Slowly Emerging From the Submission Swamp

What’s this?  Only a handful of stories left in my submission pile?  I’ll have to celebrate!

Maybe I’ll play some more Majora’s Mask tonight.  I need to read more Planet Stories to stay on top of Short Reviews, but I’ve read nearly 50 sci-fi short stories in the last three weeks, so I think I’ll take the night off.  I have decided with certainty that I will be buying for at least two issues.  Three?  We’ll have to see…  The outpouring from the community, the quantity and the quality of submissions I’ve received have been really something!  I’m also happy to find that, even though I’ve received a LOT of stories, I haven’t been overwhelmed, nor have I felt like I’m in any danger of burning out.

I’m toying with the notion of buying up multiple issues worth of content in a single go so that I’m only spending a couple months out of the year reading submissions and the rest of the year I can work on my stack of pulps and old SF books.  I’ll have a system down eventually…

Help me pull this off by buying a copy of issue 1.  If you’ve already bought an issue, leave a review on Amazon.  Let’s make this thing meteoric!

Submissions ARE still open.  Your best bet, if you want me to buy your story, is to hunker down, spend a weekend reading Brackett & Bradbury’s Lorelei of the Red Mist, Vance’s Galactic Effectuator, and Gallagher’s Torchship then regurgitate the ideas those give you in 5000-7500 words.

I’ve got some really cool stuff lined up over at Castalia House for the next few weeks, including a two part look at Conflict Games’ Imperium (a boardgame that was retroactively incorporated into the Traveller universe as its default setting), another Short Review, this time Peacock’s Spidermen of Gharr, and maybe a sweet interview.

For now, you can check out part two of my review of Musket & Pike.

More Reviews of Cirsova’s Contents

JD Cowan at And Between the Wasteland and Sky has finished his three part review of Cirsova Issue #1.

http://wastelandandsky.blogspot.com/2016/03/last-of-heroes.html

Here, he covers Late Bloom, The Hour of the Rat, A Hill of Stars and Jeffro’s essay on Toyman.

The Hour of the Rat really is a standout piece (a lot of people I’ve talked to have said the same)—even though it seems out of left-field in some regards and is different from several of the other pieces in issue 1 on a lot of counts, it really underscores a lot of what makes a good and exciting heroic fantasy story.  Perhaps moreso because the components used to tell it—the characters and period/setting—are atypical.  It’s really the sort of thing I would give out to a creative writing class and say “Look what this writer did!”

 

Some Thoughts on the New Ben-Hur

I’m actually kind of excited about the Ben-Hur remake.

I loved the book, and the Charlton Heston movie is one of my all time favorites, but for those who are saying “movies shouldn’t be remade”, it should be noted that the Charlton Heston Ben-Hur was second (third, if you count the 1899 Broadway play, which was a smash hit in and of itself) remake of Lew Wallace’s story. Even now, there are websites mistakenly referring to Heston’s as “the original”.

For those who haven’t seen the 1929 silent Novarro version, you need to drop what you’re doing and watch it now. As amazing as the Heston version is, the naval battle in the Novarro version is not to be outdone and it gives the chariot race a run for its money.

There are a lot of reasons why it would be worth remaking/seeing a remake of Ben-Hur; most of them are things from the book which many of the adaptations do not explore, which offer possibilities for the new film.

-The first section of Ben-Hur is a very beautiful and detailed retelling of the Christmas story; this is reduced to a very short intro, in part because…
-Balthasar the wise man, though a major character in the book, is usually absent from film adaptations. He is one of the moral centers of the story, except…
-Balthasar’s daughter is wicked and thinks her father is crazy; she’s a minor character in the Novarro film, and – despite being a significant villainess and love interest in the book – absent from the Heston version.
-Ben-Hur’s period as a leader of an anti-Imperial Jewish militia group is pretty much always axed.

Also, it will be interesting to see whether the film goes the typical gorefest blockbuster route or aims for the spirit of the original work; while most people remember the ship battle and the chariot race, Ben-Hur is an explicitly Christian morality tale that significantly subverts the revenge story tropes; after all he goes through, it is only through Christ, the Crucifixion and miracle of Resurrection that Ben-Hur is able to find any meaning or solace in his life.

I’m not saying the new Ben-Hur will be good or bad; what I’m saying is that it has unexplored possibilities that make it impossible to simply write it off just because it is a remake.

Update:

This bit from the wikipedia article is promising:

In September 2013, Timur Bekmambetov was hired to direct the film.[27] Bekmambetov said the story of Ben-Hur reminded him of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and any story written by Anton Chekhov.[28] He was fascinated by the 1959 film but found the focus on revenge rather than forgiveness to be the main problem. Hence, he wanted to stress on themes of forgiveness and love rather then mere vengeance.

 

On Writers’ Response to Sad Puppies, Medicide Review, and Magazine Update

In light of the responses I’ve seen from authors who were in the top 10 of the open forum Sad Puppies IV vote, which ranged from confusion and mild annoyance to shrill angry freak outs, I’d like to share one of my favorite quotes from Varg Vikernes:

I might be Nordic, heterosexual and have a Pagan ideology myself, but why would I expect the fans of my music to be just like me?

I am a narrow-minded ultra-conservative anti-religious misanthropic and arrogant bigot, alright, and I have a problem with just about everything and everyone in this world, but I am not demented, and if those who are not like me are able to enjoy my music that is all fine by me. Be a Christian-born black gay feminist converted to Judaism for all I care, or worse; a Muslim. Just stay off my lawn…  – 2010 Interview w/Stereo Gum

If only some of those in the sci-fi community could be so magnanimous!

Rather than harp on about that, I would like to share a review I recently received. No, not for Cirsova, but for medicide’s latest album, Supernova Black:

5.0 out of 5 stars Open Up & Take Your Medicide
By S. Rosin on March 20, 2016
Supernova Black

If you like your Industrial music “old school”, then you’ve come to the right place. Herein are practiced the sonic rituals as they were originally taught before the term degenerated into nothing more than dance music with a bad attitude. This is light years away from any dance floor with a focus that is beyond the void where these sounds are being generated. This duo are on a mission to mess with your mind, inspired by Magick and the malevolence of a corporate pharmaceutical industry that places profit over people. To that end, the technicians at Medicide Industrial now present 5 new prescriptions for altering your perceptions. The first thing you need to get about these guys is that they are a LIVE band, man. Everything is recorded live in a live room with microphones. The air is just as important to the sound as the instruments making it. What you hear is what you get and there’s no messing around. These sounds exist in the real world where they shudder and vibrate the air as a physical manifestation of the will of its creators. That fact makes these recordings as vital and dangerous as a rattlesnake. You just don’t know when it’s going to strike. It’ll hiss and chatter at you with menace and then spring forward with a thrust and get you right in the jugular. So if you’ve got some bottle, you can make like one of those southern Baptist snake handlers and pick up this serpent for a little soul salvation. If you’re lucky, you might even survive!

Now that’s the kind of love I’m talking about!

Even though we didn’t technically announce it until mid January, Supernova Black’s Amazon release date is Dec 30, so we ARE technically eligible for Best Related Work… I kid, I kid, but you should check us out!

I did some catching up on my reading this weekend, and though I didn’t quite clear my inbox, I made some pretty big steps towards doing so. I am now more determined than ever to step up Cirsova’s output this year because I have so many great submissions. I’m not ready to officially announce that I’ll be buying for two or three issues – that will happen some time after submissions are closed at the end of next month – but I’m probably going to be buying for at least two issues. That’s just how much great stuff I’ve gotten. I’m losing my mind with how exciting some of this stuff is!