S&L Podcast - #244 - It's OK to Like Junk Fiction Sometimes

Sometimes some people just want a story you can take your brain off and enjoy. If that's not you, keep your rain off my cotton candy. Also an awesome new effort to Kickstart an Ursula K. Leguin documentary and more great books becoming TV shows!

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QUICK BURNS

Paul: Victoria (V.E.) Schwab, author of "A Darker Shade of Magic" and the upcoming "Gathering of Shadows", among others, has announced that the TV rights for her "A Darker Shade of Magic" series have been acquired and she will be writing the pilot for it.

Stephen: Are you having a hard time keeping up with Hugo nominations as regards to Novelettes, short stories and the like, like me ? The good folks at Rocket stack rank have listed those they feel are the most worthy.

Tamahome: The Women Who Helped Revive Doctor Who Are Making a New Fantasy Show based on Deborah Harkness's books.

Aaron: There is a documentary of Ursula K. Le Guin's life on Kickstarter. 25 days left and already well above their target funds.

Sandra: Syfy announces that The Magicians will be renewed for a second season.

Trike: Bryan Fuller named showrunner of the new Star Trek TV series.

Rob: The script for the new Harry Potter plays will be released in book form.

BARE YOUR SWORD

Audible virgin looking for help

BOOK OF THE MONTH DISCUSSION

Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

SoS: Why I like reading Junk Fiction (like SoS)

Special BONUS! Interview with James SA Cory from the "It's Spoilerin Time" show at cordkillers.com

ADDENDUMS

We'll be interviewing the first two authors in the Sword and Laser Inkshares collection coming out soon

Questions for J-F Dubeau author of The Life Engineered

Questions for Jim McDoniel author of An Unattractive Vampire

Our show is currently entirely funded by our patrons at patreon.com/swordandlaser Thank you to all the folks who back our show and if you would like to support the show that way head to patreon.com/swordandlaser.

You can also support the show by buying books through our links! Find links to the books we talk about and some of our favorites at swordandlaser.com/picks.

FEATURED REVIEW: Nemesis Games (Expanse #5) by James S.A. Corey

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 Robert Zak
Ed note: Review is mostly spoiler free, but reader beware!

Nemesis Games (The Expanse)
By James S.A. Corey

Executive Summary: Best one yet! I've always enjoyed this series, but I really loved this book. My only complaint would I don't have more to read! I can't wait for book 6.

Audiobook: Jefferson Mays is back! Huzzah! Don't get me wrong, he's not one of my favorite narrators or anything, but he is good. And the guy they got to replace him for book 4 was not. I was considering switching to text for this book if that narrator was used again. Thankfully I didn't have to. 

His accents for Avasarala and Alex are excellent as always. Everyone else isn't really anything special. He has good inflection and reads in a nice and clear voice. Hopefully they'll be able to get him for all the future books.

Full Review
The Expanse books have been a lot of fun since I finally picked them up last year. However I was starting to feel like maybe it was running out of steam.

I liked Leviathan Wakes and thought Caliban's War was even better. However I felt Abaddon's Gate and especially Cibola Burn weren't as good.

I've grown tired of the rotating POV's with new characters to follow around. Part of the problem is that Avasarala and Bobbie were so great in Caliban's War, everyone that followed was a disappointment.

Not only that, but they didn't really feature in books 3 and 4 and I think that's a waste. Thankfully that's been remedied in this book. While they aren't POV characters again, they do feature fairly heavily in the plot, albeit Bobbie moreso than Avasarala.

The other problem was I always found at least 1 or 2 of the POV to be less interesting than the others. The best part is that instead of forcing the readers to deal with some new characters they won't like as much, they chose to make the other 3 POVs the remaining members of the Rocinante. Not only do we finally get in the heads of characters I've come to love in the last 4 books, but we get more of their backstories as well, especially Naomi and Amos. 

In fact if you haven't read The Churn previously, I'd highly recommend doing so before this novel. I think you'll get a lot more out of Amos's storyline if you do. I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite plotline. They were all just so good.

So apart from excellent choice for POVs what really makes this book so great is the focus of the story. The stuff with the protomolecule in the last four books has been interesting, but this book mostly takes a break from that.

The tensions have long been bubbling between the three human factions of Earth, Mars and The Belt/OPA have finally come to a head. And just when I thought I was enjoying this book, BAM! It somehow got even better.

This is a very different story than last four. That may upset some fans, but for me it breathed new life into a series that seemed in danger of losing its way.

Some characters in this book made me so mad! Others made me scared or nervous. Just seeing Bobbie and Avasarala made me happy. I hated having to stop listening each day, and I couldn't wait to start listening again. 

To me that's the sort of thing that pushes something from a 4-star rating into the vary rare company of a 5-star rating. It also put it solidly on my favorites shelf. I will definitely be listening to this one again.

If I had one complaint it's that it's over! I can't wait for book 6! If you found yourself not as happy with the last book or two, I highly recommend giving this one a shot, I really think it's best one yet!