Book Clubs are not a new invention. They’ve been around to encourage people to read virtually since the first printed books became popular. I’ve never been a fan of reading along with others – I tend to read too fast – but I have one exception. The Sword and Laser Podcast is a Science Fiction and Fantasy book club that reads a single book a month, but it also spends time following genre news, suggesting similar books, chatting and just being fans of great fiction.

It started as a hobby in 2007 when presenters Belmont and Merritt realised that their dual love of sci-fi and fantasy was actually interesting to other people. The show has changed formats several times from audio to audio and video and back to audio only. They have also built up a thriving forum at GoodReads.

The format of the show stays fairly consistent – a round up of the news and releases that week followed by a talk about the current book. They have numerous author and person of interest interviews although these tend to get into their own separate shows. There are episodes about once a week and they usually come in at around half an hour.

The Ergohacks Verdict

If you’re a sci-fi and fantasy reader the Sword and Laser Podcast should be in your podcast app. Belmont and Merritt are genuine fans and have on-air chemistry that’s always fun to listen to. If you want to keep up on new books, listen to an interview with your favourite author or just want to read along and discuss your thoughts, it’s essential listening.


Free available on their website, Youtube or Podcast app. Supported by a voluntary Patreon 

Price: ± $0 – $20 an episode
Paid extras:  Paid Patreon extras from having your name listed on their site to early access to advance books (US only)


Sword and Laser is presented and run by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. Both are independent creators who came to prominence as two of the presenters of CNET’s Buzz Out Loud Podcast. Since then Merritt has presented a series of Tech podcasts and Belmont has jumped around presenting for Sony, TWIT and the BBC.


 We based our Ergohacks Verdict on five years of listening to the podcast. This article was first published on the 30 May 2017.