When Tom Merritt and I (Veronica Belmont) started producing Sword & Laser back in 2007, we really only meant it as a project to entertain ourselves. I loved fantasy, Tom loved science fiction, but we were curious to read outside of our comfort zones and get a more thorough understanding of genre fiction as a whole.
As our community grew, we realized that there were many writers in our midst as well. Not just the ones we were interviewing on the show, but fellow readers and forum contributors who were online and sharing writing tips and samples with each other. Because of this, an idea hit me: we should do a short story collection, completely sourced from our talented pool of podcast listeners. They've done so much for us, we should figure out a way to highlight their work as well!
It's been about two years in the making, but the Sword & Laser Anthology is finally a real thing. Tom, myself, and a team of friends scoured the thousands of submissions to find our favorite twenty stories to include in the anthology; ten science fiction, ten fantasy. Ultimately, the final twenty were selected by me and Tom, and it was an almost traumatic experience picking from the pool of incredible finalists. Many of the writers are previously unpublished, and all of the included stories are original to our collection.
Most anthologies have an underlying theme that ties the collection together, but I see this as celebrating all the different types of stories that can be encompassed by genre fiction. Our listeners have varied tastes and opinions, and I hope that's here.
We were thrilled when Patrick Rothfuss agreed to write the introduction to the book, especially since I know how much crap everyone gives him when he's doing anything but writing the final book in the Kingkiller Chronicle. The very talented artist Cliff Nielsen, who we met at last year's BayCon created our cover art. If you look closely at the image, you can see references to some of our stories inside the tiny universes along the shelves.
We're extremely proud of this anthology, and I hope that you find something inside it that inspires you to read more outside your own comfort zone!
Listen to the Sword and Laser podcast right here on Boing Boing.