The Future Comes To Everywhere At The Same Time – From Misha Burnett

Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer is available now for pre-order via Kickstarter!

I think it was Robert Heinlein’s Starman Jones that first opened my eyes to that concept.

I was born in 1963 and I grew up reading Science Fiction. Mostly what was available in the local library had been published in the 1940s and 1950s, the so-called Golden Age when John W. Campbell was king and Asimov was his prime minister. The stories of that era assumed that New York was the future, with occasional trips to Chicago for atmosphere. The cities in space were called things like New New York and New London and (for the daring) New Tokyo.

Science fiction was about science, and science meant progress, and progress meant big cities. Skyscrapers and subways were as much a part of my early future landscape and rocketships and rayguns.

Starman Jones was different. I can remember reading it and being confused at first because it was set in the country (the Ozarks, in fact, where I lived) but was also in the future.

Could you really do that?

It was a real eye-opener for me because even at a tender age I wanted to be a Science Fiction writer, and I’d gotten the impression that if you wrote something in the future it had to be set in either New York or Los Angeles because the rest of the country somehow ceased to exist once people had strato-cars to fly over it. 

Well, here it is the year 2020 (years after some of my childhood favorites were set) and I am still living in the Midwest.

And I am writing stories set both in the future and in the country. Go figure.

What’s more my publisher for this project is also in the Ozarks, albeit on the Arkansas side, which is like the Dark Side but without the cookies.

Now, not all of the stories in this collection are set along side what was once Route 66—two take place in Southern California, separated by a few centuries, and another takes place on an alien world, for example—but a preponderance of them are set within an hour’s drive of Springfield, Missouri.

Because the future isn’t something that happens just in big cities. It’s something that will come and find you, no matter where you are. You can’t hide from the future, it knows where you live.

Even if you live out in the boonies.

Great Review of Mongoose and Meerkat

The Pulp Archivist has a great review up of both Mongoose and Meerkat and the new translation of the Slayers light novels.

Breyfogle has a knack for the exotic. Jungle ruin, tropical islands, mountainous canyons, magic-ravage battlefield–each new tale thrusts Mangos and Kat into a new setting with strange people and stranger challenges.

Breyfogle has mastered small-scope fantasy, keeping the constant string of odd jobs fresh. Where some authors lean too heavily on the sword and sorcery standby of hacking through evil cultists, Mongoose and Meerkat find themselves more as hired muscle for many mercantile schemes. This thrusts them into different intrigues than just secret societies, and it also requires a bit more thought in solving mysteries and getting paid than just swinging a sword. Yet there is action to spare, as varied as the settings: mountaintop chases on crumbling paths, swims through piranha-filled waters, and the inevitable crossing of blades. The perils are all immediate and local, but brief glimpses of wider events can be seen.

Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Vol 1: Pursuit Without Asking is available now on Amazon!

Short Reviews – Temple Trouble, by H. Beam Piper (Guest Post – John Gradoville)

Today, we have a guest review from Cirsova Contributor John Gradoville–be sure to check out his fantastic raygun romance Ascension Star in the Summer issue of Cirsova, out now! Temple Trouble, by H. Beam Piper, can be found here on

H. Beam Piper’s SF is some of the finest ever written.  He is celebrated for his “Terro-Future History” stories and the “Paratime” parallel worlds stories.  He hit his peak in the 1950s and was one of John W. Campbell’s greatest successes.  As the editor of Astounding Magazine Campbell nurtured writers like Piper who could combine the colourful descriptions and robust action of the pulps with more technologically literate stories.  Piper was one of the pioneers of Alternative History SF.   

Published in 1951, Temple Trouble is a novella set in Piper’s Paratime Universe.  Piper’s Paratime postulates that multiple universes exist alongside each other, like lanes on a highway.  One scientifically advanced Earth has found a way to travel across those universes.  This is the Paratime Secret that has to be protected from all other Earths at all costs.  The Paratime Police are charged with doing this.

In Temple Trouble, the Paratimers have setup a uranium mining operation on an Earth which is in an early medieval stage of development.  The country with the uranium is a near-eastern monarchy, bow and arrow soldiers, wooden carts hauled by mules, ferocious and jealous gods.  To cover their operation the Paratimers have setup their own god and religion.  Their temples are covers for the Paratime “conveyors” gateway machines which ferry people and materials to and from the homeworld, using Paratime radiation.

Our story opens in the temple of the Paratime God, Yat-Zar.  Once all-powerful, Yat-Zar’s worshippers have been humbled by the followers of a vengeful and sadistic crocodile god, putting the uranium mining operation at risk.  Verkan Vall, Paratime Police troubleshooter, arrives, travelling across timelines from Homeworld. 

Vall is one of Piper’s favourite characters and appears in many of the Paratime stories.  He is hereditary nobility, deputy head of Paratime Police, a crack shot.  His weakness is that he cannot keep away from field operations, has a thirst for action.   I always like it when Vall appears in a story because he never met a technologically advanced weapon he didn’t like, or like using.

Temple Trouble then segues into a three-handed dialogue between the Homeworld uranium mining executive, Verkan Vall and the “High Priest” of Yat-Zar, who is of course a Paratime operative.   This conversation does two things.  We learn how this culture is organised and how Paratime operate.  There is a lot the reader needs to know and the dialogue is a painless way to impart the information.  Secondly it serves as the engine of the story.  As each member of the trio reveal more of what they know, the scale of the problem becomes worse and worse.  By the time the conversation is finished, we realise that something more than inter-priesthood rivalry is afoot.   That the entire operation is deep in the manure and that the lives of many of the Paratimers are at risk.

Knowing this, we are tipped into the second act of the story, how the hell can this mess be resolved.  It’s the tone that makes this story so good to read. It’s obvious from the start the Paratimers are itching to go in guns blazing.  Piper makes very imaginative use of the advanced technologies he has given his characters, especially the cross-time gateways.  Not to mention blasters of all kinds.  The Paratimers, morally confident, courageous and competent in the use of super-science, take on a deadly challenge.  Temple Trouble is pure classic pulp.  Its characters have a moral certainty and a predatory attitude towards their enemies that are no longer in vogue.  But those attributes makes for a fast-moving pulp SF adventure.  Old-school and a great read.

Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer Live for Pre-Order!

Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer is live for pre-order on Kickstarter!

This fantastic collection contains 12 of Misha’s best weird science fiction tales, ranging from thrillers and adventures to mysteries and horrors.

Endless Summer has it all!

Review: The Long Moonlight, by RazorFist [spoiler-free]

I recently had the privilege of receiving an arc copy of RazorFist’s new story, The Long Moonlight from Castalia House.

It was a fantastic read, and the whole time, it had me thinking, if they ever try to resurrect Thief IP again for a 3rd time, Razor would be a great choice to head the story direction.

The story follows the rising and falling fortunes of Xerdes, a thief who finds himself in the employ of one of the city’s top crime lords. There are plenty of swashbuckling fights, daring capers, and deadly betrayals along the way, for a pretty edge-of-your seat read.

Razor is prone to get a bit florid and certainly has some room to grow, but The Long Moonlight is an incredibly promising first outing that bursts at the seams with his love for sword and sorcery and, yes, noir.

The story bills itself as a pulp noir crime thriller set in a low fantasy setting. There’s definitely more noir, I think, than pulp, and the pulp is more 60s and 70s pulp revival than classic pulp, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a dark and vicious tale, bloody and unpredictable to the very end.

I would absolutely recommend that anyone who is a fan of Fritz Leiber, Thief: The Dark Project, or of our own magazine check out Razor’s new story. I, for one, can hardly wait to read his next one.

Reminder: Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer — Coming Soon!

With Mongoose and Meerkat Vol 1. and the Cirsova Summer Issue Out, we’re gearing up for our next big project, Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer!

Sign up for notification for when the Kickstarter will go live.

This fantastic anthology of weird science fiction showcases 12 stories from one of Cirsova’s top authors.

The Bullet From Tomorrow – In an all-or-nothing bid to change the future, what would your savior look like?

Milk, Bread, & Eggs – What if Earth was just one pit-stop on an interstellar journey?

These Were the Things That Bounded Me –What lengths will people go to survive when disasters strike?

The Isle of Forbidden Dances – What if you thought you found love on a party resort where you were under constant surveillance?

In the Driving Lane – Where do you go when your self-driving car won’t drive you home?

Heartbeat City Homicide – What is crime like in an energy plant bigger than of Manhattan, with levels going deeper than its tallest buildings are high?

My Foe Outstretched – Would you fight your arch-enemy to the death in a sealed-off section of subway tunnel?

Serpent’s Walk – What if a wild, mutant landscape took over the I-44 corridor and you were stranded in it?

The Happiest Place on Earth – What do the characters at an amusement park do when mankind goes extinct?

mDNA – What if those responsible for propagating the human species could never meet?

Endless Summer – When the curtain is drawn back on an idyllic utopia, can you ever go home?

The First Man in the World – If you had thousands of years, what kind of world would you build for humanity?

Fantastic Review of the Cirsova Summer Issue from Tangent Online

There is a new review up for the Cirsova Summer issue on Tangent Online. It can be read here.

One of the real highlights of the review:

This reviewer’s first thought was that this story was a reprint from a pre-WW2 pulp SF magazine. But no, it is original. However, the writing is deliberately in the characteristic breathless action style of those early magazines. Hugo Gernsbeck would have recognised and approved every plot element in “Battle Beyond the Continuum” and immediately bought it for any pre-war edition of Amazing Stories.

This may be the best thing anyone has ever said about one of our stories.

The Summer Issue is out tomorrow!