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Undine

By: Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué

Undine is a novel by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué concerning Undine, a water spirit who marries a Knight named Huldebrand in order to gain a soul. It is an early German romance, which has been translated into English and other languages. The novel served as inspiration for two operas in the romantic style by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann and Albert Lortzing, respectively, and two ballets: the nineteenth century Ondine and the twentieth century Undine. An edition of the book was illustrated by Arthur Rackham. In The Fantastic Imagination, George MacDonald writes, Were I asked, what is a fairytale? I should reply, Read Undine: that is a fairytale ... of all fairytales I know, I think Undine the most beautiful. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy tales, Romance

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Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The

By: Rudolf Erich Raspe

The stories about Münchhausen were first collected and published by an anonymous author in 1781. An English version was published in London in 1785, by Rudolf Erich Raspe, as Baron Munchhausen's Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia , also called The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchhausen . It is not clear how much of the story material derives from the Baron himself; however, it is known that the majority of the stories are based on folktales that have been in circulation for many centuries before Münchhausen's birth....

Fiction, Fantasy

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Jimbo

By: Algernon Blackwood

Fantasy novel about the mystical adventures of a lonely English boy, Jimbo. It’s really quite beautiful and can be enjoyed by both older kids and adults, though parts may be too scary for younger children (who'd probably be bored anyway). (Summary by Adrian Praetzellis)...

Fantasy, Fiction

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Morte d'Arthur, Le - Vol. 1

By: Sir Thomas Malory

Le Morte d'Arthur (spelled Le Morte Darthur in the first printing and also in some modern editions, Middle French for la mort d'Arthur, the death of Arthur) is Sir Thomas Malory's compilation of some French and English Arthurian romances. The book contains some of Malory's own original material (the Gareth story) and retells the older stories in light of Malory's own views and interpretations. First published in 1485 by William Caxton, Le Morte d'Arthur is perhaps the best-known work of English-language Arthurian literature today. Many modern Arthurian writers have used Malory as their source, including T. H. White for his popular The Once and Future King . (Summary from Wikipedia)...

Fantasy

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Morte d'Arthur, Le - Vol. 2

By: Sir Thomas Malory

Le Morte d’Arthur (spelled Le Morte Darthur in the first printing and also in some modern editions, Middle French for la mort d’Arthur, “the death of Arthur”) is Sir Thomas Malory’s compilation of some French and English Arthurian romances. The book contains some of Malory’s own original material (the Gareth story) and retells the older stories in light of Malory’s own views and interpretations. First published in 1485 by William Caxton, Le Morte d’Arthur is perhaps the best-known work of English-language Arthurian literature today. Many modern Arthurian writers have used Malory as their source, including T. H. White for his popular The Once and Future King. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

Fantasy

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Omnilingual

By: H. Beam Piper

An expedition to Mars discovers the remains of an advanced civilization, which died out many thousands of years ago. They recovered books and documents left behind, and are puzzled by their contents. Would the team find their “Rosetta Stone” that would allow them to unlock the Martian language, and learn the secrets of this long-dead race? (Summary by Mark Nelson)...

Science fiction

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Wood Beyond the World, The

By: William Morris

The Wood beyond the World is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. His use of archaic language has been seen by some modern readers as making his fiction difficult to read, but brings a wonderful atmosphere to the telling. Morris considered his fantasies a revival of the medieval tradition of chivalrous romances. In consequence, they tend to have sprawling plots of strung-together adventures. In this story, Walter leaves his father and his own unfaithful wife and sets sail in search of adventure. This he finds aplenty, encountering love, treachery and magic in the Wood of the title and in travelling through the Mountains of the Folk of the Bears. But can he find happiness and peace by means of his Quest? Read by Cori Samuel. Edited by http://www.wisemandarine.com/ Mandarine . Summary by Cori with reference to Wikipedia....

Fantasy

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Christmas Carol, A (version 2)

By: Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol (full title: A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas) is A Christmas Carol is a Victorian morality tale of an old and bitter miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of one evening. (Wikipedia)...

Fantasy, Holiday

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Gulliver's Travels

By: Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), officially Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, is a novel by Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the travelers' tales literary sub-genre. It is widely considered Swift's magnum opus and is his most celebrated work, as well as one of the indisputable classics of English literature. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

Satire, Fantasy, Adventure

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Erewhon

By: Samuel Butler

Erewhon, or Over the Range is a novel by Samuel Butler, published anonymously in 1872. The title is also the name of a country, supposedly discovered by the protagonist. In the novel, it is not revealed in which part of the world Erewhon is, but it is clear that it is a fictional country. Butler meant the title to be read as the word Nowhere backwards, even though the letters h and w are transposed. It is likely that he did this to protect himself from accusations of being unpatriotic, although Erewhon is obviously a satire of Victorian society. (summary from wikipedia)...

Science fiction, Satire

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Time and the Gods

By: Lord (Edward J. M. D. Plunkett) Dunsany

Lord Dunsany (24 July 1878 – 25 October 1957) was a London-born Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist notable for his work in fantasy. He was influenced by Algernon Swinburne, who wrote the line Time and the Gods are at strife in his 1866 poem Hymn to Proserpine, as well as by the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. In turn, Dunsany's influence was felt by H. P. Lovecraft and Ursula K. Le Guin. Arthur C. Clarke corresponded with Dunsany between 1944 and 1956. Those letters are collected in the book Arthur C. Clarke & Lord Dunsany: A Correspondence. Time and the Gods, a series of short stories written in a myth-like style, was first published in 1906. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

Short stories, Fantasy

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Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven (version 3)

By: Mark Twain

This was the last story published by Twain, a few months before he died. The story follows Captain Elias Stormfield on his extremely long cosmic journey to heaven. It deals with the obsession of souls with the celebrities of heaven, like Adam and Moses, who according to Twain become as distant to most people in heaven as living celebrities are on Earth. Twain uses this story to show his view that the common conception of heaven is ludicrous and points out the incongruities of such beliefs. A lot of the description of Heaven is given by the character Sandy McWilliams, a cranberry farmer who is very experienced in the ways of heaven. The heaven described by him is similar to the conventional Christian heaven, but includes a larger version of all the locations on Earth, as well as of everywhere in the universe. Once in heaven, the person spends eternity living as he thinks best, usually according to his true (sometimes undiscovered) talent. According to one of the characters, a cobbler who has the soul of a poet in him won't have to make shoes here, implying that he would instead turn to poetry and achieve perfection in it. As Stormfie...

Short stories, Fantasy, Humor

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Master Flea

By: E.T.A. Hoffmann

Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann (1776 – 1822), better known by his pen name E.T.A. Hoffmann (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann), was a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror, a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist. Hoffmann's stories were very influential during the 19th century, and he is one of the major authors of the Romantic movement. He is the subject and hero of Jacques Offenbach's famous but fictional opera The Tales of Hoffmann, and the author of the novelette The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, on which the famous ballet The Nutcracker is based. The ballet Coppelia is based on two other stories that Hoffmann wrote. Also Schumann's Kreisleriana is based on one of Hoffmann's characters. Master Flea was published in 1822....

Fantasy

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Food of the Gods and How it Came to Earth, The

By: H. G. Wells

Two stuffy English scientists, always looking to further their scientific knowledge, create a substance called Herakleophorbia, which in its fourth incarnation – known as Herakleophorbia IV – has the special ability of making things increase greatly in size. As the scientists begin experimentation on some chicks, the substance is misused by some “country folk” who don’t take it seriously and soon Herakleophorbia IV is running rampant throughout England and then across the globe, creating giant plants and animals that wreak havoc on the land and then the people. Then the first giant babies are revealed and for the first time humanity has to contend with the existence of a new race of giant people. How humanity deals with this shocking new creation is revealed in The Food of the Gods and How it Came to Earth. (Summary by Alex C. Telander)...

Science fiction

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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

By: Edwin Abbott Abbott

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is an 1884 science fiction novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott. As a satire, Flatland offered pointed observations on the social hierarchy of Victorian culture. However, the novella's more enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions; in a foreword to one of the many publications of the novella, noted science writer Isaac Asimov described Flatland as The best introduction one can find into the manner of perceiving dimensions. As such, the novella is still popular amongst mathematics, physics and computer science students....

Fiction, Science fiction, Satire

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Chasse-galerie, La

By: Honoré Beaugrand

La Chasse-galerie (The Hunt of Gallery) also known as The Bewitched Canoe is a French Canadian tale of voyageurs who make a deal with the Devil, a variant of the Wild Hunt. In Quebec, the legend of the chasse-galerie, or the bewitched canoe, is a favourite. Its most famous version was written by Honoré Beaugrand (1848 - 1906?). (From Wikipedia) Il s'agit de l'histoire de bûcherons de la Gatineau qui font un pacte avec le diable afin de faire voler un canot pour qu'ils puissent rendre visite à leurs femmes. Il devront cependant éviter de blasphémer durant la traversée, ne point heurter le canot aux clochers d'une église et être de retour avant six heures le lendemain matin. Dans le cas contraire ceux-ci perdraient leurs âmes. La version la plus connue est celle écrite par Honoré Beaugrand. (de Wikipedia)...

Adventure, Fantasy, Myths/Legends

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Mystery, The (LibriVox NaNoWriMo novel 2006)

By: LibriVox volunteers

The idea was to write a whole novel in the month of November, based on the guidelines of the http://www.nanowrimo.org/ National Novel Writing Month . The twist is that there are up to 30 people writing together, instead of one toiling alone. Each writer signed up to do one section of 1,700+ words, in English. Plot and particulars were agreed before the start. Each writer also recorded his/her own chapter, which can be downloaded here. The resulting novel is in the public domain. (Summary by Gesine)...

Mystery, Science fiction, Comedy, Fantasy, Adventure, Spy stories

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Journey to the Interior of the Earth, A

By: Jules Verne

Journey to the Interior of the Earth is an 1864 science fiction novel by Jules Verne (published in the original French as Voyage au centre de la Terre). The story involves a professor who leads his nephew and hired guide down a volcano in Iceland to the “center of the Earth”. They encounter many adventures, including prehistoric animals and natural hazards, eventually coming to the surface again in southern Italy. (Summary from wikipedia.org)...

Adventure, Fantasy

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Romance of Two Worlds, A

By: Marie Corelli

The book starts with a young heroine telling her story of coping with a debilitating illness that includes depression and thoughts of suicide. Her doctor is unable to help her and sends her off on a holiday where she meets a mystical character by the name of Raffaello Cellini, an Italian artist. Cellini offers her a strange potion which immediately puts her into a tranquil slumber, in which she experiences divine visions. This is the beginning of her journey to health, both spiritual and physical. ....

Fantasy, Literature, Religion

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Coming Race, The

By: Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (1803-1873) was an English novelist, poet, playright, and politician. Lord Lytton was a florid, popular writer of his day, who coined such phrases as the great unwashed, pursuit of the almighty dollar, the pen is mightier than the sword, and the infamous incipit It was a dark and stormy night. Despite his popularity in his heyday, today his name is known as a byword for bad writing. San Jose State University holds an annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for bad writing in which contestants have to supply terrible openings of imaginary novels, inspired by his novel Paul Clifford, which opens with the famous words: “It was a dark and stormy night”. The Coming Race drew heavily on his interest in the occult and contributed to the birth of the science fiction genre. Unquestionably, its story of a subterranean race of men waiting to reclaim the surface is one of the first science fiction novels. The novel centres on a young, independently wealthy traveler (the narrator), who accidentally finds his way into a subterranean world occupied by beings who seem to resemble angels, who c...

Science fiction, Adventure, Fantasy

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (abridged)

By: Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a work of children's literature by the English mathematician and author, the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, written under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit-hole into a fantasy realm populated by grotesque figures like talking playing cards and anthropomorphic creatures. The Wonderland described in the tale plays with logic in ways that have made the story of lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the most characteristic examples of the genre of literary nonsense. (Wikipedia)...

Fantasy, Children

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (version 4)

By: Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar and anthropomorphic creatures. The tale is filled with allusions to Dodgson's friends. The tale plays with logic in ways that have given the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, and its narrative course and structure have been enormously influential, especially in the fantasy genre....

Children, Fantasy

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Visions

By: Coulson Kernahan

Deeper questions of life and death, and of God’s relationship to man, are explored in this collection of “dreams” by a noted English novelist and literary critic. A man takes an uncertain step into the next world as his life ends – Defendants at the Last Judgment hurl their own accusations at the Judge – An angel arrives on Christmas Eve to guide one soul through a night of despair and doubt – Flowers in a garden contemplate their own mortality – What would it mean if the world renounced Christ, or God took Christ away from the world? – And in a world of the future, pleasure and luxury are pursued … and children are nowhere to be found. (Introduction by D. Leeson)...

Fantasy, Religion

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From the Earth to the Moon

By: Jules Verne

From the Earth to the Moon (French: De la Terre à la Lune) is a humorous science fantasy story written in 1865 by Jules Verne and is one of the earliest entries in that genre. It tells the story of three well-to-do members of a post-American Civil War gun club who build an enormous sky-facing columbiad and ride a spaceship fired from it to the moon. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

Adventure, Science fiction, Teen/Young adult

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Tarzan the Terrible

By: Edgar Rice Burroughs

In the previous novel, during the early days of World War I, Tarzan discovered that his wife Jane was not killed in a fire set by German troops, but was in fact alive. In this novel two months have gone by and Tarzan is continuing to search for Jane. He has tracked her to a hidden valley called Pal-ul-don, which means Land of Men. In Pal-ul-don Tarzan finds a real Jurassic Park filled with dinosaurs, notably the savageTriceratops-like Gryfs, which unlike their prehistoric counterparts are carnivorous. The lost valley is also home to two different races of tailed human-looking creatures, the Ho-don (hairless and white skinned) and the Waz-don (hairy and black-skinned). Tarzan befriends Ta-den, a Ho-don warrior, and Om-at, the Waz-don chief of the tribe of Kor-ul-ja. In this new world he becomes a captive but so impresses his captors with his accomplishments and skills that they name him Tarzan-Jad-Guru (Tarzan the Terrible), which is the name of the novel...

Adventure, Fantasy

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Gawayne and the Green Knight, version 2

By: Charlton Miner Lewis

Published in 1903, Gawayne and the Green Knight is a modern-language retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a 14th-century verse romance following a young knight of the Round Table. During Christmas celebrations, a mysterious, entirely green knight presents a challenge to King Arthur's court: that any may strike the stranger a single blow with his green axe, provided he assent to receiving the same a year later. Gawayne accepts the challenge, and its unexpected outcome leads to a great test of his courage and knighthood. A significant addition to this version is the Lady Elfinhart, whose back-story and romance with Gawayne are tightly interwoven with the plot. (Summary by Jerome Lawsen)...

Fantasy, Fairy tales, Poetry, Children, Myths/Legends

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Abridged), version 2

By: Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world (Wonderland) populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, and its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre. (Summary by Wikipedia NOTE: This version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is heavily abridged....

Children, Fantasy, Fiction

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War of the Worlds, The

By: H. G. Wells

H. G. Wells wrote The War of the Worlds in 1898, when there was much speculation about life on the planet Mars. The book is considered to be one of the first science fiction novels. In the story, an English gentleman narrates the events of a violent and fast paced Martian invasion. The frightening images of people fleeing from gigantic tripod machines and the prospect of life under Martian rule have served as a bottomless well of inspiration for popular culture. The novel has served as a template for many derivative or inspired works, including comics, countless books, a tv series, several films, a bestselling musical, and the famous Orson Wells broadcast. Overall, The War of the Worlds has become an early milestone in and inspiration for the invasion genre. The novel demonstrates Wells' typical pessimistic outlook on human nature and offers a good deal of critisism on society and people's ignorance and vanity. The War of the Worlds can be read as an indictment of European colonial actions around the globe at that time - with which the injustice of the Martian invasion can be compared. Wells has since been credited with predicting q...

Science fiction

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Rastignac The Devil

By: Philip José Farmer

French colonists on a planet ruled by reptiles and amphibians are forced to wear living “skins” that subdue aggression and enforce vegetarianism. As children, Rastignac and his reptile friend Mapfarity force themselves to become carnivores and begin a protein fueled journey that causes Rastignac to develop a Philosophy of Violence. When a spaceship from Earth crashes in the ocean, Rastignac and company must put their philosophy to the test. - Rastignac The Devil was first published in the May 1954 issue of Fantastic Universe Magazine. (Summary by Gregg Margarite)...

Fantasy, Fiction, Science fiction

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Anthem

By: Ayn Rand

Anthem is a dystopic science fiction story taking place at some unspecified future date. Mankind has entered another dark age as a result of what Rand saw as the weaknesses of socialistic thinking and economics. Technological advancement is now carefully planned (when it is allowed to occur, if at all) and the concept of individuality has been eliminated (for example, the word I has disappeared from the language). As is common in her work, Rand draws a clear distinction between the socialist/communal values of equality and brotherhood and the productive/capitalist values of achievement and individuality. The story also parallels Stalinist Russia, which was currently going on at the time as the story was published. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

Science fiction, Philosophy

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Mysteries of Paris, The, Volume 1

By: Eugène Sue

The Mysteries of Paris (French: Les Mystères de Paris) is a novel by Eugène Sue which was published serially in Journal des débats from June 19, 1842 until October 15, 1843. Les Mystères de Paris singlehandedly increased the circulation of Journal des débats. There has been lots of talk on the origins of the French novel of the 19th century: Stendhal, Balzac, Dumas, Gautier, Sand or Hugo. One often forgets Eugène Sue. Still, The Mysteries of Paris occupies a unique space in the birth of this literary genre: it entranced thousands of readers for more than a year (even illiterates who had episodes read to them) and was also a major work in the formation of a certain form of social consciousness. One often hears that the 1848 revolution was partly born in the pages of the Mysteries of Paris or, more appropriately, that the Mysteries of Paris helped create a climate which allowed the 1848 revolution to occur.The hero of the novel is the mysterious and distinguished Rodolphe, who is really the Grand Duke of Gérolstein (a fictional country) but is disguised as a Parisian worker. Rodolphe can speak in argot, is extremely strong and a good ...

Mystery, Fantasy, Adventure

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Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A

By: Mark Twain

Come and hear the strange tail of The Boss Hank Morgan, a modern day (at the time of publication) Connecticut Yankee who inexplicably finds himself transported to the court of the legendary King Arthur (as the title of the book implies). Hank, or simply, The Boss, as he comes to be most frequently known, quickly uses his modern day knowledge and education to pass himself off as a great magician, to get himself out of all sorts of surprising, (and frequently amusing) situations, as well as to advance the technological and cultural status of the nation in which he finds himself. In the rather un-subtle sub-text of the story, Twain uses The Boss to express a surprisingly pragmatic and frequently contradictory philosophy. The Boss explores the relative merits of Democracy, and Monarchy, he expresses his views on the “Nature v. Nurture” debate, he frequently speaks forcefully against an established Church, but just as strongly advocates for religion and a variety of churches (just not a compulsory one) and he devotes at least one afternoon to introducing his companions to the concept of inflation. In a far more subtle, yet no less forcef...

Adventure, Fantasy, Satire

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