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Reviews in Project: Special Requests (411)

The Russians Came Knocking

The Russians Came Knocking

By K B Spangler  

11 Sep, 2014

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Set in the same universe as Digital Divide and Maker Space (and A Girl and Her Fed, which I have still not read), this novella offers a change of pace, eschewing the procedurals of the two Rachel Peng novels for the very sexy adventures of Josh Glassman, Deputy Director of the Office of Adaptive and Complementary Technologies, hunky cyborg media relations expert and self-declared man-whore.

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Digital Divide

Digital Divide  (Rachel Peng, volume 1)

By K B Spangler  

30 Aug, 2014

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Embarrassing confession time: from time to time people have sent me books to read in my spare time and I accept them, despite knowing I never get around to reading books in my spare time because I try hard never to have spare time. NEVER. I have had a e‑copy of A Digital Divide long enough to misplace it (I bought a new copy, along with a couple of other Spangler books) and I never got around to reading it because I am a terrible person.

Spangler is probably best known for A Girl and Her Fed, which shares a universe with this novel. As it happens, I’ve never read A Girl and her Fed so any elements that would leap out at a fan of that strip were missed by me.

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Search for the Star Stones

Search for the Star Stones

By Andre Norton  

28 Aug, 2014

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Search for the Star Stones is an omnibus of two linked Norton novels, 1968’s The Zero Stone and 1969’s Uncharted Stars. Many of Norton’s books shared an ancient universe where the history of technological civilizations began long before humans appeared and would presumably long continue once we fell into dust with the rest. While the Zacathans managed to survive through two million years, such longevity is not the usual case and most of the civilizations that rose and fell, lumped together as a misleadingly unitary term Forerunner”, are known only through enigmatic relics.

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Prince of the Godborn, The Children of the Wind, The Dead Kingdom, & The Seventh Gate

Seven Citadels Quartet

By Geraldine Harris  

12 Aug, 2014

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The Seven Citadels quartet is composed of the books Prince of the Godborn, The Children of the Wind, The Dead Kingdom, & The Seventh Gate and was originally published in the early 1980s.

I dithered about whether to do these as four stand-alone reviews or one but while each book works on its own, I read them all back to back and however I happen to have read something the first time is obviously the best way to have done it. Except for how I read Princess Bride, which involved having my left hand crushed under a rock; I don’t recommend that at all.

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The Desert of Stars

The Desert of Stars  (Human Reach, volume 2)

By John J. Lumpkin  

8 Aug, 2014

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John Lumpkin’s second novel serves to remind readers that there is such a thing as well-written, carefully thought military science fiction, and that there is no reason why MilSF fans need to settle for sub-par Extruded MilSF Product churned out by a collective of once-greats and never-weres. 

This picks up where the previous book left off: Japan and China are embroiled in a vast interstellar war, one triggered by the revelation that the distribution of habitable worlds near the Sun is far less homogenous than previously believed and the luck of the draw has gifted China with a natural route to the richest systems.

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Full Fathom Five: A Novel of the Craft Sequence

Full Fathom Five  (Craft Sequence, volume 3)

By Max Gladstone  

7 Aug, 2014

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If the cover still has an Elizabeth Bear blurb on it 0, that’s a plausible choice on Tor’s part but the blurb that they actually went with was The best yet from Max Gladstone.” – Charles Stross1.

Alt Coulomb remained loyal to their surviving god. Dresediel Lex massacred their gods and replaced them with Undying Kings. The tropical island nation of Kavekana chose a third option, replacing their dead gods with what amount to artificial deities, human-crafted idols used as center-pieces in mystical investment schemes. Until now, that compromise has seemingly worked well.

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Two Serpents Rise: A Novel of the Craft Sequence

Two Serpents Rise  (Craft Sequence, volume 2)

By Max Gladstone  

4 Aug, 2014

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In the follow-up to Three Parts Dead, Gladstone introduces a new cast, as well as a new setting. Unlike Alt Coulomb, the city-state of Dresediel Lex crushed its bloody gods entirely; roles that were fulfilled by the gods now fall to humans and the Craftsmen and Craftswomen of the city. If the humans fumble the ball, the entire city will suffer.

Dresediel Lex is an artificial, fragile oasis in a vast desert; ensuring the water supply is even more central to it than it is to other cities. Red King Consolidated manages the water supply and until now has done an acceptable job of meeting the city’s ever expanding needs. Until now…

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Footfall

Footfall

By Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle  

3 Aug, 2014

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I remembered Footfall as one of those excessively long science fiction novels of the pre-Aught Three and when I picked it up I was surprised to see that my May 1986 Del Rey mass market paperback was only 582 pages (including the authors’ bios at the end), barely an evening’s read. When I put the book back down eight long hours later, I was still surprised that Footfall was only 582 pages because the authors managed cram in the mediocrity and tedium of a much longer novel.

It’s still better than a lot of the competition.

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Three Parts Dead: A Novel of the Craft Sequence

Three Parts Dead  (Craft Sequence, volume 1)

By Max Gladstone  

2 Aug, 2014

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I am very annoyed at the people who have been selecting my reading material for the last 13 years for not having ever sent me a Max Gladstone book and with Gladstone for not having more books in print now that I have discovered them.

Decades ago, the Gods declared war on the human Craftsmen and Craftswomen. The Gods lost, decisively. The Great Powers are for the most part the nations run by and for the interests of the Craftsfolk; this has certain implications0 that are developed over the series.

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