James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Project

Reviews in Project: Special Requests (275)

Bow to the Here and Now

What the Wind Brings

By Matthew Hughes  

21 Mar, 2020

Special Requests

0 comments

Matthew Hughes’ 2019 What the Wind Brings is a standalone historical fantasy novel.

Dispatched by his master Don Alvaro to escort living cargo — slaves and farm animals — to Lima, Alonso Illescas instead finds himself marooned near the Rio Esmeraldas, in what is now northern Ecuador, in company with all the now-free slaves. 

Although Alonso is, like them, a dark-skinned servant to white masters, the Africans’ leader, Anton, would just as soon see Alonso dead; he’s a proxy for his despised master. Alonso’s greatest skill is being useful to those more powerful than he. It’s enough to buy his life, at least for the moment.


Read more ➤

A Grave That’s Deep And Wide Enough

Orconomics: A Satire  (Dark Profit, book 1)

By J. Zachary Pike  

5 Mar, 2020

Special Requests

1 comment

2014’s Orconomics: A Satire is the first volume in J. Zachary Pike’s Dark Profit Saga.

Disgraced dwarf berserker Gorm Ingerson is woken from his latest drunken bender by an adventurer doing his best to kill a terrified goblin. Gorm beats the adventurer to a pulp and takes his stuff. 

Rather than killing the defenseless goblin out of hand, as tradition dictates, Gorm takes the goblin, Gleebek, to the great city of Andarun to get its Non-Combatant Papers. It’s an act of charity that attracts just the wrong sort of attention.

Soon after arriving in Andarun, Gorm gets an offer he cannot refuse.


Read more ➤

Guided By This Birthmark On My Skin

The Lost Puzzler  (Tarakan Chronicles, book 1)

By Eyal Kless  

4 Mar, 2020

Special Requests

0 comments


2019’s The Lost Puzzler is the first volume in Eyal Kless’ Tarakan Chronicles. It is a post-apocalyptic adventure. 

The Catastrophe annihilated the Tarakans (who lived in high-tech enclaves on a distant-future Earth) and their enemies but it didn’t quite manage to kill every human on the planet. A few humans survived, scrounging what they can from the ruins. It’s a hard-scrabble life, full of unwanted adventure. 

But adventures make good stories. 


Read more ➤

All Safe Inside

Orlando: a Biography

By Virginia Woolf  

19 Feb, 2020

Special Requests

0 comments


Virginia Woolf’s 1928 Orlando: A Biography is a standalone surrealist fantasy.

Orlando is attractive, creative, and well-born, a trio of qualities that wins the young man a place in Queen Elizabeth’s court. His ability to see beauty in his crushes is rivaled only by his capacity to see flaws in those of whom he has tired. His life at court is a whirlwind of passionate but short-lived affairs.

Until Sasha.


Read more ➤

Rocket Man

Ignition!

By John Drury Clark  

25 Jan, 2020

Special Requests

0 comments

John Drury Clark’s 1972 Ignition!: An Informal History Of Liquid Rocket Propellants is an informal history of rocket propellants. Mostly liquid, but some not. 

In addition to his career as a chemist, Clark was a minor SF author (credited with being the first author to use antimatter in a story) and an avid SF fan1. He died of natural causes at an advanced age, which is not the way anyone reading this text back in 1972 would have bet. 


Read more ➤

To Walk All Over Thee

The Shadow Saint  (Black Iron Legacy, book 2)

By Gareth Hanrahan  

21 Jan, 2020

Special Requests

0 comments

2020’s The Shadow Saint is the second volume in Gareth Hanrahan’s Black Iron Legacy.

Six months after Scar’s miracle reshaped Guerdon’s landscape, the city’s rulers are still locked in internecine conflict. If the city is to survive, cooperation is crucial. Yet each faction is focused solely on attaining supremacy, by fair means or foul.

While Guerdon’s politicians squabble, the Godswar is marching towards Guerdon.


Read more ➤

Walking Like the Wind Blows

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

By Ruth Emmie Lang  

15 Jan, 2020

Special Requests

1 comment

Ruth Emmie Lang’s 2017 debut novel Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is a contemporary fantasy.

Goaded by schoolmates into exploring a dilapidated, gloomy dwelling, Roark falls through the roof into a spider-silk snare. She meets the building’s occupant, eccentric coot Weylyn Grey, who proceeds to spin a tale. 

Weylyn is as amiable as he is odd. His uninvited visitor does not have to worry about a horrid fate, unless it’s being talked to death. Weylyn’s rambling biography begins when a young Weylyn, tragically orphaned, does what any boy might do in his position. He runs off to live with wolves.


Read more ➤

Those Who Deserve the Best in Life

Abbott

By Saladin Ahmed  

14 Jan, 2020

Special Requests

0 comments

Saladin Ahmed’s 2018 Abbott is a horror comic. It was nominated for the Hugo and the Stoker.

Illustrator: Sami Kivelä. Colorist: Jason Wordie.

Detroit, 1972. Elena Abbott is a reporter, whose hard work should earn her accolades. Her boss’s bosses at the Detroit Daily are unenthusiastic about employing a reporter who is a woman and black. Detroit police are similarly unenthusiastic about a reporter whose stories on flagrant police brutality inexplicably don’t take the side of the police. Nevertheless, she persists.

Called to the scene of a brutal outrage, Abbott finds the cops baffled. The scene has elements all too familiar to her.

Read more ➤