Hugo Awards: Cirsova Eligibility

This is a quick guide to eligibility by category for pieces published by Cirsova in 2016. It is not a recommendations list. While I may post my recommendations and favorites for other categories, we will not do so for any categories in which we published fiction.

Cirsova is a Semi-Pro paying magazine (we pay .01 per word with an additional .01 for the first 2500 words). Cirsova published 43 eligible works in 2016 (45, if you split out Hutchings’s poem). Stories that are available to read for free on our website are linked. Other issues are available on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats.



  • A Hill of Stars, by Misha Burnett (Cirsova #1)
  • The Wooing of Etroklos, by J. Comer (Cirsova #3)
  • Shadow Vision, by Preston Dennett (Cirsova #4)
  • The Vault of Phalos, by Jeffery Scott Sims (Cirsova #4)

Short Story

Related Work


Planetary Awards Update and Reminders

This is just another reminder to all book bloggers out there to get your nominations in for the Planetary Awards. You can find more information here at the official site.

I probably will not be nominating anything personally this year, because frankly a lot of the best fiction I’ve read from 2016 is that which I’ve published. I’ve read some other really great recent stories, like those in Swords of Steel and Robert Kroese’s Starship Grifters, but those aren’t from 2016, and I probably won’t get around to reading Swords of Steel Vol 2 in time to make the Planetary Awards.

Karl K. Gallagher’s* Torchship Pilot was excellent and absolutely worth checking out if you have not. The only reasons I’m not nominating it for this year’s award are that I haven’t read the final version yet** (I had the honor of being a beta reader; thanks, Karl!) and because last year I nominated Torchship, the previous book, and it won!

Cirsova contributors Schuyler Hernstrom and Brian K. Lowe have both gotten noms for this year’s Planetary Awards, for Images of the Goddess***(SH) and The Invisible City(BKL), and for Athan and the Priestess(SH).

*: Also a Cirsova contributor.

**:Both of my parents, who are huge SF aficionados, have read it and thought it was amazing, as good as the first, if not better! Now that Mom’s finished it, I can get my copy back and read it myself.

***: Images of the Goddess appeared in Cirsova #2 (Summer, 2016). It can be read for free here, but if you want to kick a few bucks our way, it’s on Amazon and Lulu.

Genrefication and Dragon Awards

Over at Mad Genius Club, some folks are celebrating the genre stratification at DragonCon for their Dragon Awards.  Rather than Best at some length category, they have split categories into Best Science Fiction, Best Fantasy or Paranormal, Best YA/Middle Grade, Best Mil-SF or Mil-Fantasy(!?), Best Alternative History, Best Apocalyptic, Best Horror, and with further breakdown along similar lines for film and gaming.

This strikes me as a terrible idea.  These categories reinforce the notion that a story can be only one of these things.  Where would Philip Jose Farmer’s Maker of Universes fall on this?  Is Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth Fantasy, Science Fiction, Alternative History or Apocalyptic?  Why break out Horror into its own category, and where would something like Matthew D. Ryan’s ‘Vampire-hunting in Drisdak’-style Drasmyr books end up?

No, no, no, no!  This isn’t a victory, unless your aim is creating genre ghettos.

In response, I propose an alternative.  If I ever get the reach to make such an endeavor feasible, I will give you the Brackett Awards:

Categories will include, but are not limited to, in Long and Short Form:

  • Best Space Princess/Classiest Dame
  • Most Dashing Swordsman/Gunman
  • Creepiest Monster/Alien
  • Most Exotic/Erotic Xeno-hominid
  • Best Explosion
  • Coolest Spaceship
  • Best Empire (domineering, crumbling or otherwise)

Will these categories end up punishing certain books under the SFF umbrella?  Probably, but not the most awesome ones.

2015 Planetary Awards Nominations: Torchship, by Karl Gallagher

Forget the Hugos, Nominations for the 2015 Planetary Awards are due February 14th!

In the Small Press / Self-published category, I’d like to nominate Karl Gallagher’s Torchship.

Torchship is a hard sci-fi adventure story in the vein of Firefly* about an interstellar freelance cargo-freighter and its crew.  Torchship is set in something of a post-empire future in which both Earth a sizable portion of the colonized worlds have fallen to a devastating AI rebellion, leaving a few highly advanced but paranoid cyber-isolationist worlds and a tough-as-nails frontier beyond.  As a fully analog spaceship, the Fives Full is one of the few interstellar craft permitted to travel between the “Disconnect” and “Fusion” worlds.  In the course of taking odd jobs to make ends meet, the Fives Full’s crew stumbles upon the opportunity to hunt for buried space treasure.  The catch?  It’s deep in the heart of the AI ravaged ruins of humanity’s former dominion!

Torchship is Karl Gallagher’s and Kelt Haven Press’s first book; Gallagher’s amazing and Kelt Haven Press has a real winner on their hands.  You should keep both of them on your radar.

My interview with Karl Gallagher can be found here.

I’d also like to plug Matthew D Ryan and his book Sceptre of Morgulan as something of a runner up.  Everything I’ve read by Ryan has been great, and I’ve also had the opportunity to interview him and have him do a guest post, and if the award were broken down into SF and Fantasy instead of story length and small press/indie vs. trad published, I’d be able to nominate them both.  Torchship breaks the tie by being the first book in a series; rather than nominate the third book in a series, I’ll just say “Go and buy Drasmyr; you can download it for free, but you should really buy it, too.”

* If Firefly were written by someone who actually knows a thing or two about spaceships and engineering.

This Post Brought to You By Kent Cigarettes

This week, I need to force myself back into the Hugo pile. The biggest disappointment about the Puppy nominees I’ve read thus far is that the stories aren’t nearly as offensive as their detractors make them (the Puppies, that is) out to be. With all of the accusations of sexist misogyny, I would at least hope to see some of the dated hallmarks of the sci-fi classics I’ve been enjoying recently.

No barbarian hero shacking up with the twin daughters of the evil lord he and his buddy killed.*

No square-jawed spaceman punching a racist lady for the good of all mankind.*

No con-woman sexing it up in big tent revivals to part lonely blue-collar spacemen from their cash.*

No one getting killed by indians, their gods, their curses or their pet monsters.*

For all of the outrage, very little I’ve seen has been outrageous, or even particularly provocative. Where is the sci-fi Salome I was promised? The mild and inoffensive nature of the Puppy entries is in bizarre contrast to those who’ve given me the impression that it was all going to be Spacemen doing manly things, like shooting guns and absconding with inappropriately dressed women on implausible worlds of mushroom forests populated by spear-chucking natives. I mean, if everyone is calling you racist and sexist, at least have some fun with it!

I know I really need to get back to doing my Short Reviews series, and probably will once my Holmes/Moldvay game is underway and on track.

Real men smoke cigarettes in outer space. And when they do, they smoke Kents.

“After I finish this smoke, I’m going to cure cancer with my Ray Gun.”

*: feel free to guess which multiple Hugo winning, Hugo Winning, and Hugo Nominated authors wrote these great tales!