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 first half of 2014. 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 II) ]
06.) Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage, #1)
Promise of Blood is the Sword & Laser read for June 2014.
Brian McClellan – Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage, #1)
It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.
But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…
In a rich, distinctive world that mixes magic with technology, who could stand against mages that control gunpowder and bullets? PROMISE OF BLOOD is the start of a new epic fantasy series from Brian McClellan.
★ S&L Podcast – #181 – The Promise of More Blood
★ S&L Podcast – #180 – Emily Jiang: Cinderella, Secret Agent
★ S&L Podcast – #179 – Flintpunk and Geekomancy
★ S&L Podcast – #178 – David Weber Talks Honor at BayCon 2014
★ S&L Podcast – #177 – A Chat with Grand Master Delany
05.) The Martian
The Martian is the Sword & Laser read for May 2014.
Andy Weir -The Martian
Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.
It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
(Media: audiobook? )
★ S&L Podcast – #176 – Martians and Panda Pants
★ S&L Podcast – #175 – Ann Leckie Wins it All
★ S&L Podcast – #174 – A Wrap-up of Earthsea
David Dalglish – A Dance of Cloaks (Shadowdance #1)
Thren Felhorn is the greatest assassin of his time. Marshalling the thieves’ guilds under his control, he declares war against the Trifect, an allegiance of wealthy and powerful nobles.
Aaron Felhorn has been groomed since birth to be Thren’s heir. Sent to kill the daughter of a priest, Aaron instead risks his own life to protect her from the wrath of his guild. In doing so, he glimpses a world beyond poison, daggers, and the iron control of his father.
Guilds twist and turn, trading allegiances for survival. The Trifect weakens, its reputation broken, its money dwindling. The players take sides as the war nears its end, and Thren puts in motion a plan to execute hundreds.
Only Aaron can stop the massacre and protect those he loves…
Assassin or protector; every choice has its consequences.
Bryan Alexander Benson – The Brand
In lands of magic and steam power, two nations, the Order and the Eria Kingdom, are engaged in a bitter century old conflict with not only each other, but also the vicious race of creatures known as the daeryc. With the exception of scattered daeryc attacks, the people have known an uneasy peace for a short time, but a storm is looming on the horizon that may tear that apart. Ciel is an Exorcist; a powerful, mistrusted warrior that fights with spiritually imbued weapons. Using the power granted by a mystical brand given by the Order, she channels lightning into her mechanical arm to defeat the daeryc monsters. She has become comfortable in her duty of protecting the followers of the Order, but everything is about to change. The Exorcists are on the verge of extinction, and the daeryc are gaining in power. When Ciel discovers a hidden plot that makes enemies of friends, she must take desperate actions to defend what she believes in, even if that means she has to swallow her pride and team up with the most unlikely of allies.
★ S&L Podcast – #173 – JJ, Destroyer of Canons
★ S&L Podcast – #172 – The Invention of BeerPunk
★ S&L Podcast – #171 – The Martian Influx
★ S&L Podcast – #170 – The Lives of Wesley Chu
★ S&L Podcast – #169 – Sneaking Peeks and Swapping Sleeves
03.) Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs #1)
Altered Carbon is the Sword & Laser read for March 2014.
Richard K. Morgan – Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs #1)
It’s the twenty-fifth century, and advances in technology have redefined life itself. A person’s consciousness can now be stored in the brain and downloaded into a new body [or “sleeve”], making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen. Onetime U.N. Envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Resleeved into a body in Bay City [formerly San Francisco], Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats existence as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning.
★ S&L Podcast – #168 – Promises of Blood and Old Timey Pipes
★ S&L Podcast – #167 – Spitcoin
★ S&L Podcast – #166 – The Prolific Mr. Adam Christopher
★ S&L Podcast – #165 – SciFi is Finally Literature!
02.) A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1)
A Wizard of Earthsea is the Sword & Laser read for February 2014.
Ursula K. Le Guin – A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1)
Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.
Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.
(Media: Deadtree / audiobook?)
★ S&L Podcast – #164 – Bill Gourgey’s POST-Post-Apocalyptic World
★ S&L Podcast – #163 – Hugh Howey Hullabaloo
★ S&L Podcast – #162 – Gregory A. Wilson’s Graphic Fallen Angels
★ S&L Podcast – #161 – What Harry Potter Stole from Earthsea
01.) The Einstein Intersection
The Einstein Intersection is the Sword & Laser read for January 2014.
Samuel R. Delany – The Einstein Intersection
The Einstein Intersection won the Nebula Award for best science fiction novel of 1967. The surface story tells of the problems a member of an alien race, Lo Lobey, has assimilating the mythology of earth, where his kind have settled among the leftover artifacts of humanity. The deeper tale concerns, however, the way those who are “different” must deal with the dominant cultural ideology. The tale follows Lobey’s mythic quest for his lost love, Friza. In luminous and hallucinated language, it explores what new myths might emerge from the detritus of the human world as those who are “different” try to seize history and the day.
★ S&L Podcast – #160 – Scully Writes a Book, Ringo is a God
★ S&L Podcast – #159 – Ian Tregillis on Angels, Superpowers, and Deathmatches
★ S&L Podcast – #158 – Read a Book, Change Your Brain — It’s Science!