Boing Boing 

Why author Peter V. Brett Empathizes with George R.R. Martin

Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt tackle the week in science fiction.Read the rest

LISTEN: The Great Tea Race

Follow the dramatic 14,000-mile clipper ship race of 1866, in which five ships competed fiercely to be the first to London with the season's tea.

Read the rest

Are you the Goblin Emperor?

Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt on the latest in science fiction and fantasy

We bid adieu to Terry Pratchett and commemorate him with one more book pick next month. We cheer for Chuck Wendig being picked for the next Star Wars novel. And we wonder if we are too much like the Goblin Emperor. Are you?

The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon!

How "compassion fatigue" affect doctors' decisions

An interview with Danielle Ofri, physician and author of “What Doctors Feel” – a book about the emotional lives of doctors.Read the rest

LISTEN: Can a Kitten Climb the Matterhorn?

2015-03-16-podcast-episode-49-can-a-kitten-climb-the-matterhorn-1

In 1950 newspapers around the world reported that a 10-month-old kitten had climbed the Matterhorn, one of the highest peaks in Europe. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll wonder whether even a very determined kitty could accomplish such a feat.

Read the rest

The Secret to Inventing Your Own Language

Sarah Monette joins Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt on the latest podcast.Read the rest

LISTEN: The Shark Arm Affair

Shark Arm Affair

In 1935 a shark in an Australian aquarium vomited up a human forearm, a bizarre turn of events that sparked a confused murder investigation. This week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast presents two cases in which a shark supplied key evidence of a human crime.

Read the rest

Who will win this year's Nebula Award?

On this week's Sword and Laser podcast, Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt capture the latest developments in science fiction and fantasy.Read the rest

Crowdfunding an Abomination with Gary Whitta (Star Wars, The Book of Eli)

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.

Gary Whitta


Gary Whitta

The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon!

LISTEN: The Scariest Travel Books Ever Written

2015-02-22-podcast-episode-47-the-scariest-travel-books-ever-written

Victorian children's author Favell Lee Mortimer published three bizarre travel books that described a world full of death, vice, and peril. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll sample her terrifying descriptions of the lands beyond England and wonder what led her to write them.

Read the rest

LISTEN: the great dog race of mercy

1925 Nome serum run

Follow the dramatic story of the 1925 serum run to Nome, in which 20 men and 150 dogs struggled through arctic blizzards in a desperate effort to save the town from a lethal illness.

Read the rest

Understanding American football helps us understand America

football

Radiolab can always be depended on for an interesting take on questions you never even knew you had. Their story on American Football is no exception.

Read the rest

Sword and Laser podcast: How Tyrion could die

In this new episode of Sword and Laser podcast, we have a whole Wheel of Time pilot mystery to solve, and then on top of it, George RR Martin says any character in the Game of Thrones series could be killed even if they’re safe in the book. WHAT?! Hands off the Imp!

Also, we explore the mystery of why Tom didn’t like Annihilation more, even though he wanted to.

The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon!

Why we love Kumail Nanjiani's “The X-Files Files” podcast

This podcast is entertaining and awesome, but the episode featuring Darin Morgan is especially so. Don't miss, X-Files fans. xfiles

Kumail Nanjiani's The X-Files Files podcast is ubiquitously entertaining and awesome, but the episode featuring screenwriter Darin Morgan is especially so.

Read the rest

Brian McClellan and his latest flintlock fantasy novel, The Autumn Republic

When you rule the world of "powder mages" you can do what you want. Brian McClellan wields his powder for good. In addition to delivering us the complete Powder Mage trilogy with the third book The Autumn Republic, Brian is going to bring us a second trilogy in the same universe, all while growing his own spaghetti sauce and keeping bees. Impressive. Most impressive.

The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon!

The science behind Brian Williams' misremembering

The last 40 years of memory research strongly suggests the kind of misremembering Williams claims to have suffered is easy to reproduce in our own lives. Read the rest

Crossing Africa for Love

When Ewart Grogan was denied permission to marry his sweetheart, he set out to walk the length of Africa to prove himself worthy of her.

Read the rest

Why we like fried chicken and vinyl

This week Xeni, Jason, and Mark talk about the gadget approach to making good fried chicken and an affordable, retro-inspired solution to experiencing vinyl. Read the rest

Jeff VanderMeer's novel Annihilation is not for everyone

Veronica REALLY wanted to make the title of this episode "Tom Merritt is a sexist pig." But Tom doesn't need that kind of grief. And besides he has promised to read even more female SciFi/Fantasy authors going forward. But if you want to hear Veronica giggle at the notion -- as well as defend our book pick, Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, and wax eloquent about the need for varied perspectives in literature -- then fire up this episode!

Full show notes here!
Support us on Patreon!

LISTEN: Ballooning to the North Pole

In 1897, Swedish engineer S.A. Andrée made the world's only attempt to balloon to the North Pole.

Andree balloon

In 1897, Swedish engineer S.A. Andrée made the world's only attempt to balloon to the North Pole.

Read the rest

Military Fantasy and Myke Cole

Sword and Laser welcomes back the amazing Myke Cole to talk about how he finds time to write great books, fight crime, and decorate his apartment with even more books. We also pressure him into a startling revelation about unicorns. And of course, talk to him about his new book, Gemini Cell: A Shadow Ops Novel, which is out now!

Full show notes here!
Support us on Patreon!

Avatars, rubber hands, virtual reality, and racism

Can changing your body, even just for a few minutes, change your mind? Can a psychological body transfer melt away your long-held opinions and unconscious prejudices? Maybe so.Read the rest

LISTEN: Ben Franklin's Guide to Living

2015-01-25-podcast-episode-43-ben-franklins-self-improvement-plan-1

In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll explore Benjamin Franklin's self-improvement plan and find out which vices gave him the most trouble.

Read the rest

This week's best gadgets

This week Mark and Jason compare tea makers and Xeni talks about her Hario Japanese coffee products. Read the rest

Ready Player Two? A sci-fi sequel is in the works.

Join Tom Merritt and Veronica Belmont for the Sword and Laser Podcast.

We wrap up The Sparrow. We loved it and it made us sad. We're also blown away at the quality of books being made into TV shows. Well, only a pilot and a trailer but so far so good. But should you risk reading a book and seeing a movie or TV show too? Maybe not! Plus, we get a hint at a sequel to Ready Player One!

Full show notes here!
Support us on Patreon!

Gweek audio experience: How to 3D print your family

Our guest this week is Maggie Tokuda Hall. She writes books for children and stories for adults. Read the rest

Here are Gizmodo and Engadget founder Peter Rojas' favorite tools

Peter Rojas is the founder Engadget, gdgt and Gizmodo. He currently co-hosts MVP, a podcast about new tech products, alongside Ryan Block (previously interviewed on the Cool Tools Show). Peter focused his picks for this episode on personal impact, his philosophy being that truly worthy tools not only change your life, but they also change the way you think about the world.

See Peter's picks and show notes.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show podcast.

Listen to all Cool Tools Show episodes here.

LISTEN: The Balmis Expedition: Using Orphans to Combat Smallpox

The Balmis Expedition

In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell how Spanish authorities found an ingenious way to use orphans to bring the smallpox vaccine to the American colonies in 1803. The Balmis Expedition overcame the problems of transporting a fragile vaccine over a long voyage and is credited with saving at least 100,000 lives in the New World.

We'll also get some listener updates to the Lady Be Good story and puzzle over why a man would find it more convenient to drive two cars than one.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

The ceiling that birthed a naked man

What happened when a naked man literally appeared out of thin air inside a couple’s apartment while they were getting ready for work?Read the rest

Don't Fear The Roomba? An Interview with Daniel H. Wilson

Author and robotics engineer Daniel H. Wilson chats with us about his new story/app called Mayday: Deep Space about a person trapped on a ship full of monsters. Only you can help him survive! But of course we have to ask Daniel when the robots will rise up and kill us all.

Show notes here!
Support us on Patreon!