July Book Pick: Because you are so awesome

Wow. That was a more exciting election since Iran's last week. We even got insinuations of voter fraud! We've made it!

So right down to the wire Larry Niven's Ringworld just barely edged out John Scalzi's Redshirts.

Neither is a perfect choice for everyone. We've done Mr. Scalzi's books as a main pick recently and as an alternate book previously so he's had lots of coverage. on the other hand there does not seem to be a legit ebook of Ringwolrd (there are print copies and audio copies) which is a deal killer for some.

So here's what the electoral commission has decided. Ringworld got the most votes. It's our pick for July. But for the first time since before we went to a strict monthly schedule, we will have an OFFICIAL alternate pick. The votes were just too damn close.

So get out there and read whichever one you like. I'll be diving into both and I know Veronica already has read Redshirts.

And remember no book pick is ever going to please everyone in this club. It's not meant to. It's meant to expose you to books you might not pick up otherwise. And if you're grumbling about not having an ebook, remember the people who often grumble that the book is not in the library and they don't have ereaders. We're all in this together.

Now go enjoy some reading!

*In absence of Veronica who is on vacation electroal commission consisted of Tom and his two dogs. 


Season One of S&L Video coming to an end!

The S&L studio team does jazz hands.

The S&L studio team does jazz hands.

As many of you may know from the most recent audio podcast, the video edition of S&L is coming to an end (for now). Huge thanks to Geek & Sundry for making the whole thing possible, for our friends at Pixel Corps for the production and post-production services (and for being awesome in general), and to Fonco Creative for bringing our set (and Lem) to life!

Tom and I are looking into new ways to keep the show alive going forward, so don't fret! We have our hands full right now will getting the anthology off the ground, but we promise you we're working on it.

Episodes of the video show will continue through the end of March, and you can always keep up with the book club on Goodreads and the audio podcast!

Thanks for watching!

The Sword & Laser Anthology

We've been talking about it for years, but now it's actually going to be a real thing! That's right, we're officially announcing the Sword & Laser Anthology!

We'll be starting open submissions in March, but here's what you need to know:

1. We're looking for unpublished, new material.

2. Genres: science fiction, fantasy, and everything in between.

3. Word count preferably between 1500-7500 (though more or less will not disqualify you).

DON'T SEND US ANYTHING YET! We won't even LOOK at it until we announce the open call. Just start thinking about what you'd like to submit. We wanted to give you some warning, but you'll have time, we promise!


Come meet Tom and Veronica at Comic-Con!

Hey all, we're a comin' to San Diego for Comic-Con, and we know a few of you are too, so why not come out and say hey.  We might give you a t-shirt, and we're certain to give you a bookmark, a smile and a hearty hello!
Here's where we'll be in San Diego and when:

THURSDAY  July 12 (all times Pacific)
3 PM Sword and Laser meet and greet at Belo, 919 4th Avenue, San Diego.
9 PM Geek and Sundry Disco Dance Party, also at Belo. (More details on all Geek and Sundry events!)

FRIDAY July 13 (all Times, spooooky , also, still Pacific)
1 PM Sword and Laser Q&A at the YouTube stage. 325 7th Avenue, San Diego. Come ask us things!

The S&L Wiki is now live!


Good news, everyone! The Sword and Laser Wiki is live!

As with most wikis, this is open for anyone to edit, and a lot of work has already been done on the book list and glossary page, but chime in if there's anything else you'd like to add!

Also, did you see the amazing art Scott Johnson made for us for Nerdtacular '12? He's the best, as we'll be there recording a live audio show!


S&L Video - #01 - We Kick-off The Magicians!

It's here, it's really here! After months of hard work (and dealing with dragon negotiations) we've finally launched the video show! Check it out below:

Huge thanks to Scott Sigler for being on the first episode, and hopefully many of you have already started reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Show Notes:



S&L Podcast - #95 - Have You Seen This Direwolf?

We're all giddy about our new video show at Geek and Sundry, but we promise there's more to the episode than just that.  Though if you have questions about what the video show means, hopefully loads of them are answered right off the top of the show. We also dig into Lies of Locke Lamora (though we don't wrap it up quite yet) and help save SciFi. Literally.


Tom: 2008 Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon Vintners Blend 

Veronica: 2005 Phenom Merlot 


That online book club you like is adding a YouTube show to it's lineup

Sword & Laser coming to video

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi has a free Kindle preview up 

Have you seen this Direwolf? Arya Stark’s Lost Dog Poster 

Singularity & Co. - Save the SciFI! 



"The Magicians" discussion leader? 

Yes we know what the next book will be - and yes we know it's not a laser, but the book after that will be and we need your help picking it! 

If made into a movie, who would you cast? 

Who Scott Lynch would cast 


Finally a real Prometheus trailer and not just a teaser!

John Carter 


The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1) by Scott Lynch  

SF Signal is doing Lies of Locke Lamora too! 

The Lies of Locke Lamora > A Protagonist in Need of a Want? 

The Lies of Locke Lamora > Why isn't there a map? 


I had the honor of getting to see Tom and Veronica at the WonderCon signing this Saturday. Tom gave me a shirt and I thought it was just an XL when he gave it to me, but was elated to see it was an XXXL when I checked it later. I'm so used to free giveaways being so small on me and most people overlook us big boys. I'm a big fan of all that you and I can't thank you enough. 

Literally a Big Fan,

Mike P.


Tom and Veronica, 

I'm very excited about your video podcast, and all teh geek and sundry goodness coming. But I have one concern: Is there a 'what we're drinking' section? If there is no drinking to begin the show, it can't really be an S&L podcast, can it? 

Keep up the good work.



Aroha, Dana, Mitchbert, Christopher, Aaron, Troadon, Louann, Megan, Count, Zach, Jason, Leesa, Ivy, Tyson, John, Brandi, Caroline, Steven, Lily, Adam, John, Craig, Chris, Jamie, Mae, Alan, Robby, Casey, Brendan


This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Best Sellers.

For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook, to give you a chance to try out their service.
For a free audiobook of your choice go to audiblepodcast.com/sword


S&L Podcast - #95 - Have You Seen This Direwolf?

We need help!!!

Hey folks! 

So Tom and I are looking for someone in the community to lend a helping hand around the farm. We'd like to hire (YES, HIRE) a production assistant to help us with guest booking, asset gathering, event coordination, and other tasks. 

We need someone who is extremely detail oriented, available around eight hours a week, and obviously has a love of science fiction and fantasy! 

You don't need to be local to SF, though it would be easier if you were in a timezone that lent itself well to collaboration. 

Please email us at feedback@swordandlaser.com with the subject line "Production assistant." This will be a paying gig, though we cannot shower you in gold (sorry). 

Serious inquiries only, and don't fret if we don't get back to you immediately! 


The IRC channel is up!

As promised in the most recent podcast, our good friend Ryan (a.k.a. TuxOtaku) has set up a Sword and Laser IRC channel! Here are the details: Server: irc.revision3.com Room: #swordandlaser We'll be doing some scheduled chats soon, but otherwise feel free to pop in and say hello from time to time! Just be mindful of spoilers (in fact, let's keep current book discussion to a minimum unless otherwise noted).
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#014 - S&L Podcast: Not a "Dick" Move

Tom has picked our next book! It is Memoirs Found in a Bathtub by Stanislaw Lem. Here's a bit of a summary:
Set in the distant future, Memoirs Found in a Bathtub is the horrifying first-hand account of a bureaucratic agent trapped deep within the subterranean bowels of a vast underground military complex. In a Kafkaesque maelstrom of terrifying confusion and utter insanity, this man must attempt to follow his mission directives of conducting an "on-the-spot investigation. Verify. Search. Destroy. Incite. Inform. Over and out. On the nth day nth hour sector n subsector n rendezvous with N."
[display_podcast] But we have more than just that to talk about this week! Tom and I have also been reading Pattern Recognition and Spook Country, both by former S&L author William Gibson. Have you read either of them? What are your thoughts? And we have sad news... author Michael Crichton has passed away. Join the discussion on the forums about his life and works. ______ Check out Audible! Journey to a world beyond words with Audible Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Check out Audible for exclusive access to your favorite sci-fi and fantasy authors and exclusive commentary.  In addition, the new imprint, Audible Frontiers features new and sometimes previously unavailable audio books made available for the first time in audio.  Click here for a free trial offer and get your first audio book free.
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Free METAtropolis story from Audible

While they aren't a sponsor, Audible.com has been kind enough to treat Sword and Laser fans to a free download of the first story from their new Metatropolis series. So we said, why not?! METAtropolis is an interesting project. It's an original audiobook, meaning there's no print version. The stories are published directly to audio. The first story is entitled “In the Forest of the Night” written by Jay Lake (author of “Mindspring“) and features the voice of Michael Hogan better known to many of you as Colonel Tigh from Battlestar Galatica. The complete audio book, featuring five unabridged novellas will be released on Oct. 21, 2008. Go here to download the first story of the audio book. No credit card required, though you will have to create an account. Hey they wanna get something out of you for free. Don't feel like registering for an account? No problem. Audible's also throwing in a free sample of another story from METAtropolis called “To Hie From Far Cienia” by Karl Schroder (read by Stefan Rudnicki). This isn't the whole story, but there's nothing required except to click to download. Download sample of "To Hie from far Ciena" Let us know what you think of the series, and the idea of free stuff like this in the comments!
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#012 - The S&L Podcast: Biggest book pick ever!

Welcome back everyone! So, I'm still trying to figure out why my audio sounds like crap, while Tom sounds great. It's especially grating since, you know, I'm supposed to be an audio producer and all. How embarrassing! We'll work it out soon, I promise. Anyhow, here's the show: [display_podcast] Book #8 is going to be Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. The two interesting things about this book are that a) it's super long and b) it's only available in hardcover and Kindle versions. We're also going to give everyone some more time than usual to get through this 900-someodd page book. CONTEST Here's the poll for the Best Closing Line Contest! Here are the choices: 1. Michael H. -- A smile crept into his eyes and with his walking stick in one hand, and the orb faintly glowing in the other, Gabriel set off across the street, scanning the horizon for traffic, and making a mental note to take better care next time he bought a tchochki from a Devonian Barkeep. 2. Michael M. -- With palpable relief Schuman slumped over the rail waiting for the pool of magma to close over the briefcase and reflected to himself that he still hadn't had a cup of coffee. 3. Shane G. -- And it came to pass in the last days of the lost colony that the swords were broken and the lasers died and the people cried out to the unhearing heavens from which they had come saying, "If any remain among the stars, for your lives, do not part the quantum jelly!" 4. Gregory F. -- After the dust had settled and the sound of battle waned, Sabrina and Julia found each other amongst the ruins.  The sisters then knew they had won, and once again evil would sleep. [poll=8] The winner gets a Logitech USB Headset! FROM THE NING GROUP

Music while reading

Frogg Lately, I have been doing a good chunk of my reading on the bus on my way to work. Whenever I leave the house, I always have my iPod on me, so I find myself listening to music while reading. Does anyone else do this, and if so, what do you listen to?

I usually shy away from anything with lyrics. It makes it hard to concentrate if I get caught up listening to the words, so most of my reading is done listening to post-rock stuff like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Esmerine, etc. Recently I have been on a William Gibson kick, and ambient electronic music such as Boards of Canada or Apparat go very well with it.
terpkristin I can't listen to music while I read, even something without lyrics. If I try, I soon find myself humming along with what I'm listening to and not paying attention to what I'm reading.
How Where Do You Like to Read

CHECK OUT AUDIBLE! Journey to a world beyond words with Audible Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Check out Audible for exclusive access to your favorite sci-fi and fantasy authors and exclusive commentary.  In addition, the new imprint, Audible Frontiers features new and sometimes previously unavailable audio books made available for the first time in audio.  Click here for a free trial offer and get your first audio book free. Stay tuned for more info on METAtropolis, from Audible! Featuring: Battlestar Galactica Cast Members: Michael Hogan Alessandro Juliani Kandyse McClure Legendary audiobook narrators: Scott Brick (Frank Herbert’s Dune) Stefan Rudnicki (Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game)
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S&L Book 7: Watership Down

Watership Down by Richard Adams is one of the first novels I remember reading (by myself, that is). I also remember being horrified, amazed, and entranced by it. It's definitely a classic, and I've always wanted to pick it up again and see how it affects me as an adult. No voting this time! In case you missed the podcast last time around, we're making it a dictatorship instead of a democracy for this cycle. If there are other books you'd rather read, please do and tell us all about them in the forums! Otherwise, I really hope you enjoy this selection. You can find it in our store, or your local library!
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S&L Book 5: Childhood's End

childhoodsendWe're back full-speed ahead into the science fiction genre with Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End. The book (as well as the other voting nominees) are now available in the S&L Store, or where ever you pick up your books! Here's a little bit of a review to whet your appetite: It sounds like a story you've heard before: great alien masters descend on Earth and take control of the world, ushering in a golden age that may be cleverly disguised creative slavery. But Clarke's legendary novel (equal to Rendezvous with Rama and 2001: A Space Odyssey in fame) isn't about a human rebellion against alien overlords, but the evolution of humanity into its next stage, and the ultimate dwarfing power of the unknowable order of the cosmos. I'm really looking forward to this one! Join the discussion group here. We'll be releasing another podcast episode in the next couple of days, intro-ing the book and discussing some other the themes (among other topics, of course). If you have anything you'd like us to talk about, email your suggestions to theswordandlaser [at] gmail [dot] com.
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Fantasy options?

Since we're just about through with our most recent sci-fi book (Ender's Game) it's time to start choosing what our next fantasy novel will be! Tom has started a forum thread (DO NOT leave suggestions in the comments here... I won't count them) where you can name some books you'd like us to read. On a totally personal note, I'd like to read something I've never read before (Golden Compass and Ender's Game were both old favorites of mine), so that's the only prerequisite for this voting cycle. I'll let you know in the thread if I've read your choice! -V
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