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The Sword and Laser

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!

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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S&L Podcast - #174 - A Wrap - Up Of Earthsea

Veronica is traveling in China, so we pre-recorded this episode and took the opportunity to properly wrap-up A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Leguin. We also kick off the rest of The Martian and promise to be better about these sorts of things once Veronica is back. Still, on the bright side, we are putting in practice a ton of great suggestions from the audience. Yay audience!

27mins

30 Apr 2014

Rank #1

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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!

42mins

20 Aug 2014

Rank #2

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#270 - Be a Cat Burglar for Good!

We don't want you to steal cats (not even books, really), just to take home the exhibit from the Museum of Science Fiction. We'll explain! Plus, you must cast your vote for the classic or the new! Will you vote against Veronica?

37mins

13 Oct 2016

Rank #3

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#271 - Awkward Jinni Conversations

We discover that some people's names just don't work as awards. We're excited about a site full of fictional timelines. And we ponder troubling jinni paternity questions.

40mins

27 Oct 2016

Rank #4

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S&L Video: Author Spotlight - Alastair Reynolds

This week you’ll learn how Alastair Reynolds went from Cornwall to a doctorate in astronomy, to pushing ice across the vastness of space. How much do current scientific advances influence him? Does he feel a kinship with Mass Effect? What order should you read his darn books in? All these questions and more will be answered.

27mins

27 Mar 2014

Rank #5

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#263 - When to Judge a Book by its Cover

We're excited about American Gods. We have mixed feelings about Time Traders. And we definitely understand why you might have to judge a book by its cover, but there's a good reason to try not to. Except in one particular case.

42mins

27 Jul 2016

Rank #6

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S&L Author Spotlight - Rachel Swirsky

Have you been ignoring short stories? You’re missing out! And Rachel Swirsky is one of the best authors to prove it. Find out how this award-winning author and podcaster got into writing and poetry too!

19mins

20 Mar 2014

Rank #7

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S&L Author Spotlight - Mary Robinette Kowal

How do you become an award-winning puppeteer AND award-winning writer AND a audiobook narrator? Easy. Be Mary Robinette Kowal. We ask the author of Without a Summer and Valour and Vanity how she fits in all those things and still has time to convincingly imitate Patrick Rothfuss and convince Sam Sykes to make debatable life choices.

27mins

14 Mar 2014

Rank #8

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#322 - Analysis Paralysis

Have you ever walked into a book store and just froze? Us too. We'll talk you through it. Plus we announced the May book pick and Tanith Lee fans will be happy! Because it's by Tanith Lee! Also the wrap-up for We Are Legion (We are Bob).

39mins

26 Apr 2018

Rank #9

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#367 - Shitposting Stephen King with Sam Sykes

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).

51mins

24 Oct 2019

Rank #10

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#248 - The Truth About Vampires w/ Jim McDoniel

Jim McDoniel, author of An Unattractive Vampire, is not only the second author to get published in the Sword and Laser collection, he’s also a truth-sayer. About vampires. Like how they aren’t sparkly (usually). Return to the vampire roots with him!

26mins

22 Mar 2016

Rank #11

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S&L Author Spotlight - Max Gladstone

It's our author guide to Max Gladstone! If you want an author who knows how to work the financial crisis into epic fantasy and is handy with a sword, Max is your man. We also get the final word on a showdown between him and Scott Lynch. You won't believe who really runs the economy.

20mins

27 Feb 2014

Rank #12

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S&L Podcast - #156 - Wrapping Up Dragons!

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.

37mins

23 Dec 2013

Rank #13

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#334 - Is it a Slan Dunk?

We’re excited for TV with Henry Cavill as Geralt, and maybe even some Witchlands! Plus our initial non-spoilery impressions of this month’s book, Slan.

26mins

13 Sep 2018

Rank #14

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S&L Podcast - #200 - Best Books Of 2014

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?

34mins

6 Jan 2015

Rank #15

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S&L Author Spotlight - Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig has a reputation for cursing. He also has a reputation for being a badass writer of amazing characters in inventive situations, across novels, comics and movies. He also invented cornpunk. Oh wait, he ALSO writes one of the best guides for writers ever made. But what is his favorite word? Well, now you'll just have to watch for that, and to see how many times our editor has to use the bleep button. Spoiler: he uses it more on the hosts than the guest.

22mins

3 Apr 2014

Rank #16

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

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.

41mins

18 Dec 2013

Rank #17

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S&L Podcast - #207 - Crowdfunding An Abomination With Gary Whitta!

Gary Whitta is an award-winning screenwriter who wrote The Book of Eli and worked on the first Star Wars standalone film. So when he had an idea for a dark historical fantasy story he wrote a book. Why? We ask him that, about successfully crowdfunding his novel, and much more on this episode! Oh, and yes. We ask him about Star Wars too.

44mins

25 Feb 2015

Rank #18

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S&L Podcast - #208 - Who Will Win This Year's Nebula

So much good news! Some of our favorite stories are becoming movies and TV shows and we even have good news of a popular indie author getting picked up by Tor. And we even make a stab at predicting the Nebula winner. Yet controversy rages in the Untheileneise court. Especially about how to pronounced Untheileneise.

35mins

5 Mar 2015

Rank #19

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S&L Podcast - #212 - Do You Have The Right To Delete Swear Words

We give our last thoughts on The Goblin Emperor, kick of our April pick, Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett and discuss why some author names are bigger than their titles. But what really gets this episode going is the debate about whether a reader has the right to "clean up" an author's language.

47mins

2 Apr 2015

Rank #20