S&L Podcast – #125 – On the wagon

It’s a show chock full of awards and TV shows based on books. Plus we have great news for fans of Joe Abercrombie and John Scalzi, and Veronica recommends a sexy book! Find out what happens when neither one of us have a drink.

Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law (The Graphic Novel) – Interview
FINALISTS: 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award
FINALISTS: 2013 Prometheus Award
The real (?) “One Ring” Of The Hobbit
The Human Division has been renewed for a second season.
Something Electronic This Way Comes: Ray Bradbury eBooks Announced!
Haruki Murakami fans queue overnight for latest novel
Iain Banks, has terminal cancer and likely has less than a year to live.


Game of Thrones’ sets record, gets fourth season
Syfy announces Childhood’s End and Ringworld miniseries
BBC America To Co-produce Small Screen Adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL
C.J. Cherryh’s MORGAINE Books Optioned for Film

Dragonriders of Pern: (just Dragonflight if you don’t have time for all three)
Next month: Wool by Hugh Howey
Veronica also recommends: Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Book Chain


This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Best Sellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook, to give you a chance to try out their service.

For a free audiobook of your choice go to audiblepodcast.com/sword.  

Download episode here!

Interview with R. A. Salvatore at Dragon*Con 2012

So we miss Friday videos as much as you. Starting tomorrow, the one year exclusivity lifts on our first show.  But tomorrow isn’t Friday now is it? So NEXT Friday we’ll post our EP. 1 for Download.  But TODAY you get a never-before seen episode of Sword and Laser that is all yours.

The amazing Brit Weisman of Geek & Sundry shot the video for us last August and we never got a chance to use it.  This was especially sad because we transfered the video from Brit’s camera to my laptop as we walked through the streets of Atlanta trying to get me to the Parsec Awards on time.

So this afternoon I whipped together the clips and we present them here to you. Hope you enjoy it!

Note: If you would like to download this episode, you can! Click over to the archive.org page to download.

Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law (The Graphic Novel) – Interview

As listeners of the podcast know, both Tom and I are big fans of Joe Abercrombie, and especially of The First Law trilogy. So when I found out that Joe was working on a new graphic novel based on Logen Ninefingers and his (mis)adventures (from the man himself, no less) I immediately wanted to learn more.

Joe was kind enough to answer a few questions about the series, which you can learn more about at First Law Comic.

First off, congrats on the graphic novel! That’s very exciting!

It’s been a long time in the pipeline – maybe 18 months since the deal was first signed – so it’s great to see it go out into the world.

Who first approached you to make The First Law into a graphic novel?

Rich Young from Blind Ferret, who also edited, put the artistic team together and brought in Chuck Dixon to adapt.  What interested me in particular about Rich’s pitch, quite apart from his creative vision and his love for the books, was Blind Ferret’s track record with webcomics and digital distribution.

Had anyone else come to you wanting to do that before, or was that something you had considered on your own?

I’d had a couple of much more traditional approaches, but the traditional comics market is pretty small and steadily dwindling, and obviously crowded with a lot of very powerful and long-established brands, I just didn’t see a traditional approach getting enough momentum to make the work worthwhile.

Will this be a print edition, or digitally distributed? Both? And what will the release schedule be like?

It was the method of distribution that really sold this idea to me.  In essence there’s a triple approach.  Firstly we’re going to be serialising the adaptation, free to all comers, at www.firstlawcomic.com.  The first twelve pages have gone up already, and there’ll be new pages posted every monday, wednesday and friday, hopefully for several years to come, given that this is a pretty detailed and comprehensive adaptation.  I just right away felt that, with free distribution, there was the potential to create a lot of goodwill and get a lot of people through the door and involved with it, and that it was potentially a good thing for the books as a whole.  

But for those who aren’t satisfied with a page at a time and want to get a little ahead of the game, we’re also going to be distributing whole issues, for between 99 cents and $2.99, via ComiXology, which will come with guided view and a package of inks, pencils and designs as a bonus with each issue. 

Finally, we’ll be collecting every four issues into hard-copy collections, with further bonus material.  Exact details of those to be confirmed…

One of the great things about reading is the ability to visualize your favorite characters. How do you feel about nailing down the descriptions of the characters on the comic page? Have they ended up the way you pictured them in your head, and did you have input on that for the graphic novel?

Someone was foolish enough to offer me total editorial control, but I’ve tried to take a reassuringly firm yet lovingly gentle touch with it.  I think when you work with an artist you need to give them the freedom to draw it the way they see it, to let them interpret the work the way they want to.  And as a writer you don’t always have entirely vivid pictures of every character and location.  So some designs were perfect right off.  Others were surprising, but fitted.  Others needed some tinkering with.  But generally, Andie Tong, the artist, has an amazing eye for costume and location design, and I’ve really been able to say yes, yes, yes to a lot of things and let him produce his vision of the books, given extra verve and variety by Pete Pantazis’ colours.  So there’ll certainly be some things that keen readers of the trilogy will see differently, but as a whole it’s an adaptation that I’m very pleased with and hugely proud of.

Obviously the story needs to be trimmed down for this manner of storytelling. What was that process like? How do you pick what makes the cut?

Rich brought in Chuck Dixon, who’s a hugely experienced comics writer, to do the adaptation.  He’s obviously got a great sense for what to pick out from a scene, what to show and how, what angles to use to get the action across.  But obviously I know the books and the characters better than anyone, so I’d go over each script in some detail trying to keep as much sense of the books and the voices of the characters as possible, and maybe changing something here or there that would be important long term.  It’s going to be a detailed adaptation, 16 issues for the Blade Itself alone, so it hasn’t been necessary to really lose that much in terms of whole scenes.  it’s amazing how much prose you can boil down into one carefully designed panel.  In general the whole process has been quite an education for me.  One that will continue for some time to come.

Do you have any plans to make any of your other books into comics?

At the current rate we probably won’t be finished with The First Law for several years to come, so I’m keeping my energy for that, for the time being.  I’ve got a fair few irons in the fire with book projects as well, of course.  But I certainly wouldn’t rule out adaptations of the other books.  We’ll see how this one goes…

S&L Podcast – #124 – Whur my dragons at?

Tom’s in a singing mood and Veronica’s on the bandwagon and Tom has to pronounce all the German. We also kick off the April book pick, Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey.

Tom: Bulleit Bourbon
Veronica: Water

FINALISTS: 2013 Hugo Awards
Nominated for the Kurd Laßwitz Preis
RIP: James Herbert, OBE: 1943-2013
New George R.R. Martin website
You Got Grit in my Fantasy Story
Cover & Synopsis: “Self-Reference ENGINE” by Toh EnJoe – The description on this is hilarious.


Doctor Who: Summer Falls – New Ebook With Link To “The Bells Of Saint John”
Harry Potter actor Richard Griffiths dies
How Fans Recreated Game of Thrones in a Minecraft Map the Size of LA
Game of Thrones T-shirt on Etsy from Listener Derek
GoT producers will not wait for GRRM to finish the books
GRRM on pitching new projects to HBO
Robert J. Sawyer to Adapt His Novel Triggers for the Big Screen

Dragonriders of Pern: (just Dragonflight if you don’t have time for all three)
Wikipedia article

Books for people who miss Firefly

Chris wanted to give his book as a gift to the Sword and Laser audience so all day tomorrow, April 3, Death of Dreams will be free! Thanks Chris.

This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Best Sellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook, to give you a chance to try out their service. For a free audiobook of your choice go to audiblepodcast.com/sword.   

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Direct link to download the show!

#020 – The S&L Podcast: Here There Be Dragons

While we’re kicking off reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, we’re also proud to announce we’re going to Dragon*Con in Atlanta to do a live episode of Sword and Laser! We’re very excited about that, especially because Veronica has been reading a book about dragons and is hoping to meet one.


Rick on May 22, 2009 at 9:22pm
I third “Game of Thrones”. It is sitting on my shelf waiting for me to finish the China Mieville book I’m in the middle of. Also, for those upset with Mr. Martin’s lack of new bookage, you should go read the comments by Niel Gaiman on his blog concerning exactly what George R. R. Martin is and is not to his readers.

C on May 23, 2009 at 9:39pm
Game of Thrones is fantastic, the only problem I can see with it is that anyone who reads it will be completely hooked for the rest of the series. As long as people don’t mind that then it’s great. I would also be interested in reading something else (as in something outside Song of Ice and Fire) by him though. Armageddon Rag is supposed to be really interesting and Fevre Dream is about vampires which is always fun. Both of those are standalone books (I think) so they might be better than starting a series?

terpkristin on May 26, 2009 at 4:10am
The reader for books 1-3 (Roy Dotrice) is great. I purchased the 4th book but haven’t listened to it yet (read that one in hardcover on an import version), though John Lee is the narrarator, and some have said that they don’t like him as much as they like Dotrice.

ABOUT A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones is the first of seven planned novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, an epic fantasy series by American author George R. R. Martin. It was first published on 6 August 1996. The novel was nominated for the 1998 Nebula Award and the 1997 World Fantasy Award, and won the 1997 Locus Award. The novella Blood of the Dragon, comprising the Daenerys Targaryen chapters from the novel, won the 1997 Hugo Award for Best Novella.

The novel lends its name to several spin-off items based on the novels, including a trading card game, board game and roleplaying game, and HBO has authorized the filming of a pilot episode based on the novels.[1]


Tom – Heretics of Dune

Veronica – Black Powder War, Book 3 in the Temeraire series (Book 1 is here)


John Hodgman administers a nerd test to President Obama. Do you know the answers?


Moon – A Film By Duncan Jones; Starring Sam Rockwell.

#018 – The S&L Podcast: Kwisatz and the Haderachs

It was Dune time and we found out how much of nerd I (Tom) am for Frank Herbert’s stuff and how hard it is to pronounce pretty much anything he wrote when you try to say it out loud.

We also found out that there are Dune influences all over popular culture including Films, spinoffs, and metal. In fact there are all kinds of heavy metal scifi influences. Including, apparently this podcast. You must listen to the end to hear the rockingest book club rock anthem ever to rock. And we also form a new band based on Dune.

More info, including club members thoughts on Dune, in the podcast and after the jump.

Dune comments

Hard to get into – Terpkristin

Bizarre early attempt to make a film of Dune – Josh Lawrence

Great lines – Sean o’Hara
One thing I love about Dune is the great quotes it provides.

– A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.

– Mood’s a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. (For some reason I imagine Gurney sounding like Groundskeeper Willy when he says this)

– I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

What are the ones that stand out to you?

Comment by Sh1mm3r
Does anyone else find the sentence structure a little wacky? I find myself having to re-read some to understand what is being said. I’m in the first few pages though. I might just need to get into the rhythm.

Tom’s currently reading the Butlerian Jihad by K. Anderson (one of the extended universe novels – a prequel actually)

Thread of the month
Books with both Sword and Lasers

Next Book: Daemon (buy here)

Sword and Laser – The freaking kicka$$ rock anthem!

Someone named Clive has started a cool project to get folks to help him remix three songs into even better rockinger anthems than they already are. One of the songs is called ‘The Sword and the Laser’ and is based on our book club Sword and Laser.

If you at all are even amused by such bands as Kansas, Rush, Billy Thorpe, etc., you will love it.

Check it out at TheCliveRoyalProject.com.

#017 – The S&L Podcast: Let’s talk about …er… sex?

Really, most of the episode is about The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan:

UPDATE: Hopefully the file will work now in iTunes!

We disucssed the paralells to other fantasy worlds like Lord of the Rings and even World of Warcraft. We also passed along Randy’s post from the Ning site about the Robert Jordan convention which you can find out more about by visiting

But then we got to talking about Watchmen near the end and one thing led to another. It all came back around to Robert Jordan though as we discussed Sean O’Hara’s Ning thread called Sexbots and dragons.

Speaking of the Ning group, we called out a couple of user-created groups that aren’t related to official book club selections. Take a gander at the Alternate History group if you like to pretend things are different than they way they really are. And a really cool group that crosses TV fandom with literature, The Lost literary references group.

Finally we settled on Frank Herbert’s Dune as the next book. We’ll kick it off in the April episode, so if you have any questions, or non-spoiler thoughts for newbies to the book, let us know here in the comments

The Sword and Laser 16: Pants!

Sword and Laser bannerIn this installment of our new monthly format, we talk about our progress in the current book selection from Robert Jordan. We also touch on Watchmen, Daemon, and of course, pants.

Get the episode here.

#015 – The Sword and Laser Podcast: We disagree!!

Turns out that just because Tom likes a book, doesn’t mean Veronica will (she kinda hated it). But we learned a lot about paranoia, and Polish communism. So it’s not a total loss. Meanwhile we have determined that the podcast should be a once a month affair. So get ready for regularity! We’ll be like the monthly bran in your reading diet. And we hope to have interviews. With real people. And some robots.

Get the episode at Sword and Laser.com.