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Sword & Laser Anthology

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  387 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Twenty never-before-published short stories span the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, inviting readers of both genres to lose themselves in tales sometimes humorous, sometimes terrifying, and always engrossing.

Sword & Laser hosts Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt hand-picked their favorite stories, plucked directly from the brains of the S&L audience. From living spac
ebook, 283 pages
Published May 1st 2014 by Sword & Laser LLC (first published 2014)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I liked this anthology enough to actually write an introduction for it. Needless to say, that rarely happens.

I was going to drop a review here, then I realized that would be kinda silly, when the introduction I wrote says everything I want to say, much more clearly and cleanly than any quick review I could bang out.

So here it is...

* * *

This is a good anthology. Can we start there? Let's start there.

That's really the most important thing you can get out of this introduction. tl;dr - This is a
David Sven
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a member of the Sword and Laser Book Club on Goodreads I was excited to get this anthology of home grown new authors(or as home grown as the internet gets). Moderators Veronica Belmont and Tom Merrit really did a great job of narrowing down the submissions from the book club to get a collection of ten "sword" stories and ten "laser" stories from twenty new, previously unheard of writers.

So this is really a mixed bag of talent, and I do mean "talent" in every sense of the word. Like most antho
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great collection of stories from submissions to the founders of the Sword & Laser book club. I think some of the authors have been published before, for some this was their first published work. All were interesting and while I did have some favorites, I thought they were all quite worthy of inclusion in the anthology. I don't envy Tom and Veronica and the other people who had to select which stories went in and which didn't make the cut. Judging by the quality of these stories, I'm guessing t ...more
Full Review
Overall I thought this anthology was OK as an anthology, but great for what it was: A way to support Sword & Laser and some of its talented members.

I LOVE Sword & Laser. It's largely responsible for not only getting me to read more, but getting me to read A LOT more. It introduced me to good reads and some really great people that I love to read and discuss books with.

So when they are doing stuff for funding, be it a Kickstarter for a second season of the awesome video show that
Nancy O'Toole
With this book, Sword and Laser expands from its history as a long running podcast and video show to being an anthology as well. Filled with works by new authors, Sword & Laser Anthology can feel a little rough around the edges, but my experience with the collection was mostly positive. I liked the majority of the stories found here, and only disliked a handful of them. One thing this anthology does quite well is deliver a wide variety of content. The stories cover many different subgernes and t ...more
Stephen Case
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Please, judge this book by its cover. Because it is such a wicked cool one. And in this case, it’s a good indication of what you can find inside.

Sword and Laser is a “science fiction and fantasy-themed book club, video show, and podcast,” featuring Tom Merritt and Veronica Belmont, the editors of this anthology. The anthology itself consists of twenty stories split between “sword” (fantasy) and “laser” (science fiction). It is, as a good anthology should be, a hodgepodge, rough-and-tumble collec
May 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, anthology
I have to say I was generally disappointed by the Sword & Laser Anthology. The majority of the stories, in my opinion, were not that great. There were a handful that I thought were truly creative, though, and fairly well written. The best stories, I thought, were The Lesser Evil by Day Al-Mohamed (which was actually more supernatural genre than fantasy, imo), Leviathan! Leviathan! by Jacob A. Boyd (kind of a weird title, though), Honeybun by Austin Malone and Only Darkness by David Emery. Honora ...more
Elle Maruska
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wasn't really impressed with any of the stories in this anthology to be honest. None stood out to me as particularly interesting or original. None of them were absolutely horrible, but none of them were outstandingly good. Overall a rather mediocre collection unfortunately. I will say the SciFi portion was better than the Fantasy section, but after finishing the book it's like I honestly couldn't tell you much about any individual story because they weren't very memorable ...more
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
There were a few standout stories; I think the fantasy section was stronger than the scifi.

Maybe I am a little harsh rating the anthology, but most of the stories didn't grip me. I think that is probably due to the fact that there is such a wide range of stories here.

My favorites were: Saltwater Skin - I really enjoy magical realism so that was right up my alley. The Lesser Evil - Wonderful writing and interesting characters; The Osiris Paradox - Intriguing world-building and great blend of fant
A.E. Marling
If you listen to the Sword & Laser podcast, you should support the empire of Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt by reading their anthology. You’ll enjoy the swirling vortex of fantasy and science-fiction stories they’ve chosen. And if you’ve not yet availed yourself of the podcast or YouTube series, consider joining one book club of two genres allied by imagination.

Read my full review on Fantasy Faction:
I was disappointed with this anthology of short stories. There are some 3 star stories, but not much above that. The biggest problem I had with it was that it was much more sword than laser. Even the laser (science fiction) side of the book was heavily weighted toward non-tech, psychological type stories. I can only give it 2 stars, which in Goodreads means "It was OK".

Detailed rating of the stories are below (mostly for me to remember with, so beware of spoilers!)
(view spoiler)
Individual Story Reviews:
(title names are subject to correction as I am not sure I got them right.)
1st: "as soft as a feather when done right"
interesting world, but it was a bit short for my taste. the moment I felt truly immersed in this universe, the story ended.

2nd: "a night for spirits and snowflakes"
not my cuppa, too many POV and I couldn't really get into it.

3rd: "saltwater skin"
BRILLIANT! I loved everything about this and still want more, more and more from Kristy Sutherland. I trul
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
As the forward states, this is a good compilation with several well written, and occasionally thought provoking stories. Some are more unique than others, such as one where a space ship takes place inside a whale. Others are a bit of a mind trip, especially the few time travel-alternate dimension-physics shifting sci-fi stories. The most important thing for anthologies I feel is whether the stories are fun. A story can be really good, without being a lot of fun to read. Personally, the fantasy s ...more
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love these collection of story's , sometimes get more enjoyment than a full novel.
Just like any novel you cant please everybody ,and this is the beauty of these anthology's ,if put together you have so many adventure's in rapid fire, unfortunately (for me) this one did not deliver as I had hoped, some good adventure's but for the full ride i was , well not disapointed just not the main stories for me.
There are some fantastic anthology's out there , and i like this as so many author's get a
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I would say this is one of the better collections of short stories I've read. I think I would say that because there's not one story in here that I had a strong negative reaction to. But at the same time, there weren't all that many stories that had a strong positive reaction to either. Most of the collection was good enough. I would say that I enjoyed the fantasy (Sword) selections more than the sci-fi (Laser) offerings. Part of that would definitely be personal preference, as more of the fanta ...more
Heino Colyn
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I definitely consider myself more of a sword than a laser, but man, I really enjoyed the sci-fi part of this anthology! A lot more than the fantasy. After reading this I am definitely more excited about the genre than I’ve been in a while. I guess most of the fantasy stories in the anthology just wasn’t for me but I trust that some sci-fi fans will have the opposite experience of what I had and find them amazing. Check it out if you’re new to the genres or just looking for something fresh - you’ ...more
Elizabeth Morgan
I only read the fantasy half of this, the sci-fi not interesting me enough to give up precious reading time I need for uni right now. Although the stories were disappointing at first, they quickly picked up, and a few (Partly Petrified by Auston Habershaw and The Lesser Evil by Day Al-Mohamed) were brilliant. Hopefully sci-fi fans think the same, or better, of the Laser half of the anthology.
Daniel Hooley
A real mixed bag. There are some absolute gems hidden in here but also a lot that could have done with an extra round of editing. White Flame, A Novice's Guide to Adventuring, Data Dump, Honeybun and Only Darkness were the highlights with A Novice's Guide to Adventuring and Only Darkness being particular standouts. ...more
May 28, 2014 marked it as to-read
See, this is why I struggle with Anthologies. Just downloaded this, read the first story and was like, wait, no, that can't be the end. That was the start of a really great story I'm sure of it. Nope that was the beginning and end. The rest is locked inside Nicole Feldringer's mind. ...more
Sep 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Loved the Sword half; the Laser half was less to my liking -- though I'm much less likely to read science fiction.

Let me add, I would buy it again, if for nothing else than to support Tom, Veronica, and their great Sword and Laser community.
Jan 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Some, but not many, solid gold stories in here, and some not so good. For a collection of unpublished writers, many who'd written their first story for this anthology, this is great. There are many authors who will go onto bigger and better things. ...more
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantastic collection of short stories. I was particularly enamored by the scifi collection.
Daniel Ashley Roberts
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic buffet of science fiction and fantasy storytelling. Definite stands out for me where Aaron's Dorie, David Ebert and Day Al-Mohamed. ...more
David Blaylock
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Finally read after 1/2 a decade on my Kindle.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The anthology was hands down fantastic
Ben Rowe
Apr 10, 2014 rated it liked it
This Anthology came about because the book group I am in (and many, many others on Good Reads) had a lot of budding authors in it and the hosts thought it would be a good idea to create an anthology with the mainly unpublished writers who are part of the group.

Any collection which gives new authors opportunities is to be lauded and the writers together with the editors have done a sterling job of creating readable and fairly well written stories. At times the dialogue or characterisation lets so
Apr 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Caveats galore for this review. First off, I generally dislike reading short story anthologies which lack some sort of cohesive theme. So, I was pre-destined not to fall in love with this collection. Second, as with many who have aspirations to write, I have great respect for those who provided submissions for this anthology, but that's not enough to warrant a free pass to avoid criticism.

With that out of the way, as I anticipated, this collection is all over the place. I do not wish to single o
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love that S&L was able to accomplish this. I've been a member of the book club and fan of the podcast for years, and I applaud Tom and Veronica for getting this made at all. It shows their love for this community they've built that they went to the trouble to see this thing through.

The stories contained in the anthology seem chosen on the basis of running the gamut of as many sub genres within the genres of fantasy and scifi that were available from those submitted for inclusion. That 'someth
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
First off I have to say I'm not normally a fan of short stories. I haven't read many other anthologies, its just not the type of thing that usually draws me in. But when I heard S&L were doing an anthology I knew straight away that id have to get myself a copy.

Now I'll be honest, there were a few stories here that just didn't grab me or I just didn't enjoy all that much. But most of the stories I read I really enjoyed and some were just fantastic! I think there's something for every taste here
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply wonderful. An eclectic collection of fantasy and sci-fi from a pool of very talented new writers; where else can you find a chilling monster tale nestled between a Pratchett-esque caper and a delightful D&D romp? The incredibly diverse selection means there really is something for everyone in this anthology, and though I thought it also meant that many of these stories would simply not be for me, I was surprised to find that I LOVED almost all of them, and that they were all well crafted ...more
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Veronica is a geeky product person based out of San Francisco. Currently, she is working on the Hugo-nominated Sword & Laser podcast, and co-edited the Sword & Laser Anthology. Previously, you may have seen her on Tekzilla, Fact or Fictional, or Game On!

On BBC America, Veronica was the host of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Pre (and Post) Show, and the co-host of Gizmodo: The Gadget Testers! She

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