Boing Boing 

Embrace the Manic Pixie Dream Witch!

We’re happy for the Hugos, sad for the last Terry Pratchett novel, and J.R.R. Tolkien has a new book. Plus, we wrap up Uprooted by Naomi Novik and make our peace with a trope.

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: Sunk by a Whale

Follow the desperate journey of 20 surviving seamen stranded a thousand miles from land.

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In 1820, the Nantucket whaleship Essex was attacked and sunk by an 85-foot sperm whale in the South Pacific, a thousand miles from land. In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the attack, which left 20 men to undertake an impossible journey to South America in three small whaleboats.

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LISTEN: Lateral Thinking Puzzles

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Here are four new lateral thinking puzzles to test your wits!

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Psychology’s unhealthy obsession with the WEIRDest people in the world

Psychology studies are almost always about WEIRD people: Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, and Democratic – the kind of people who make up less than 15 percent of the world's population.Read the rest

Why you should welcome the robots

Tom and Veronica talk to J-F Dubeau, author of 'The Life Engineered,' about why we should build more robots.Read the rest

LISTEN: The Niihau Incident

What happens when a Japanese fighter pilot crash-lands on a remote Hawaiian island after the attack on Pearl Harbor? Read the rest

LISTEN: Composing Beyond the Grave

beethoven

Did the spirits of dead composers contact British medium Rosemary Brown to dictate new music?

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Sound is the forgotten flavor sense

Manipulating sound can transform our experience of food and drink, making stale potato chips taste fresh, adding the sensation of cream to black coffee, or boosting the savory, peaty notes in whiskey.Read the rest

LISTEN: How the U.S. Air Force rescued a downed navigator

When the largest rescue operation of the Vietnam War failed to reach downed navigator Gene Hambleton, how did his lifelong passion for golf become the key to his rescue?Read the rest

LISTEN: Was Cyrano de Bergerac plagiarized from a Chicago real estate developer?

That being the highly successful French play.

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And is it still illegal to perform it in the U.S. today?

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LISTEN: Murder at the Priory

Can you solve "the prize puzzle of British criminal jurisprudence"?Read the rest

LISTEN: Neil Gaiman writes all the things!

Enjoy the latest podcast from Veronica Belmont and Tom MerrittRead the rest

LISTEN: Was "rainmaker" Charles Hatfield responsible for San Diego's calamitous flood of 1916?

Coincidence, correlation, or something else? Read the rest

Cocktail Hour

We discover the cocktail's historical origins, its etymological connection to a horse's butt, and its rocky history, post-Prohibition. Read the rest

LISTEN: Marconi Catches a Murderer

Dew and Crippen

In 1910 Scotland Yard exploited a new invention, the wireless telegraph, to capture the main suspect in a gruesome murder.

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From Authors to Hollywood Moguls!

221_square Ellen DeGeneres is apparently interested in adapting Naomi Novik's Uprooted as a film. But, we all know there's a long road from "interest" to "released." Just ask Neil Gaiman. The good news is Gaiman's American Gods is finally green-lit for TV! So there's hope. Unless you're a god from the Continent! More about that as we wrap up The City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett.

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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 the Healer deserves to be a Hero

We talk with author Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger, about why healers are never the hero in genre fiction and how she decided to change that. We also press her for baked brie recipes and discover how the Foo Fighters helped shape Octavia Leander.

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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!