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.

The Future Comes To Everywhere At The Same Time – From Misha Burnett

Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer is available now for pre-order via Kickstarter!

I think it was Robert Heinlein’s Starman Jones that first opened my eyes to that concept.

I was born in 1963 and I grew up reading Science Fiction. Mostly what was available in the local library had been published in the 1940s and 1950s, the so-called Golden Age when John W. Campbell was king and Asimov was his prime minister. The stories of that era assumed that New York was the future, with occasional trips to Chicago for atmosphere. The cities in space were called things like New New York and New London and (for the daring) New Tokyo.

Science fiction was about science, and science meant progress, and progress meant big cities. Skyscrapers and subways were as much a part of my early future landscape and rocketships and rayguns.

Starman Jones was different. I can remember reading it and being confused at first because it was set in the country (the Ozarks, in fact, where I lived) but was also in the future.

Could you really do that?

It was a real eye-opener for me because even at a tender age I wanted to be a Science Fiction writer, and I’d gotten the impression that if you wrote something in the future it had to be set in either New York or Los Angeles because the rest of the country somehow ceased to exist once people had strato-cars to fly over it. 

Well, here it is the year 2020 (years after some of my childhood favorites were set) and I am still living in the Midwest.

And I am writing stories set both in the future and in the country. Go figure.

What’s more my publisher for this project is also in the Ozarks, albeit on the Arkansas side, which is like the Dark Side but without the cookies.

Now, not all of the stories in this collection are set along side what was once Route 66—two take place in Southern California, separated by a few centuries, and another takes place on an alien world, for example—but a preponderance of them are set within an hour’s drive of Springfield, Missouri.

Because the future isn’t something that happens just in big cities. It’s something that will come and find you, no matter where you are. You can’t hide from the future, it knows where you live.

Even if you live out in the boonies.

Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer Live for Pre-Order!

Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer is live for pre-order on Kickstarter!

This fantastic collection contains 12 of Misha’s best weird science fiction tales, ranging from thrillers and adventures to mysteries and horrors.

Endless Summer has it all!

Reminder: Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer — Coming Soon!

With Mongoose and Meerkat Vol 1. and the Cirsova Summer Issue Out, we’re gearing up for our next big project, Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer!

Sign up for notification for when the Kickstarter will go live.

This fantastic anthology of weird science fiction showcases 12 stories from one of Cirsova’s top authors.

The Bullet From Tomorrow – In an all-or-nothing bid to change the future, what would your savior look like?

Milk, Bread, & Eggs – What if Earth was just one pit-stop on an interstellar journey?

These Were the Things That Bounded Me –What lengths will people go to survive when disasters strike?

The Isle of Forbidden Dances – What if you thought you found love on a party resort where you were under constant surveillance?

In the Driving Lane – Where do you go when your self-driving car won’t drive you home?

Heartbeat City Homicide – What is crime like in an energy plant bigger than of Manhattan, with levels going deeper than its tallest buildings are high?

My Foe Outstretched – Would you fight your arch-enemy to the death in a sealed-off section of subway tunnel?

Serpent’s Walk – What if a wild, mutant landscape took over the I-44 corridor and you were stranded in it?

The Happiest Place on Earth – What do the characters at an amusement park do when mankind goes extinct?

mDNA – What if those responsible for propagating the human species could never meet?

Endless Summer – When the curtain is drawn back on an idyllic utopia, can you ever go home?

The First Man in the World – If you had thousands of years, what kind of world would you build for humanity?

Leigh Brackett Wins Retro-Hugo for Shadow Over Mars

A lot of the 2020 Hugos stuff we’ve taken a minute to look at is really bad.* This isn’t the case for the 1945 Retro Hugos.

Leigh Brackett’s book with the cute bird girl won Best Novel.

Given how bad a lot of the contemporary nominees are, it’s pretty impressive that something this good would win!

We absolutely adore Leigh Brackett, and recommend you check out everything you can get your hands on by her!

If you haven’t already, you ought to check out our illustrated edition of her Stark Planet Stories novellas!

*[See our editor Xavier’s blog for some prime examples]

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]