S&L Podcast - #189 - Literary Virginity, Literally

We dig into the first four stories from Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others, and boy do we learn a lot about ourselves and others. Plus you'll want to take your vitamins since Margaret Atwood's latest novel won't be available to read for 100 years and we explore the idea of regaining your literary virginity.

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WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?    

Tom: Lipton Diet Citrus Green Tea    
Veronica: B12 in water    
    
QUICK BURNS   
    
From Sandra: Legendary TV has acquired the rights to John Scalzi’s novel “Lock In” to adapt into a pilot for a potential series.

Legendary TV Buys John Scalzi Novel ‘Lock In’
    
From Joe Informatico: The Man in the High Castle TV series has cast its lead actress. Alexa Davalos, of Angel and Chronicles of Riddick fame, will play Juliana.     
    
Also from Sandra the newshound! - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s 1990 novel Good Omens is to be adapted for Radio 4 by Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy director Dirk Maggs.    
    
Margaret Atwood is writing a new book, but you won't be able to read it this century. She will be storing her next novel for 100 years in a library in Norway as part of a project organized by Scottish artist Katie Paterson.    
    
PICKS    
    
For the next six weeks we'll be highlighting picks from supporters of our Kickstarter. Look for threads to be posted in the Goodreads Group once every two weeks. We'll collect your thoughts and comments on the books then toss one around on each show until we've covered all six. These aren't official book club picks, just a way to expose folks to a few more options for things to read. We'd especially love to hear from folks who've already read these!    
Our first pick comes from Jonathan Strickland. Post your thoughts to the thread and we'll discuss more about them next time    
Book Discussion: ShadowShow by Brad Strickland    

BARE YOUR SWORD
    
What do you want to see in the store?! Also, we have a store!    
    
Litterarius Virginitas – what?    
    
For the love of Stanislaw Lem    

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Hey guys! I'm a fan of your work and I recently subscribed to the podcast. I was wondering if you have already read ""The Commonwealth Saga"" by Peter F. Hamilton. I found it to be a great read (or listen, since I consumed it through Audible).

The whole universe it portrays is fascinating and I found myself devouring all 5 books as fast as I could. The last three books ("The Void Trilogy") combine sci-fi and fantasy in a great way and I think you will enjoy it.

Thanks and keep up what you're doing with S&L and your other projects because they are great.    

Rodrigo

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I'm writing to plug an anthology that I helped put together along with the rest of my Clarion Workshop class (UCSD 2012). We released it yesterday, we worked hard on it, and we're proud of it. It has 17 stories, one from nearly every person in my class, and they run the gamut from dark to light, satire to serious, sf to horror to fantasy. Several of the authors are award-winners, including Sam J. Miller, who won this year's Shirley Jackson Award for his story ""57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides."" Our Week 1 teacher Jeffrey Ford graciously provided the foreword.

It's a diverse tome that was more than a little inspired by the success you guys had with the S&L Antho. We're trying to do our own little Humble-Bundle-style, pay-as-you-can thing with this. 100% of the net proceeds are going to the Clarion Foundation to support future workshops. There's more info at http://awkwardrobots.org

Luke Pebler   

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BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION    
For next month: Veronica started a thread to brainstorm    
    
Stories of Your Life and others by Ted Chiang    

    

A Steampunky Giveaway!

Want a signed copy of The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato? We've got three to give away! All you have to do is be a member of the Info Beam. Sign up below by Friday, Sept 12th to be entered to win! 

The Clockwork Dagger is the story of a gifted young healer, Octavia Leander, who sets off on her first mission. Her goal is to get to a plague-ridden village and help the people there, but a series of strange occurrences—including murder—rock the airship she is traveling on. The dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Dagger assassins, her cabin-mate hides secrets (and an alarming penchant for writing pulp novels), and Octavia is beginning to discover that her magical gift for healing may be even more powerful than anyone thought. In short, this airship voyage is much  more eventful than Octavia expected, and she’s stumbled into the midst of a conspiracy that may reach the crown itself.

The Info Beam
The S&L Newsletter 

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!


WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?    
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.

ADDENDUMS

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!


See Sword and Laser Live This Saturday!!

If you're in Atlanta this weekend and headed to DragonCon you MUST join us in the Crystal Ballroom of the Hilton at 2:00 PM (Eastern) on Saturday afternoon August 30th. Why?

BECAUSE we're doing a live Sword and Laser episode and interviewing the incomparable Naomi Novik! You cannot miss it. So DON'T!  See you there.  

Time: Sat Aug. 30, 02:30 pm Location: Crystal Ballroom – Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)

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!

WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?

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

QUICK BURNS

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

PICKS

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

BARE YOUR SWORD

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

BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION

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

ADDENDUMS

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!

Have a free story from the Anthology!

The Sword and Laser newsletter is our way of reaching out directly to you and letting you know when special things are coming up. As a way of saying thanks for signing up, we're giving away stories. 

"Once upon a time there was a frog stormtrooper--"

Sorry I've been informed by Veronica that we need to give away good stories if we really want to thank people for signing up for our newsletter.

Sign up for our newsletter and receive the story  "A Night for Spirits and Snowflakes" by Aidan Moher, from the Sword and Laser Anthology! 

Update: Thanks to everyone who signed up! 

We'll be doing more giveaways on the newsletter soon. Sign up below and never miss out!


S&L Podcast - #186 - The Name of the Wind is Dave

Almost every book is becoming a TV show or movie. Also we tell you how to be a part of a living creation of Alice in Wonderland and we kick off Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind.

Download direct link here!

 

WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?    

Tom: Smithwick's Irish Ale
Veronica: 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon
    
QUICK BURNS   

ALAIN writes: Ghost Brigades part of the John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War Series is going to air on SyFy. If they keep the tone of the novels it should be pretty cool. It's nice to see the SyFy channel air more Science Fiction and Fantasy. The irony is it took other cable channels to show them that the genre is viable if done properly. Scalzi has a self-interview about the news.

Dara: A Dragonriders of Pern movie is totally happening. Probably. Maybe.     

Michele: So this might make Tom happy, or not ;) Amazon Studios picks up The Man in the High Castle

Rob: Syfy will be adapting the magicians. That's right, not HBO, not showtime, not AMC. Syfy. Hurray? 

Nokomis.FL: Starz is previewing the first episode of Ron Moore's depiction of Diana Gabaldon's 'Outlander' on their website. You don't need to be a subscriber, but you do need to be in the US.
    
Ben: Jonathan Pryce and Alexander Siddig (among others) have been cast for Season 5 of Game of Thrones. No sign yet of Victarion Greyjoy and unfortunately it doesn't look good for fans of Arianne Martell, so let's all revisit her picture from the Fantasy Flight Games board game and pretend. 

Aubrey: There's a Kickstarter for temporary literary tattoos. "Litographs Tattoos: Wearable Tributes to Iconic Books" - I like the designs and they have a tattoo chain idea for the first 2500 pledgers to get a tattoo with a quote from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" so the whole book would be ""worn"" by all the backers. Pretty nifty idea, I think.    

Sony stops selling ereaders    
    
PICKS    

Kaleb: Deadly Class by Rick Remender has to be the most dark and twisted comic I've ever read! Anyone who reads this comment, I highly recommend you read it.
Half A King by Joe Abercrombie just arrived at my library! I'm excited to read my first book by Abercrombie. 
    
Out today August 5th! The Magician's Land: A Novel by Lev Grossman, Severed Souls by Terry Goodkind, The Widow’s House (The Dagger and the Coin) by Daniel Abraham

NEXT Week: August 12: Fool's Assassin (Realm of the Elderlings: Fitz and the Fool Trilogy) by Robin Hobb   

Find more upcoming releases at swordandlaser.com/calendar    

BARE YOUR SWORD

Alex: Dystopian for Adults?    

Thane: Author or Book-Related Dreams?    

Dave: SDCC Epic Fantasy panel: Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy    
 
BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION    
    
The Name of the Wind   by Patrick Rothfuss   

Is Kvothe a "Marty Stu"?     

FEATURED REVIEW: The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig

Welcome to our Featured Reviews! In this series, we'll be highlighting book reviews by the S&L audience. If you want to submit a review, please check out the guidelines here! -Veronica

Review by Kaleb Russell

After reading this book, I‘ve realized how amazing Chuck Wendig is. Somehow he manages to write great books and give out even greater writing advice through his blog at www.terribleminds.com, which you should definitely check out after reading this review.

Deep down, under the streets of New York City, lies the Great Below, the Descent, or the Underworld. It is a great expanse of deadly denizens, monstrous cults, and even the Gods themselves who are trapped in the eternal hell.  That is until the humans, accidentally, open the gates to hell; allowing said creatures into the infinite above to rape and kill any and all the humans who reside there; to feed on their pain and make the world for humans a living hell. And these deadly creatures don’t care if they used us up completely; they only want to cause chaos on the world above them. 

Then there is The Organization. A variety of different gangs, formed together in order to keep control of prostitution, crime, and drug trade in the city of New York. The main drug being Cerulean, otherwise known as The Blue Blazes. One of the Five Occulted Pigments originating from the Great Below; it gives the user enhanced strength and allows them to strip away the veil the monsters use to hide themselves from anyone who hunts them.  One of whom happens to be one of the strongest, most vicious thug of The Organization.

He goes by the name of Mookie Pearl. Butcher, bar owner, breaker of bones (both human and demon). Don’t let the name fool you. He’s an intimidating, hulking figure who is only good at bashing the heads of anyone who trifles with The Organization. Or his estranged daughter, Nora, who comes to Mookie telling him she plans to change the game and become the next big crime boss of New York. Right after that Mookie learns the boss of The Organization, Konrad Zoladski, has terminal lung cancer. The Boss knows he doesn’t have much time left on this earth, so he decides that his grandson, Casimir, will become his successor and take control of The Organization and all that comes with it. But Casimir is not ready and he knows it. It’s then that Casimir comes to Mookie for help. He asks Mookie to find another one of the Five Occulted pigments, a purple substance known as Death’s Head, which is said to cure any disease or even bring the user back to life. The fact that no one has even seen this Pigment makes Mookie skeptical, but when he starts searching for it he finds more than he’s looking for and chaos ensues. 

The Blue Blazes was a spectacular book. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but after I continued reading it I fell in love. The world building in the book was good. We learn the origin of the Organization, the monsters that inhabit the Great Below and the Five Occulted Pigments from Mookie as he goes around the city, searching for something that might not even exist. Most of the information is given to us through the means of a journal entry by a man named John Atticus Okes, a man who delved into the Great Below and never returned, at the beginning of every chapter. I found it helpful and felt eager to read John’s story as he slowly goes mad in the Great Below. With those we could move on in the story rather than have most of it introducing the world and more time was spent developing the characters. 

Another thing I loved about the book were the action scenes. I felt they were fast paced and well executed. It felt like I was actually there to witness the battle between Mookie and all the creatures of the night. My favorite thing about The Blue Blazes was the family dynamic between Mookie and his daughter Nora who is constantly at her dad’s throat for abandoning her and her mother. I don’t believe Nora’s character was as fleshed out as I’d liked it. She acts like a spoiled brat throughout most of the novel and even admits it from time to time. But even with that I still enjoyed how Mookie was always willing to save his daughter even with all the things she’d done. Some fathers wouldn’t go through that much trouble to help their children when they are in dire need of help. It made my heart warm when reading it. Mookie isn’t the big bad monster everyone makes him out to be. In truth, he’s a man who loves his family and friends. I sympathized with him whenever something went wrong with him on his journey. 
Honestly, I have nothing to gripe about. This was a great book and when I try to think of any negatives, my mind draws a blank. 

Final Verdict: Why are you still here?! Stop reading this review and go out to buy The Blue Blazes this minute! It’s an amazing book and you’d have to be doped up on the Blue not to see it. 

And please let me know if you found this review helpful as well as what you feel like I need to work on. Thank you for reading.

S&L Podcast - #184 - Threeways to Save Humanity

There’s so much you can do with us this week, including bringing Neil Gaiman to the stage, discovering 20th century high fantasy, and saving humanity. And how we can save humanity makes Tom blush. Plus, we wrap up this month's pick, Dawn by Octavia Butler!

Download direct link here!

WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?    

Tom: Original Sorghum Malt Beer - Bard's Tale Beer Company, LLC    
Veronica: Racer5    

QUICK BURNS 
    
"After extensive research, the Jane Austen Centre in Bath has determined what Jane really looked like and it's Mary Robinette Kowal - successful Rothuss impersonator, puppeteer, and regency author"    

    
A TV series based on The Elfstones Of Shannara has been greenlit.
    
    
Daniel Abraham has an update on The Expanse TV show, including first casting news and the creative team behind the television adaptation.
    
There is currently a kickstarter campaign for a theatrical adaptation of 5 of Neil Gaiman's short stories, a bunch of the backer rewards are various books and things signed by Neil Gaiman and he's in the video so check it out if you're a fan.
    
World Fantasy Award nominees were announced, as were two Lifetime Achievement Award winners.     

PICKS    

Killian: Finished The City and the City by China Miéville earlier today and was absolutely blown away by it. Here's my review: I think I'll read a Feist book next for some light, mindless fun.   
    
Rabindranauth - Finished Royal Assassin earlier, dived headlong into Assassin's Quest immediately. I will forever kick myself for not reading these incredibly brutal books before now.
Here's my review.    
     
COMING SOON

July 29
Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch is out in paperback

July 31
Equoid: A laundry Novella by Charles Stross

August 6
The Widow’s House (The Dagger and the Coin) by Daniel Abraham
Rise of the King: Companion Codex, II (Companions Codex) by R. A. Salvatore
The Magician's Land: A Novel by Lev Grossman"    
    
Find more upcoming releases at swordandlaser.com/calendar    
    
BARE YOUR SWORD 
    
A Suggestion for New Topics on Club Picks    
Are there any "high fantasy" books that take place in the 20th century?   
Local Group Meetups     
Amazon Unlimited    
    
BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION    
    
Wrap-up Dawn by Octavia Butler    
What did you think? (full spoilers)    
What Makes Us Human?    
Ending issues (here be spoilers)    

Next Month's Book: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is our August book    

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!

S&L Podcast - #181 - The Promise of More Blood

We break down our June book pick, Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan, and find out why its actually four or five books and its gods are not what they seem. Also we set up our July pick from Octavia Butler and decide whether warp speed is actually coming or not.  
Download direct here!

WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?    
Tom: Boddington's Pub Ale    
Veronica: Earl Grey Tea    
    
QUICK BURNS  

3 more Expanse novels announced - Ben    
IXS Enterprise (IXS-110) - Bookshelf
Every Game Of Thrones Scene Broken Down By Book, Chapter And Episode  
WINNERS: 2014 Campbell and Sturgeon Awards
 

PICKS    

Tom: Cibola Burn by James S A CoreyTraveling in Space by Steven Paul Leiva     
Veronica: Shattered by Kevin Hearne, though I'm still a book behind!   
  
Sandi - I finished listening Hollow World this morning. I really liked it. Kind of a modern H.G. Wells/Jonathan Swift vibe. I'm now starting On the Steel Breeze. I love the narrator, Adjoa Andoh. She played Martha's mother on Doctor Who and was one of the narrators of Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor.     
    
Find more upcoming releases at swordandlaser.com/calendar    

BARE YOUR SWORD    

Monthly meetups!    
Uncharted-esk Books by Josh    
How do you find new books to read? by Alexander   
Should We Read Comics/Graphic Novels As Group Reads by Killian    

BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION    

July Book is Dawn by Octavia Butler       
Wrap up Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan    
"The revolution will not be...?" by Sean    
Let's talk about the ending by Joanna    
    
ADDENDUMS

Looking for something ELSE to read? Wish you could read 20 books in the space you usually read one? Can't decide between scifi and fantasy? WE HAVE SOLVED ALL YOUR PROBLEMS. The Sword and Laser Anthology combines 10 great scifi and 10 great fantasy stories from new authors found RIGHT HERE in our audience. And the stories are fantastic. Even Patrick Rothfuss thinks so. Head on down to your favorite online bookseller and search Sword and Laser Anthology or point your favorite Web browser to swordandlaser.com/store.   

Listeners who complete the survey will be entered in an ongoing 
monthly raffle to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card. 
 

Survey!
Take the listeners survey at podsurvey.com/laser

FEATURED REVIEW: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Welcome to our Featured Reviews! In this series, we'll be highlighting book reviews by the S&L audience. If you want to submit a review, please check out the guidelines here! -Veronica

Review by Derek Brown

It turns out that you can go home again. Or at least you can if you're Stephen King.

I just finished this, King's sequel to a much earlier work. The Shining is the story of a small child, trapped in a world so much more dangerous than the one other kids inhabit, because he has a special talent. A power that supernatural forces want to consume. In Doctor Sleep, we get to see that small child, now grown, haunted by the same affliction that nearly drove his own father to murder his wife and son. Not his power, but the drinking problem he now has, the only thing he has yet found to suppress his terrible, awesome power, and keep the ghosts of his childhood quiet. 

To me, this story is largely about demons. Recognizing the worst of them for what they are, and realising that you are never alone with them.

Its also a story about another small child, afflicted (or gifted) with her own set of abilities, and because ka is a wheel, and it always turns, this little girl is also chased by supernatural forces eager to consume her. 

I can't overstate how much I enjoyed this book. I first read The Shining over 20 years ago, and its one that's always really resonated with me. Getting to revisit the landscape of that work with King, seeing what happened to Danny Torrance after the events at the Overlook Hotel, and finding out how his life turned out because of it was a lot of fun. 

Fans of King's other novels will find a healthy helping of the usual Easter eggs here as well. If you've read any of his other books, you'll enjoy the many references to King's integrated universe. 

The only item to note (and it's not a negative, but it is a warning), would be that I consider either reading The Shining or seeing the original Kubrick movie a definite prerequisite to reading this book. Preferably both, so you'll know the correct version of the story that King uses to jump from, but also so that you'll have the awesome imagery from the movie to help light the way.