Cirsova 2018 Spring/Summer Subscriptions Available Now!

 

Stickied Post

We’re using Kickstarter to sell subscriptions for our Spring and Summer issues. Click through for the full lineup.

This isn’t really a Kickstarter, since it’s not actually kickstarting anything. It’s just for folks who’ve been saying “Shut up and take my money already!” to finally put down for the early-bird special (save a few bucks, mostly on shipping).

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9 Days Left to Subscribe!

There are 9 days left on our subscription drive.

If you’ve been waiting, now’s the time to back!

Getting final approvals from contributors, and putting the finishing touches on issue 7. We’ll be ready for final proofs in about two weeks once the last ads come in.

Update: I can now officially confirm that issue 7 will feature My Name is John Carter Part 6.

Quick Magazine Update

Things are proceeding along smoothly with the assembly of Cirsova 7. All copy edits are in, and soon we’ll be passing them along to contributors for a final approval. Then I can get cracking on issue 8.

In the meantime, there are just over two weeks left on our subscription drive. Just $1 gets you both the spring and summer issues. We really need folks to come out strong for us to keep Cirsova alive and kicking. For various reasons, things may be slipping a bit, but there’s plenty of time to turn it around. We’ve done well with advertisers, but to keep doing well with advertisers, we need to bring up our subscriber numbers. My personal goal is 200 subscribers. It can be done. Last year, we had 136 subscribers in for $2500. Right now, we’re sitting at 87 subscribers for only $1300. To remain a viable semi-pro paying magazine, we need to see real growth.

 

Issue 7 Cover 1 Front Cover lower res

Cirsova’s Planetary Awards Nominee: Out of the Soylent Planet, by Robert Kroese

I’m killing two birds with one stone on this one. Robert Kroese’s Out of the Soylent Planet is my pick for this year’s Planetary Awards in the long-form category.out of the soylent planet

On paper, Kroese’s Rex Nihilo series seems like the last thing I’d enjoy—a snarky, self-aware, often parodic science fiction series featuring a sleazy protagonist whom I’ve described as a cross between Jon Lovitz’s Tommy Flannagan character and Zapp Brannigan.  But the strength of Kroese’s writing and his sense of humor accomplish the herculean task of keeping his premise from descending into obnoxious twee. While the first book, “Starship Grifters”, cleaves dangerously close to Star Wars parody, the sequel, “Aye, Robot” abandoned much of the familiar plot beats and moved away from parody, delving further into the realm of satire.

I was worried, then, that “Out of the Soylent Planet” might return to the safer realms of parody when it began with a direct send-up of New Hope’s opening, with SASHA standing in for 3P0. And it was a prequel, no-less!

My fears were quickly allayed, however, as Out of the Soylent Planet progressed rapidly into new territory, establishing the relationship between SASHA and Rex, further developing SASHA’s nature as a near-sentient AI without retreading the first two books, and using some wild and exciting set-ups to do so.

Out of the Soylent Planet is self-aware, and many of the characters are dangerously (wrong) genre savvy, but Kroese handles all of this exceptionally well. He uses Rex to explore the nature of the picaresque hero over the course of the series while even hanging a lampshade as other characters discuss what qualifies one to be a lovable rogue. Like Obi-Wan’s villainy, it all comes down to “a certain point of view.”

While Out of the Soylent Planet is a prequel, it is written in such a way that it could stand alone to a reader new to the series but does not belabor descriptions and exposition which readers of the previous books might be familiar with. The first installment suffered a bit from the “Only Sane Man” trope with SASHA playing the straight-man to the insanity of the entire universe. While there are plenty of mixed up characters in Out of the Soylent Planet, much of that burden is taken off SASHA’s shoulders, giving her a few odd but competent and reliable characters to play off of. This lets her character have some fun/self-indulgence without risking having the world fall to pieces around her. The only weakness it has is an absence of Pepper Melange. Then again, part of what Pepper brought to the stories was that sense that there were people in the universe besides SASHA who were competent (who were not stark-raving mad or lunatic idiots), and by giving SASHA and Rex other ‘straight men’ to play off of, her absence will not be felt by new readers so much as by existing fans of the character.

Even if you haven’t been reading Kroese’s Rex Nihilo Series, this one is worth picking up and diving into.

Just a reminder to readers and other book bloggers: You too can nominate for the Planetary Awards. As a publisher, Cirsova is abstaining from nominating in the short form category, but there’s been a lot of love so far for Schuyler Hernstrom’s “The First American.” All you have to do to nominate a work is post on your blog what you think should receive a Planetary Award and why. Feel free to nominate something we published in 2017.

49 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Magazines Ranked from Best to Worst

Planetary Defense Command

In my last post, I explained why I’ve cut off my first round of magazine reviews at 49, and described my ranking method.  So, on to the results, giving my first issue of each magazine an Olympic-style score from 10 to 1:

[WARNING:  Do not go to the website of Red Sun Magazine, as its domain registration expired and was taken over by scammers.  The link below is to my review of the magazine, not to the scammer website.  It is still safe to go to their facebook or twitter accounts, or to buy their magazine at Amazon.]

10

Red Sun Magazine

Cirsova

9

Space and Time

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Analog

Aurealis

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

8

Sci Phi Journal

7

Perihelion SF

Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine

Fantasy Scroll

Astounding Frontiers

Albedo One

Mothership Zeta

Just a Minor Malfunction

6

Apex

Compelling SF

Nebula Rift

Plasma Frequency

Deep Magic

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Cirsova-Published Works Make Tangent Online’s 2017 Recommended Reading List

Each year, Tangent Online publishes a list of the stories they felt were the best among the pieces that they reviewed over the course of that year.

We are thrilled that this year’s recommended reading list includes Brian K. Lowe’s diptych of stories, “War of the Ruby”/”Shapes in the Fog”, in the Short Stories category and Schuyler Hernstrom’s Novella “The First American”.

All three of these stories can be found in Cirsova #5, which is available in ebook, paperback, and hardcover.

Tangent Online’s full 2017 list can be read here.

Cirsova’s 2017 stories, by category, can be found here.