"The Magicians" by Lev Grossman (Pt 1) & an Interview with Scott Sigler - Sword & Laser, Ep 1

Uploaded by geekandsundry on Apr 13, 2012


Sword and Laser.

Hello, everyone.
Welcome to the Sword and Laser show.
I'm Veronica Belmont.
TOM MERRITT: And I'm Tom Merritt.
We just came through an airlock
into a castle in space.
How fun is this show?
I can't even deal with this set right now, I'm so excited.
But we wanted to say thank you to some of the people who made
this happen, first and foremost.
Of course Fonco Creative, who built our fantastic set.
TOM MERRITT: Oh my gosh, yeah.
Martin and Fon, all those folks are great.
Also thanks to Pixel Corps who's doing all the shooting
and producing for us here.
Geek and Sundry for making the whole thing happen.
TOM MERRITT: Oh, we couldn't have done it without you.
And of course the audience, those who watched us before in
audio form.
I guess they didn't watch us in audio form.
But now you're watching us, and thanks.
Thanks for being here.
VERONICA BELMONT: So something you audio podcast listeners
might be familiar with, this is how we're going to kick off
the show this very first time.
It's our news from the science fiction and fantasy world
called the Quick Burns.

Game of Thrones is two episodes in on HBO, which
means we're dying for them to release the announced book
called Inside HBO's Game of Thrones, written by the show's
keeper of mythos, Bryan Cogman with a preface
by George RR Martin.
The 192-page guide mixes fictional background details
with behind-the-scenes information, maps, family
trees, and interviews with cast members.
You'll have to wait until almost
winter to get it, though.
It comes out September 19 from Chronicle Books in the US.
But don't worry.
Winter is coming, eventually.
TOM MERRITT: Last Saturday, April 7, the 2012 Hugo award
nominations were announced by the World Science Fiction
Best novel nominations went to George RR Martin, James SA
Corey, China Mieville, Mira Grant, and Jo Walton.
Also receiving nominations in other categories, Mur
Lafferty, getting a Campbell nomination, the Science
Fiction Encyclopedia third edition, io9's Charlie Jane
Anders, and the SF Signal podcast.
The convention received 1,101 nominating ballots, eclipsing
last year's record of 1,006.
Thanks to Warren for tipping us off.
VERONICA BELMONT: Harry Potter ebooks arrived March 27 at
The first three books cost $7.99 each, and the four
others will run you $10.
If you've got a fat account at Gringotts, you can snag all
seven for $57.54.
The books are in epub format, making them compatible with
Apple's iOS, Android, Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook,
and a bunch of other platforms.
You can even download the books through your Kindle,
Nook, Google Play, and Sony Reader accounts.
TOM MERRITT: Want some free DRM-free ebooks?
SF Signal reports publisher Phoenix Pick
would like to oblige.
Home to such authors as Kevin J. Anderson, Mike Resnik,
Nancy Kress and more, Phoenix Pick is giving away 10 books
now through June 5 at phoenixpick.com on Tuesdays
and Wednesdays only.
Next Tuesday you can get The Arm of the
Stone by Victoria Strauss.
The books are formatted for the Kindle, but there's no
DRM, so it should be pretty easy to make them work on your
favorite eReader.
VERONICA BELMONT: And speaking of the Kindle, could it
revitalize science fiction?
io9 points out that the list of the 100 bestselling Kindle
science fiction books is full of authors who've never
appeared on other bestseller lists.
And many of them are from small presses or even
The list of the 100 most popular free science fiction
books for the Kindle is entirely full of unknowns.
Author James W. Harris thinks this is a very good thing for
the science fiction genre, since big publishers are less
and less likely to take chances on new
authors and new ideas.
Thanks to Will for tipping us off to this article.
TOM MERRITT: My god, it's full of unknowns.
The last of our Quick Burns comes from you.
Each week we'll feature one of the members of the Sword and
Laser club in full motion video.
And this week, bravely pioneering our video feedback
section, is Gordon.
GORDON MCLEOD: Hi Tom and Veronica.
It's Gordon McLeod from Canada here.
First, congratulations on the new video show.
I've really been looking forward to it.
And second, when are you going to get Robert J. Sawyer on for
an interview?
Thanks and good luck.
TOM MERRITT: Hey, it's Gordon.
TOM MERRITT: That was very brave, Gordon.
Thank you so much for paving the way for people.
VERONICA BELMONT: Also, I have that same shirt.
It's the N7 shirt from Mass Effect 3.
TOM MERRITT: To your question, we've had Robert J. Sawyer on
the audio podcast.
TOM MERRITT: From Dragon Con last year.
But he just has a new book out April 3 called Triggers.
VERONICA BELMONT: I don't know if he's coming into the Bay
Area, but we should try to get him here in-studio.
TOM MERRITT: Yeah, we'll try to snag him.
VERONICA BELMONT: I think we could convince him.
TOM MERRITT: Oh, yeah.
We'll give it a shot.
VERONICA BELMONT: I don't think it's
too outside the box.
And you can send us your videos for
the next week's show.
Just upload your message to your favorite video hosting
provider, like YouTube for example.
And email us a link at feedback@swordandlaser.com.
TOM MERRITT: Coming up in part two of the Sword and Laser
show, Scott Sigler, master of alien football teams and
demons of the night, joins us to tell us about
his brand new book.
But first what happened this day in alternate history.

Sword and Laser.

VERONICA BELMONT: Welcome to part two of the Sword and
Laser show.
We're very happy to welcome Scott Sigler for our very
first in-studio studio interview today.
Thank you so much for being here.
SCOTT SIGLER: Thank you for having me.
I appreciate it.
VERONICA BELMONT: Scott's new book, Nocturnal,
came out April 3.
And like all good books these days, there's an
awesome book trailer.
Take a look.
NARRATOR: This is where I hunt.
My brothers and I find the weak, those
who won't be missed.
NARRATOR: We stalk.
We catch.
We feed.
After each kill we draw the symbol to stay safe.

The darkness is our.
I always wait horrified at what I've done--
NARRATOR: --wondering why I still feel the blood on my
tongue, sickened that it tastes so good.
Oh, god, this can't be real.

I no longer know whether I'm a man dreaming I'm a monster or
a monster dreaming I'm a man.

That was absolutely horrifying.

So tell us about the book.
SCOTT SIGLER: Nocturnal is starts out as a police
procedural and then takes a crazy right turn into a modern
day monster story.
The best luck I've had describing it is Lethal Weapon
meets Hellboy.
SCOTT SIGLER: So it's kind of my tribute
'80s buddy cop movies.
There are two San Francisco police homicide inspectors.
One is Bryan Clauser.
The other's Pookie Chang.
And they are investigating a series of really, really
brutal dismembering serial killings.
And Bryan starts to have dreams that are
similar to the killings.
And then the next day when they show up at a murder
scene, the murder scene matches his dreams exactly.
That's one side of the story.
And the other side is a character named Rex who is a
freshman in high school and is horribly bullied, has a
terrible home life, and really has nothing going on for him
in his life.
Then all of a sudden he kind of stumbles onto this absolute
power and is able to take revenge on all of the kids who
have been bullying him and his family, and it completely gets
out of hand.
And then it turns into kind of a wild ride through the
streets of San Francisco, finishes up with a great big
over the top ending.
But people like monsters.
This is a good book.
TOM MERRITT: Now Nocturnal has been out before in another
form, right?
You put it out as a podcast previously.
TOM MERRITT: A quick question from Neil on
our Goodreads forum.
He wants to know has it undergone a big rewrite or a
revamp this time?
Because he's completely avoided listening to the
original podcast.
He wants to be blown away by this.
SCOTT SIGLER: I think he will be blown
away, not to be modest.
It was a free podcast.
We gave it away in 2008.
Took about a year to finish the whole thing.
I would write a chapter, record it, and release it.
And what that did, though, is once you put out one chapter
you can't go back and rewrite.
So I couldn't go back and foreshadow.
I couldn't make any corrections.
So this has been a chance to sit down and rewrite the whole
thing from top to bottom along with the editors at Crown.
And it's a much better read.
It's very strong.
It flows together very well.
And the ending is completely different from the podcast.
TOM MERRITT: So if you've listened to the podcast, it's
worth a re-read because you're going to
get a different story.
SCOTT SIGLER: If people listen to the podcast, this'll be a
once in a lifetime reading experience because the
setting's familiar.
They'll know the characters.
They will feel like they've been here before.
But then things gradually start to go into a place that
they don't know what's going to happen.
And they'll really have a good time.
TOM MERRITT: It's kind like when people take TV shows of
books and they tweak the storyline.
TOM MERRITT: They get a new chance, like Robert Kirkman on
Walking Dead.
He gets a new chance to tell the story.
SCOTT SIGLER: And the people who've read the graphic novels
of the Walking Dead don't really exactly know what's
going to happen.
But it all feels very familiar to them.
VERONICA BELMONT: That's one of my favorite parts about the
Walking Dead is you never know what's coming up next.
And it's really fun to see the way that
they make the changes.
So we have another question from John.
He wants to know how does the Nocturnal timeline fit into
the Siglerverse with your other books, such as Ancestor
and Infected?
SCOTT SIGLER: Well, the Siglerverse is I have three
eras in which I write, which is modern day, and then 500
years in the future for this young adult series I have
called the Galatic Football League series, and then 700
years in the future for a really, realy dark, hard SF
military called The Crypt.
So this fits in the modern era.
The way it works is the day the hardcover comes out is the
same day the story happens in the world of the Siglerverse.
SCOTT SIGLER: So all the books, they're not all a
series, but they're all connected.
And there's references back and forth.
And I've started to get into the habit, there are
characters in this book who are secondary characters who
three or four books down the road are going to wind up
having their turn on the red carpet.
So it's really kind of a nice unified field everything.
VERONICA BELMONT: Is that something that
you plan out in advance?
Or is that something that happens as you're writing?
SCOTT SIGLER: Now I plan it all out in advance.
I've kind of got the next 10 books mapped out and where
everybody falls and how they all tie together.
TOM MERRITT: That's a lot.
That's a tall order.
That's a lot of books.
SCOTT SIGLER: There's more coming after those.
As a reader, it's always been cool to me when you read a
series is to watch the development of a character.
But I'm not writing all the series--
A lot of these are different books, but I can put them all
into the same continuity.
And then you'll start to see interactions
farther down the road.
About four or five books into the future things will really
start to get really cool.
VERONICA BELMONT: We were joking around about how
Brandon Sanderson is planning 26 books, I think, in his
series, in his universe.
10 is now sounding a little more manageable.
TOM MERRITT: That's true, actually.
SCOTT SIGLER: 10's like nothing.
That's like an afternoon.
It's no big deal.
TOM MERRITT: You mentioned The Crypt.
Travis Ellis, OJMC, says any chance of another Cryptmas, or
better yet Cryptmas in July?
What is Cryptmas?
VERONICA BELMONT: Yeah, explain that part.
SCOTT SIGLER: I'll tell you what Crypt is first.
Crypt is a far future military book.
And one of the government's, they find this alien vessel
that can do all of these things that none of the other
vessels can do.
So they start to crew this thing with
the best of the best.
But on these missions it has about an 80% mortality rate.
So very quickly anybody with any kind of connections or a
good record finds a way to not be on there.
SCOTT SIGLER: So now they start to populate it with the
absolute worst of the worst.
If you've been convicted of a crime, if you're going to be
executed, well, you have an opportunity to serve on the
Keeling, which is the ship.
And there's a lot of mystery to it.
And you don't know what's happening.
So that, many books are planned.
And I did a thing called Cryptmas where I had a podcast
where I put out a new episode every day for
the 12 days of Cryptmas.
And I didn't get any sleep for about a month, so I don't
think I'll be doing that again.
TOM MERRITT: Definitely no Cryptmas in July, then?
We're working on book two of The Crypt right now.
And hopefully book one of the crew stories will be out in
ebook store in a couple months.
And then book two, Shake Down will be
out next year sometime.
VERONICA BELMONT: Very cool Dennis wants to know, "I
attended one of the tour stops that you had for Rookie, and I
remember you bringing up the success of
cellphone novels overseas.
And you predicted that cheap byte-sized fiction would
become popular in America as well.
Since then eReaders have really taken off and most
phones have access to ebooks as well.
With that in mind, how has your approach to ebooks
SCOTT SIGLER: Well the ebook is the great leveling of the
playing field in the world of writing.
There's never been a better time to be a
writer than right now.
It's the greatest time in history to be a creator of any
kind, I think.
And so what we're trying to do at Dark Overlord Media-- which
we put out around the football books.
We put out those and The Crypt--
we're just trying to take a lot of the stories that I've
had from podcasting since 2005, hire an editor, get them
cleaned up, get them to the ebookstore with a cool cover,
and try and get more content out there.
Because it's the wild wild west of publishing right now.
Whatever you put out, there are people out there who like
that kind of a thing.
And now you've got a free global worldwide distribution
of the stuff at the speed of light.
If you get it out there, people can get to it.
TOM MERRITT: TerpKristen, one of our long time members,
asks, "Having never read any of your books, which of your
books would you recommend someone read first to really
get the best picture of your writing style?"
SCOTT SIGLER: I would really recommend starting out with
Nocturnal because it's very much a standalone story.
They could all start with Infected, which has a sequel,
Contagious, both of which are out.
Pandemic will be out in summer 2013.
But I think Nocturnal's probably the most
fun of all the books.
TOM MERRITT: Why do you say that?
SCOTT SIGLER: Well, the interaction between Bryan and
Pookie, the two main characters, like I said I was
crazy for the buddy cop movies back in the day.
VERONICA BELMONT: I didn't really get that vibe from the
trailer of the buddy cop movie.
But I believe you.
SCOTT SIGLER: Well, there's a lot of effort as a writer to
start out and kind of lure you into the world and make these
guys believable and fun, and then you care for them and you
care for the people around them.
And then when things go completely off the rails,
you're much more invested.
But Nocturnal's a really big summer blockbuster kind of a
story with an over-the-top ending and characters that
you'll really like.
So I would suggest people just start with.
Plus it's 560 pages.
It's a lot of bang for your buck.
TOM MERRITT: What if you're crazy afraid of scary things?
SCOTT SIGLER: Crazy afraid of scary things?
I might not be the best author for you to choose from.
I think you'd like Nocturnal.
I was saying before the show if you want to read it and put
it down, I can put that up on the website.
VERONICA BELMONT: On the back it says--
SCOTT SIGLER: Too scary for Veronica.
VERONICA BELMONT: Yeah. "I never even read this because
it looked too scary for me." Well, we actually
have a video question.
Should we throw to that?
TOM MERRITT: Oh, yeah.
Let's get to that.
VERONICA BELMONT: It's from someone
named Phil, Phil Plait.
Have you heard of him before?
SCOTT SIGLER: I have heard of Phil Plait, the Bad
Astronomer, yes.
VERONICA BELMONT: Let's take a look.
PHIL PLAIT: Hey, Phil Plait from badastronomy.com.
I have a question here about Scott Sigler.
I want to know what makes his horror novels so darn good.
Is it the inclusion of science in the horror?
Is it because his gravelly voice resonates with every
nerve ending in my body?
Or is it just his sexy, sexy bald head?
SCOTT SIGLER: Well, I think number one it's
the bald head, really.
TOM MERRITT: Obviously.
SCOTT SIGLER: When there's so much sexy your hair doesn't
even have room to be there--
VERONICA BELMONT: It can't handle it.
It can't handle it.
SCOTT SIGLER: --hair's got to go.
But the science is really the biggest part.
What I try to do with all these books is start out at
kind of a science 101 level and give you a lot of things
that you've learned in biology or you've seen on the
Discovery Channel, a lot of basic stuff, and start to
build up this rapport where I sound valid and you believe
what I'm saying.
Then the next step is we start to move into the area of
things you don't know but are actually real.
And I've got several science consultants and PhDs and an MD
who go through everything I write and spend a lot of their
own time just trying to make sure everything is as accurate
as we can make it.
It's still a thriller story, and we're still there to scare
your pants off--
There's demons and stuff, but you're saying this is all
SCOTT SIGLER: This is all very heavily science-based.
And then if I've done those two things right, by the time
I get to the really made up stuff, you don't care.
You believe anything I tell you, and you are fully down
the rabbit hole and buying into the story all the way.
This one, the cool thing, science-wise, about this is
it's this offshoot of humanity, and there's a third
sex chromosomes.
So there's not just an X and a Y. There's also a Z.
And there's a great scene in the middle of the book where
they're trying to figure out what everything looks like and
what the permutations are.
And so there's a nine square Punnett square, so it's X, Y,
and Z. They're trying to figure it all out.
And it's really kind of cool.
Hopefully all the science nerds at home will be pulling
out the pen and paper and playing along.
VERONICA BELMONT: Well, then Jonathan Coulton can write a
song about that.
SCOTT SIGLER: That would be awesome.
That would be great.
Scott, thank you so much for joining us.
SCOTT SIGLER: Thank you for having me.
I appreciate it.
TOM MERRITT: Book is called Nocturnal, available where
books are sold everywhere// At scottsigler.com?
Is it at your website?
SCOTT SIGLER: Scottsigler.com/nocturnal.
There's links right there.
People can click through and buy it.
TOM MERRITT: All right.
Coming up in part three of the Sword and Laser show, we kick
off our April book pick, The Magicians by Lev Grossman and
review the hottest books coming out in
the next two weeks.
You must watch or our dragon will eat you.

Sword and Laser.

VERONICA BELMONT: Welcome back to the Sword and Laser.
It's time for our book check in, a look at the calendar,
and your feedback.
But let's kick it off by talking about our book for
April, Lev Grossman's The Magicians.
This series in progress introduces us to Quentin
Coldwater, a pretty average, albeit extremely intelligent
teenager from Brooklyn.
Like many of us he spent a lot of his free time getting
sucked into fantasy worlds, in particular a fictional land
called Fillory, which isn't too unlike Narnia.
He was destined for an Ivy League college out of high
school, like his two best friends, but instead gets
recruited by a very strange, very exclusive boarding school
called Breakebills College for Magical Pedagogy.
They even have a website.
Check it out.
TOM MERRITT: The book was published in 2009 by
Viking/Penguin and has received rave reviews since.
The Onion AV Club gave it an A. Cory Doctorow loves it and
has been touting it all over the place.
There's been a community of fans creating homages online
to the worlds and characters discussed in the book.
The mysterious author of the Fillory books, Christopher
Plover, has a website online.
And there's even a fake, I think, community of Fillory
fans as well.
It's called Ember's Tomb.
The second book in the series, The Magician King, just came
out this past August.
And I know that a lot of folks in the audience were excited
to read this.
I've heard more about this book in the last six months
than I've heard about almost any other book, maybe not
counting Song of Ice and Fire.
TOM MERRITT: Even Wil Wheaton at WonderCon when we said we
were reading The Magician, he's like ooh, yeah.
That's a good one.
VERONICA BELMONT: Well, people always liken it to Harry
Potter in a lot of ways.
VERONICA BELMONT: Hey, quiet down over there.
A lot of people liken it to Harry Potter because it has to
do with a school for magical kids.
TOM MERRITT: I like how he goes on at Harry Potter.
VERONICA BELMONT: God, would you cut it out?
You smell.
TOM MERRITT: But, yeah.
You know what?
In fact, Lev Grossman, who we'll have on the show in a
couple weeks, is a Time book critic.
He's been an author.
VERONICA BELMONT: So you say he knows
something about books?
TOM MERRITT: He's written for.
Wired he has to critique books as well as write them.
And he says that he's a big fan of Harry Potter, but he
just wanted to write what would happen if Harry Potter
drank real beer instead of butterbeer?
VERONICA BELMONT: Like had an actual college experience.
TOM MERRITT: Why don't we just give a little--
It's like basically the gritty realism of fantasy these days
being applied to that magician environment.
VERONICA BELMONT: It's like a postmodern Harry Potter.
TOM MERRITT: I don't know.
Postmodern may be too high a falutin' word.
VERONICA BELMONT: I just like throwing around the term
postmodern for things and don't always [INAUDIBLE]
It's got a lot of syllables.
Why wouldn't you?
VERONICA BELMONT: But I've started reading the book
actually already a little bit.
I will give that away.
And Quentin is an interesting character because he's likable
but he's not that likable, which makes
him a lot more relatable.
You know, it's weird.
Lev Grossman has said in an article that I read on the
Village Voice that he actually took some of Evelyn Waugh and
Brideshead Revisited and put it in The Magicians because he
wanted that outsider feeling, that feeling of taking someone
who's been, maybe not sheltered, but lived a pretty
easy childhood and then throwing them into something
totally new.
And they're like fish out of water.
VERONICA BELMONT: Well, it's funny because Quentin really
has a typical kind of life.
He's a high school student.
He lives in Brooklyn, as we mentioned.
And he just doesn't feel satisfied with the way things
are going in his world.
But then he progressively keeps trying to find new stuff
to make him happy, but he doesn't always get there.
So it feels like a typical teenage, young adult kind of
existence, which I think is pretty cool.
TOM MERRITT: And I think if you end up liking The
Magicians you're going to want to read The Magician King,
because it's definitely an extension.
It's easy to go from one book right to the other.
It just came out in August.
And a lot of people say that they prefer The Magician King.
Because I've read the exact opposite.
I keep hearing that people prefer--
TOM MERRITT: Oh, that's funny.
VERONICA BELMONT: --The Magicians and don't like The
Magician King as much.
TOM MERRITT: And there's very few people who say
they don't like it.
But we actually had somebody on our YouTube comments who
were like this is one of the few books that I just couldn't
finish reading.
TOM MERRITT: And that's because of the relationship
aspect of it.
This isn't necessarily The Hunger Games as far as really
getting into teen romance or anything, but it does have a
lot of romance and relationship, especially in
the early part at Brakebills College.
But I would not call this a young adult novel the way The
Hunger Games is.
Definitely not.
VERONICA BELMONT: This is definitely an
adult kind of book.
TOM MERRITT: Yeah, this is not for the kids.
VERONICA BELMONT: Not for the kids so much.
I know there's a few of you out there who have read along
with us in the past on the audio show and been surprised
sometimes with some of the content in the books, like
American Gods, for example.
TOM MERRITT: Yes, right.
VERONICA BELMONT: That book can get a little intense in
some scenes.
But there's only been a couple of scenes so far that I've
felt that way.
And I don't want to dig too deep into the book because no
one else has started reading it.
But I think it's going to be a good pick for us.
I already have a lot of questions that I want to ask
Mr. Grossman when he comes on the show about the book and
about the writing style and about how the storylines
either do or do not connect.
Because right now I'm at a point in the book where
there's a lot of different beginnings of plotlines, but
they're not intersecting yet.
They're not feeling like they're going to intersect.
TOM MERRITT: And I think one of the reasons that I love the
story anyway, even though there's those disparate
plotlines you're talking about, is I just love this
idea of Fillory, which is obviously Narnia.
He said I was a big Narnia fan when I was growing up.
Grossman has said that.
TOM MERRITT: And I was a big Narnia fan growing up, and I
felt a lot like Quentin Coldwater growing up.
So I immediately took to that character and was like oh,
yeah, I know where his brain's at.
I know
where his head's At.
And I know that he's too old to feel like Fillory is really
something he cares about.
But he secretly really does and really wishes it was real.
And that's what makes this book so fun to dive into is
like well, what if that question could get answered?
VERONICA BELMONT: I'm trying to think what fantasy worlds I
would want to actually go into at some point.
And it's hard because most of the books that I read--
TOM MERRITT: Dragonriders of Pern?
I would like to ride around on this one back here.
That'd be pretty fun.
VERONICA BELMONT: Would you put up with that?
No, I don't think would.
Oh, god.
TOM MERRITT: Well, I know some of you are fast readers, so
obviously you may be finishing up The Magicians already.
And there's always new books coming out.
Yes, and next week we'll give you our review of the book.
And May 8 Lev Grossman himself will join us and tell us why
we're wrong.
But in case you're looking for more to read,
let's check the calendar.
Sword and Laser.

TOM MERRITT: April 24, 2012, Stephen King returns to the
world of The Dark Tower, if he can ever be said to have left
it with The Wind Through the Keyhole, a Dark Tower novel.
The book features your favorite gunslinger, Roland
Deschain, with a story from the book of Eld.
VERONICA BELMONT: Also April 24 you can pick up Rage of the
Dragon, the Dragonships of Vindras by Margaret Weis and
Tracy Hickman.
A new generation of gods threatens the power of the
Vindrasi, and the only way to stop them lies within the five
bones of the Vectia dragon.
TOM MERRITT: And for the triple threat, on April 24
Star Trek DTI, Forgotten History by
Christopher L. Bennett.
Lucsly and Dulmer of the Department of Temporal
Investigations are assigned to look into an anomaly that has
appeared deep in federation.
Expect James T. Kirk to be somehow involved.
VERONICA BELMONT: Mmm, isn't he always?
TOM MERRITT: For those guys he is.
Well, before we go, let's see what folks are saying in email
and on Goodreads.
Let's start off with an email from a new member of the club,
Steven Cain.
Welcome, Steven.
He writes, "Hello Tom and Veronica.
I just wanted to say that I have just recently finished
listening to all the podcast available on iTunes and
really, really enjoyed them.
I used to be a huge reader but somehow got out of the habit
of reading a while ago, and so started listening to the
podcast as a way to hopefully get myself back
into reading more.
Personally, I always feel more like reading after listening
to the podcast." Excellent.
"I would say that I'm very much a sword when it comes to
reading fiction." Ha, ha.
That's my side.
I'm the sword.
"When it comes to reading fiction, so I think I'm going
to try to join the book club in reading The Magicians.
I am very much looking forward to seeing your show on Geek
and Sundry.
Thank you for helping me get back into reading.
Steven Cain."
TOM MERRITT: That's what it's all about.
Yay, Steven Cain.
VERONICA BELMONT: That is what it's all about.
And in case you guys haven't figured it out, I'm the sword
and he's the laser.
TOM MERRITT: Yeah, that's absolutely true.
VERONICA BELMONT: We picked our roles early.
TOM MERRITT: But we help each other out and expose each
other to the side.
TOM MERRITT: Join the forum like Steven did at
Look for the Sword and Laser group.
We also are very happy to have our new set here and our
dragon and our drinkerator and all the good stuff.
And Sean started to cool thread on Goodreads about
geeky decor.
He wrote, "With Tom and Veronica having a new set to
decorate, I was wondering what sort of sci-fi paraphernalia
everyone has at their place.
Me, I'm a fan of the robots." And he posted some pictures
up, and a few other people did up on the Goodreads forum.
TOM MERRITT: We've got some robots there.
Looks like that's some kind of guardian.
I can't quite see it from here.
Maybe he's got like an anime steampunk thing.
I'm not too good on the manga, anime side of things.
So I apologize if I don't recognize the character that
you have there.
VERONICA BELMONT: But if you've got a neat man cave or
lady lair, send us in some pics.
We want to see what your geeky hangouts look like.
Because well, you can see ours right now.
VERONICA BELMONT: You can see ours.
We have a dragon.
I don't know if you noticed.
Also I used to call it lady cave, and then I realized that
was wildly inappropriate, so I stopped.
TOM MERRITT: Yeah, don't do that.
Adrian started a thread posting
the following scenario.
"So you have just picked up a new book from an author you've
not read before and you begin to discover the wonderful
characters and places in this new world.
You're really enjoying this new book, and you start to
search around for more information about the author.
And you stumble across a video interview with the author.
Err, except the author is pronouncing all the names of
the characters and places in the book wrong.
So if you find yourself in such a
situation, what do you do?
Can you deal with it and simply replace your mental
roster of character and place name pronunciations with the
correct ones?
Or do you simply ignore reality and substitute your
TOM MERRITT: I go with the author.
I go with what the author says, or the audiobook, if I'm
listening to an audiobook.
TOM MERRITT: I definitely change to that.
But you know what's funny is some authors
refuse to rule on it.
They're like no, you can pronounce it however you want.
So the audiobook may say it one way, and then you hear the
author talk and they say it a different way.
That's really confusing.
I think the weirdest situation that that has ever happened to
me in was with The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger.
TOM MERRITT: Yeah, yeah.
VERONICA BELMONT: Who's great, by the way.
I love that series.
But she had a character in that book that the audiobook
that I listen to, they pronounced it not the way she
intended it to be pronounced.
So everyone went around thinking that you pronounce
this character's name a certain way.
And I'm forgetting the name of the character right now, but
I'm sure you guys out there know who I'm talk about if
you've read the series.
It's her vampire friend.
And she actually went to the audiobook company and was like
hey, this is not how you pronounced this name.
And so on the next book in the series they fixed it.
But it confused me so much because I was like who are
they talking about?
They can't possibly be talking about so-and-so because I had
definitely gotten it embedded in my mind that that was how
you said that character's name because that's how
I first heard it.
It happens that way sometimes.
And some books, even if you didn't hear the names, they're
so weird or fantastical or alien, it's kind of hard to
remember them anyway.
TOM MERRITT: Finally, we put up a thread asking everyone to
send us video messages, like Gordon did earlier in the
show, and happened to mention it was your chance to be on a
show with a dragon.
How often you get a chance--
TOM MERRITT: --to do that, I ask you?
We got--
TOM MERRITT: He's very excited.
VERONICA BELMONT: That's what happens when he gets excited.
TOM MERRITT: During the discussion, Alex asked a very
pertinent question.
He says, "Have you considered what your dragon's name is
going to be?"
VERONICA BELMONT: What's your name?
TOM MERRITT: Well, yeah.
The dragon obviously has a name, right?
VERONICA BELMONT: Yeah, you don't just be a dragon like
this and not have a name.
TOM MERRITT: This isn't a dog.
TOM MERRITT: But we haven't guessed the dragon's name yet.
VERONICA BELMONT: Or if it's a boy or a girl,
like we said earlier.
So we'll have to figure that out somehow.
Look for a contest, perhaps.
VERONICA BELMONT: A contest coming up in the near future,
I would say, is definitely in store for you guys.
All right.
Well, thanks everybody so much for watching
our very first episode.
You can always find us YouTube at youtube.com/geekandsundry.
Tons of amazing shows on Geek and Sundry.
TOM MERRITT: Love TableTop.
VERONICA BELMONT: TableTop, for example, The Flog, and a
lot more are launching in coming weeks.
TOM MERRITT: A lot more to come.
And you can also find us at swordandlaser.ge
And if you want to send us an email comment or a video, for
example, you can send us an email to
Or if you want to leave us a voicemail,
you can do that too.
The phone number is 415-779-6736.
That's 415-779-67-SWORD-6.
TOM MERRITT: The dragon might answer.
VERONICA BELMONT: The dragon might answer.
I don't know what he'll say to you.
TOM MERRITT: Don't wake the dragon.
He wants to answer.
All right.
And of course you can always join it in all the discussions
over on Goodreads.
Search for Sword and Laser or click on our discussion tab on
the website.
All right.
We'll see you guys next time.
TOM MERRITT: Thanks for joining us.

Sword and Laser.