What’s New for Mongoose and Meerkat?

The Spring issue of the magazine has Kat and Mangos embarking on their 8th adventure overall and the 3rd in what will be the second “volume” of Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat.

In The Grain Merchant of Alomar, our pair of swords for hire are beginning to settle in. They’ve reached the city of Alomar, a cosmopolitan metropolis where anything (and anyone) can be bought and sold, and coin is king.

They’ve finally managed to save up some money (or Kat has, anyway–Mangos has squandered a lot of his on good food and drink and a replacement for the sword he lost back in Sword of the Mongoose) and are hoping that they’ve established a bit of a reputation as mercenary adventurers. Unfortunately, Alomar is a big city, and the Mongoose and Meerkat are still small time.

While they’re trying to get gigs lined up, they’re squatting in an unused wing of a manor owned by a wealthy merchant… who hires them without even knowing they’re living under his roof!

This will be the first time a Mongoose and Meerkat story will appear in Cirsova magazine with illustration [by the talented DarkFilly, who illustrated Volume 1].

Also, it’s still in production, but we’ve commissioned an audiobook edition of Pursuit Without Asking, which should be available by mid-spring. It’s read by Erin Michele Gabbard, who is not only a fantastic reader, she sounds just like we imagined Kat to sound like! More news on that soon, but in the meantime, please back the pre-order for our 5th Anniversary Issue!

On with Superversive + Sneak Peek at Badaxe!

I was on with Anthony Marchetta and Ben Wheeler of Superversive on Sunday. It was a pretty long podcast, but we had a lot of fun! Anthony in particular had a lot of great things to say about Teel James Glenn’s Tiger, Tiger, which was our Winter Cover Story.

As you ought to know by now, we’re taking pre-orders for our Spring 2021 issue. One of the features of 2021 is we’ll be reprinting Paul O’Connor’s epic Sword and Sorcery Comic, Badaxe, which has been digitally restored by Michael Tierney. Below is a sneak peek.

Want more? Back the Spring 2021 issue on Kickstarter now!

Appendix N and Atomic Rayguns in D&D

There’s always a bit of a discussion on just how gonzo D&D should be and those “weird” modules that had rayguns in them.

How can you have rayguns in D&D? It doesn’t make sense! Why would there be swords and magic and ALSO rayguns!? It’s just not supported!

Except it totally is.

Chieftain of Andor by Andrew J. Offutt

I’ve been reading an Andrew. J. Offutt novel, Chieftain of Andor [hat tip to Schuyler Hernstrom], which features stone age atomic death rays.

The setting is a Sword & Planet world where there are explicitly no firearms [lack of saltpeter is cited], primitive swords are the weapon of choice for most civilized peoples, and sorcery is real [‘A does not necessarily equal A’]. Yet the hero ends up with an atomic death ray. How?

Two races of mermen live in the caverns underneath a mountain composed in part of a radioactive mineral. The blind albino mermen in the upper part of the mountain have devised a weapon: a small obsidian mirror-box that contains a tiny chunk of highly radioactive material. There’s a door flap that is opened by pulling on a simple trigger. Whatever is in front of the box gets Lou Slotined.

Of course construction of the device is always fatal to whomever harvests the rock and assembles it, so there are necessarily very few and they are only made when absolutely necessary.

The hero observes that in the hands of anyone else on the world other than the blind albino mermen who never leave their mountain, the device could lead to a devastating holocaust, and he’s reluctant to accept the one that is gifted to him for saving the beautiful blind albino mermaids from the chief of the not-blind albino mermen.

So, uh… yeah. If you need some sort of justification for why or how you might have death rays in your AD&D game where swords and wizardry are the words of the day, you need look no further than Appendix N.

Merry Christmas!

We hope everyone has had a good Christmas!

We received a number of great presents and well-wishes from everyone this season, including this lovely gift art from StarTwo.

merry_xmas_cirsova.jpg

For those who don’t know, StarTwo illustrated our 70th Anniversary Leigh Brackett’s Stark. They’re currently working on a comic project for friend-of-the-magazine, James Streissand, and we can’t wait to see it come to fruition!

We also got a wonderful Christmas gift from Team Shanghai Alice, getting permission to include some original Touhou art on our upcoming 5th Anniversary Issue.

The Winter Issue comes out tomorrow! I hope you saved some Christmas gift money to pick up a copy!

It’s That Time of Year, Again… The Awards Eligibility by Category Post

It’s that time of the year when everyone posts the things they’ve written and/or published for consideration for the myriad fiction awards for which the nominating process will soon begin.

Novel

Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 1: Pursuit Without Asking, by Jim Breyfogle*

Novelette

Short Story

Poetry

Related

Art

Cirsova Publishing has worked with the following artists in 2020:

Anton Oxenuk [Spring, Fall Special, Winter, Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat]

Robert Zoltan [Summer Special]

Timothy Lim [Summer 2020]

Dark Filly [Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat(interiors)]

Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense is a Semi-Professional publication, paying a rate of .0125 per word on acceptance.

I’m technically a fan artist, too…

*:Collects originally published stories in novel-length format

**:Forthcoming, to be released on December 29th.

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.