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Sword and Laser Podcast 162: Gregory A. Wilson's Graphic Fallen Angels

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. Check out previous episodes here.

We chat with Gregory A. Wilson, author of The Third Sign, about his newest novel Icarus and the graphic novel based on it that he and artist Matt Slay are working on. It's about a being who falls from the sky to save a world from tyranny. We also find out if he named his daughter after one of his own fictional characters. (Read show notes here).

Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

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Paperback of Sailor Twain announced, read a 14-page excerpt

I reviewed Sailor Twain, Mark Siegel's amazing graphic novel about the mermaid of the Hudson River, back when it came out in 2012. The paperback has just been announced, slated for publication on March 4. Tor.com has a 14-page excerpt from the book up today. Here's my original review:

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Sword and Laser Podcast 161: What Harry Potter Stole from Earthsea

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. Check out previous episodes here.

This time around we're kicking off our February book pick, A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin. If you're looking for the first tale a of a boy who attends a school of wizardry, we've got the goods, as well as what Ms. Le Guin, who wrote her book in 1968, thinks of Ms. Rowling. Plus The Clarion Workshop deadline is looming and USC and Intel make one author's world come alive.(Read show notes here).

Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

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Locus recommended reading list for best science fiction and fantasy of 2013

Locus Magazine has published its annual Recommended Reading list, which is my favorite annual guide to the best that science fiction and fantasy have to offer. The 2013 roundup includes several of the books I've reviewed here this year, including Paolo Bacigalupi's Zombie Baseball Beatdown, Charlie Stross's Neptune's Brood, Lauren Beukes's The Shining Girls, Richard Kadrey's Dead Set, Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam, Ian Tregillis's Necessary Evil, Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and Nathan Ballingrud's North American Lake Monsters.

I'm also delighted to see that my novel Homeland (the sequel to Little Brother) made the list!

The whole list is just a fantastic signposting of the best the field has to offer.

2013 Locus Recommended Reading List (via Tor.com)

Creating a font from a classic comic

Typographer Nate Piekos describes how he created a 21st-century typeface from a 1980 issue of Elfquest—just in time to begin lettering the comic series’ conclusive installment.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast 128: True Detective

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.

Just days before our live Game of Thrones gameshow at Lost Weekend in San Francisco, Ivan and Red hit the latest in this series of recommendations for GoT fans desperate for worthy off-season entertainment, “What You Should Be Watching.” This week it’s HBO’s True Detective, AKA the Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey non-Buddy Cop non-Comedy. They cover the world’s greatest casting agent, correlations with Aaron Sorkin, Rustin Spencer and his connection to Ocean’s 11, how to share what kind of person you are, McConaughey on sizzurp, filling in plot points with pagers and hurricanes, the worst kind of atheist, the show’s problems with women, and elements of a successful pilot.

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Fantasy comics, ranked

Fables, Elfquest, Marvel's Conan and Neil Gaiman's Sandman are the best fantasy comics of all time, according to Comic Book Resources, whose list is bullshit without Groo.

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast 128: Masters of Sex

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.

With an episode yet between our live podcast and beginning Martin’s “The Princess and the Queen” in George R.R. Martin’s Dangerous Women anthology, Ivan and Red continue to direct Game of Thrones fans desperate for entertainment towards worthy replacements with our “What You Should Be Watching” series! This week it’s Showtime’s Masters of Sex, featuring the fascinating and truly terrifying sexual lives of the 1950s. Ivan and Red are joined by Caitlin Gill, member of the San Francisco comedy mafia “The Business”, who has appeared in 7x7 Magazine, on NPR’s Snap Judgement, and on this very podcast. Get into it, Daddy!

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Sword and Laser Podcast 160: Scully Writes a Book, Ringo is a God

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. Check out previous episodes here.

We've got some awesome news about new books from Peter F. Hamilton, Richard Morgan, Joe Abercrombie and Gillian Anderson. Plus we wrap up our January book, The Einstein Intersection. (Read show notes here).

Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

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Mercury Waltz, a sequel to Kathe Koja's Under the Poppy

It's been nearly four years since Kathe Koja's amazing novel "Under the Poppy" was published, plunging readers into a dark world of eros, war, and puppetry (seriously). Koja is a chameleon of a writer, whose career began with grotesque, lascivious, splatterpunk horror novels like The Cipher, then transitioned into spare, quietly brilliant YA novels like Buddha Boy, and then emerged in the entirely indescribable territory of Under the Poppy, to which she has now returned with a new novel called The Mercury Waltz.

Koja stopped in at John Scalzi's blog Whatever for an online interview about the book:

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Back with the Borribles

Aimée and Rose de Larabeitti remember the stories their father, Michael, told them—stories he would go on to publish as the anarchic, anti-authoritarian, and completely wonderful Borrible Trilogy of young adult books.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast 127: Black Mirror

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.

Having finished all of Book 3 of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords, and with a couple weeks before they start covering Martin’s “The Princess and the Queen,” part of the Dangerous Women anthology, Ivan and Red bring you their greatest “What You Should Be Watching” yet, Channel 4’s Black Mirror. If this is a show you have not heard about, you are in for some of the darkest humor imaginable, perfect for anyone deep in the Throes of “Thrones” withdrawal! We talk about the first episode of the first season of Black Mirror, but we leave out the ending because it’s something Bannermen should experience for themselves.

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The Borribles are back!


I've been posting here about The Borribles for more than a decade (proof!). Michael de Larrabeiti's young adult fantasy trilogy from the 1980s remains among my most favourite examples of both YA literature and literature about London. The books detail the lives of the Borribles, a race of elfin, pointy-eared changelings, whose number swells every time a naughty child simply walks away from home and begins a new life as an immortal, pointy-eared trickster. The Borribles live by a strict code: they never work, only thieve; they do not handle or covet money; they squat in derelict buildings, and they must earn their names by completing a daring adventure, such as taking up arms against the hateful Rumbles, a race of covetous, materialistic overgrown rodents who inhabit an underground world called Rumbledom.

Today, Tor UK is relaunching The Borribles for a new generation as three ebooks with lots of extra art and other supplementary material. They're also still publishing the UK omnibus edition a (the great Tor Teen US paperbacks are sadly out of print, though easy enough to get used). Only the ebook comes with China Mieville's wonderful introduction.

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Sword and Laser Podcast 159: Ian Tregillis on Angels, Superpowers, and Deathmatches

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. Check out previous episodes here.

We have a chance to chat with the fabulous Ian Tregillis, author of the Milkweed Triptych and Something More Than Night. He alludes to his secret "Clakkers" project, explains how to make an angel talk like a shamus, and reveals Gretel's secret Reagan baby. (Read show notes here).

Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

Sword and Laser: Subscribe RSS | iTunes | Download this episode

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: Coldhands, My Canadian Girlfriend

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.

In this episode, Red and Ivan discuss the Davos V & Bran IV chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). They also talk about Railroad speaking directly to listeners, Stannis’s Bannermen vs. Ivan’s twitter followers, the Nightfort, prince stew, Railroad writing Hodor high, and a TALKING TREE.

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Sword and Laser Podcast 158: Read a Book, Change Your Brain - It's Science!

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. Check out previous episodes here.

It's our first episode after New Year's and we're still recovering. Thank goodness Neil Gaiman, the Wertzone and Stephen Chow are here to perk us up. Plus we kick off our January book, The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany (read show notes here).

Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

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Works eligible for science fiction awards

We're coming up on award season in science fiction and fantasy -- nominations are open or opening for the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, the Nebula Award, and a host of others. John Scalzi has put up a post where writers, artists, editors, and other eligible creators can list their eligible work; Charlie Stross created one too. They're both fascinating reads in their own right.

Feel free to post your own eligible works to the comments below!

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Sword and Laser Podcast 157: Marie Brennan's Fantasy Brings the Science to Fiction

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. Check out previous episodes here. - Mark

In this episode, Veronica and Tom chat with Marie Brennan about her historical fiction, her fictionalized history, and all kinds of matters relating to anthropology, ethnography, archaeology and natural history. And dragons. Plus, get a peek at how much glee she takes in chopping off hands.

Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

Sword and Laser: Subscribe RSS | iTunes | Download this episode

Genderswitched Bilbo makes The Hobbit a better read

Michelle Nijhuis's five year old daughter insisted that Bilbo Baggins was a girl. After arguing about it for a while, Michelle decided to read her The Hobbit, switching Bilbo's gender-pronoun throughout. And it worked brilliantly. Bilbo is a great heroine: "tough, resourceful, humble, funny, and uses her wits to make off with a spectacular piece of jewelry. Perhaps most importantly, she never makes an issue of her gender -- and neither does anyone else."

Pat Murphy wrote a novel based on this premise: There and Back Again, which is a retelling of The Hobbit as a science fiction story in which all the characters are female (in contrast to Tolkien, whose world is all but empty of women of any sort). It is, sadly, long out of print, but available used and well worth your attention.

In the meantime, this kind of on-the-fly changes to stories are part of what make reading aloud to your kid so much fun. Poesy often requests (demands) editorial changes to the books I read her, some of which have been surprisingly effective at improving the text.

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Gaiman's "Ocean at the End of the Lane" wins UK book of the year prize

Congratulations to Neil Gaiman, whose modern fairytale The Ocean at the End of the Lane was named "book of the year" by popular vote in the UK Specsavers National Book Awards.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: The Red Wedding AKA Truly, God is a Cruel Buscemi

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW. - Mark

In this episode, Red and Ivan discuss the Catelyn VII & Arya XI chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). It’s Edmure and Roslin’s wedding day! What could go wrong! Nothing! Ivan and Red discuss Attack The Block, wedding food, stone to lb conversion, unspoken threats, spoken threats, and actual murder.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: The Red Dress Rehearsal

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW. - Mark

In this episode, Red and Ivan discuss the Catelyn VI & Arya X chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). Kelly Anneken joins Ivan and Red as they discuss the Happy Mutants podcast, social media snafus, racist animals, Goorin Brothers hats, Lord Walder Frey as a tiny baby, Jinglebell jingling his bells, and Lord Walder’s Beringer White Zinfandel.

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Sword and Laser Podcast 156: Wrapping Up Dragons!

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. Check out previous episodes here. - Mark

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.

Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

Sword and Laser: Subscribe RSS | iTunes | Download this episode

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: Rowing Across the Trident? That’s a Paddlin’

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things using foul language. In this episode, they discuss the Arya IX and Jon VI chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). Also covered: Bannerman Shannon’s NaNoWriMo victory, the double-headed horse, Sandor the Stranger, Telltale Games’ upcoming Game of Thrones game, Wolfman Bran, and new character Noswym McDrownsalot.

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Sword and Laser 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.

Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

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The Desolation of Tolkien

Ethan Gilsdorf reviews The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, where we see more clearly Jackson’s vision to give The Hobbit the look, feel and slow majesty of The Lord of the Rings.

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Sword and Laser Podcast 154: A Natural History of Dragons

It’s a very dragon-filled episode, as Veronica and Tom kick off their December pick, A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, actually by Marie Brennan.

Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

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Something More Than Night: noirish detective novel with extreme physics and angels

On Tor.com, Alex Brown reviews Ian Tregillis's new novel, Something More Than Night, a noirish hard-boiled detective novel about angels and extreme physics. Tregillis wrote the spectacular Milkweed Triptych, a trilogy of novels that suppose that the Nazis had a horrific, X-men-like experiment that produced superbeings who could only be held back by the secret work of English warlocks and the blood-thirsty cosmic powers they served. With Milkweed, Tregillis showed himself to be a literary chameleon, who could handle two-fisted WWII fightin' action (Bitter Seeds); Cold War spy thrillers (The Coldest War) and mind-bending, existential time-travel science fiction (Necessary Evil -- the best of the very good lot). Now, with Something More Than Night, he changes voice yet again, and with excellent effect:

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Original Ballantine book cover concept art for J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings on eBay

Tolkien, perhaps rightly in marketing terms, though with the insistent literalism that makes writers writers (which is to say: not artists), demanded, of Barbara Remington's cover art for Lord of the Rings, "What has it got to do with the story? Where is this place? Why a Lion and emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with the pink bulbs?"

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Sword and Laser Podcast 153: Peter V. Brett Is The Dark David Hasselhoff Of Fantasy

Boing Boing has a new addition to its family of wonderful podcasts! The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast, started by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of sci-fi / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. Check out previous episodes here.

In this episode, Veronica and Tom speak with author Peter V. Brett about his Demon Cycle books, the grim world of dark fantasy, his old HP iPaq, and why he's so big in Germany.

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