Quick Update on Some News & Things

Lot of stuff going on, and we’ve had so little time to talk about it!

First up, I was recently on a podcast with Mr. E and a couple other folks talking about comics & stuff. Lots of fun. You can listen to it here; mid-way through, though, I was dealing some stuff that came up in meatspace, so I only managed to get in two “controversial opinions”.

This Friday, we’ve got two huge things going on:

Black Amazon of Mars drops, and we’ll be launching our IndieGoGo for Wild Stars.

This saturday, if everything goes according to plan, we’ll be on with Daddy Warpig & Dorrinal for the newest episode of Geek Gab.

Then, on the 6th, we’ll be live on location with Michael Tierney and Shane Stacks for the Shane Plays radio show on 101.1 FM The Answer.

We’ll have more news on that as we’re able to push it live.

On the side, been playing a lot of Ogre with my dad; I got him the Designer Edition for his birthday, and we’ve been getting a lot of use out of it [my dad’s already having us use more boards than scenarios call for and doubling the piece counts and such].

Also, I’ve been playing Sunrider: Mask of Arcadius on the recommendation of a friend. And good lord, that game is brutal for a mech pilot waifus in space tactical VN hybrid. In some ways, it reminds me of Power DOLLS. PD is a better wargame despite all of its issues and clunkiness, and frankly I like its overall aesthetic better, but the cheesy space opera story of Sunrider’s VN is fun [even if the waifus are trash] and does a good enough job of breaking up the incredibly difficult battles. [I’ll note that the difficulty curve between Captain [default 4/6] and Ensign [3/6] is astronomical–what took me days to get to on Captain only took a few hours to replay on Ensign when I restarted; but once I got back to where I’d stalled out on Captain, it’s been slower going even on the lower difficulty].

If I get time, I’ll do a more thorough review of it, with a ranking list of best girls and best mechs.


Retro Fandom Friday (On a Monday): Fans Have Always Fought

[originally posted here at Castalia House]

Again it’s time to look at the letters to the editor sections of SF mags from the days of yore in search of juicy tidbits and glimpses of what was relevant and interesting to fans at the time.  I’ll give you a hint: it starts with D and rhymes with ‘aims’.

While some fans have complained about the pulps resorting to cheap tricks like scantily clad ladies, there are plenty who will rise to their defense.

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June 28th: Wild Stars IndieGoGo Launches!

We recently mentioned that Cirsova Publishing will be putting out a new edition of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars plus an all-new Wild Stars novel, Wild Star Rising.

Well, here is exactly what you’ll have to look forward to:

  • Wild Stars: Book of Circles ($35)
  • Wild Stars II: Force Majeure ($25)
  • Wild Stars III: Time Warmageddon – Revised Edition ($20)
  • Wild Stars IV: Wild Star Rising ($20)
  • Complete Set ($90 – Save $10)
  • Wild Stars Hardcover Omnibus [over 700 pages!] ($100)
  • Original Wild Stars Comics [while supplies last]
    • Erlik ($10)
    • First Marker ($10)
    • Book of Circles 1-7 ($20)
  • First Printing copies of Wild Stars III [while supplies last]
    • Regular Cover ($20)
    • Variant Cover ($20)
    • Hardcover ($40)
  • Limited numbered art prints ($10)

Plus, we’ll be giving free posters and stickers to all backers while supplies last!

For more on the Wild Stars, visit Michael Tierney’s websites www.thewildstars.com.

To receive an email reminder of when the IndieGoGo goes live, subscribe to our mailing list!

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Interview: Joe Stech – Compelling Science Fiction

[originally posted here at Castalia House]

Last week, I came across something interesting in my WordPress Reader feed – Someone was starting a brand new pro-level science fiction magazine, Compelling Science Fiction, and was looking for submissions for their first issue.  As someone who was just tipping his toe into the SFF magazine market, I was more than a little intrigued, not to mention impressed, that someone was saying “I want to support a particular type of Science Fiction and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is to do so.”

The introduction of any new paying market is bound to make a stir in the writing community, but a new pro-level market is a huge deal.  I wanted to find out more!

So joining us today is Joe Stech, founder and editor-in-chief of Compelling Science Fiction, to talk to us about his project.

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Review: The Night and the Land by Matt Spencer

The Night and the LandA while back, I was sent a copy of Matt Spencer’s The Night and the Land, the first book of the Deschembine Trilogy. While it was a very entertaining book, I find even now that it is difficult to write about because of how different it is. And trust me, that’s a good thing.

The Night and the Land is not an easy work to pin down; it upends a lot of the tropes that would make it fit neatly in this or that category.

On the face of it, The Night and the Land is a story about a young man with a supernatural birthright coming into his powers, meeting and falling in love with a runaway girl from another supernatural clan at odds with his and whose parents and siblings are trying to bring her back into the fold.

The “coming of age” plot has certain hallmarks of the YA trend, but the book itself is a savage and brutal affair, even in its romance, that might appeal much more to male readers than modern YA’s target market demographic of women 18-35. It is Not Safe For Cool Wine Aunts.

The Night and the Land is “Urban Fantasy”, but the “Urban” is very small-town and New England Gothic. The setting is intimate and picturesque, and the town of Brattleboro, Vermont is as much a character as anyone else in the story.

What could easily have been framed as a simple “Vampires and Werewolves don’t mix” type story is actually rife with mysteries and depth of setting that prevents readers from settling into assumptions and cozy stereotypes of the archetypical modern urban fantasy. [The monsters are certainly not vampires and not exactly werewolves; which makes them that much more uncanny].

One of the most fascinating things about Spencer’s tale is that while the characters, both the “heroes” and the “villains”, are almost unforgivably vicious, and sometimes even cruel and murderous, I found myself deeply empathizing with them—even torn at the end as the story built towards its final showdown, hoping for a “draw” that would give everyone a chance down the road for redemption and reconciliation.

Any recommendation I might make for this can’t be given without some reservations: it’s not for the faint of heart—some folks may find the strong language and visceral imagery off-putting. And the violence is EXTREME [like Fist of the North Star meets Uzumaki extreme]. But The Night and the Land was absolutely one of the most enthralling books I’ve read this year.

More Thomas Burnett Swann – Day of the Minotaur

day of the minotaur

Clockwise from Center: Eunostos the Minotaur, some random Panisci, probably Amber the Bee Queen, Thea the half-beast Cretan princess, a blue monkey, and either Chiron or Moschus.

I recently snatched up a stray Swann paperback at the library’s overstock outlet store / art cafe and got around to reading it this week.

I’ve ranted at length about how much I enjoy Swann, particularly Cry Silver Bells, another of his minotaur stories.

Day of the Minotaur is another cozy fantasy romance set on Crete; the island faces Achaean invasion, leading to the half-beast children of the king being forced into exile in the wilds of the island’s interior. All of Swann’s hallmarks are there, though some of the characters come across as a little thin [Cry Silver Bells, a prequel to Day of the Minotaur, fleshes out characters like Zoe and Moschus more, so reading this after having read CSB everyone came off a little strange].

But we’re given our share of monster boys and monster girls, touching romance and bromance, and the tragedy of the ever-retreating magic from the world.

One thing I’ve noticed about a lot Swann’s books is that Ace’s packaging for them are, well, odd and sometimes promise things that aren’t exactly there or might disappoint someone unfamiliar with the sort of stories Swann actually writes.

The tagline “They fought at Time’s dawn for the world of today”? I… I don’t even know what that means, but it takes very loosey-goosey interpretation to arrive at anything close to that from the story therein.

Another thing is the forced Tolkien comparison on the back of the book.

It’s interesting that for how hard Ace pushed Swann as “like Tolkien”, not only are his books very un-Tolkienian in most known senses, but he apparently had not read much Tolkien. In fact, in the one interview published, Swann claims to have only ever read The Hobbit.

Where they are similar, however, is the whimsical portrayal of the pastoral; Tolkien’s Shire and Swann’s pagan realms of fae share a magic that is made more precious by their inevitable decline and disappearance in the face of modernity.

Of course, no one thinks of that as being “Tolkienian” these days. Tolkienian means big sprawling worlds, huge battles, wars against darklords, etc. None of which you’ll find in Swann–a common complaint against him–as he wrote cozy pastoral romances

With the everpresent question of “just how influential was Tolkien really” on fantasy, it’s worth noting that it was being referred to as Tolkienian (or rather ‘like Tolkien/in the vein of Tolkien’) at a time before what was understood to be “Tolkienian” had taken shape. Even before “Tolkienian” fantasy took hold, Tolkien was becoming a marketing buzz-word in the 60s paperback world. Similarly Zebra slapped Tolkien’s name on Adrian Cole’s Sword & Planet stories in the early 70s. While Tolkien’s writing influence may not have been all over SFF in the 60s and early 70s, his name had huge market weight in the wake of the illicit LOTR paperbacks.

The fantasy of Swann is more like that of Dunsany, though this is incidental in that they were both drawing from a common mythical well (Swann’s writing and narrative styles are not particularly Dunsanian, though the theme of magic’s retreat is found in much of both writers’ works).

Finally, I’ll add that for those of our friends who have expressed that while they like stuff like Monster Musume in theory, they’re not actually into lewd stuff and bad oppai jokes: y’all need to be reading Swann. He’s got you covered in the monster girl department. Harpies, Sphinxes, Dryads, Tritons, goat-girls, bear-girls, bee-girls, dolphin-girls….

Also, knowing that A.A. Milne is one of Swann’s favorite authors and influences makes the snacky bear-girl in this that much more pureTM.


Wild Stars Coming Soon!

We’ve been working very closely the last two months with Michael Tierney on a very special project: a 35th Anniversary Edition of his Wild Stars epic!

The scope of this project is unlike anything Cirsova Publishing has ever done before.

  • Wild Stars IV: Wild Star Rising – We will be releasing an all-new Wild Stars novel that is both prequel and sequel to the earlier Wild Stars saga, telling the story of the final space exodus from Earth 75,000 years ago and the Ancient Warrior’s gambit to finally free Phaedra from her prison at the heart of a supermassive black hole. This volume will also contain the first ever extensive bio-glossary of the Wild Stars universe: a must have for old fans and new!
  • Wild Stars III: Time Warmageddon – We will be reprinting the formerly Kickstarter-exclusive short novel, Time Warmageddon, with corrected text and a new epilogue. Plus this will collect two previous published stories, Shark Fighter and The Grass Maiden [originally Bears of 1812], and an all-new never-before published Wild Stars short story, The Grimgrip.
  • Wild Stars II: Force Majeure – We will be reprinting a new edition of Force Majeure, the hybrid comic/novel that expanded the story of Prairie Bay and continues the time-travel adventures of Erlik, Daestar, Akara, and Mack.
  • Wild Stars I: Book of Circles – We will be reprinting a new edition of Book of Circles, the original Wild Stars graphic novel collecting Erlik (1984), First Marker (1988) and the 2001-2002 run of Wild Stars.
  • Wild Stars Omnibus – We will be collecting all 4 volumes of Wild Stars in a single massive hardcover volume!

The individual volumes will feature new virgin covers by art legend Mark Wheatley, and the omnibus will feature a wrap-around dust-jacket by Cirsova’s own fabulous cover artist, Anton Oxenuk.

We’ll have more info on the goodies we’ll be offering soon, but we will be using IndieGoGo to take domestic pre-order beginning June 28th for a release in October.

Important notice to our non-US fans and supporters

Cirsova Publishing has MANY loyal fans and devoted readers all over the world. Some who have supported us since the very beginning. We love you all and would not be where we are without you!

That is why, even though the IndieGoGo will be domestic only, we will do everything we can to make sure you are taken care of!

The truth is when we are not doing direct fulfillment, shipping costs swing very wildly based on country and package weight. Trying to predictively configure accurate shipping costs for every country we might conceivably ship to is difficult and time-consuming. Sometimes we’ve found we’ve undercharged and lost money; other times we’ve found we’ve overcharged [when we have, we’ve tried to refund the difference].

So, we humbly ask you to bear with us on this!

If you live outside of the US and want items from the Wild Stars IndieGoGo, please contact us so that we can offer you an accurate quote! 

Overseas orders will be handled separately after the crowdfund has been completed.

Unlike the editions offered through last year’s Wild Stars III Kickstarter, these editions will remain in print and be commercially available through normal channels.

Certain exclusive goodies that we have lined up will be held back in limited quantities and made available to our overseas supporters once we have had a chance to figure out our shipping costs and weights.

Please stay tuned for more details and announcements!

Also, be sure to visit www.thewildstars.com for more info about Wild Stars and Michael Tierney.