my client alerted me to this morning in the brief. Specifically, it is first one you just read, Bite Me Cocky, published in 2012. He has learned that that title may have changed as a result of the Cockygate sort of disputes. It might have been originally published as Bite Me and not Bite Me Cocky. I just wanted to point that out.

THE COURT: Originally Bite Me, then it became Bite Me Cocky?

MR. REUBER: Yes, your Honor. That was our understanding.

THE COURT: What is the explanation for the change?

MR. REUBER: As a protest, effectively. That is our best guess.

THE COURT: In response to the protest, he added the word ""Cocky""?

MR. REUBER: In response to Cockygate registrations, yes, we believe the author added the word ""Cocky"" as a protest. That is pure supposition on our part, your Honor. We have only been doing this for about 48 hours. "l
Reading Glasses READER ADVICE    
So now it's time to solve a bookish problem from one of our listeners....    
This afternoon I was looking back through my Goodreads and while a small handful of books I've enjoyed in the past few years really jumped out at me, there were so many I barely remember at all.    
I do give star ratings on Goodreads but don't write reviews. Can you think of ways to better remember the books you've read, other than writing a review?    
BARE YOUR SWORD/Reading Glasses Email
From Stev BSwitch: For the first time, I'll actually be reading along with @swordandlaser for their book of the month. I've never once read along with them - usually listening along for industry news and ideas for what/who to read next. This is the first time I'll be right there with them!    


I wanted to let you know you weren't alone in loving the Danny Dunn books as a kid. They helped reinforce my love of science and math. A series that took it's place when I got a little older was the Rick Brant Science Adventure series, kind of Hardy boys but with science.
I was looking at my pile of Dunn books and noticed I have some duplicates. If you are interested, I would be happy to pass them on to you.
Thank you both for this show and others that you do.
I'm a patron of S&L and DTNS.

I listen to podcasts at 1.5 speed, going any faster would require me to pay too much attention.

Kent Archie

Irina on S&L Podcast - #327 - Real Housewives of the Aegean:

Have you guys read Lavinia by Ursula LeGuin which re imagines the Aenied from the perspective of Lavinia the daughter? A short and smooth read that draws on the imagination. Your conversation about the gods in "Circe" resonated with some similarities on their standing in this book.

Colleen wrote in about nerdy injuries! Hey ladies - loved this week’s episode. Had to write in for two reasons.
Brea - I’ve had distance glasses since I was 8 and needed reading glasses since 25. So no shame in needing reading glasses at 36!

Mallory - I may have you beat on nerdy injuries. In high school, I was on our Reach for the Top team (I think they call it Academic Bowl or Quiz Bowl or something in the US?) We were out at a tournament and I started getting pain in the hand I used to ring the buzzer - I had developed tendonitis in my wrist from the buzzing movement. When we got back to the school after the tournament, I got sent to the gym to get my wrist wrapped and I went down in school history as the first academic injury.
Keep up the awesome work ladies, it’s always a pleasure to listen to you (on 1.4 speed!)

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Book Briefing

Sword and Laser 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
Review both shows on iTunes!    
You can also support Sword and Laser by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks