Schuyler Hernstrom on Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer

We’ve just received Schuyler Hernstrom’s foreword for Endless Summer, and we thought it was too good not to share.

Discussing stories is a complicated business.  Buried somewhere underneath layers of criticism, commerce, and identity you might find some deep understanding of Misha’s work. But I worry that careless digging will disturb the landscape. I challenge myself to think about his work with the care and sensitivity that he puts into it.

For me, Misha is the consummate craftsman. He carefully constructs vessels designed to take you to other places. Each one is different yet bears certain hallmarks that identify its maker. The people populating Misha’s stories are understandable and relatable. Misha understands what people want and what they need. A rhythm beats behind the prose. It is plain when you want it to be plain and colorful when you want it to be colorful. You see and experience things that are at times bizarre, outlandish or horrifying, and yet it seems plausible and real.

How does he pull all this off? It is his craft, a thing he has studied and worked at a long time.

It’s an interesting paradox. Misha is a deeply sensitive and intelligent man interested in the fantastic. But this is wedded with another side to his personality, the engineer and the tinkerer. The two sides come together and create art and you have a watertight vessel for exploring all the dark and strange corners of the universe. Ultimately, it reminds me of Japanese joinery. Timbers are locked together without nails or plates. If you squint and stare long enough up at the rafters, you may perceive the lines hinting at interlocking tenons. It’s a kind of sorcery gained from hard work and a special something that the artists possesses. 

Misha is a treat for me. As a writer, it is difficult to read something for enjoyment without trying to pull it apart. But reading an author with such command, such careful control, I can relax and enjoy the magic. After all, I’m the sort of person that doesn’t want to know the magician’s secrets. I want to enjoy the show. This collection is a front row seat.

Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer is available for pre-order now through Kickstarter. We’ve hit our initial goal but we are hoping for a strong finish in these final days.

Great Review of Mongoose and Meerkat

The Pulp Archivist has a great review up of both Mongoose and Meerkat and the new translation of the Slayers light novels.

Breyfogle has a knack for the exotic. Jungle ruin, tropical islands, mountainous canyons, magic-ravage battlefield–each new tale thrusts Mangos and Kat into a new setting with strange people and stranger challenges.

Breyfogle has mastered small-scope fantasy, keeping the constant string of odd jobs fresh. Where some authors lean too heavily on the sword and sorcery standby of hacking through evil cultists, Mongoose and Meerkat find themselves more as hired muscle for many mercantile schemes. This thrusts them into different intrigues than just secret societies, and it also requires a bit more thought in solving mysteries and getting paid than just swinging a sword. Yet there is action to spare, as varied as the settings: mountaintop chases on crumbling paths, swims through piranha-filled waters, and the inevitable crossing of blades. The perils are all immediate and local, but brief glimpses of wider events can be seen.

Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Vol 1: Pursuit Without Asking is available now on Amazon!

Review: The Long Moonlight, by RazorFist [spoiler-free]

I recently had the privilege of receiving an arc copy of RazorFist’s new story, The Long Moonlight from Castalia House.

It was a fantastic read, and the whole time, it had me thinking, if they ever try to resurrect Thief IP again for a 3rd time, Razor would be a great choice to head the story direction.

The story follows the rising and falling fortunes of Xerdes, a thief who finds himself in the employ of one of the city’s top crime lords. There are plenty of swashbuckling fights, daring capers, and deadly betrayals along the way, for a pretty edge-of-your seat read.

Razor is prone to get a bit florid and certainly has some room to grow, but The Long Moonlight is an incredibly promising first outing that bursts at the seams with his love for sword and sorcery and, yes, noir.

The story bills itself as a pulp noir crime thriller set in a low fantasy setting. There’s definitely more noir, I think, than pulp, and the pulp is more 60s and 70s pulp revival than classic pulp, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a dark and vicious tale, bloody and unpredictable to the very end.

I would absolutely recommend that anyone who is a fan of Fritz Leiber, Thief: The Dark Project, or of our own magazine check out Razor’s new story. I, for one, can hardly wait to read his next one.

Cirsova Publishing Acquires Serial Rights to All of Mongoose & Meerkat

I can now confirm that Cirsova Publishing has acquired the rights to the entire remaining Mongoose & Meerkat series!

We will begin serializing it one story per issue, beginning with Hunt of the Mine Worm in the winter issue out this December, until all 18 stories in the cycle have run.

If you JUST got into Jim Breyfogle’s Mongoose & Meerkat via our kickstarter for Pursuit Without Asking and want to keep on top of things, the next story in the sequence, The Golden Pearl, was the cover story of our spring issue.

Read The Golden Pearl in the Spring Issue!

Missed the Kickstarter? Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat is on Amazon!

Mongoose and Meerkat Retail Edition Available for Pre-Order–Out August 3rd

Did you miss the Kickstarter? Wishing you got your hands on one of those books that people are showing off all over social media?

Well, you will still have a chance to get your hands on a copy!

The eBook and retail paperback edition are available for pre-order now and will be out August 3rd.

eBook Edition

Retail Paperback Edition

Wild Stars 35th Anniversary 2nd Edition + Cirsova Hardcovers Now Available Once Again!

As you know, we had some hiccups with our hardcover printer, but we’re back online and proud to announce the 2nd Editions of Cirsova’s hardcovers! The real highlight of this is the 2nd Edition of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars!

Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars 35th Anniversary Edition Omnibus

This fabulous 700+ page tome collects all four volumes of Michael Tierney’s science fiction epic.

Omnibus Cover 0.05 Front Only

Also available from Cirsova Publishing:

Summer Special 2020 #2

Spring 2020 [Vol 2, #3]

Fall 2019 [Vol 2, #2]

Summer Special 2019 #1

Spring 2019 [Vol 2, #1]

Winter 2018 [Vol 1, #10]

Fall 2018 [Vol 1, #9]

Summer 2018 [Vol 1, #8]

Spring 2018 [Vol 1, #7]

Fall 2017 [Vol 1, #6]

Spring 2017 [Vol 1, #5]

Winter 2016 [Vol 1, #4]

Fall 2016 [Vol 1, #3]

Summer 2016 [Vol 1, #2] [Kukuruyo Variant]

Summer 2016 [Vol 1, #2]

Spring 2016 [Vol 1, #1]

 

…and Almost Finished with Game Content!

I spent a pretty good chunk of the evening working on bonus content for Mongoose & Meerkat!

The result is roughly 3,000 words of gaming content, including:

  • How to drop the Battlefield of Keres into your hexcrawl map
  • Suggestions on how to run a short adventure based on Brandy & Dye
  • Scenario for Sword of the Mongoose
  • Encounters in Terzol
  • Statblocks for monsters and encounters, ranging from the Hands of the Bursa and the Terzoli Remnants to Isak Yan and his undead to  Keres’s magical anomalies
  • Much much more!

I’ll be putting the finishing touches on it soon then will be running it by Jim Breyfogle for approval.

Once he gives it the OK, it will be added to the Appendix of the hardcover.

In fact, we’ll be adding all of the bonus material to the hardcover [except for the list of backer names, of course] this week, at which point the hardcover will be officially Almost DoneTM.

Once we have a page-count, we can do the layout for the hardcover’s dust-jacket.

No promises, but this could begin fulfilling by as early as June!

6 x 9 cover

Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 1 Kickstarter is Live!

The Kickstarter is live for Jim Breyfogle’s Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat: Volume 1 – Pursuit Without Asking!

This volume collects Kat and Mangos’ first five adventures with illustrations by the incredibly talented DarkFilly and is available in four formats:
  • Digital – Some people love digital and prefer that to the weight and warmth of a book in their hands; we aim to please all of our readers, so this one’s for you!
  • Pocket Paperback – Our buddy JD Cowan recently observed that publishers cutting out the pocket paperback format drastically changed the writing landscape for the worse, and he opined the days of the pocket paperback.  Well, we’re bringing the pocket paperback… back, exclusive for this Kickstarter! Get the pocket paperback edition at a pocket paperback price.
  • Trade Paperback – This is your standard 6 x 9 trade format book. Solid, robust, and standard. This edition will remain in print and be available through retailers, but you’ll get yours ahead of everyone else! It’ll look nice on the shelf with other contemporary Trade Paperbacks, such as our Duel Visions anthology from last year!
  • Deluxe Hardback – If you’ve ever bought one of our hardcovers, you know how nice Cirsova Publishing’s hardbacks are. This will be a gorgeous deluxe edition that will not only include all five Mongoose & Meerkat stories and the all new novelette, it will include an appendix of unused art and sketches, TTRPG character sheets for Kat and Mangos, a listing of all backers, plus any bonus content unlocked!
This volume features…
  • The Battlefield of Keres – An ill-conceived bet brings Mangos and his new companion Kat to a vast no man’s land full of relics and magical anomalies in search of a fabled helm!
  • Brandy and Dye – High atop rock spires, above the breeze from the Devil’s Arse, men toil to collect the valuable guano of the Minix bird for Royal Dye, but when the production is threatened by distillers at dizzying heights, the dyers hire Mangos & Kat to bust a few heads!
  • The Sword of the Mongoose – When a shady merchant loses a bet with Mangos, he has nothing to pay with but the story of where a masterwork blade may be found! Can Mangos reach his prize before other treasure hunters?
  • The Valley of Terzol – Kat and Mangos are hired to accompany an adventurer to the ruins of Terzol in search of a lost delivery: a thousand-year-old receipt offers a clue to either fabulous rewards or certain death!
  • The Burning Fish – Seeking out the fabled Burning Fish for a client, Mangos and Kat instead find a strange cult devoted to keeping a simple life and protecting the secret of the fish at any cost!
As a bonus, this collection will feature Deathwater, a never before published original novelette!

6 x 9 cover