Deep Discount Right Now on Mongoose and Meerkat + Mongoose and Meerkat Audiobook Coming Soon!

Amazon is currently liquidating it’s remaining stock of Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume I: Pursuit Without Asking.

Right now, it’s going for as low as $5.75!

We’ve also been spending the last couple of months working with Erin Michele Gabbard to bring these exciting adventures to life in an all-new audiobook edition of Pursuit Without Asking. She has done an excellent job on these stories and we can’t wait to share it with everyone!

Don’t forget, the next installment of the adventures of Mongoose and Meerkat, The Grain Merchant of Alomar, is appearing in the Spring issue out in three weeks!

We’ll have some more exciting Jim Breyfogle news soon! We’ve just signed Jim for another book deal, and we plan on having something out later this summer or early fall! Stay tuned!

Wild Stars Science Fiction Becoming Science Fact

Back in the 2002 Force Majeure: Prairie Bay comic, Michael Tierney populated a spaceship with scientists who all had lower limb disabilities. It seemed like a logical opportunity to him, given that the muscle atrophy problems associated with spaceflight would not affect them. 

Now, nearly 20 years later, the European Space Agency seems to have agreed, and is trying to do the same thing.

Be sure to check out the all new Wild Stars adventure, The Artomique Paradigm, which will be out next month in our Spring Issue!

Genzoman Cover B

Short Reviews – The Golden Fleece: A Romance, by Julian Hawthorne

The Golden Fleece: A Romance, by Julian Hawthorne, was originally published in the May 1892 issue of Lippincott’s Magazine. It can be read here.

When you go into a book with a title like “The Golden Fleece,” you don’t expect a modern adventure in the American Southwest [California, particularly], but here we are!

The titular Golden Fleece, in this case, is a mysterious wool garment with strange symbols woven into it. Is it under an enchantment? Is it a map to lost Mesoamerica treasure? Who knows! It has been passed down matrilineally and ended up in the hands of the mixed-race daughter of a general who fought in the Mexican American war.

The setting and much of the background are revealed through an airy and whimsical dialog between an old professor and his friend, an old general who fought in the war with Mexico. After the war, the general settled down with a beautiful Mesoamerind woman and now has an alluring daughter who is her spitting image. The daughter has an old Indian servant who had been something of a oathman to her mother, but more on that in a minute… The general and the professor discuss the possibility of treasure in the California desert–the greatest treasure would be fresh water that would make the land arable and instantly much much more valuable to investors who had purchased it cheaply. On his way to possibly assist in the endeavor is a young civil engineer who was once a student of the professor.

The old Indian manservant is actually a witch priest in service to the last princess of an Aztec city; he’s been kept immortal by the gods so the treasures of the city could be restored to the rightful owner. He’s able to bring the spirit of the dead princess into the host body of the general’s daughter. Both the princess and the girl she’s possessing fall in love with the young civil engineer, creating an awkward love triangle. The princess is determined to get the treasure back so she can shower the young man with wealth. The old Indian becomes reluctant to assist because he feels bad for the girl and it would be a disaster if the spirit of the princess killed her.

The Golden Fleece turns out to be some sort of protective garb [whether magical or mechanical is never explicitly stated] that allows the wearer to enter the lost pyramid [revealed by seismic activity] and retrieve the chest with the hidden treasure without being harmed by the poison gasses in the treasure room. Removal of the treasure chest also unstops the spring which will flood the valley with fresh water.

There’s a hackneyed sub-plot where the engineer initially meets and falls for a shop-girl who’s coming out west from New York. The engineer instantly falls for the beautiful Mestiza girl, and cultivates a rivalry with a local Mexican aristocrat in an attempt to distract the shop-girl and fix their attentions on one another. The protagonist is kind of a dick, and you feel for the poor Mexican sod who he corners into potentially dueling to the death [as the professor says, it would have been an execution had he gone through with it], but the Mexican guy does end up with the shop-girl and they live happily ever after–even after he finds out she was a lowly shop-girl, his fascination with modern American capitalism leads him to placing her in even higher esteem when he finds out.

Now, I say that it’s hackneyed, and it kind of is, but Hawthorne’s breezy writing style brings enough wit and humor to it that it’s still enjoyable. In fact, that can be said for the whole book in some regards. While it’s not particularly innovative [it’s a very typical lost city/lost treasure story] and the characters are VERY flat, there’s something about the flow of Hawthorne’s prose that still makes it a delight to read. There’s a bit of musicality to it, and some clever humor, though, unlike many authors who write clever, he never seems too enamored with his own cleverness. There is also a stab at making a statement on mixing of ethnicities, royal and common blood, and how America has made such a thing uniquely possible, with the unions of the A & B couples of the story symbolizing the triumph of the time and ideas, but it doesn’t really beat you in the face with it and may be easily overlooked.

It’s worth checking out, to say the least. I managed to read the whole thing in one sitting Saturday night.

Will definitely be looking at more of Julian Hawthorne’s writing in the near future. The man was apparently incredibly prolific, and he even wrote some early science fiction, though virtually none of it is presently available.

Kicked off KDP Select

We’ve been kicked off KDP Select. We accidentally had a few titles being distributed in eBook via IngramSpark that we’d forgotten about when we recently enrolled all of our titles into the KDP select program.

While we issued a takedown from our end, the retail sites that list the ebooks still had them up for order, so we’ve been banned from KDP select.

At this point, though, I say fuck ’em. KDP has refused for weeks to link our most recent eBook to our print editions, and we’re going to begin a drawdown from KDP entirely over the coming year.

This may mean that older Cirsova titles will go out of print while we get them set up through Ingram Spark.

Anyway, please support us by pre-ordering the new issue through our Aerio store!

If you backed our failed Kickstarter, you’ve been given direct access links for the hardcovers, which we are offering to backers at a deep discount, so check that out, too.

Amazon KDP Support’s Solution: “Ask Your Authors to Request the Titles Be Linked”

For days, now, I’ve been trying to get Amazon KDP to link the ebook version to the print versions of the Spring issue. Now, keep in mind, this has NEVER been a problem for us. It has always been: “Hey [ASIN#] needs to be linked to [ISBN#],” and in less than 24 hours, the titles are linked on the nice little “See All Formats and Editions” dropdown.

Not this time, however.

Amazon KDP has been claiming now that they can’t link these titles.

This suggestion? Go ask your authors to request the titles be linked.

What the Heck is Going on with Future State and Batman?

One of the rules of modern post-Crisis DC has been Batman never reboots. Never fully. They will do soft reboots, slide the timeline around a bit, but generally tend to avoid doing a hard reboot on Batman. And Future State has been no different, though, they’ve gone about it rather strangely…

Death Metal most recently hit the reset button on the DC universe, but it ran at the same time as an incredibly successful Bat Family event that repositioned the direction of the myriad Bat-books going forward out of Joker War.

Future State is either the remnants of an aborted project known as G5 or a spinoff event from Death Metal [with everything being framed as part of the infinite possible futures following the latest reset of the multiverse] depending on who you ask.

For Batman, it’s a weird postlude to Joker War. Like I said, Batman’s not allowed to be fully rebooted, so all of the Future State Bat-books are following a storyline of the aftermath of Joker War, taking place roughly two years later.

Asian cop who lost his eye in Joker War won his mayoral election right before Future State launched, and his anti-mask platform has turned Gotham into a police state, where all the criminals and capes are being hunted and locked up.

Bruce Wayne/Batman has been killed, but he hasn’t, Lucius Fox’s son is filling in as Batman, the rest of the Bat family is around struggling and not doing so hot, Batman is in hiding, or he’s in a prison, or he’s on a train. I’m not entirely sure. There’s a clear chronology to the Batman Future State books, but they’re being published out of order so that it can all run concurrently over the course of two months.

The problem: Future State did a two year time skip, but the Future State Bat-books all tell parts of a single story that spun out of Joker War… Where will the mainline books pick up in March? Things were ending just before Punchine’s trial, and Tec was set up to build into the story that would become the Future State Magistrate story. Will the Future State Batman storyline just be the new normal going forward; will Batman go back to a pocket continuity [like Tom King’s run before he killed Alfred] while it wraps things up that happed during the two years before Dark Detective and Next Batman? Will things rewind to Punchline’s trial and the Mirror gang and Future State doesn’t happen? Who knows.

Anyway, one of the main things I’ve noticed about Future State bat books [other than the homogenous neon mud coloring] is that it seems like a pendulum swing–someone was like “oh, crap, we have to run an ACAB storyline, because Joker War ended up being anti-BLM!” I do wonder what happened to Clown Hunter, whether there’s a story reason for him not being in Future State or if Tynion just said “no.”

Pre-Order Metadata Woes and “New” KDP Policy

Really, this is all just aggravation–the print and ebook versions of the new issue are all up on Amazon:

KDP is claiming that they have changed their policy on linking titles. It took two support reps and two supervisors before someone actually said this is why, for the first time in three years, they won’t link our books. Because the print versions are provided by Ingram Content and not a KDP account “for security reasons,” they are unable to create a single linked page, despite the books having identical titles, descriptions, and publisher. Amazon’s automatic metadata linking is problematic because Ingram Content does not provide as much metadata as KDP allows [Ingram only allows 3 contributors while Amazon allows 10–being a magazine, this is more of a problem for us than if we were publishing single-author titles].

The real irony, though, is that while KDP claims that they cannot link identical titles and titles with variant covers to a single page, despite these all having the same title, description, and publisher, our Illustrated Edition of Black Amazon of Mars (paperback here) is virtually impossible to find because it’s dumped on a page with a hundred other editions with different metadata and descriptions. It’s ridiculous hypocrisy.

I’m just so exhausted….

Anyway, if you want to completely bypass Amazon and support us by buying our titles more-or-less directly, you can do so from our Aer store.