S&L Podcast - #363 - Extremely Unbalanced

The Hugos have come and gone, and they were awesome. Audible's in trouble for speech-to-text. But they're right, it's an accessibility issue. Also, the publishers are right, it's a copyright issue! Tell it to the judge, both of you! Plus, we kick off our September pick, Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse.

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Iain: The Hugo Award for Best Novel goes to The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Hugo Award for Best Novella goes to Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells

The Hugo Award for Best Novelette goes to “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho

The Hugo Award for Best Short Story goes to “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow

The Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form goes to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Iain: Retro 1944 Hugos

BEST NOVEL: Conjure Wife, by Fritz Leiber, Jr. (Unknown Worlds, April 1943)

BEST NOVELLA: The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Reynal & Hitchcock)

BEST NOVELETTE: “Mimsy Were the Borogoves,” by Lewis Padgett (C.L. Moore & Henry Kuttner) (Astounding Science-Fiction, February 1943)

BEST SHORT STORY: “King of the Gray Spaces” (“R is for Rocket”), by Ray Bradbury (Famous Fantastic Mysteries, December 1943)

TRP: I realise that this is not really the place to mention theatre productions but given the ""importance"" of the author is to this community I thought I'd mention it.

The Lyric Theatre Hammersmith in London is putting on an adaptation of Solaris by Stanisław Lem in October.

It is adapted by leading British (Scottish) playwright David Grieg and arrives after previous visits to Edinburgh and Melbourne (Australia)

The cast includes a certain Hugo Weaving (yes, that Hugo Weaving)

I know this is only of limited availability to the people who can get to London in October but I'm definitely not going to ""Lem"" this play. In fact I'm going on the 15th October."

Publishers are taking issue with Audible’s new Captions feature, introduced last month. The feature uses machine learning to transcribe spoken words into written ones, so users can read along while they listen to an audiobook. The issue, however, is that Audible is doing this based on audiobook recordings, which have separate licenses to physical books and ebooks. The company is not apparently obtaining the necessary licenses to reproduce the written versions of these works.

The lawsuit was filed by the big 5 publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster) along with Chronicle Books and Scholastic.

Shad: Stormlight Archive 4 is 50% done! There is an update on tor.com.

Mark: The Astounding Award for Best New Writer is the new name for The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer


@RMarpole says:

Shout out to @swordandlaser

Listening to this epic #SFF podcast led me to @BrianTMcClellan 's Uncanny Collateral which I really enjoyed and reviewed over on Fantasy Faction. If you want the latest SFF news then you need The Sword and Laser in your life!

@ScottPantall says:

@swordandlaser By the time I got to the end of Episode 361 had forgotten that @Veronica had promised to share the astronaut space pee song and I was very confused about what my podcast app was doing. Thanks for the laugh!

Veronica asked for some "what to read next" suggestions on Twitter, and here are some good ones:

@hoopmanjh says: far-future neo-Victorian space pirates? (and recommended Alastair Reynold's Revenger and Shadow Captain)

@wadebryanr says (after recommending V.E. Schwab): Well she’s basically written nothing but masterpieces so anything you haven’t yet read gets my highest recommendation.

@KeithDDale says: Have you read Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames? It’s fantastic!

@allofmyhopes says: Elizabeth Wein’s “Code Name Verity” and Jonathan L. Howard’s “Johannes Cabal the Necromancer” are my two go-to recommendation.

Also, anything by N.K. Jemisin, but I think you’ve got that covered.



Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Book Briefing

Sword and Laser interview with Rebecca Roanhorse.


The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

S&L Podcast - #362 - Live from Dublin WorldCon 2019!

We had SO much fun at WorldCon in Dublin. We were blown away with how many people came out to see us!! We were literally prepared with plans for if the room was empty, but no, Ireland filled our room and our hearts. We got some great conversations and book recommendations from folks in the crowd too! Go raibh maith agaibh! The craic was grand!

Download directly here!

Veronica is in love

Veronica is in love

Thanks for the amazing adventures, GOT Direwolves!


Tom: Orchard Thieves Cider

Veronica: Orchard Thieves Cider



The Magicians is starting over and becoming as a comic book series. The 5-issue miniseries will focus on a new class at Brakebills. It will be written by Lev Grossman, Lilah Sturges and Pius Bak. The first issue will be available November 6th digitally and in stores.

The Hollywood Reporter has more.



Barack Obama revealed the books he's been reading all summer. There's a nice variety of genres including science fiction. He recommends Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang. Obama says, ""Exhalation by Ted Chiang is a collection of short stories that will make you think, grapple with big questions, and feel more human. The best kind of science fiction.""

You can check out his full list on his Facebook page.



The Supreme Sword has begun marshalling her forces...

No word on what the Supreme Laser is up to.


Priscilla (link from Mark)

The multi-award-winning author of The Left Hand of Darkness is now the subject of PBS’s American Masters documentary series. ‘Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin’ explores the life and literature of the influential feminist author whose groundbreaking novels and stories brought science fiction and fantasy fiction mainstream recognition.


John Taloni

Gail Carriger's Reticence is out. This is the fourth and final book in the ""Custard Protocol"" series, the second generation following the five books of the ""Parasol Protectorate."""


Green Ronin will be publishing a Fifth Season RPG. N.K. Jemisin will be working along side them to bring the game to life.



Tweet from Mary Robinette Kowal about The Relentless Moon, the third Lady Astronaut novel...


The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

Book briefing