The Softcover edition of Leigh Brackett’s Queen of the Martian Catacombs with foreword by Nathan Housley, the Pulp Archivist, is out today on Amazon and through various retailers online! This is a great edition for readers of all ages and features a dozen illustrations by StarTwo.
For the collectors, today is also the day that the Deluxe hardcover omnibus drops. This edition collects all three Stark adventures + includes an appendix of nearly 100 pieces of art not included in the trade releases.
If that’s not enough Stark for you, we have Illustrated Stark merchandise available now on our Teepublic store!
Finally, we’re taking advertisements now for our Summer Special, which will feature among other things, a new novelette from Misha Burnett and the return of Schuyler Hernstrom to the pages of Cirsova! Space in this issue is extremely limited, and the back cover is already gone. Check our rates page and reach out if you are interested in taking an ad out with us.
John E. Boyle has been a long-time supporter of Cirsova Magazine, and there’s a lot that would not have been possible were it not for him. [He has regularly advertised with us and hired me to do layout for his print editions].
Check out this interview with John here at Castalia House about his Children of Khetar series.
Leigh Brackett’s “Queen of the Martian Catacombs” is the guilty pleasure reading you’ve always wanted without quite knowing you wanted it. Incredibly, it effortlessly combines many awesome things together at once in a way that would be impossible to imagine without actually reading it:
Savagery that explodes off the page just like in Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan.
Contempt for decadent civilizations that explodes off the page just like in Robert E. Howard’s Conan.
Scintillating femme fatales and genuinely appealing feminine foils that explode off the page just like in A. Merritt’s best novels.
It is AWESOME.
And it even packs in the sort of “you’re my only hope moment” that would energize the opening act of Star Wars. That’s not much of a surprise coming from the woman that would ultimately be tapped to write a script for The Empire Strikes Back.
Several people have noticed that only Paperback and Ebook copies are available on Amazon. Well, the sad fact of the matter is that Amazon won’t carry certain formats printed by Lulu.
IngramSpark has been nice in some regards, but their cost for hardcovers of remotely similar quality to that which we offer through Lulu is astronomical.
So, if you have been collecting Cirsova in Hardcover, you can still do so, now and in the future, via Lulu.
In fact, we really hope you do, because we get the best margins of any product from what we sell via Lulu. It’s just that since Lulu is not considered a major go-to market-place, not a lot of people see us there.
Cirsova was sent a paperback review copy of Rogues of Merth by Robert Zoltan.
Rogues of Merth was an excellent read and a good bit further up my alley than my other recent contemporary read, For the Killing of Kings.
Rogues of Merth straddles the line between novel-length anthology and fix-up, collecting several standalone stories in loose chronological order and bridging them by short interlude pieces to strengthen the connection.
Rogues chronicles the adventures of Dareon, a small and boisterous would-be poet swordsman, and “Blue”, his quiet and rather introspective “savage” barbarian companion. The anthology sees them on several picaresque adventures both in their home city of Merth and abroad. The immediate comparison that springs to mind is Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser; I’m sure that there are Leiber partisans who would accuse them of being pastiche or “knock-offs”, but fans of classic pulp sword & sorcery adventures who are looking for new stories in the genre would be hard-pressed to find better reading.
For me, one of the things that really set Dareon & Blue apart from Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser is that D&B were actually likable. I’ve written before about how F&GM underwent their own grimdark reboot after the pulp era, where Leiber really made them rotten fellows. With Dareon & Blue, even though they were nominally thieves and Dareon, perhaps, a scoundrel, I never felt bad cheering them on in their quests, because they were actually pretty good people who just got into some rotten situations, often becoming agents of good and justice, righting far more wrongs than they create.
I might not go so far as to call it “Superversive”, but it’s certainly more fun and uplifting than one would expect from contemporary Sword & Sorcery revival. This one should go on your reading list, especially if you’re a fan of the classic early Fafhrd & Gray Mouser or of Cirsova, particularly our Mongoose & Meerkat series from Jim Breyfogle. There’s not a single story in this anthology that we ourselves would not have run, had we had the opportunity.
A few other things worth mentioning are Robert Zoltan’s interior illustrations, which help set the mysterious tone, and the map of the regions surrounding Merth, which promises that there are plenty more places for the duo to have their adventures before setting off to distant lands beyond the map’s edges.
You can pick up Rogues of Merth here on Amazon. The eBook is a little pricey, so I’d recommend going all-out and just getting the paperback. It’s only a few dollars more and worth it if you have the shelf-space.
Also, for those of you who enjoy audiobooks, at least two of the stories have been done up real nice and are available on youtube.