The Sword and Laser – 2017 Book list

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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 the2017. This page is designed as is a quick reference page so that I can quickly jump between the forum pages and Goodreads listings.

S&L-Patreon Tom and Veronica are both independent creators, and finding regular advertisements for the show is difficult (since we’re so niché). We want to continue be able to devote tons more time into developing and growing the show, since we know there are many readers out there looking for like-minded folks.
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[ Previously – The Sword and Laser – 2016 Book list (Part II), The Sword and Laser – 2016 Book list (Part I) ]


8.) The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)
The Gunslinger is the Sword & Laser read for August 2017.

Stephen King – The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)
Beginning with a short story appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1978, the publication of Stephen King’s epic work of fantasy — what he considers to be a single long novel and his magnum opus — has spanned a quarter of a century.
Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is King’s most visionary feat of storytelling, a magical mix of science fiction, fantasy, and horror that may well be his crowning achievement.
Book I : In The Gunslinger (originally published in 1982), King introduces his most enigmatic hero, Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting, solitary figure at first, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own. Pursuing the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life, Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wake.

(Media: ? ) [Audible]
Series: The Dark Tower
VERDICT:

★ S&L Podcast – #303 – Smooth Roberator

★ S&L Podcast – #302 – Why the Robots Need Us

★ S&L Podcast – #301 – Long Days and Pleasant Nights

7.) The Left Hand of Darkness
The Left Hand of Darkness is the Sword & Laser read for July 2017.

Ursula K. Le Guin – The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle #6)
A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose -and change – their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters.
Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.

(Media: ? ) [Audible]
Series: Hainish Cycle
VERDICT:

★ S&L Podcast – #300 – Don’t Pee in the Gene Pool

★ S&L Podcast – #299 – NK Jemisin Says FanFic Makes Good Practice

★ S&L Podcast – #298 – Don’t Get Eaten By a Bear

6.) The Hum and the Shiver (Tufa, #1)
The Hum and the Shiver is the Sword & Laser read for June 2017.

Alex Bledsoe – The Hum and the Shiver (Tufa, #1)
No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, yet when the first Europeans arrived, they were already there. Dark-haired, enigmatic, and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleys of Cloud County. While their origins may be lost to history, there are clues in their music, hints of their true nature buried in the songs they have passed down for generations.
Private Bronwyn Hyatt returns from Iraq wounded in body and in spirit, only to face the very things that drove her away in the first place: her family, her obligations to the Tufa, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend. But more trouble lurks in the mountains and hollows of her childhood home. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, and a restless “haint” lurks nearby, waiting to reveal Bronwyn’s darkest secrets. Worst of all, Bronwyn has lost touch with the music that was once a vital part of her identity.
With death stalking her family, Bronwyn will need to summon the strength to take her place among the true Tufa and once again fly on the night winds…

(Media: ? ) [Audible]
Series: Tufa
VERDICT:

★ S&L Podcast – #297 – Haint a Plot Hole if You Ask Me

★ S&L Podcast – #296 – A Talk with James S. A. Corey (BayCon 2017)

★ S&L Podcast – #295 – Don’t put spiders on your head

5.) The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is the Sword & Laser read for May 2017.

Becky Chambers – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)
Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.
But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.
Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

(Media: ? ) [Audible]
Series: Wayfarers
VERDICT:

★ S&L Podcast – #294 – Live at BayCon with Whiskey!

★ S&L Podcast – #293 – Post-apocalyptic Protopia (w/ Cory Doctorow)

★ S&L Podcast – #292 – Cozy Space Opera

★ S&L Podcast – #Falling Backwards into Screenwriting Success

4.) The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)
The Invisible Library is the Sword & Laser read for April 2017.

Genevieve Cogman – The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)
The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies!
Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

(Media: ? ) [Audible]
Series: The Invisible Library
VERDICT:

★ S&L Podcast – #290 – Let’s Get Stuck in Fantasyland!

★ S&L Podcast – #289 – Love Letter to the Solar System

★ S&L Podcast – #288 – Slow Readers Unite!

3.) Gateway (Heechee Saga, #1)
Gateway is the Sword & Laser read for March 2017.

Frederik Pohl – Gateway (Heechee Saga, #1)
Gateway opened on all the wealth of the Universe… and on reaches of unimaginable horror.
When prospector Robinette Broadhead went out to Gateway on the Heechee spacecraft, he decided he would know which was the right mission to make him his fortune. Three missions later, now famous and permanently rich, Rob Broadhead has to face what happened to him and what he has become… in a journey into himself as perilous and even more horrifying than the nightmare trip through the interstellar void that he drove himself to take!

(Media: ? ) [Audible]
Series: Heechee Saga
VERDICT:

★ S&L Podcast – #287 – You Do Like Your Alternate Londons

★ S&L Podcast – #286 – Secrets of a Powder Mage

★ S&L Podcast – #285 – Why You Should Like Bad Characters

★ S&L Podcast – #284 – Living Fen’s Dream

★ S&L Podcast – #283 – The Madness Begins

2.) The Salt Roads
The Salt Roads is the Sword & Laser read for February 2017.

Nalo Hopkinson – The Salt Roads
A landmark work by a brilliant young author, THE SALT ROADS transports readers across centuries and civilizations as it fearlessly explores the relationships women have with their lovers, their people, and the divine. Jeanne Duval, the ginger-colored entertainer, struggles with her lover poet Charles Baudelaire…Mer, plantation slave and doctor, both hungers for and dreads liberation…and Thais, a dark-skinned beauty from Alexandria, is impelled to seek a glorious revelation-as Ezili, a being born of hope, unites them all. Interweaving acts of brutality with passionate unions of spirit and flesh, this is a narrative that shocks, entertains, and dazzles-from an award-winning writer who dares to redefine the art of storytelling.
(Media: ? )
VERDICT:

★ S&L Podcast – #282 – Where The Salt Roads Lead

★ S&L Podcast – #281 – Worldbuilding Through Pinterest

★ S&L Podcast – #280 – Good Omens for 2018

1.)The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1)
The Three-Body Problem is the Sword & Laser read for January 2017.

Liu Cixin Pohl – The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #1)
The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple award winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.
Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

(Media: Dead Tree ) [Audible]
Series: Remembrance of Earth’s Past
VERDICT:

★ S&L Podcast – #279 – Myke Cole, Man Hunter

★ S&L Podcast – #278 – Don’t Trust Turkey Datae

★ S&L Podcast – #277 – The January No-Beer Problem

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