Sword and Laser bookclub kicks off The Name of the Wind

This episode is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and 10% off, go to squarespace.com and use offer code SWORD.

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The Dummies' Guide To Cosplay Photography in 2014

Andy Ihnatko’s golden rule about photographing cosplayers: You must never do anything that makes the cosplayer wish you hadn’t taken that photo. Read the rest

Lev Grossman's The Magician's Land

Lev Grossman’s The Magician’s Land concludes his genre-bending, brilliant, acerbic rethinking of the entire high fantasy genre, and does so with enormous style and skill. It’s easy to take cheap shots at the thrice-brewed tea of Tolkien, but Grossman’s moves are subtle, filled with understanding and affection, and offer no mercy to cherished illusions.

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How Harry Potter shaped a generation

Seven years after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Caroline Siede looks back on the book series that defined a generation.

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Book Club: A Storm of Swords Daenerys V and Tyrion VII

With the completion of Season 4 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Ivan and Red dig back into the Boars, Gore, And Swords book club, where they cover the chapters of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series that correspond to the previous television season. No book spoilers past the TV show!

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Boars, Gore, And Swords book club: Strong Belwas’s Bowels

With the completion of Season 4 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Ivan and Red dig back into the Boars, Gore, And Swords book club, where they cover the chapters of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series that correspond to the previous television season. No book spoilers past the TV show!

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Mary Robinette Kowal and Jane Austen: separated at birth by a time-traveller


(Left: Mary Robinette Kowal. Right: Jane Austen, photo by TV West Country/Katie Rowlett)

Mary Robinette Kowal writes regency novels like Shades of Milk and Honey that blend magic with the milieu of Jane Austen.

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Who deserves the starring role in the film adaptation of The Martian?

In episode 183 of the Sword and Laser, Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt ponder on Matt Damon’s role in The Martian, why we love to hate villains, and the role of philosophy and ideology in Octavia Butler’s Dawn. Brought to you by Squarespace. Use offer code SWORD for a free trial and 10% off!

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Terry Pratchett can't attend Discworld convention


For the first time in his long and storied career, Terry Pratchett has canceled a UK appearance, due to his failing health.

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Super-cute How to Train Your Dragon kids' costume


Okidz's child-sized Toothless costume from How to Train Your Dragon is amazing and has cute for days. It's made from felt and plush fabric, with the red tail-stablizer and all.

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The Powder Mage Trilogy - Brian McClellan's new epic fantasy series

In the latest episode of the Sword and Laser, Veronica and Tom break down their June book pick, Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan.

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CS Lewis explains why you should be proud to read children's books

A stupid, shaming, linkbaity screed against young adult literature in Slate has got lots of peoples' backs up. But reactionary nonsense about children's literature is nothing new, as CS Lewis's classic 1952 essay On Three Ways of Writing for Children (currently available in the excellent collection Of Other Worlds) demonstrates. Lewis demolishes the knee-jerk fear of being caught reading "kids' stuff," and reveals it for what it is: insecurity about your own maturity and seriousness (he also tackles the stupid idea that fantasy literature makes it hard for kids to know what's real):

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Flintpunk and Geekomancy [Sword and Laser 179]

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.

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Last Unicorn clothes

Zack writes, "From the horse's mouth, so to speak (read: author Peter S. Beagle): A line of clothes based on Beagle's classic fantasy novel, memorably adapted as a 1982 animated film and an IDW graphic novel. If you've ever wanted 'Schmendrick Leggings,' or a 'Red Bull Poncho Tank,' now's your chance.

The Last Unicorn (Thanks, Zack!)

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My 20-year-obsession with DragonStrike's instructional videotape

“Not only have I watched the instructional VHS that came with the DragonStrike board game at least once a month since I was ten,” says Don Jolly, “I’ve pulled this tape out at parties. I’ve inflicting this tape on friends. God help me, I’ve shown this thing to girls. Then, I met the video’s creator.”

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