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Reviews in Project: Special Requests (392)

There’ll Be Happy Times

Cascade  (The Sleep of Reason, volume 1)

By Rachel A. Rosen  

5 Jul, 2022

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2022’s Cascade is the first volume in Rachel A. Rosen’s The Sleep of Reason near-future fantasy apocalypse series.

Everyone with even a rudimentary education knew about climate change, ocean acidification, and sea level rise. However, the sudden outburst of actual magic twenty years ago (the Cascade) came as a total surprise. Reactions varied from country to country, region to region. Vasai Singh saved Indian cities by elevating them above the flood waters, while the US collapsed into a patchwork of smaller nations unpleasant in various ways. Canada? Canada continued on with business as normally as possible, under the circumstances.

At least for the moment.


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A Brotherhood of Man

Limbo

By Bernard Wolfe  

28 Jun, 2022

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2 comments

Bernard Wolfe’s 1952 Limbo is a science fiction satire.

In 1972, Dr. Martine fled from a computer-directed World War Three. The African medical facility at which he had worked was obliterated in a rain of hydrogen bombs. As far as the world knows, Dr. Martine is dead. 

Having found refuge on a particularly obscure island of pacifists, Martine has no interest in ever returning to the world. Inconveniently for Martine, his bucolic life spent performing lobotomies for the locals1 comes to a sudden end in 1990 when the world comes to him.

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That’s A Lot To Learn

A Mixture of Frailties  (Salterton Trilogy, volume 3)

By Robertson Davies  

21 Jun, 2022

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8 comments

1958’s A Mixture of Frailties is the third and final volume in Robertson Davies’ Salterton trilogy.

In a twist the miscreant in A Leaven of Malice could not have foreseen, Pearl Vambrace and Solly Bridgetower fell in love. Now married, a life of wedded bliss surely waits Pearl and Solly Bridgetower. At least, it would, were it not for Solly’s mother, the late Mrs. Bridgetower1.

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Sugar And Spice, And All That’s Nice

When Women Were Dragons

By Kelly Barnhill  

16 Jun, 2022

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16 comments

Kelly Barnhill’s 2022 When Women Were Dragons is a modern fantasy set in the 1950s. 

On April 25, 1955, 642,987 American women spontaneously became dragons. The new dragons abandoned their homes for destinations that better suited them. Mass dragoning could not be ignored … but it did not take Cold War America very long to collectively agree that dragoning (mass or otherwise, causes, and whether or not dragoning was a one-off or an ongoing phenomenon) were all subjects unfit for polite conversation. Those reluctant to follow this convention were targeted as un-American and blacklisted.

Alex (not the Alexandra adults around her insist on calling her) Green was too young to dragon, but her life would be transformed by the event.

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Empire State of Mind

The Bone Orchard

By Sara A. Mueller  

24 May, 2022

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Sara A. Mueller’s 2022 The Bone Orchard is a secondary world fantasy. 

The emperor of Boren (henceforth Emperor) has a knack for innovation, or rather, plagiarism. In addition to conquering other nations and taking over their resources, he studies their agricultural, industrial, and political techniques. He adopts the ones that he believes will further secure his hold on power. 

He is a disappointing father; his sons are for the most part cruel and deranged. Bad news for the Empire if the boys ever rule! But thanks to Rejuv, the Emperor’s life can be indefinitely extended. The troubled succession need never be an issue.

Unless, of course, someone poisons the Emperor’s Rejuv. Then the issue of who is to succeed him becomes a problem for all of Boren.

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Poison Pen

Leaven of Malice  (Salterton Trilogy, volume 2)

By Robertson Davies  

17 May, 2022

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1 comment


1954’s Leaven of Malice is the second book in Robertson Davies’ Salterton Trilogy. 

Salterton Little Theatre’s production of The Tempest safely past, Salterton returns to that timeless self-satisfied stagnation to which all proper Canadian communities aspire. 

Chaos comes to Salterton in the guise of a simple wedding announcement in the city’s premier newspaper, The Bellman.

Professor and Mrs. Walter Vambrace are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Pearl Veronica, to Solomon Bridgetower, Esq., son of Mrs. Bridgetower and the late Professor Solomon Bridgetower of this city. Marriage to take place in St. Nicholas’ Cathedral at eleven o’clock a.m., November 31st


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The Beast Within You

The Language of Roses

By Heather Rose Jones  

21 Apr, 2022

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Heather Rose Jones’ 2022 The Language of Roses is a stand-alone fantasy novella retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Anton takes refuge from a storm at the manor of Bettencourt. It’s clearly an enchanted place with invisible overlords, so Anton is on his guard … but not sufficiently so. Anton foolishly plucks a rose as he tries to slip off the estate. This egregious sin enrages the Fée (Fae).

The overlords will let Anton leave only if he sends one of his three daughters to serve in the manor. 

Once home, he sends his most responsible daughter, Alys, to the manor. She will serve Lady Ice, a woman slowly turning to stone, and Lord Beast.


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Direful Spectacle

Tempest-Tost  (Salterton Trilogy, volume 1)

By Robertson Davies  

19 Apr, 2022

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1 comment

1952’s Tempest-Tost is the first volume in Robertson Davies’ Salterton Trilogy.

Talented actress Valentine Rich returns home to Salterton, Ontario, there to deal with her late grandfather’s estate. While in Salterton, she is offered an amateur theatre role for which she is seemingly well suited. But experience as a successful actress in far off America may not help her deal with Canadian amateur theatre. 


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