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!

Advertisements

Quick Reminder Re:Ad Space in Spring Issue–Need Ads by Feb 8!

We’re trying to get all of our Advertising in by no later than February 8th.

We have 8 6 4 slots left (1/2 page ads = 2 slots), including room for three 1/2-page ads. [Text ads are placed at our discretion to fill gaps where our normal ads do not fit.]

250 Character Text Advertisement $25
1/4 page Advertisement $35
1/2 page Advertisement $50

Advertisement images should be 300 dpi, with the following measurements:

1/2 Page – 7.5″ w x 4.5″ h or 3.5″ w x 9″ h
1/4 Page – 3.5″ w x 4.5″ h

Contact us at cirsova at yahoo dot com to arrange payment and placement.

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.

Goblin Slayer and the PulpRev

With the first series of Goblin Slayer wrapping up, I wanted to touch on the show that’s been not only one of the number one animes in North America but has also been rather popular among the PulpRev crowd.

I enjoyed Goblin Slayer, but when all was said and done, it occurred to me that not only was it not a great anime, it was not even a particularly good anime—what gave it the illusion of greatness was that it met all of the meager expectations it set, delivering in heaping doses what little it promised. It set a low bar and clears it with ease. You want to watch a show where a guy kills goblins? This is it, chief. The utter lack of pretension is far more delicious than the “fake depth” many shows try to coast on before crashing in a mess at the end. Goblin Slayer needs no apologia, and there are no great divides in the fandom over thema, symbolism, and other minutia.

goblin slayer

Is Goblin Slayer pulpy? The only reason I ask is that it’s pretty well loved by the PulpRev crowd. And thinking about it, not only is it not particularly pulpy or Appendix N-style fantasy, it’s Pink Slime fantasy to a degree even worse than Record of Lodoss War; it’s pure, in a vacuum, D&D fan-fic.

What separates it Lodoss, however, and many other pink slime fantasies is that the D&D it draws from (if indeed it is drawing from D&D; evidence abounds) is of the older, classic variety, in which the purpose of “adventurers” is to kill monsters, because monsters represent an existential threat to mankind and because they have treasure. Goblin Slayer lacks the pretense of the game in which great and powerful forces are at work and the heroes must act because the fate of the world is at stake and the party represents the champions of all humanity and all that is good.* There are no destined saviors, chosen ones, lost princelings, who are going to stop the Dark Lord. That none of the characters in Goblin Slayer even have names beyond what they do or have accomplished or what their profession is almost serves to lampshade this lack of “special” and “important” fantasy heroes in its narrative. In D&D terms, these are characters who lasted a couple adventures and gained reputations around the table, rather than being wadded up and thrown in the trash because they died—this in contrast to the contemporary trend in D&D to craft intricate backstories for the very-special-snowflake characters who are destined for great things and will almost certainly having nothing too bad happen to them because the player might throw a hissy-fit.

The first episode of Goblin Slayer, which created quite a stir for its brutality and graphic nature**, mainly served to illustrate that the kind of game that inspired Goblin Slayer*** is the kind in which level one characters die in the dungeon and you have to roll up new ones. There’s no point in bringing your very special bisexual tiefling princess with daddy issues who is the most beloved of her tribe to the goblin cave, because the goblin and his spear that will kill her don’t give a shit about your character’s backstory.

I think that, even though Goblin Slayer is shallow and derivative fantasy to the extreme, this is the reason why it resonated so well with the PulpRev crowd, a group that grew largely from the OSR and which preferred the more brutal old school style of Dungeons & Dragons to the modern narrative-driven style of play that’s come to dominate tabletop gaming.

*: This is going on to some extent in the background; the setting is the aftermath of an earlier such conflict—but the climactic battle is not to save the world or even a town, but rather the farm where the girl who likes the Goblin Slayer lives.

**: Yo, the way everyone was talking about that first episode, I was expecting Mezzo Forte levels of gratuitous…

***:Look at all the goddamn dice rolling and talk of gods rolling dice and try to convince yourself it’s anything but TTRPG inspired.

Happy New Year!

We’re just about ready to put a bow on 2018!

Just need to enter our final Amazon revenues and begin popping those numbers into tax forms to go full-steam ahead towards getting a tax refund and reinvesting that in the company.

So…

I’m a bit behind on one or two things because I threw my back out last Friday, but I’m getting caught up today.

Expect a big official announcement on the blog soon regarding the Misha Burnett x Louise Sorensen project I talked about on Saturday.

I haven’t even listened to this yet, and I’m sure it was a trainwreck (I was on a lot of pain pills and we weren’t even sure if I’d still be on until practically the last minute; ironically, Dan and I probably had a better chat on SFF stuff AFTER we went off the air and were just shooting the shit while playing Doom), but it was a lot of fun!

Tomorrow, I’ll probably do a full round-up of recent-ish Castalia House Short Reviews I’ve done, because I haven’t done them in awhile. I’ve finally gotten over my aversion to Amazing Stories [I didn’t want to give the rebooted current incarnation any publicity, even indirectly] and started in on it with a Rog Phillips novella. And I’m already seeing the PulpRev’s blind-spot due to only talking about a few magazines. This guy is solid.

Clock’s Watch II Out Now!

Regular Cirsova readers will remember the Coney Island adventures of Michael Reyes’ invisible dwarf sorcerer, Clock. As Warden and servant of the chaos goddess, Eris, it is Clock’s duty to prevent all manner of demons, monsters, witches, and warlocks from destroying the world.

Clock’s Watch II reprints The Iynx, which was featured in Cirsova #7, alongside an all new novella-length adventure, Daughters of the Black Moon.

While this isn’t a Cirsova release, I did help put this edition together–they’re awesome stories with gnarly illustrations by Sean Bova.

eBook is out now, and Paperback edition will be out soon.

clockcover

Cirsova 2018 Awards Eligibility by Category

Cirsova Heroic Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine is a semi-pro publication that, in 2018, paid .01 per word with an additional .01 per word on the first 2500 words.

We published 36 Awards Eligible works this year.

Novella

  • Wild Stars III: Time Warmageddon, by Michael Tierney
  • In the Land of Hungry Shadows, by Adrian Cole (#7)

Novelette

  • Slavers of Venus, by Nathan Dabney (#8)
  • Promontory, by Jon Zaremba (#8)
  • Littermates, by J.D. Brink (#8, #9)
  • All That Glitters, by Paul Lucas (#9)
  • The Orb of Xarkax, by Xavier Lastra (#9)
  • Crying in the Salt House, by B. Morris Allen (#10)

Short Stories

  • Galactic Gamble, by Dominika Lein (#7)
  • The Iynx, by Michael Reyes (#7)
  • The Legend of Blade, by Jason Scott Aiken (#7)
  • The Great Culling Emporium, by Marilyn K. Martin (#7)
  • The Toads of Machu Hampacchu, by Louise Sorensen (#7)
  • Criteria for Joining the Galactic Community, by Michael Tierney (#7)
  • Anna and the Thing, by Abraham Strongjohn (#7)
  • Brandy and Dye, by Jim Breyfogle (#8)
  • Breaking the Accords, by Amy Power Jansen (#8)
  • The Dream Lords, by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt (#8)
  • Only a Coward, by Jennifer Povey (#8)
  • Party Smashers, by Ken McGrath (#8)
  • Going Native, by J. Manfred Weichsel (#8)
  • The Faerie Pool, by Edward McDermott (#9)
  • Our Lords, the Swine, by N.A. Roberts (#9)
  • The Bejeweled Chest, by S.K. Inkslinger (#9)
  • Jack’s Basement, by Michael Tierney (#9)
  • Antares, by PC Bushi (#9)*
  • Cirque des Etoiles, by Bo Balder (#9)
  • Hot Water in Wormtown, by Robert Lang (#9)
  • Jeopardy Off Jupiter IV, by Spencer E. Hart (#10)
  • The Best Workout, by Frederick Gero Heimbach (#10)
  • A Song in Deepest Darkness, by Jason Ray Carney (#10)
  • Amsel the Immortal, by Lauren Goff (#10)
  • An Interrupted Scandal, by Misha Burnett (#10)
  • The Sword of the Mongoose, by Jim Breyfogle (#10)
  • When Gods Fall in Fire, by Brian K. Lowe (#10)

Related

  • My Name is John Carter, by James Hutchings (#7, #10)

Our #7, #9, and #10 covers were by Anton Oxenuk.

Our #8 cover was done by Benjamin A. Rodriguez.

*:Ursa Eligible