The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club and 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. — About S&L [www.swordandlaser.com]
The following is the list of books read by The Sword and Laser book club during the second half of 2012 (also see the list from the first half of 2012). This page is designed as is a quick reference page so that I can quickly jump between the forum pages and good read listings. Geek & Sundry host the YouTube Sword and Laser videos.
13.) The Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien – The Hobbit is a Sword & Laser read for December 2012
* In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. *
Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.
★ S&L Podcast – #117 – Is Gandalf a jerk?
★ S&L Podcast – #116 – Secret of success
S&L December Book Club: The Hobbit Wrap-Up & Your Feedback!
Sword & Laser ep. 19: Red Country, Revenge, & Joe Abercrombie
Sword & Laser ep. 18: Doctor Who, Dragon Kisses, and Paul Cornell
S&L December Book Club: ‘The Hobbit’ Kick-Off and Your Feedback!
12.) The Dirty Streets of Heaven
Tad Williams – The Dirty Streets of Heaven (Bobby Dollar, #1) is a Sword & Laser read for November 2012
Bobby Dollar is an angel—a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own—pride, anger, even lust.
But his problems aren’t all his fault. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions. And he sure as hell doesn’t trust the achingly gorgeous Countess of Cold Hands, a mysterious she-demon who seems to be the only one willing to tell him the truth.
When the souls of the recently departed start disappearing, catching both Heaven and Hell by surprise, things get bad very quickly for Bobby D. End-of-the-world bad. Beast of Revelations bad. Caught between the angry forces of Hell, the dangerous strategies of his own side, and a monstrous undead avenger that wants to rip his head off and suck out his soul, Bobby’s going to need all the friends he can get—in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else he can find them.
You’ve never met an angel like Bobby Dollar. And you’ve never read anything like The Dirty Streets of Heaven.
Brace yourself—the afterlife is weirder than you ever believed.
★ S&L Podcast – #115 – Ghallu everyone!
★ S&L Podcast – #114 – World-builder porn
Sword & Laser Book Club: “The Dirty Streets of Heaven” Wrap-Up
November Book Kick-Off
11.) Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell – Cloud Atlas is a Sword & Laser read for October 2012
A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation—the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.
In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.
★ S&L Podcast – #113 – Almost amazing
★ S&L Podcast – #112 – Interview with G. Willow Wilson!
October Book Club Wrap-Up
October Book Club Kick-Off
Isaac Asimov – Foundation (Foundation, #1) is a Sword & Laser read for September 2012
One of the great masterworks of science fiction, the Foundation novels of Isaac Asimov are unsurpassed for their unique blend of nonstop action, daring ideas, and extensive world-building. The story of our future begins with the history of Foundation and its greatest psychohistorian: Hari Seldon.
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. Only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future —a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire —both scientists and scholars— and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.
But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. And mankind’s last best hope is faced with anagonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and live as slaves or take a stand for freedom and risk total destruction.
★ S&L Podcast – #111 – Shhh! Science fiction is tired
★ S&L Podcast – #110 – Interview with Anton Strout!
September Book Club Wrap-Up
September Book Club Kick-Off
09.) Assassin’s Apprentice
Robin Hobb – Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1) is a Sword & Laser read for August 2012
In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.
Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.
So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.
★ S&L Podcast – #109 – Live at DragonCon with R.A. Salvatore!
★ S&L Podcast – #108 – Ye olde dragon phylogeny
August Book Club Wrap-Up
August Book Club Kick-Off
08.) Leviathan Wakes
James S.A. Corey – Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1) is a Sword & Laser read for July 2012
Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.
Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, “The Scopuli,” they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.
Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to “The Scopuli” and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.
Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.
It looks like that this is another audiobook that I cannot access; ‘This Audible Audio Edition is not available in your area.’
July Book Club Wrap-Up
July Book Club Kick-Off