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Reviews in Project: Special Requests (426)

Til All Success Be Nobleness

A Journey in Other Worlds

By John Jacob Astor IV  

21 Feb, 2023

Special Requests


John Jacob Astor IV’s 1894 A Journey in Other Worlds is a stand-alone science fiction novel about a journey to Jupiter and Saturn.

In the year 2000, Anglo-Saxon prowess and fecundity have transformed America into an advanced, electrified multi-continental power that spans the Americas and Africa. The Terrestrial Axis Straightening Company is busily engaged in the great work of re-adjusting the Earth’s axial tilt to better suit American needs. Things are going well. It is the perfect time for a party of bored adventurers to set out for Jupiter and Saturn in an apergy-propelled1spacecraft.

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Curses and Conspiracies


By Frances Hardinge  

14 Feb, 2023

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Frances Hardinge’s 2023 Unraveller is a stand-alone secondary universe fantasy novel.

Raddith is a land of wonder. It is situated next to the Wilds, where one might easily encounter beings known elsewhere only in horrified folk tales. Wildness seeps into Raddith. One unfortunate effect is that seemingly unremarkable people are from time to time imbued with supernatural power, power with which to express their ire at life’s injustices. These lucky few are known by their victims as cursers,” provided of course that the horrific transformations worked on the victims leave them able to speak.

Kellen’s curse unravels textiles. The curse has also given him a unique knack for unravelling curses (if not his own). There are many charlatans in Raddith, charlatans who claim to be able to undo curses. They cannot. Kellen, however, can see the curse, know who cast it, and can sometimes undo the curse. One might think this would be a guarantee of wealth and fame. It’s not.

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The Old Curiosity Shop

Once Upon a Tome

By Oliver Darkshire  

2 Feb, 2023

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Once Upon a Tome: The misadventures of a rare bookseller by Oliver Darkshire (2022) is a non-fiction work about the rare book trade.

Having tried his hand at a number of occupations, young Oliver Darkshire applied for and won a position at Sotherans, a venerable bookstore tucked away in an obscure London side street. This proved a bold decision worthy of the 7th Earl of Cardigan.

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Alight the Match

Beyond the Burn Line

By Paul McAuley  

5 Jan, 2023

Special Requests


Paul McAuley’s 2022 Beyond the Burn Line is a stand-alone science fiction novel.

Six hundred thousand years before the time of the novel, the ogres failed so egregiously to properly caretake the Earth that scorch marks are still visible in the geological record. The ogres were replaced by the cruel but capable bears, whose domination of their home continents lasted for thirty millennia. Six centuries ago, the bears fell to madness, leaving their domain in the hands of their former Procyonic slaves. In the six centuries since, the citizens of the Union and United Territories have done their best to follow an equitable and prudent course that will steer them away from the fates of ogre- and bear-kind.

The first signs that unexpected transformation is coming arrives in the form of an academic puzzle.

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Nice Sharp Quillets

Sword of Fire  (Justice War, volume 1)

By Katharine Kerr  

3 Jan, 2023

Special Requests


2020’s Sword of Fire is the first volume in Katharine Kerr’s Justice War series. Justice War is the fifth series set in Kerr’s Deverry secondary-universe fantasy setting.

Centuries after the events of the Deverry, Westlands, Dragon Mage, and Silver Wyrm arcs, Aberwyn’s ruler, the Gwerbret Ladoic, faces a most unwanted development: widespread cries for a rule of law that is based on something more than a Gwerbret’s whim.

When Cradoc the Bard launches a hunger strike to protest the lack of reform, Ladoic ignores the Bard. Surely, Cradoc will give in before Ladoic does. Cradoc does not. Cradoc starves himself to death. Ladoic’s political problems are now much worse.

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The Past Is Just A Goodbye

The Path of Thorns

By A. G. Slatter  

22 Dec, 2022

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1 comment

A.G. Slatter’s 2022 The Path of Thorns is a stand-alone secondary-universe gothic horror novel.

Asher Todd is the latest Morwood family governess. She has been hired on the strength of credentials as glowing as they are fraudulent. It’s true that Asher has many skills, but they aren’t the ones for which the Morwoods hired her. She has her own reasons for taking the position, reasons that would horrify the Morwoods if they knew.

The Morwoods wanted a faithful governess. What they got is a witch wearing another woman’s face.

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Some Dance to Forget

Vermilion Sands

By J. G. Ballard  

20 Dec, 2022

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1971’s Vermilion Sands is a collection of short stories by J. G. Ballard. All share the same setting: vacation resort Vermilion Sands.

Vermilion Sands’ precise location is unclear. Perhaps it is somewhere in the American desert or perhaps it is not too far from Mediterranean. Equally unclear is when the action takes place, except that it is a time that features mutant women and flying stingrays. Wherever and whenever it is, the idle rich flock to Vermilion Sands. Close on their heels come those who would profit off the rich.

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Indulgence Set Me Free

Ten Thousand Stitches  (Regency Faerie Tales, volume 2)

By Olivia Atwater  

15 Dec, 2022

Special Requests


2020’s Ten Thousand Stitches is the second of Olivia Atwater’s Regency Faerie Tales novels. It is a stand-alone fantasy HEA (happily ever after) romance tale.

Working as Effie does for self-centered, thoughtlessly unkind Regency-era English aristocrats, it takes only a few kind words from Mr. Benedict Ashbrooke to leave Effie infatuated with Benedict. Alas! The class divide ensures the two will never marry. Not without a miracle, or at least powerful magic.

Which is where Effie’s faerie godfather comes in.

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