Sword & Laser Episode 1 is Live

The episode is live, I am indeed in the submitted videos, and now my stomach can stop churning so much. It’s a fantastic show, loving the video version. Tom and Veronica interview Scott Sigler, Phil Plait sends in a video question for Scott, then after the interview segment, they kick off the new fantasy book for the club, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

It turns out they did have an audio version of the interview with Robert J. Sawyer, so I feel a little silly having asked that, but it is true he has a new book out, so if they can get him on the show that’d be awesome.

And finally, it’s true, Veronica does have the same shirt. She scooped me on the final episode of Game On!

Sword & Laser Episode 1 Launches Today

By the time most of you read this, Sword & Laser will have released the first episode of their new video show at Felicia Day’s Geek and Sundry channel on YouTube. Sources say it’s at 10am, and since that source is show host Tom Merritt and he’s on Pacific Time, I’m guessing that’s 10am PST, or 1pm here in the East where I am.

Anyone interested in science fiction and/or fantasy should definitely check it out. Tom hosts with Veronica Belmont, and the two have worked on the show together for about the last 4 years as an audio podcast, which will still exist alongside this new video show.

This release is a big one for me, not just as a fan of the show, but because I’m actually a part of it. A very small part, but a part nonetheless. They asked the fan base for video feedback and questions, so I spent some time and created a tiny 10-second video to submit, and they accepted it, so that’s awesome. From what I’ve heard online, I get to share this episode with guest Scott Sigler, an awesome writer whose novel Infected was equal parts disturbing and fascinating. Also on the show in some capacity is a science hero of mine, Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer. I won’t know what capacity that is until I see it myself tomorrow.

I’ve been sort of struggling with the videoification of the web for a couple of years now, and that 10 second video submission was my first major step in dealing with it. I get pretty serious anxiety when trying to record video of myself. I’ve done Google hangouts before, but it always stresses me out pretty bad, at least until I’m actually in the hangout and participating. Then it sort of eases off and I just go with it. I’m hoping that by doing this sort of small video thing now and then I can work my way up to doing video reviews for the GeekBeat crew out at Livid Lobster, where I blog. And who knows, maybe I’ll be on a podcast for real one day.

Small steps.

New Sword and Laser Trailer

Well talk about timing. 45 minutes ago I posted my big writeup of Geek & Sundry, Felicia Day’s new YouTube celebration of all things good and geeky in the world. Moments ago, Veronica Belmont of Geek & Sundry’s The Sword & Laser posted a brand new longer trailer for the video version of the S&L show, with a better look at the set and more explanation of what to expect.

The Sword & Laser started about four years ago as a book club, which quickly became an audio podcast. It’s going to remain an audio podcast, with this new show complementing it rather than replacing it.

The video version of The Sword and Laser will be every two weeks, alternating on Friday with Wil Wheaton’s Table Top. It launches on April 13th, kicking off the next book for the S&L community, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

Geek & Sundry

I love living in the future. I really do. One of my favorite things about this future we’re in is how huge geek culture has become and how it continues to explode with great content, like Felicia Day’s brand new Geek and Sundry channel over on YouTube.

The Sword and Laser

Geek and Sundry first came to my attention by way of The Sword and Laser, a fantastic fantasy & sci-fi book club/audio podcast/GoodReads forum hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. Some weeks ago, they announced that they were bringing S&L to video as part of Geek and Sundry, so of course I had to check it out.

Sadly, The Sword and Laser won’t be airing on the G&S channel for another couple of weeks, but G&S itself launched today and they’ve got a bunch of other shows that are well worth checking out.

I’m the One That’s Cool

Firstly, Geek and Sundry is Felicia Day’s channel, so you’d better bet The Guild is represented. They’ve gotten together and made another music video, this one about the injustices many geeks had to endure in their formative years at the hands of “cooler” peers, and the cultural reversal that has left geeks increasingly popular lately. It’s a fun song and video, though by far the most serious of the releases they’ve done to date, dealing as it does with issues of bullying and abuse.

The Flog

Felicia has another show, this one a weekly solo effort. The Flog debuted today, where she talks about stuff she’s into, highlights cool things she’s found around the internet lately, and goes out and tries things she’s always been interested in, sometimes for the first time. In her debut episode she goes out to learn the basics of blacksmithing. Now I’m no stranger to blacksmithing and crafting in general—I wield a mean pick in Minecraft—but she was doing this in the real world for once, not in a video game. She forged a real iron fire poker, and has it up for auction to benefit the FDNY Foundation. Pretty awesome stuff.

Table Top

Felicia got Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Eureka & The Big Bang Theory) to host a show all about table top gaming. Yes, they still make games you don’t play on computers or consoles! This one is the longest of the shows I sampled at half an hour plus individual one to two minute interviews with each guest player afterward. It’s well worth the investment.

For the first episode, Wheaton has guests Grant Imahara (Mythbusters), Jenna Busch (Girl Meets Lightsaber) and Sean Plott (Day[9]TV) on set to play Small World, a German-style fantasy board game that’s something like Civilization meets Settlers of Catan with some Dungeons & Dragons thrown into the mix. You watch them play, get a feel for the game and how much fun it can be, get some instruction on the rules and some tricks for good play. It looks like it’s going to shape up to be a really fun show. It’s supposed to air every two weeks, alternating on Fridays with The Sword and Laser.

Dark Horse Motion Comics

The last show I checked out today was Dark Horse Motion Comics, where they take actual comics and give them just enough animation to kick them off the page and into the video realm, with voice acting, sound effects and ambient background music to present the stories in a whole new light. Whether this one is for you will depend a great deal on whether you’re into the comic being adapted; this first one, The Secret, is maybe not my cup of tea, but I could easily appreciate how the format would (and will) appeal on a series that I’d be more inclined to follow.

Geek and Sundry isn’t the only such channel to pop up. Chris Hardwick, aka the Nerdist, has something similar in the works. I’ll undoubtedly be checking that out shortly too.

Save the Sci-Fi!

I learned of an admirable Kickstarter project the other day thanks to Tom Merritt and Veronica Belmont of the Sword and Laser podcast, and I thought those who follow my blog might be interested in knowing about it. It’s the Singularity & Co. Save the Sci-Fi project.

What they aim to do is save as many old, out of print sci-fi books as possible. Each month they pick a great classic or obscure or otherwise awesome sci-fi book that’s not in print and not online. They track down the author or whoever holds the copyright. They acquire the copyright or get permission from the rightsholder, and turn the book into an ebook for online publication. The resulting ebooks are either free or very cheap.

The Kickstarter for the project helps to fund these efforts to track down and acquire copyrights for the books they save, as well as fund development of the website and open source book scanner they make use of.

There are far too many books out there that are at serious risk of being lost if the paper degrades and nothing is done to preserve them, so this is a fantastic project well worth backing, or at the very least learning about.

There’s several bits of good news about it. The first is that they’re fully funded up to their goal of $15,000. The second is that as of this writing, they have 11 days to go, so you can still contribute and drive them even further past their goal—they sit right now at $24,059. With 11 days left, it doesn’t seem impossible that they’ll double what they were looking for.

Check them out at the Singularity & Co. Save the Sci-Fi Kickstarter! And be sure to let me know in the comments if you decided to back them.