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 2013. This page is designed as is a quick reference page so that I can quickly jump between the forum pages and Goodreads listings.
[ Previously – The Sword and Laser – 2013 Book list (Part I) ]
12.) A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent (Memoir by Lady Trent #1)
A Natural History of Dragons is the Sword & Laser read for December 2013
Marie Brennan – A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent (Memoir by Lady Trent #1)
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.
Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
VERDICT: waiting for the audio book
Title is unavailable in your country
(via downpour as it doesn’t even appear on Audible for me.)
★ S&L Podcast – #157 – Marie Brennan’s Fantasy Brings the Science to Fiction
★ S&L Podcast – #156 – Wrapping Up Dragons!
★ S&L Podcast – #155 – Why Sam Sykes is for Sharks and the Alliance
★ S&L Podcast – #154 – A Natural History of Dragons
★ S&L Podcast – #153 – Peter V. Brett is the Dark David Hasselhoff of Fantasy
12.b) His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1)
His Majesty’s Dragon is the alternate Sword & Laser read for December 2013
Naomi Novik – His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1)
Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature.
Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.
11.) Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1)
Ancillary Justice is the Sword & Laser read for November 2013
Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1)
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.
An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.
★ S&L Podcast – #152 – Ancillary Justice Wrap-up with Author Ann Leckie
★ S&L Podcast – #151 – Myke Cole Will Kick Your Ass For Free
★ S&L Podcast – #150 – Who’s the best?
★ S&L Podcast – #149 – Interview with Nicholas Kaufmann
★ S&L Podcast – #148 – Kick-off Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
10.) Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century #1)
Boneshaker is the Sword & Laser read for October 2013
Cherie Priest – Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century #1)
Cherie Priest’s much-anticipated steampunk debut has finally arrived in the form of a paperback original. Its plot features the sort of calibrated suspense that readers of her Four and Twenty Blackbirds would expect. Boneshaker derives its title from the Bone-Shaking Drill Engine, a device designed to give Russian prospectors a leg up in the race for Klondike gold. Unfortunately, there was one hitch: On its trial run, the Boneshaker went haywire and, long story short, turned much of Seattle into a city of the dead. Now, 16 years later, a teenage boy decides to find out what is behind that mysterious wall. Can his mother save him in time? Zombie lit of the first order.
★ S&L Podcast – #147 – Interview with Bradley P. Beaulieu
★ S&L Podcast – #146 – Are you there zombie? It’s me, Veronica
★ S&L Podcast – #145 – Hangout with Rob Reid
★ S&L Podcast – #144 – Kick-off Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
09.) The Demolished Man
The Demolished Man is the Sword & Laser read for September 2013
Alfred Bester – The Demolished Man
In a world in which the police have telepathic powers, how do you get away with murder?
Ben Reichs heads a huge 24th century business empire, spanning the solar system. He is also an obsessed, driven man determined to murder a rival.
To avoid capture, in a society where murderers can be detected even before they commit their crime, is the greatest challenge of his life.
★ S&L Podcast – #143 – Interview with Robyn Schneider
★ S&L Podcast – #142 – Sexy wizard bear
★ S&L Podcast – #141 – R.A. Salvatore some more!
★ S&L Podcast – #140 – DragonCon 2013 with Jim Butcher!
08.) The Curse of Chalion
The Curse of Chalion is the Sword & Laser read for August 2013
Lois McMaster Bujold – The Curse of Chalion (Chalion #1)
A man broken in body and spirit, Cazaril, has returned to the noble household he once served as page, and is named, to his great surprise, as the secretary-tutor to the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is next in line to rule.
It is an assignment Cazaril dreads, for it will ultimately lead him to the place he fears most, the royal court of Cardegoss, where the powerful enemies, who once placed him in chains, now occupy lofty positions. In addition to the traitorous intrigues of villains, Cazaril and the Royesse Iselle, are faced with a sinister curse that hangs like a sword over the entire blighted House of Chalion and all who stand in their circle. Only by employing the darkest, most forbidden of magics, can Cazaril hope to protect his royal charge—an act that will mark the loyal, damaged servant as a tool of the miraculous, and trap him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death.
★ S&L Podcast – #139 – The Curse of Chalion Wrap-up
★ S&L Podcast – #138 – Why Scott Lynch and Neil Gaiman are awesome
Ringworld is the Sword & Laser read for July 2013
Larry Niven – Ringworld (Ringworld #1)
A new place is being built, a world of huge dimensions, encompassing millions of miles, stronger than any planet before it. There is gravity, and with high walls and its proximity to the sun, a livable new planet that is three million times the area of the Earth can be formed. We can start again!
** “Ringworld”, or more formally, “Niven ring”, has become a generic term for such a structure, which is an example of what science fiction fans call a “Big Dumb Object”, or more formally a megastructure. Other science fiction authors have devised their own variants of Niven’s Ringworld, notably Iain M. Banks’ Culture Orbitals, best described as miniature Ringworlds, and the ring-shaped Halo structure of the video game Halo.
(Media: Dead Tree)
★ S&L Podcast – #137 – A rasher of Abercrombie
★ S&L Podcast – #136 – Nerdtacular 2013!
★ S&L Podcast – #135 – Wrap-up Among Others, Kick-off Ringworld
Redshirts is the ALTERNATE Sword & Laser read for July 2013
John Scalzi – Redshirt
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.
Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.
Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.
(Media: eBook, audiobook)