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The Sword and Laser

Updated 9 days ago

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Books
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Read along with the Sword and Laser book club! From classic science fiction to the latest gritty fantasy, we cover it. Subscribe for book discussions, author interviews, hot releases, and news from the genre fiction world!

Read more

Read along with the Sword and Laser book club! From classic science fiction to the latest gritty fantasy, we cover it. Subscribe for book discussions, author interviews, hot releases, and news from the genre fiction world!

iTunes Ratings

368 Ratings
Average Ratings
339
17
4
3
5

Obsessed

By GCRokzZzZz - Dec 06 2019
Read more
I listen to this podcast even when I haven’t read the book of the month. It’s just so informative, fun, and for some reason very relaxing to me. Looovvveeeeee it!

Nice!

By rick mode - Nov 08 2017
Read more
I’ve found quite a few great books and series listening to the Sword and Laser. Recommended.

iTunes Ratings

368 Ratings
Average Ratings
339
17
4
3
5

Obsessed

By GCRokzZzZz - Dec 06 2019
Read more
I listen to this podcast even when I haven’t read the book of the month. It’s just so informative, fun, and for some reason very relaxing to me. Looovvveeeeee it!

Nice!

By rick mode - Nov 08 2017
Read more
I’ve found quite a few great books and series listening to the Sword and Laser. Recommended.
Cover image of The Sword and Laser

The Sword and Laser

Latest release on Jan 16, 2020

Read more

Read along with the Sword and Laser book club! From classic science fiction to the latest gritty fantasy, we cover it. Subscribe for book discussions, author interviews, hot releases, and news from the genre fiction world!

Rank #1: #253 - A Tale Of Two Styles

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The Hugos are out! We leave the drama to the side for this one and celebrate the novel nominees. But we didn't waste the drama... we just saved it for our evaluations of TV show and movie-based SFF books! We even brought a little to season our conversation about The Fifth Season and A Darker Shade of Magic. It's OK to like different styles of writing, folks!

Apr 27 2016

45mins

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Rank #2: #343 - Math Is Hard

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We’re very pleased that the Hugo Nominations are open and we’ll keep reminding you. Also we’re pleased to discuss pairing beer with novels and pleased to look over the new Philip K. Dick award nominees. We’re pleased to be reading Ninefox Gambit too, even if it makes our brain hurt.

Jan 17 2019

37mins

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Rank #3: S&L Podcast - #165 - SciFi Is Finally Literature!

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We kick off our March book pick, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, ponder the brief career of Jonathan Ross as LonCon MC, and discover that at least Houghton Mifflin thinks SciFi is lit.

Mar 05 2014

40mins

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Rank #4: S&L Podcast - #214 - Discworld's Inner Rage

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Rucksack Universe Author and Pratchett Enthusiast, Anthony St. Clair joins us to wrap up our reading of Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters. Is Granny Weatherwax a conduit for Pratchett's righteous anger? Does Tom live next to Nanny Ogg? All these mysteries and more revealed.

Apr 30 2015

46mins

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Rank #5: S&L Podcast - #161 - What Harry Potter Stole From Earthsea

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This time around we're kicking off our February book pick, A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin. If you're looking for the first tale a of a boy who attends a school of wizardry, we've got the goods, as well as what Ms. Le Guin, who wrote her book in 1968, thinks of Ms. Rowling. Plus The Clarion Workshop deadline is looming and USC and Intel make one author's world come alive.

Feb 05 2014

41mins

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Rank #6: S&L Podcast - #179 - Flintpunk And Geekomancy

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Would you like to be in a George R. R. Martin Book? Got $20K? Don't mind being killed? Good. You can help wolves. Also we give our first impressions of Brian McClellan's The Promise of Blood and talk Geekomancy with Michael Underwood.

Jun 11 2014

1hr 6mins

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Rank #7: S&L Podcast - #209 - The Secret To Inventing Your Own Language

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Sarah Monette, a.k.a. Katherine Addison, tells us why you’re all right about the Goblin Emperor, why the wizards in the book are so stubborn about using magic, and shares tips for inventing a language.

Mar 12 2015

40mins

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Rank #8: S&L Podcast - #156 - Wrapping Up Dragons!

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It’s a no-holds barred episode where Tom and Veronica reveal their most horrible secrets. Happy Christmas! Also good news from Scott Lynch, slightly bad news from Charles Stross, and the book character you want on your side in a bar fight.

Dec 23 2013

37mins

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Rank #9: S&L Podcast - #230 - Reading Makes You A Better Person, Says Science

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We cheer for Patrick Rothfuss winning the Hollywood game, jeer a little at Spielberg refusing to put a Delorean in the Ready Player One movie and peruse with careful academic curiosity a study showing the increase in empathy caused by reading.

Oct 14 2015

29mins

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Rank #10: S&L Podcast - #187 - How To Win A Hugo

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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!

Aug 20 2014

42mins

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Rank #11: #345 - Math as a Magic System w/ Mary Robinette Kowal

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We chat with Mary Robinette Kowal, the author of this month’s pick, The Calculating Stars. From acknowledging and learning from your biases, to de-stigmatizing mental illness, to using math as a magic system, we had a lovely time and don’t care WHAT people would think.

Feb 15 2019

46mins

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Rank #12: S&L Podcast - #155 - Why Sam Sykes Is For Sharks And The Alliance

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We had a really good time chatting with Sam Sykes, author of the Aeon's Gate series. Among other things, we learned what a flying shark is good for, why he left the Horde, what a "stealfie" is, and how Sam keeps his daily threat-making to a minimum. Plus your questions! Enjoy.

Dec 18 2013

41mins

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Rank #13: #234 - We Think We Know How Game Of Thrones Ends

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George R R Martin will only say that Game of Thrones will end in a bittersweet way. We’re pretty sure we know what that means. Also Chinese Nebula Award winners and our first impressions of Time and Again by Jack Finney.

Nov 11 2015

40mins

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Rank #14: S&L Podcast - #200 - Best Books Of 2014

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Well we're here to kick off the new year AND celebrate our 200th episode so we gathered drinks and cheer and your favorite books of 2014 as well as our own and a few others. You'll never guess which one everybody picked! That's not true. You'll totally guess. You probably already guessed. But listen to the show anyway, OK. For us?

Jan 06 2015

34mins

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Rank #15: #268 - "Underrated" is Not a Dirty Word

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We praise the underrated and print books, and we get into the dog-eat-dog world of Fire Upon the Deep!

Sep 15 2016

37mins

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Rank #16: #344 - Steamy

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So many news stories! We have to speed through them but there’s some good picks from lots of award winners in there. Plus, the best pajamas ever and whether Calculating Stars is steamy!

Feb 08 2019

32mins

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Rank #17: S&L Podcast - #157 - Marie Brennan's Fantasy Brings The Science To Fiction

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We chat with Marie Brennan about her historical fiction her fictionalized history and all kinds of matters relating to anthropology, ethnography, archaeology and natural history. And dragons. Plus get a peek at how much glee she takes in chopping off hands. That and more insights coming your way in this interview with Marie Brennan.

Show notes: http://swordandlaser.com/home/2013/12/19/sl-podcast-157-how-marie-brennans-fantasy-brings-the-science-to-fiction

Dec 31 2013

37mins

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Rank #18: #321 - What is Camp? Baby Don't Yurt Me

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We are SO excited to be nominated for the Hugos! Thank you! Also the return of the Expanse and why Amazon will spend $1 billion on a Middle Earth show.

Apr 13 2018

32mins

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Rank #19: S&L Podcast - #158 - Read A Book, Change Your Brain -- It's Science!

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It's our first episode after New Year's and we're still recovering. Thank goodness Neil Gaiman, the Wertzone and Stephen Chow are here to perk us up. Plus we kick off our January book, The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany.

http://swordandlaser.com/home/2014/1/7/sl-podcast-158-read-a-book-change-your-brain-science

Jan 08 2014

35mins

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Rank #20: 261 #261 - The Restaurant At The End Of The Barnes & Noble

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Looks like your old bookstore is getting into fancy dinners, plus the rise of book-based card games and how Time Traders proves you live in the wrong time.

Jul 06 2016

35mins

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#372 - Hmmm... hmmm.

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We’ve got Hugo nominations open! And a new Heinlein novel. I mean “new” to everybody but him, we guess. Plus, we kick off In the Company fo Others by Julie E. Czerneda.

Jan 16 2020

36mins

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#371 - Science Fungus

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Veronica explains the awesome piece in the New York Times about Ken Liu, we're excited for The Witcher, we announce the January book will be In the Company of Others by Julie Czerneda, and we wrap up The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Plus, we put the “fun” in Science Fungus.

Dec 20 2019

30mins

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#370 - Death is Her Favorite Character

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Got reader’s block? We've got some tips to get you out of it. Is there too much SFF out there now? And why Death is Veronica's favorite character. We kick off Hogfather and give our final thoughts on Snow Queen!

Dec 05 2019

48mins

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#369 - Jeffety Jeff Jeffers of Planet Jeff

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How we’re feeling about the Snow Queen, and where it’s world-building might have drawn from. Plus two alternative pronunciation guides for the character names. Plus, a treasure trove of awesome articles about SciFi-type things!

Nov 21 2019

38mins

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#368 - But is it Art?

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So many awards! You have no excuse for not finding something awesome and new to read right now. Not that you ever do with us on the job, we hope. Also, our first impressions on reading The Snow Queen.

Nov 11 2019

30mins

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#367 - Shitposting Stephen King with Sam Sykes

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We explain why the Tiptree Award is now the Otherwise award, welcome the casting of Apple's Foundation TV show, and Sam Sykes has a message for Stephen King (and Myke Cole).

Oct 24 2019

51mins

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#366 - Just Crack Me Open and Take a Look

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Should you feel guilty for re-reading? The answer is no. But you shouldn't feel guilty for not re-reading too. Plus our fantasy casting of A Darker Shade of Magic is pretty much all Keanu.

Oct 11 2019

31mins

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#365 - But Lin-Manuel Miranda!

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Targaryen TV show possible? Check. Clifford Simak movie on Netflix? Check. Far Side back? Check. Showtime turns down The Kingkiller Chronicle TV show? WHAT?! BUT LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA!

Sep 26 2019

35mins

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#364 - Kick Your Problems in the Face

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Fran Wilde's op-ed from the future sounds hilarious. N. K. Jemisin's new novel sounds awesome. And Andy Weir's short story has been adapted into a cool short film. So much good reading out there! Plus our thoughts on why Trail of Lightning has us thinking that sometimes you just have to kick your problems in the face.

Sep 12 2019

29mins

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#363 - Extremely Unbalanced

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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.

Aug 29 2019

35mins

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#362 - Live from Dublin WorldCon 2019!

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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!

Aug 19 2019

31mins

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#361 - My Little Space Brain Friends

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Are we excited for The Witcher? Probably? Are we excited for the Hitchhiker's Guide Hulu TV series? Maybe? Are we excited for Vessel? In some ways? Is Tom excited for The Poppy War? YES!

Aug 01 2019

46mins

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#360 - Cuddling with Direwolves

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Veronica is definitely not meeting direwolves in Ireland and stealing them and smuggling them back into the United States. Definitely not. Plus, our thoughts so far on Vessel by Lisa Nichols.

Jul 18 2019

33mins

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#359 - We Have Literary Opinions

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We’re so excited about our guest pick! It’s the kickoff for our July book, and the first ever-not-in-any-way chosen by Tom or Veronica. Also we love XKCD and we love Station 11. Also Dara and Terpkristin. So much love!

Jun 27 2019

25mins

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#358 - Nebula Interview with Greg van Eekhout

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Tom talks with Greg van Eekhout, author of Voyage of the Dogs and California Bones about dogs, writing from local influences, and what the Nebulas mean to him. Also Tom embarrasses himself at least twice!

Jun 20 2019

22mins

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#357 - The Last Beagle

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We're excited for a trip to the Hunger Games' past and to hear Tatiana Maslany show us her Orphan Black chops again. Plus, Veronica takes on a Jim Butcher challenge and our final thoughts on The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.

Jun 20 2019

38mins

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#356 - Greetings from Tom Merritt, Illinois

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We’re cautiously pessimistic about Winds of Winter, but hey wouldn’t that be cool? Also we discover what famous authors we live in (yes, you read that right, live in) and our initial thoughts on The Last Unicorn. PLUS an astonishing announcement about next month’s pick!

Jun 09 2019

25mins

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#355 - Rebecca Roanhorse at the Nebulas!

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Tom catches up with Rebecca Roanhorse, author of Trail of Lightning, to talk about writing native cultures in genre fiction and what she gets out of the Nebula conference.

May 30 2019

14mins

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#354 - More Than a Bookstore to Me

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Tom had fun at the Nebulas, and we’re excited about the winners. We also kick off a new book, wrap up the last one and give our thoughts about the Game of Thrones finale.

May 23 2019

40mins

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#353 - Whiskey by Bob

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Locus Award finalists! Great supplementary material for the Martian Chronicles! Why we need utopias! AI Whisky! ALL THAT AND MORE! Sorry. We're really excited about this episode. We hope you will be too.

May 16 2019

28mins

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iTunes Ratings

368 Ratings
Average Ratings
339
17
4
3
5

Obsessed

By GCRokzZzZz - Dec 06 2019
Read more
I listen to this podcast even when I haven’t read the book of the month. It’s just so informative, fun, and for some reason very relaxing to me. Looovvveeeeee it!

Nice!

By rick mode - Nov 08 2017
Read more
I’ve found quite a few great books and series listening to the Sword and Laser. Recommended.