Why the Name Change?

A few folks have wondered why we’ve changed the name of our flagship magazine from Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine to Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventuring and Daring Suspense. The obvious reason is that this is volume 2 of the magazine and it made sense to change the subtitle to denote this. But are we abandoning Science Fiction and Fantasy?

2-1 front cover only jpgThe short answer is “no”, but we’re moving away from the genre terms and the ghetto those tales get placed in.

In talking to people and trying to promote the magazine in person at cons, one thing I found was that “pulp” and “sci-fi” and “fantasy” didn’t really resonate with people the way that “romance” and “adventure” did. And ultimately, good sci-fi and fantasy are typically subsets of the “romance” genre. A Kline or Burroughs story is not all that different from an Ann Radcliffe yarn, only set on Mars or Venus rather than Italy.

Frankly, Romance covers all the best aspects of the genres, encapsulating love, adventure, and mystery, but if I re-positioned Cirsova as a “Romance” magazine, I think that modern expectations from both readers and would-be contributors would be a bit mixed up and I would’ve created even more problems for myself than I already had.

What problems did I have? Well, as much as I enjoy Sword & Sorcery, stories where a guy/gal with a sword fights a monster or there’s some big war in a made-up country with wizards or dragons are a dime a dozen; I’m not interested in the latter, and I see too many of the former without enough spark to really differentiate them from the others I see.

It won’t really affect the sort of submissions I get until next year, but the changes in editorial direction which began in the final issues of volume 1 are fully in place now in Volume 2. Cirsova will continue to feature romantic adventures with science fiction and fantasy trappings as well as weird tales, be they weird tales of super science or occult mystery.

It’s fitting that we officially inaugurate this new direction and shift away from being merely “sci-fi” or “fantasy” with a brand new, never before published, until recently lost Tarzan story by the master himself, Edgar Rice Burroughs. While Burroughs wrote what could be called Sci-fi or Fantasy, what he wrote were essentially Romances. Yes, there were weird elements and the fantastic, but his tradition was not the sci-fi poindexters of Campbellianism or the fantasy of the Tolkien-grotesque, as the genres have fallen into today, but romances of Dumas, Cooper, and Haggard.

Even Verne and Wells, considered the fathers of modern science fiction, wrote in the tradition of the Romance.

What we hope that people will come to realize when they read Cirsova that they will find in its pages not stories of space ships shooting each other or men and elves fighting each other with swords and spells but tales of the thrilling and the macabre in a tradition spanning centuries and many generations of writers.

Speaking of thrilling and macabre, Duel Visions by Misha Burnett and Louise Sorensen is out this week!

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Cirsova Featured on Hollywood in Toto: Plus Bonus Content–The Origins of Cirsova

We did an interview with Paul Hair the other day for Hollywood in Toto. It went up yesterday and can be read here.

https://www.hollywoodintoto.com/young-tarzan-mysterious-she/

(Big shiny link so you don’t miss it ^^^^)

The article mostly features the exciting story of how we came to be publishing a brand-new Tarzan Story in our Spring Issue.

Some of the interview had to be truncated for length, so as a bonus, here’s a bit about the history of Cirsova, where the name comes from and why we started the magazine.

Cirsova started out as a TTRPG (think D&D) setting blog. Cirsova was the name of both an empire and its central province. I lucked out that Cirsova was one of those made-up words like “Kodak” that didn’t really exist in any language and didn’t really mean anything, so I was the only one using it. When I first started, if you tried to search for us, Google would ask “Do you mean Alissa Firsova?” (Look her up, she’s good.)
 
The setting was unused (it’s not a great setting, and while the “Encyclopedia” posts are all still on the blog if anyone really wants to read them, I wouldn’t recommend anyone try gaming in it). I did write a Choose Your Own Adventure book that took place in the distance past of the setting called “City at the Top of the World” which, despite Cirsova Magazine’s success has probably sold maybe a dozen copies.
 
The blog morphed towards more mechanical game-oriented topics as I became involved with the OSR [Old School Renaissance, though there’s disagreement about what the R really stands for]. This in turn led to additional focus on old school science fiction and fantasy writing. Conversations with Jeffro Johnson, who was a Hugo Awards finalist for his writings on 1e AD&D’s Appendix N works (books that had influenced the development of D&D), along with the Sad Puppies debacle got me thinking “I should start my own SFF zine”.
 
At this point, the most important thing to know is that it’s pronounced with a hard Latin “C”.
[…]Jeffro Johnson and the Sad Puppies had a lot to do with [why I started the Magazine].
 
I became aware of the latter because I was friends with the former, and he was on their short-list for best fan-writer.
 
How cool!” I thought “The serious-business science fiction community has taken notice of the OSR!”
 
The history of the Sad Puppies, the name-calling, the record number of No Awards given out is too long and, at this point, too stupid to devote much time to.
 
But one thing that Sad Puppies had promised was what Brad Torgersen called “Nutty Nuggets”; basically if a spaceship and action was on the cover of a book, you ought to find action and spaceships in the book—just like if a box of cereal says “Nutty Nuggets”, you expect the box to have “Nutty Nuggets” inside.
 
Except a lot of the short fiction that the Sad Puppies nominated was not discernibly different from a lot of the stories that I’d seen some members of Mad Genius Club (a blog behind the Sad Puppies campaign) complaining about.
 
Jeffro Johnson had a joke about needing to “regress harder”, and I’d been reading a bunch of Planet Stories and whatnot around that time and thought “Surely there are people out there actually writing stories like this today; I’ve just got to find them.” So, instead of doing something sensible like trying to find a magazine that published the kind of fiction I enjoy, I started my own and was willing to pay around $75-$100 per story for short fiction.
 
I managed to cobble together a first issue with a handful of stories and some great art from Jabari Weathers. It was a little bit sloppy, especially compared to our current issues, but it was a shot across the bow. By the end of 2016, we’d put out 4 issues and around 250k words of fiction.
 
This got us a Hugo nod in the Best Semi-Pro Zine category in 2017 (apparently it doesn’t take many votes for non-pro magazines to get nominated). And we were No Awarded, as expected, because we were one of Vox Day’s recommendations that year and because I review old pulp stories and old war games on the Castalia House blog.
 
But we closed out 2018 having put out 10 issues in 3 years.
 
[RE: rebranding] (…)even though Tarzan’s technically SFF because he exists in the same setting as Pellucidar, the dinosaur-filled hollow earth, he seemed as good an excuse as any to reposition ourselves as something of an Argosy, rather than a Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She FOUND!

Per Michael Tierney, the original fragment that Burroughs wrote was just found this morning.

Apparently, Danton Burroughs had sent it to be transcribed by Bill Hillman of ERBzine.com, who has announced today in a thread on the ERBzine facebook group that it is still in his possession!

Danton sent me this ERB handwritten script. I typed it out and returned the typed copy to him. He offered it to a few writers to see if they would be interested in finishing it.
I still have the handwritten copy plus my transcription.

We have updated the copy in the original piece.

Cirsova’s spring issue featuring Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She is available for digital pre-order now and physical pre-order in February.

2-1 front cover only jpg

Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She

As some of you know, Cirsova will be publishing a “lost” Tarzan story in our spring issue. Michael Tierney tells in his own words how this story came into being. (Originally published here on Michael’s Facebook).

Update! The original manuscript’s whereabouts has resurfaced as of Jan 17, 2019; Bill Hillman of ERBzine.com has claimed that the original handwritten manuscript is in his possession. Corrected text is marked within the original:

It’s an old question of, if you could, who you would visit from the past? Take that question a step further and ask if you could collaborate with literary giant on their greatest creation, who and what would it be?

Here’s my answer: Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She.
Releases March 2019 from Cirsova magazine.

The fragment I worked with was first hand-written by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1930. It was left unfinished, and then lay hidden in his safe for decades after his death. When it was rediscovered, many well-known writers were offered the chance to complete the story, but there were elements that they considered problematic, and they passed.

Around the year 2000, ERB’s grandson, Danton Burroughs, offered me the chance. I found the problems to be opportunities to explain what I considered to be inconsistencies in the jungle lord’s established history.

But on the day of Danton’s greatest accomplishment, when he became President of his grandfather’s company, Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., there was a fire in the offices that destroyed many of his father, John Coleman Burroughs’ paintings–some of them were lost forever without a record. Danton tragically died that night of a heart attack.

What I didn’t learn until recently was that the fire left ERB, Inc. with no record of the story. Danton took his knowledge with him, and the fire apparently took the fragment.and the fragment was essentially lost to the company his Grandfather founded.

Fortunately, I still had my digital files, and the file Danton sent.and the original fragment was discovered after the announcement of this publication.

Danton had sent it to be transcribed into digital format by Bill Hillman, webmaster of ERBzine.com, who announced this very day that he still has it.

While I was creating the Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology, I’d asked current President Jim Sullos for an opportunity to do something with the story. What I didn’t realize until recently was that he thought this was all my creation. We didn’t both put all the pieces together until just a few weeks ago.

That’s the story behind the story of Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She.

 

2-1 front cover only jpg

Michael Tierney has been a regular contributor to Cirsova Magazine, whose stories Shark Fighter, The Bears of 1812, The Criteria for Admission Into the Galactic Community, and Jack’s Basement have been published in Cirsova 2, 5, 7, and 9 respectively, and his 4-volume Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 100 Year Art Chronology was published last year by Chenault & Gray. Last Summer, Cirsova published his sold-out Wild Stars Novella, Wild Stars III: Time Warmageddon.

Cirsova’s Spring issue featuring Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She will be out March 15th.

Kindle eBooks are available for pre-order now.

Print and other digital formats will be available for pre-order soon.

While you’re waiting, feel free to grab a coffee mug or T-Shirt featuring our cover artist Anton Oxenuk‘s fantastic original Tarzan art.

tarzan mug

Also, don’t forget that we have Duel Visions, a new anthology of Weird New Wave Horror from Misha Burnett and Louise Sorensen, coming out in February.

Tarzan(R) is a register trademark of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.; Young TarzanTM and Young Tarzan and the Mysterious SheTM are trademarks of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.; and appear in Cirsova by permission of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

Cirsova 2019 Lineup

We’re moving along at a nice clip towards getting 2019 ready to go. In fact, we even have sketches done for spring plus 1st round edits and layout done. We’ll be sending Vol 2 Issue 1 off to our copy editors before the new year, with any luck.

So, here’s the line-up. We’ve got two issues that are a little thicker than normal (think our 2017 issues) plus something new we’re trying, a Cirsova Summer Special that will showcase a few of the longer (novelette and novella) works we received.

And yes, we’ll be talking more about that first story listed in the Spring issue very soon.

Vol 2. No. 1 Spring (March)

  • Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She, by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Michael Tierney
  • Atop the Cleft of Ral-Gri, by Jeff Stoner
  • The Idol in the Sewers, by Kenneth R. Gower
  • Born to Storm the Citadel of Mettathok, by D.M. Ritzlin
  • The Book Hunter’s Apprentice, by Barbara Doran
  • How Thaddeus Quimby the Third and I Almost Took Over the World, by Gary K. Shepherd
  • Deemed Unsuitable, by W.L. Emery
  • Warrior Soul, by J. Manfred Weichsel
  • Seeds of the Dreaming Tree, by Harold R. Thompson
  • The Valley of Terzol, by Jim Breyfogle
  • The Elephant Idol, by Xavier Lastra
  • Moonshot, by Michael Wiesenberg

Cirsova Summer Special (June)

  • Bleed You Dry, by Su-Ra-U
  • The Ghost of Torreon, by Edd Vick and Manny Frishberg
  • The Bullet From Tomorrow, by Misha Burnett
  • The Star God’s Grave, by Schuyler Hernstrom
  • Halcyon, by Caroline Furlong
  • The Last Fortune of Ali al’Ahmar, by Rev. Joe Kelly

Vol 2. No. 2 Fall (September)

  • A Little Human Ingenuity, by William Huggins
  • The Burning Fish, by Jim Breyfogle
  • For I Have Felt a Fire in the Head, by Adrian Simmons
  • La Molejera, by Marie Brennan
  • Pale Moon’s Bride, Ville Meriläinen
  • Pawn to the Queen by Christine Lucas
  • People of Fire, by Jennifer Povey
  • Blue-Like-The-Sky, by Spencer E. Hart
  • Doomsday Shard, by Ken McGrath
  • Titan, by Rebecca Devendra
  • The Handover of the Scepter of Greatest Regret, by Hal Y. Zhang

In the meantime, please take a moment to support us by leaving a review of a past issue of Cirsova that you’ve enjoyed! It’s free, it helps us tremendously, and only takes a moment of your time.

Final Days of the Cirsova Vol. 1 Kickstarter

As of right now, we only need to raise another ~$600 in subscriptions. A big chunk of that could be covered by anyone who backs for the original line-art for Cirsova #8 by Benjamin A. Rodriguez.

sP2p1A98

Abe Strongjohn’s original manuscript for Magelords of Ruach, Misha Burnett’s handmade Book of Lost Doors boxed set, and the signed Adventure of the Incognita Countess by Cynthia Ward have already sold out, so this is our last big-ticket item at the moment.

Also, a few authors have offered to donate ebooks that will be included in addition to previous issues of Cirsova and subscriptions at the $20+ tiers. So far, we have confirmed Friend of the Magazine J.D. Cowan’s Grey Cat Blues. Others TBA.