Two New Reviews! Tangent on Cirsova #5 [Out Today!] and Castalia House on Endless Summer [Out Now!]

The Winter Issue is out today!

Tara Grimravn has an absolutely glowing review of the latest issue posted on Tangent Online.

Cirsova is back in time for the holidays with Issue #5, bringing with it a collection of ten great stories. If war criminals, espionage, and alien threats with a little bit of sword and sorcery thrown in sound like something up your alley, I recommend taking a look!

Also, Nathan Housley digs deep into Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer at Castalia House.

Ten years ago, it was popular for a certain segment of Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom to wax eloquently about Kipling’s “Sons of Martha”, in whose care “that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.” And while some came close to the idea Kipling expressed, they approached it from the point of view of supervisors and managers. The actual fabricators and maintenance personnel remained invisible.

Until now. Until Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer, a collection of 12 science fiction tales and nightmares dealing with the efforts, often thankless, needed for humanity to live and thrive, whether in the current day or some far-flung future. Sprinkled throughout are nightmare where those efforts are no longer to hold back that other peril, “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”. And behind it all is love, in all of its twisted yet still hopeful forms.

If there is one word that sums up Misha’s writing, it might just be Selah. Meditate on these things. Extremely contemplative, extremely blue collar in a way the Expanse guys wish they were. Never just a popcorn story. Misha is a rarity in the current time, a science fiction writer who lustily embraces the New Wave instead of avoiding it. And he brings that dream-like fascination with humanity in all its varied and occasionally malignant forms to his stories.

Merry Christmas!

We hope everyone has had a good Christmas!

We received a number of great presents and well-wishes from everyone this season, including this lovely gift art from StarTwo.

merry_xmas_cirsova.jpg

For those who don’t know, StarTwo illustrated our 70th Anniversary Leigh Brackett’s Stark. They’re currently working on a comic project for friend-of-the-magazine, James Streissand, and we can’t wait to see it come to fruition!

We also got a wonderful Christmas gift from Team Shanghai Alice, getting permission to include some original Touhou art on our upcoming 5th Anniversary Issue.

The Winter Issue comes out tomorrow! I hope you saved some Christmas gift money to pick up a copy!

Cirsova 2021 Line-up

Looks like I’ve finally got the 2021 line-up set! [also the contributor page has been updated to reflect 2020].

Issue #6 is pretty much in the can, and Issue 7 is in Mark’s hands for review.

Beginning with issue 6, Cirsova will finally have illustrations! DarkFilly is providing illustrations for The Artomique Paradigm and The Grain Merchant of Alomar. Robert Zoltan has a piece in his own story. We’ve also got more art coolness that I’m honestly too exhausted to go into right now… I’ll go into it later.

For now… check out the line-up for next year! [and please please please pick up copies of Pursuit Without Asking, the Winter Issue, and Endless Summer so that I can afford all of this…]

  • Issue #6 Spring, 2021
    • Novel
      • The Artomique Paradigm (Part 1 of 3), by Michael Tierney
    • Novelette
      • The Book of Dark Sighs, by Robert Zoltan
    • Short Stories
      • The Grain Merchant of Alomar [Mongoose and Meerkat #8], by Jim Breyfogle
      • Devil’s Deal, by Michael Wiesenberg
    • Poetry
      • My Name is John Carter (Part 9), by James Hutchings
    • Comic
      • Badaxe #1, The Call, by Paul O’Connor et al
  • Issue #7, Summer 2021
    • Novel
      • The Artomique Paradigm (Part 2 of 3), by Michael Tierney
    • Novelette
      • Lupus One, by Caroline Furlong
    • Short Stories
      • His Amber Eyes, His Pointed Smile, by Tais Teng
      • Sky Machine, by J. Comer
      • The King’s Game [Mongoose and Meerkat #9], by Jim Breyfogle
    • Comic
      • Badaxe #2, Godwalking, by Paul O’Connor et al
  • Issue #8, Fall 2021
    • Novel
      • The Aromique Paradigm (Part 3 of 3), by Michael Tierney
    • Novelette
      • The Black Skull, by Rev. Joe Kelly
    • Short Stories
      • Too Many Mangos [Mongoose and Meerkat #10], by Jim Breyfogle
      • We Have Always Been Beasts, by S.H. Mansouri
      • Dead Neighbor, by David Skinner
      • The Light of Reason, by Teel James Glenn
      • Locker No. 249, by James Lam
      • Remorsels, by Louise Sorensen
    • Comic
      • Badaxe #3, Birthright, by Paul O’Connor et al
  • Issue #9, Winter 2021
    • Novelettes
      • For We Are Many, by Paul Lucas
      • She Saw it Creeping Up the Stairs, by Mark Pellegrini
      • To the Sound of a Silent Harp, by William Huggins
    • Short Stories
      • The Wreck of the Cassada [Mongoose and Meerkat #11], by Jim Breyfogle
      • Wychryst Tower, by Matthew Pungitore
      • Fail Early, Fail Well, by W.L. Emery
      • Thorwnynn Stapledon and “The Mellifluous Phoenix,” by Su-Ra-U
      • Harmonious Unity Burns, by Jed Del Rosario
      • Stealing the Alchemist’s Stone, by Richard Rubin
      • Queen of the House, by J. Manfred Weichsel
    • Poetry
      • My Name is John Carter (Part 10), by James Hutchings

Quick Post-mortem on Shuriken Cold Steel

When I got a bunch of issues of Caravan Kidd to fill in the gaps in my collection, I also picked up the last three issues of Shuriken: Cold Steel to complete my set.

I’ve talked at length about the different Shuriken series, and Cold Steel was easily the worst, but I wanted to see if it turned around before the end [because the series after Cold Steel by the same writer WAS good].

Well, it didn’t.

Start to finish, Kyoko is kind of a cold, self-centered bitch, drastically unlike her characterization in the original Byers runs. The art from Christopher Taylor never gets better and maintains a serviceable-but-generic B&W Indie aesthetic that doesn’t jibe with the IP. Cold Steel also feels like S.A. Bennett trying to back-door his own superhero team book through the then-popular Shuriken. And his superhero team isn’t terrible, but it’s not what I would’ve picked up a Shuriken book for.

Cold Steel didn’t publish many letters in its short run, and the few they did more or less like the new title, but at least one person who had previously been a fan unloaded on the shoddy writing.

Cold Steel is the one Shuriken book that’s just plain bad. Bland and no charm at all, which is a shame. I really wondered what happened between Cold Steel and Shuriken Vol. 2–whether it was an editor stepping in, Bennett taking the character more seriously and trying to understand her, or maybe he got into some weeb stuff and figured out how to write a Shuriken story, he goes from having written one of the worst Shuriken books to what may be one of the best Shuriken books.

Anyway, that’s it. That’s all I have. If Cold Steel was the first Shuriken book I’d read, I probably wouldn’t have read any others. As it is, it gives me something to gripe about in context of some more enjoyable titles.

This cover is about the only good thing to come from Cold Steel

Now all I have to do is find the Hellbender one-off…

Some New Art – Kamen Ramen and Yoshika Miyako

In between working on a freelance project over the weekend, did some painting.

First here is Kamen Ramen from Tim Lim and Mark Pellegrini’s Kamen America 2. If you missed the crowdfund, it will still probably be available soon from Iconic Comics.

Next is Yoshika Miyako, the Jiangshi, from Touhou Ten Desires. The scan kinda cut her hands off, but you get the idea.

Anyway, we’re in the final countdown to our Winter issue, the last of 2020.

Please be sure to pre-order it! It’s available in print through Amazon now.

Also, don’t forget to grab Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer or drop a review if you’ve had a chance to read it!

It’s That Time of Year, Again… The Awards Eligibility by Category Post

It’s that time of the year when everyone posts the things they’ve written and/or published for consideration for the myriad fiction awards for which the nominating process will soon begin.

Novel

Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 1: Pursuit Without Asking, by Jim Breyfogle*

Novelette

Short Story

Poetry

Related

Art

Cirsova Publishing has worked with the following artists in 2020:

Anton Oxenuk [Spring, Fall Special, Winter, Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat]

Robert Zoltan [Summer Special]

Timothy Lim [Summer 2020]

Dark Filly [Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat(interiors)]

Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense is a Semi-Professional publication, paying a rate of .0125 per word on acceptance.

I’m technically a fan artist, too…

*:Collects originally published stories in novel-length format

**:Forthcoming, to be released on December 29th.

Cirsova Winter Issue Available for Pre-Order!

The Winter Issue is finally available for pre-order!

Hardcovers are available now!

Also, New Merch is available!

Story descriptions below the cover image.

Tiger, Tiger
By TEEL JAMES GLENN

Rumors of a charismatic occultist haunting a cabaret in Berlin has reached British intelligence! But is Major Smythe prepared for the powers of this prophet of Vril?!

Making Good
By JEFF STONER

A top-secret government facility has gone into lockdown! The suits have arrived, as has the mysterious Doctor Paasche, but what will it really take to stop the threat?!

Pulsa
By EDWARD M. ERDELAC

Otto Hueber, a widower living in Argentina with his son, believes he’s escaped justice for his war crimes…until a plague of blood coincides with a mysterious brand!

White Casket
By VILLE MERILÄINEN

Vilja has been cursed by a powerful forest spirit-in return for her own life, she must care for orphaned children to raise as her own until he calls for them!

The Murmurous Dead
By ERIC DEL CARLO

Corth has made his first kill as a professional assassin! Before his next job, he must first sit and speak with the Wise Man…but what does his cryptic advice mean?!

Hunt of the Mine Worm
By JIM BREYFOGLE

A silvecite mine has been attacked by a giant worm! Kat and Mangos are among a band of mercenaries hired to deal with the threat, but who will claim the kill?!

The Cunning of Artocris
By JEFFERY SCOTT SIMS

It is not enough for Artocris to be the greatest in all the land-he must surpass his mentor, the powerful Imhotep! But to what diabolical lengths is he willing to go?!

The Cat, the Hand, and the Plight of the Sacred Bull
By CHRISTINE LUCAS

The High Priest of Anubis has a bad case of the cramps-and finds himself haunted by myriad livestock… All while his cat insists on dragging home various body parts!

A Touch of the Lokiean
By REV. JOE KELLY

Arnbjörg has been sentenced to die for killing a rival without honor! Can Oddr and his apprentice defeat the vengeful spirit when his victim returns as a draugr!?

Out Here
By S.H. MANSOURI

A young girl has been taken from her homelands and forced to live as a prisoner in the frozen wilds-only one companion offers her comfort in her savage captivity!

Who Are the Best DC Superheroines?

Was playing Mortal Kombat vs. DC with GF last night and we got to talking about Wonder Woman.

Now, I don’t hate Wonder Woman, but let’s face it–she’s kind of a garbage-tier hero that everyone pretends is A-list for ReasonsTM.

She’s not that interesting, outside of Greek Gods, her only memorable villains are the furry cat girl and the Chinese egg. A lot of her clout comes from being part of the DC Trinity: stick anyone with Batman and Superman, and they’ll feel important. But on her own? Wondy is kind of eh… That’s me, though. Other than War of the Gods, I can’t think of any meaningful Wondy events. [No, Death Metal is not a Wonder Woman event, no matter how much the writers insist otherwise.]

My girlfriend also thinks she’s kind of cringe and rolls her eyes at the “she’s so empowering!” reasoning most folks will give for liking Wondy. She’s not really into cape comics that much, and was wondering “aren’t there better ‘female role model’ characters in comics than Wonder Woman?”

I thought about it a bit, and while the answer is “Yes”, I realized a lot of them are overshadowed by Batman, because a lot of the best ones I’m familiar with are from Bat-books, and she hadn’t heard of most of them:

  • Katana [this is the only one she knows, because I actually collect Katana merch–I don’t have a lot, because there’s not much merch for her]
  • Spoiler
  • Orphan/Black Bat
  • Huntress
  • Oracle
  • Zatanna [I know, she’s not really ‘from’ Bat-books, but that’s mostly where I’ve seen her]
  • Montoya [okay, I don’t actually like her in the comics that much]
  • Bat-Woman [not exactly a ‘role model,’ but Kate Kane, at least in the books I’ve read, is a fascinating and tragic character, moreso maybe than Batman, because her problems are mostly her own creation yet she proceeds under this Calvinist shadow of doom]

So, what have you got? Who are your favorite DC ‘Best Girls’ who you like for reasons other than ‘teh sexy’?

We would especially like to hear from some of the women in the audience–who are your favorite women in DC comics?

Or can you convince us that Wonder Woman has better bona fides than just being a character with roots in the Golden Age and being the Silver Age Justice League’s Smurfette?

Happy Birthday to Leigh Brackett!

It’s Leigh Brackett the Queen of Science Fiction’s 105th Birthday today!

Don’t let this day go uncelebrated.

Watch one of her many movies [Hatari! is a personal favorite], or read one of her many excellent short stories or books.

Our own editions of the Illustrated Stark are currently on significant discount at Amazon, particularly Queen of the Martian Catacombs and Black Amazon of Mars, which are currently under $6.

Additionally, the hardcover omnibus with all of the bonus content is currently more than 50% off!

So treat yourself for the Queen’s Birthday, or pick up some stocking stuffers for the young [or old] Star Wars fan who has everything.