S&L Podcast - #82 - On Fire

This week we talk about the newest eReader from Amazon, as well as why we hold on to those old paper books, and we wrap-up Reamde (spoiler alert!) and kick off a new book!


Kindle Fire is out! - our thoughts on e-readers

Keeping Physical Books in a Digital Age

Fiction can possibly alter personality



Did you list past reads when you joined Goodreads?

Biting off more then you can read


Everything You Missed in the Hunger Games Trailer: 40 Awesome Images!


Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Tentative Finish Date: January 2

BOOK WRAP-UP (Kind of)

Reamde by Neal Stephenson


Hi Tom & Veronica,

A few weeks ago, Ian Tregillis wrote an interesting blogpost about the upcoming publication of his second book "The Coldest War". Here's the link to his blog for the full story.

To sum it all up, he announced that the audiobook would be released on December 20, 2011 on audible.com. So I thought we could add it the calendar. For the ebook and ""dead-tree"" editions however, we will have to wait until June or July 2012. - Nicolas


Nadine, Duncan, John, Kendrick, Jason, Al, Isaiah, Roman, Robert, Sarah, Mary, Ed, Michel, John-Paul, Justyna, Chip, Davis, Austin, Mitch, Beelissa, Brian, Eric A., Ryan, Lexy, Martin, Joey, Fiona, LS, Nicholas, Suhail, Joe, Chris, David, Phil


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, including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to audible.com/NGP

S&L Podcast - #82 - On Fire

S&L Podcast - #81 - Elephant paper

Is Neal Stephenson fantasizing revenge?  How does Patrick Norton read so preternaturally fast? Can you really make paper out of elephant dung?  All these questions and more exlpored on this episode of Sword and Laser.


Art of the Hobbit: Never-Before-Seen Drawings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Terry Pratchett on Snuff

Mark Charan Newton's THE REEF released as an ebook

10 Debut Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels That Took the World by Storm

The Victorian Hugos: 1885
The Victorian Hugos: 1886



1Q84 paper texture

Reamde : Why terrorists?


Grimm - the other fairy tale show

The 1986 infomercial for the Neuromancer movie that never was


Vote for the next book!


Sam, Sheala, Jared, Michael, Bree, Kristin, Kodai, Tracy, Reuben, Christina, Mark, Joshua, Chip, Everitt, Emma (aka Liliy), Jonathan


S&L Podcast - #81 - Elephant paper

S&L Podcast - #73 - Fuzzy Nation Wrap-up

We're excited about Dragon*Con and our interview with Robert J. Sawyer.  In fact we're picking his book Flashforward as our next read, which we'll kick off next week. This week we wrap-up our last alternate selection, Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi.


Joe Abercrombie and R. Scott Bakker fans needed

Scientifically accurate sf novels with help from NASA


9/1/2011 Seed, Robert Ziegler (Night Shade Books)
9/6/2011 Legacy of Kings by C. S. Friedman
9/6/2011 Tears of the Sun: A novel of change by S. M. Stirling
9/13/2011 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
9/15/2011 War in Heaven by Gavin Smith
9/20/2011 Reamde, Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)


United Moon Colonies by Tom Merritt

Tamahome and Jenny on Sffaudio

Who's going to Dragon*Con this year?

TV and Movies

And three more roles for THRONES

BOOK Wrap-up

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

Next Book Pick: Flash Forward by Robert J. Sawyer


Hey y'all,

Over in Goodreads I don't know if this has been discussed yet, so sorry if it has. I've seen people wonder about using the hide spoiler feature in threads that are clearly marked spoilery from the get go. I think it's still important to hide spoilers so people can decide to what degree they want to get spoilery. Also, perhaps more importantly, thread comments you make will appear in your friends' feeds and they won't be happy campers if a big nasty spoiler appears on their Goodreads home page after you comment on a spoilery thread. Keep up the good work, you guys have a lot of fun doing the show and it's contagious!



Hey Tom and Veronica,

Catching up on podcasts and I heard Veronica say she was interested in a listener's bad theatre experience, so I thought I'd share one I had recently. Like the letter writer, I've also had people wait outside the theatre for me because I've politely asked them to be quiet, but this one take the cake. I copied it from my tumblr, (Zombie Otaku), so I hope you don't mind.

So I decide to leave the house for once and go see one of those moving pictures that are all the rage with the kids today. There is an art house/indy film theatre not far from me that I’ve always intended on frequenting, so last night was the night.

So I arrive, and it’s all old people. Well, older than me. All gray hair, all wearing slacks and weekend plaid. I’m wearing a Ramones shirt and Chuck Taylors, so they of course check their wallets and ask their spouses if they locked the car.

I decide to commit to this place and get a membership. This way I’ll have to go, since I paid extra and I hate not getting my money’s worth. The woman looks pissed off at me, since this means she has to fill out out a card and laminate it. Somehow, she gets through this ordeal.

I go into the theatre, ready to see Midnight In Paris. A contingent of what I assume were lawn bowlers sit down across the aisle and start yelling at each other in Greek, even though they’re sitting beside one another. A man in thick rimmed black glasses glares at them, switches off his iPhone, and storms to a new seat.

I counted lots of thick, black rimmed glasses on guys checking their iPhones.

The movie finally starts. At this point the ancient seats start giving me back spasms. Still, I’m going to enjoy this movie. Twenty minutes in, something flies past the screen.

I look. It flies past the screen again. Then it swoops over my head. The audience all jump.


Now I’m not watching the movie. I’m watching bats flying around the place. I count three of them. When they fly close to the projector, their silhouette fills the screen, and I wonder how many us will now be inspired to fight crime as Batman.

Then they start swooping. I can feel one just miss my head, impacting on the chair behind me. It screams, flops around, and takes to the air again. I’m out of my chair, deciding someone should tell management we’re under attack.

But a bat is flying in front of the door leading to the lobby. It’s bouncing back and forth between the walls, getting pissed. Then it flies at me, I duck, and run out into the lobby.

The manager jumps out of his chair in his office. “What’s wrong?”

“Bats are attacking the audience,” I say, because I wasn’t sure what else to say. Do we discuss the decline of art cinema first, then move onto the bat problem?

He looks into the theatre. The bats are flying fast and furious in front of the screen.

“Yeah, I see them,” he says. “They’re early this year.”

So this is normal.

“I’m just worried someone might get bit,” I said,

“Yeah, I hope not,” he replied.


“Guess I’ll go back in,” I said.

“Okay,” and he went back to his office.

So in I went. I watched the bats a bit longer, especially when they hung on the screen and screeched. But then they disappeared, and I finally got to watch the film.

Sean Twist


Carl, Graeme, Boots, Eric, Jess, Alden, William, Karen, Adrienne, Kristin, Chris, Joel, David, Jez, Heather, Scott, Richard, Jason, Matt, Ben, Isla (Eye-LA), Jay.

S&L Podcast - #73 - Fuzzy Nation Wrap-up

S&L Podcast - #67 - Previously, on A Song of Ice and Fire...

We kick off A Dance with Dragons a week early with a quick summary of the important stuff that happened in the last book, A Feast for Crows.  Don't worry if you don't want to be spoiled, we save it all to the very end and give lots of warnings.  But you have to tune in for some great Goodreads discussions, quick news, and of course the Calendar.


Steven "Jumper" Gould's new novel 7TH SIGMA: genre-busting science fiction/western kicks ass

Neil Gaiman Reveals the Future of American Gods 

Machine of Death deadline approaches 


7/12/2011 A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

7/19/2011 Star Wars: Choices of One By Timothy Zahn

7/26/2011 Ghost Story (Dresden Files, No. 13) by Jim Butcher

7/31/2011 Troika by Alistair Reynolds


Dance with Dragons accidentally ships early

The most complex lore?

Gateway Books for Future Scifi/Fantasy Lovers


A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

Speculative World Map for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE

The Song of Ice and Fire So Far: Part 1 - Ancient History 

The Song of Ice and Fire So Far: Part 2 - The Dragon Kings

A Song of Ice and Fire So Far Part 3: Thrones and Kings

A Song of Ice and Fire So Far Part 4: Swords and Crows


I have to say that I'm very curious about the sound effects others are offering for the calendar & book check-in.  I'm not very creative & don't expect to win.  However I did come across some effects that I'd like to share from www.audiomicro.com.   For the calendar the only thing I can think of is 'page flip by Soundjay'.   For the new member 'reaction cheer by Blastwavefx'.  For the book check-in 'foley book grab by Blastwavefx'.  All of these are wav format & very brief.  Because it's someone else's work, I don't know the legal issues for me to grab their work & send it to you for possible use.    What got me curious the most is the sound effects people are choosing for calendar & book check-in.  That curiosity is what lead me to see what sound effects are out there.

Robert M.


Austin, Brian, David, PanamaJack, ViolinKnitter, Johanna, BravePixels, Frank, Leavey, Lynn, Dinre, Lorenzo, Ian, Ashley, Tero, Alex, Raul, Edvardas, Colin, Gumberkules, John, new Michaels 1, 2, and 3, aaaaand Jason. 

John -- Long time listener, first time caller. First let me say I love the 'cast. I especially love the pace and format Veronica and Tom have adopted. (Note: As I listen, I like to picture them as the VeroniTom, a two-headed book-hoarding winged creature. Try it yourself, it gives the podcast that added extra flair.)


This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to audiblepodcast.com/sword.

S&L Podcast - #67 - Previously, on A Song of Ice and Fire...

S&L Podcast - #62 - A blonde Gimli running through my head

This week we discuss how the Game of Thrones series is shaping up, how we make mental pictures of characters when we read, and the meaning of Hodor.


Book Publishers, AOL To Launch New Book Recommendation Site

5/10/2011 Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
5/10/2011 The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi (Tor)
5/17/2011 Embassytown by China Mieville
5/19/2011 The Order of the Scales by Stephen Deas
5/24/2011 The Falling Machine, Andrew Mayer (Pyr)
5/25/2011 Chasing the Moon, Lee Martinez (Orbit)


How do you imagine characters when you read a novel?

Epic vs. Epoc



The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin is an African-American female writer of speculative fiction. Her 2010 debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award and the 2011 Hugo Award, and was ranked #5 on Amazon's "editors' pick" list of the year's best ten works of science fiction and fantasy.

The Inheritance Trilogy
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (2010)
The Broken Kingdoms (2010)
The Kingdom of Gods (forthcoming in 2011)

S&L Podcast - #62 - A blonde Gimli running through my head

Severian has mommy issues - The S&L Podcast #57

We wrap up the Shadow of the Torturer with special guest Josh Lawrence. And there's a lot to chew on! Where did Dorcas come from? Is the botanic gardens a time travel device? Like a Tardis? And what's with Severian's Mommy issues.


Publication delays for the next Ian Tregellis novel


A Storm of HBO Videos

Stephen King has a new "Dark Tower" book coming in 2012

Richard Morgan finishes the Cold Commands

Neal Stephenson's gold farming thriller, REAMD

New Shel Silverstein book scheduled for September


3/29/2011 "Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente Tor

3/29/2011 "Soft Apocalypse, Will McIntosh (Nightshade)

3/31/2009 "A Kingdom Besieged by Raymond E. Feist

4/1/2011 "Sea of Ghosts by Alan Campbell

4/12/2011 "After the Golden Age, Carrie Vaughn (Tor)

4/12/2011 "All the Lives He Led, Frederik Pohl (Tor)


Odd coincidences btw your SF/F reading and the real world

List of 12 recommended dystopian novels on HuffPost

What do you think the Claw is?


Shadow & Claw: The First Half of 'The Book of the New Sun' (Book of the Long Sun)

A comic book adaptation of Shadow


This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to audiblepodcast.com/sword.

Partner Sticker Fu. Use the code Sword1 and get 10% off the stickers at stickerfu.com.

Severian has mommy issues - The S&L Podcast #57

Interview with Joe Abercrombie - The S&L Podcast #56

Photo by Lou AbercrombieWe have the pleasure of talking with Joe Abercrombie, author of The First Law trilogy and his most recent book, set in the same world, The Heroes. We also delve into the darker nature of fantasy these days, how that thieving leech Tolkien stole all of Joe's ideas and then time traveled backwards to make them look like his own, and we take some questions from Twitter.


This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 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. On Audible now: The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie.

Partner Sticker Fu. Use the code Sword1 and get 10% off the stickers at stickerfu.com.

Interview with Joe Abercrombie - The S&L Podcast #56

Interview with Patrick Rothfuss - The S&L Podcast #54

Patrick Rothfuss

We have the distinct pleasure of interviewing Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name of the Wind and the forthcoming A Wise Man's Fear, which hits bookshelves March 1. We find out that the four corners of civilization had some tabletop roots, we determine Jim Butcher is a cylon who consorts with dark powers and reveal that Patrick has written a first pass at the ending of the Kingkiller Chronicle. But don't get selfish. He and George R. R. Martin are on the same team after all. He promises it shouldn't take horribly long to finish, but even if it does, we're certain it's worth the wait.


GOOD OMENS coming to television

A Doctor Who writer breathes new life into the "magical detective" novel

Another great map of Westeros

Locus List of the best genre fiction of 2010 - a cheat sheet for Hugo nominators

An Invitation to Westeros - new video for game of thrones


Patrick Rothfuss

From Wikipedia - Patrick James Rothfuss (born June 6, 1973) is an American fantasy writer and college lecturer. He is the author of the projected three-volume series The Kingkiller Chronicle, which was rejected by several publishing companies before the first book of the series, The Name of the Wind, was published in 2007 by DAW/Penguin, which went on to receive critical acclaim and become a New York Times best seller.

The Kingkiller Chronicle

The Name of the Wind (April 2007)

The Wise Man's Fear (March 2011)

The Doors of Stone (working title)

Books Patrick mentioned he has been reading or is looking forward to:

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Book 1 (The Inheritance Trilogy) By N.K. Jemisin

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Ghost Story (Dresden Files, No. 13) by Jim Butcher


Sword and Laser is brought to you by Audible.com the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 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.

And support our partner Sticker Fu. Use the code Sword1 and get 10% off the stickers!

Interview with Patrick Rothfuss - The S&L Podcast #54

Almost the end of the world (as we know it) - The S&L Podcast #51

We're almost to the end of the world in Gaiman and Pratchett's Good Omens, but Veronica's not quite done yet so we just give some less spoilery evaluations of the book so far and we'll wrap it up next week. We also are trying to make room in our wallets and on our bookshelves for some excellent new SciFi and Fantasy hitting store shelves in the next couple weeks. Joe Abercrombie! Yay!

Gene Wolfe talks dystopian futures, and the chances of star-drive in our lifetime
Among Others: extraordinary, magic story of science fiction as a toolkit for taking apart the world


1/25/2011 While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished short fiction of Kurt Vonnegut - The 16 previously unpublished short stories of this collection, taken from the beginning of Vonnegut's career, show a young author already grappling with themes and ideas that would define his work for decades to come. (Kindle)

1/27/2011 The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (in the UK - US doesn't get it until 2/7) Union commander Lord Marshal Kroy coordinates the fight with the aid of a motley group of incompetent, self-important officers. The strangely sympathetic Col. Bremer dan Gorst is officially a royal observer who nurses a burning desire to kill or be killed. Leading a much smaller army against the Union is Black Dow, whose grip on the throne of the Northmen is tenuous and based on fear and brutality. (Kindle) 

1/31/2011 The Alchemist by P. Bacigalupi - The first foray into fantasy from Hugo winner Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl) is one of two novellas (the other by Tobias S. Buckell) set in a world where using magic has terrible consequences. Jeoz is a destitute alchemist living in Khaim, a city literally being strangled to death by bramble, a "wormy malevolence" that expands its thorny vines every time someone uses magic. 

2/3/2011 License to Ensorcell by Katherine Kerr - a psychic agent and her Israeli sidekick tracking down a werewolf-murdering serial killer in San Francisco. (Kindle) 

2/7/2011 Deep State by Walter Jon Williams (Kindle) - The sequel to This is Not a Game, about where alternate reality games and real life cross and meet.

Joe Abercrombie appearing in England 1/27 at Forbidden Planet in London from 6 PM, and January 29 at Forbidden PLanet in Bristol from 1 PM AD 


4004 BC (possible minor spoilers) 

Too many characters? 

What horseman would you be? 

Library Closures 


Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals.   For a free audiobook of your choice, go to audiblepodcast.com/sword.

The Alchemist and the Executioness  from Audible.


Almost the end of the world (as we know it) - The S&L Podcast #51

Interview with Cory Doctorow – The S&L Podcast #028

As a wrap-up of "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" we finally snag an interview with the author of the Sword and Laser book club selection.  Cory Doctorow is always a fun person to chat with, and this episode is no exception.  We do query him on some of the thoughts behind Down and Out, but also about writing and the publishing industry in general. We also let him pick our next book!

Quick Burns

Ursula Le Guin's Petition Against Google Books

8 Comic Book Relationships To Make You Feel Good

Book Pick

Our next book is The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi.


Interview with Cory Doctorow - The S&L Podcast #028

Interview: EPIC RUINS


We've got something a little different for the Sword and Laser readers today! I know we usually focus on science fiction and fantasy books (and, of course, the authors who write them) but when EPIC RUINS came to my attention, I knew we needed to take a closer listen. 

We've delved a little bit into the relationship between the music world and fantasy themes, but there haven't been too many current bands that have truly made it an integral part of their identity. Instead of trying (ineffectually) to explain EPIC RUINS to you, I'll let the band speak for themselves:

What is EPIC RUINS? How would you describe the music to someone who has never heard it before?

Jordan: EPIC RUINS is a band of boys either living in or originally from Fort Worth, TX whose members are Jordan Richardson (drums, guitars, synth) Steve Steward (bass, synth) Sam Anderson (vocals, guitars) and Jeff Dazey (saxophone) with songs written by Richardson and Steward, respectively. Other crucial cast-wizards on this album include "Big" Mike Richardson (throat cutting guitar solos and keys), Kevin Aldridge (backing vocals, guitar), Justin Pate (organ, backing vocals), Walker Wood (synth grumblings), Kerry Dean (backing vocals), Ray Liberio (backing vocals), Teresa Marie (backing vocals), and Jordan Roberts (harmonium time travel). It is truly an all-star cast, rich with talent from a super exciting creative place known as Fort Worth...but more specifically known as Fort Wizard.

The name of the album is The Void Mariner and the Mystic Boogie of the Sacred Line.

Semantics out of the way, first and foremost, we're a rock band trying to make classic rock music. We had this idea when Steve and I started conceptualizing the whole thing, that is, to essentially make the music that we had been waiting to hear. We wanted it to rock, and be heavy, yet we also wanted it to be mystic and psychedelic. We wanted it to be spacey and delicate when appropriate and most importantly we wanted to tell a fantastic story. I guess I'd describe the music as bold: weird but attainable. If I had to make comparisons to other stuff I guess Id say EPIC RUINS is maybe something like Pink Floyd if they were from East Texas. Hopefully its a joint passing sonic refuge that you can file somewhere between Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Weather Report and odd 70s soundtrack music.

And from early on in the process of making the album, we knew we wanted to make it into a film, which is the next chapter coming in the EPIC RUINS story, so-to-speak.

Steve: I tell people it’s “Texas Space Rock,” and if that still draws a blank, I tell them “Pink Sabbath.” I like to think of it as ‘70s rock from an alternate universe, one in which Jimi Hendrix dies of prostate cancer in 1991 and Willow is a critical and commercial hit.

Between all your various projects (and Jordan touring with Ben Harper and the Relentless7), how do you find time to work on another music project like this?

Steve: It’s a lot easier to do when the emphasis is on an album rather than rehearsing and booking shows. When we’re all able to get together, the focus comes from knowing that the next session might not happen for a month or two.

Jordan: Ive had the most insane and action packed and wonderful year. Ive had the chance to tour the world a couple times with BHR7 and most recently we backed up Ringo Starr on his promotional tour for his new record. Its been a dream come true and with EPIC RUINS I get a chance to realize all the things Ive wanted to do with my great brethren in my home town and beyond... So needless to say, every break I got from touring and my life in LA in the second half of 2009, I was on a plane heading to Fort Worth.

Give us a little backstory on the album and how it came to be.

Jordan: Typically, its taxing and annoying to talk too much about the music you want to make, because a lot of times that can squeeze the urgency out of it when you actually go to create, but in this case, it was necessary to lay the ground work for this band and record far in advance....Partially, cuz me and Steve live several large states away from each other and are also busy boys with other projects, but also because we wanted to create a basic narrative idea first, and then make the album. A few years ago, our tastes were expanding beyond what our then current bands were writing and we started geeking out about our love for 70s rock music....especially conceptual albums that pushed the scale and definition of what making a record meant.

Steve, a consummate storyteller, had begun to develop this character, Ashera (more on her from Steve) and I was dying to formulate a group of songs with a common sonic and lyrical thread. I'm originally from Fort Worth, TX and know Steve from bands in College and after. I live in LA now, while Steve is still in Fort Worth. Steve introduced me to Sam Anderson about a year ago and I immediately fell in love with his voice and his general bad ass-edness. With these crucial pieces now together we decided last summer it was as good a time as any to start work on the record. We set some studio dates, having no songs written together, other than individual ideas, and forged ahead. I took a flight straight from Chicago after Lollapalooza and headed to Fort Worth to start work... We showed each other song sketches recorded on cell phones and read to each other lyrics from our notebooks. We worked overnight, typically from about 2am til sun-up having haggard jams and molding these sketches into songs.

Steve: Jordan was producing and engineering the last album by my old band, Darth Vato, and while we were messing around during a break, we came up with this song called “Dunk Conquest.” And we decided to make a weird rock band at some point in the future. Then a couple of years happened. We started talking about our ideas and sending riffs back and forth to each other during the end of 2008. In August of last year, we started piecing together all the fragments. We’d get to the jam room around midnight and go until the sun came up, and when we had the ideas somewhat structured, we went into a studio and carved them into songs, kind of drafting friends of ours who had a particular voice or style that served our songs. By the time we got into the studio, we’d found the story and decided to make a concept album about it.

Jordan: We recorded the record when we had time, over a few months from August-December, with 3-4 day sessions at a time. We were mixing the finished songs in LA with Danny Kalb (Ben Harper, Relentless7, Beck, Rilo Kiley) while writing the next tunes that would be recorded. In total, we wrote, recorded and mixed the album in 19 days.

You guys obviously have a huge love for all things fantasy, what are some of your favorites? Books, films, games, etc.

Steve: My favorite fantasy films include Conan the Barbarian, The Beastmaster, War Goddess, The Ray Harryhausen Sinbad movies, The Neverending Story. I’m a sucker for anything with an ancient temple it in. Holy Mountain, El Topo and Zardoz are big influences on me, too. I am also a fan of Star Wars and the Buck Rogers TV series, as well as movies like Starcrash and Planet of the Vampires. I love Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, and I like the backstory and world of Elric—I just have a hard time reading Michael Moorcock because his dialogue is terrible. I also read a lot of Stephen King. As for games, I’ve always been drawn to fantasy-inspired action/adventure games like Zelda and especially Rygar. I’m a huge fan of Morrowind and Oblivion. I wish Bethesda would have made The Elder Scrolls V instead of Fallout 3. (Ed-- I'd take both!)

Jordan: My favorite book is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, which I first read under Daniel Stessen's suggestion. Its the wildest thing Ive ever read. Also, I really trip out on mythology and the Old Testament as well. I really love the idea of these other fantastic worlds that existed on this earth. Holy Mountain and Cloak and Dagger are my favorite movies. GAUNTLET for N.E.S. is my favorite video game.

Which came first, EPIC RUINS or Ashera: Twin Blades of Doom? How far do you plan to take this universe you've created?

Steve: The idea to make an album predates Ashera, but I had her kicking around in my head for a while before we started recording. She came into EPIC RUINS when we started piecing together the narrative behind the album, and when he had a better idea of what the album’s story was, I was able to cut some knots I’d run into in Ashera’s story. I’ve always envisioned Ashera as a comic book, but one where there’s some finality. Maybe she finally meets her match or maybe she grows old and dies, but there are some ideas I want to get across and a lot of those have to do with her coming to grips with her own mortality. More than that, though, Ashera is the commonality among 5 movie ideas and a TV show, which are all part of the WIZARDVIZION universe.

The Void Mariner seems to be the character inspiration for the album. Does he show up in Ashera at all, or is he a stand-alone character for the album?

Steve: The Void Mariner and Ashera share a common enemy. For him, the conflict is one step closer to his ultimate showdown, but for her, the villain is the main event. He’ll be in the Ashera movie, but he’s definitely a supporting character. In the album, the Void Mariner’s adventure with Ashera is just one more episode he remembers while he’s reflecting on his life. She definitely leaves her mark on him, though.

When can we expect to see the album come out? The film?

Jordan: I think the album will be available for consumption by late spring, but we are going to start leaking it on the internets soonish. The, "record business" is now sort of the Wild West and all rules of the past are off. With a common sense knowledge of this, and a real desire to push boundaries and be current, we aren't going to do the old traditional "press 1000 Cd's, and try and sell them at shows" dinosaur practice....First off, following in practice of our favorite decade, the 70's, we're going to make a vinyl pressing and pre-sell them on the our sites. Other than that, our plan is to do weird and exciting and hopefully innovative things online and literally in alleys behind bars and other places out in the wild to get the music out to people. For super cheap. We also want to make our live shows events, and play in interesting places and spaces.

And Because of the plans for the film, we see finishing the album as just the next step in our ultimate plan of the WIZARDVISION Universe. This is a pretty exciting realization for a rock band, where finishing an album can sometimes bring a feeling reminiscent of the day after Christmas. You work so hard and then its done...It can be scary knowing you have a finished piece of art and no way to know if people are going to hear it. In our case, we are super excited about a new set of challenges in trying to get a film off the ground that's made specifically for and in conjunction with our album . Its two representations of the same story: visual and aural. That's a new concept that we couldn't be more on fire about.

The film is written by Steve and myself and will be directed by Daniel Stessen. We're going to start shooting late spring. We've never tried to put a movie out, but we have a load of incredible people that are helping us get it done, so I can say hopefully it will be ready for people to see by early 2011, if not late this year.

The EPIC RUINS Void Mariner movie will serve as a "filmtrack" for the album and vice versa. 7 individual clips for 7 individual songs with an ongoing and complete storyline throughout the film.

Steve: The album should be out late spring/early summer. The film is in development, so sometime between now and the end of the world. Hopefully closer to now.

Anything else you'd like to add for our readers?

Steve: When you hear the EPIC RUINS album, I suggest good speakers, low lighting and a comfortable seat. Allow yourself an uninterrupted 40 minutes or so. Some cannabis wouldn’t hurt, either.

Jordan: The most exciting and special part of the record is that every single note has a purpose and meaning crucial to both the sonic and narrative parts of the story. And much of that was not intentional. It sounds cliche and silly, but there really was some cosmic shit and serendipity happening. But I think that's not hard to believe when you realize that this record was made by a bunch of drinking buddies, some who've known each other for over a decade. Like brothers (and one sister) reuniting, and the party favor you get to take home at the end is a wicked album made by people that believe in the power of storytelling.

People over use the word "epic". We do our best to use it sincerely.


Sample tracks:

"Child and Cobra" -- Later in the album, the main character, the Void Mariner, recalls a fable about the "Child and Cobra" that he heard in his formative years ...Recalling these memories further confirms his desire to later face his one time best friend and now rival, Belzel, in a final showdown that wraps up the record.

"Sacred Line" . This is the opening track on the album. Lyrically and instrumentally, it sort of works as an overture for the the album, introducing the ideas behind the power of the Sacred Line is and how that power drives the characters throughout the rest of the record.


#022 – The S&L Podcast: George R. R. Martin is not your bitch

It's time to pick a new book, but for some reason we just can't stop talking about George R. R. Martin. And in some cases singing about him. But we DID pick a new book and it's The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. It involves relativity, interstellar war and sad soldiers. In fact it's sometimes thought of as an anti-Starship Troopers. We think this book is a timely choice as Ridley Scott is making a 3D movie out of it. More on that in this and future episodes. If you want a sneak peek, take a look at this Forever War' Concept Art . [display_podcast] Also don't forget we're doing a live Sword and Laser in Atlanta at Dragon*Con! The show takes place Friday evening, September 4 at 8:30 PM in Hilton room 204. It will be Veronica, me and special guest Timothy Zahn. Other guests may be announced as well. BARE YOUR SWORD - feedback from the audience. Audio books are no good for SF Do you like your endings with everything-wrapped-up or open-ended? Hi Tom and Veronica, John Anealio' George R. R. Martin is not your bitch. QUICK BURNS - unrelated news of the month Robo-Ethicists Want to Revamp Asimov’s 3 Laws A Game Of Thrones pilot script leaked A brief history of SteamPunk Personal Effects: Dark Art by JC Hutchins. The book with a lot of cool extra materials. Tagline Contest Congratulations Barry O'Neil "Different worlds - different discussion"
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#021 – The S&L Podcast: A Game of Thrones

We loved A Game of Thrones, but you'll have to listen to find out why. We also get into fantasy metal songs with a metal expert, and report some news on the Game of Thrones on HBO. [display_podcast] ADDENDUMS Game of Thrones Wikis Unnoficial Songs of Ice and Fire A Wiki of Ice and Fire But Tower of the Hand is much much better! Thanks Padwen! Game of Thrones being shot for HBO Sean Bean cast as Lord Eddard. A Game of Thrones card game. BARE YOUR SWORD - feedback from the audience What Was Robert's Rebellion Really About (Minor Spoilers, Major Speculation) Check out these lizards they've discovered that swim through sand in the Sahara. They didn't mention it, but I'm guessing they smell like cinnamon. :) Love the Show, Dave in Portland Abner Senires sings amazing parody songs... this one is about the Kwisatz Haderach. ENGAGE - Interviews with interesting characters Talking to Charles Davis, from Metal Gamer and the Chizzle and Dizzle show. Holy Thunder Force: Charles dares you not to air guitar to this one. Rain of a Thousand Flames: This the one that has a nude woman in it, but Charles assures us, it is definitely the most ridiculous one they have made. Unholy WarCry: 10 minutes long and the one that has Christopher Lee dressed in a giant king costume. Magic of the Wizard's Dream: Charles says it's not that interesting of a music video, but it's the one he mentioned that has Christopher Lee singing on it. QUICK BURNS - unrelated news of the month Download DroidMaker for free 1969 Hugo Awards. Neil Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin and Michael Collins received a Hugo Award in 1969 for The Best Moon Landing Ever. Also Novella "Dragonrider" by Anne McCaffrey [Analog Dec 1967,Jan 1968] Tagline Contest Come up with a tagline for The Sword and Laser! The winner will have their words emblazoned on the back of our new t-shirts, which will be making their debut at Dragon*Con this September!" Email theswordandlaser@gmail.com by Wednesday July 29.
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#020 - The S&L Podcast: Here There Be Dragons

While we're kicking off reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, we're also proud to announce we're going to Dragon*Con in Atlanta to do a live episode of Sword and Laser! We're very excited about that, especially because Veronica has been reading a book about dragons and is hoping to meet one. [display_podcast] WHY WE PICKED A GAME OF THRONES Rick on May 22, 2009 at 9:22pm I third "Game of Thrones". It is sitting on my shelf waiting for me to finish the China Mieville book I'm in the middle of. Also, for those upset with Mr. Martin's lack of new bookage, you should go read the comments by Niel Gaiman on his blog concerning exactly what George R. R. Martin is and is not to his readers. C on May 23, 2009 at 9:39pm Game of Thrones is fantastic, the only problem I can see with it is that anyone who reads it will be completely hooked for the rest of the series. As long as people don't mind that then it's great. I would also be interested in reading something else (as in something outside Song of Ice and Fire) by him though. Armageddon Rag is supposed to be really interesting and Fevre Dream is about vampires which is always fun. Both of those are standalone books (I think) so they might be better than starting a series? terpkristin on May 26, 2009 at 4:10am The reader for books 1-3 (Roy Dotrice) is great. I purchased the 4th book but haven't listened to it yet (read that one in hardcover on an import version), though John Lee is the narrarator, and some have said that they don't like him as much as they like Dotrice. ABOUT A Game of Thrones A Game of Thrones is the first of seven planned novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, an epic fantasy series by American author George R. R. Martin. It was first published on 6 August 1996. The novel was nominated for the 1998 Nebula Award and the 1997 World Fantasy Award, and won the 1997 Locus Award. The novella Blood of the Dragon, comprising the Daenerys Targaryen chapters from the novel, won the 1997 Hugo Award for Best Novella. The novel lends its name to several spin-off items based on the novels, including a trading card game, board game and roleplaying game, and HBO has authorized the filming of a pilot episode based on the novels.[1] WHAT WE'VE BEEN READING Tom - Heretics of Dune Veronica - Black Powder War, Book 3 in the Temeraire series (Book 1 is here) ESSENTIAL NERD VIEWING John Hodgman administers a nerd test to President Obama. Do you know the answers? MOVIES Moon - A Film By Duncan Jones; Starring Sam Rockwell.
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#018 - The S&L Podcast: Kwisatz and the Haderachs

It was Dune time and we found out how much of nerd I (Tom) am for Frank Herbert's stuff and how hard it is to pronounce pretty much anything he wrote when you try to say it out loud. [display_podcast] We also found out that there are Dune influences all over popular culture including Films, spinoffs, and metal. In fact there are all kinds of heavy metal scifi influences. Including, apparently this podcast. You must listen to the end to hear the rockingest book club rock anthem ever to rock. And we also form a new band based on Dune. More info, including club members thoughts on Dune, in the podcast and after the jump. Dune comments Hard to get into - Terpkristin Bizarre early attempt to make a film of Dune - Josh Lawrence Great lines - Sean o'Hara One thing I love about Dune is the great quotes it provides. - A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. - Mood's a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. (For some reason I imagine Gurney sounding like Groundskeeper Willy when he says this) - I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. What are the ones that stand out to you? Comment by Sh1mm3r Does anyone else find the sentence structure a little wacky? I find myself having to re-read some to understand what is being said. I'm in the first few pages though. I might just need to get into the rhythm. Tom's currently reading the Butlerian Jihad by K. Anderson (one of the extended universe novels - a prequel actually) Thread of the month Books with both Sword and Lasers Next Book: Daemon (buy here)
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#015 - The S&L Podcast: We disagree!!

Turns out that just because Tom likes a book, doesn't mean Veronica will (she kinda hated it).  But we learned a lot about paranoia, and Polish communism. So it's not a total loss. Meanwhile we have determined that the podcast should be a once a month affair.  So get ready for regularity!  We'll be like the monthly bran in your reading  diet. And we hope to have interviews.  With real people. And some robots. [display_podcast] What we're reading Tom is busy reading some not sci fi book by Evelyn Waugh (Officers and Gentlemen) and still making his way through Droidmakers. Veronica is busy with David Eddings "Belgarath the Sorcerer" which is a continuation of the Belgariad and Malloreon. News Battlestar Galactica coming back tomorrow night! Wheel of Time video game appears to be rolling onto the scene. Our book pick In honor of the WoT video game, we'll read the first in that series. Eye of the World
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#010 - The S&L Podcast: OMG Bunnies!

[display_podcast] News Tales of Beetle the Bard to be published Dec. 4
She will donate all monies to the Children’s Voice campaign.  Amazon plans to produce 100 copies with the intention to duplicate the original look and feel of the book Amazon bought from her at auction for collectors that will go for $100 (recoup some of that money back) and the 157 page book will also have additional illustrations from the author. The standard edition will retail for $12.99

i09 debate: Magic vs. Science

Watership Down
First novel by Richard Adams
Published in 1972
Was rejected by 13 publishers but has never been out of print since first published.
Watership Down began as a story that Richard Adams told to his two children, Juliet and Rosamund, on a long car journey.
Based on he Private Life of the Rabbit (1964), by British naturalist Ronald Lockley
Anti-feminist?  Misogynistic?
Adapted into a film in 1978.
Also made into a TV series in the UK int he early 1990s and a theater production as well.

Ning Forum Reviews

Tayo - I just read "Feast of Souls" by C. S. Friedman and I cant recommend it highly enough. Fantastic. One of the most original new fantasies I have read since "Sabriel" by Garth Nix.

Simon - I have just finished reading the Terry Goodkind series 'Sword of Truth' and thought that I should tell you all that it was MEGA. Also if anyone has read this series then can you advise who to read next. I'm a bit stuck for ideas.

Giveaway! We're giving away a Logitech USB Headset! Want it? Get creative! Write us a ONE LINE CLOSING SENTENCE to a science fiction or fantasy novel. See our last contest for a sample of a good opening line! We'll put the top choices up for a vote! 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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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 1: The Golden Compass

golden compassThe inaugural book of The Sword and Laser has been chosen, and it's The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Not only is this a personal favorite of mine, but Tom Merritt and I thought it would be nice to read now considering the movie is coming out in December! The Golden Compass is the first in the trilogy His Dark Materials, but we'll only ask you to read this first book. It may be easier for you to buy all three books at the same time (and you'll probably want to read the others!), but you're in no way required to do this. Most libraries should have it, and there are also new and used versions available on Amazon. Hopefully we can all acquire the book by next Wednesday, and then we can plan on talking about the first chapter! The next book will be decided by a vote, and it'll probably be a "classic" of some kind. Enjoy!
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