Sexy Fantastic: Swords & Shadows

As some of you may or may not know, our friend and contributor Robert Zoltan has been working on and publishing a new SFF publication, Sexy Fantastic, for folks into retro-pulp bodice rippers [think the sort of Andrew J. Offutt stories he published under his own name].

Robert will be doing a Kickstarter to raise additional funds for this project soon [July 1], and are accepting submissions through 15th of June.

Looking for superb heroic fantasy/sword and sorcery stories for Issue 4 of Sexy Fantastic magazine: Swords & Shadows! The fiction in the first three issues has been of incredibly high quality, and we seek to maintain that standard. Sexy Fantastic prefers mystery, strangeness, eroticism and atmosphere over violence. Note: this is not an erotica magazine; it simply does not censor stories for sexual content and treats sex as a normal part of life. $100 payment. 3K-10K word length. Deadline June 15th. See guidelines for tips and detailed submission instructions. https://sexyfantasticmagazine.com/fictionsubmissions/

If you have a story that you’ve been holding onto for us, give Robert’s mag a shot first, especially if it contains erotic themes and content. Right now, it’s looking like we won’t be able to take submissions until July, maybe August, so don’t hold anything back on our account! Send Robert your best!

Advanced Review of The Cosmic Courtship + Cirsova Publishing Featured in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Pulp Archivist recently posted a fantastic review of Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship. We sent out a handful of ARCs to assorted pulp scholars and historians, and Nathan’s one of the first who has his thoughts up. We also had the privilege of speaking with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about project; they did a write-up for the Sunday edition [alas, bumped back a week by the editor and so unable to run before pre-orders closed!]

I really hope that in the future we’ll see even more discussion on the younger Hawthorne and his works. Since embarking on this project, I’ve had the pleasure to read quite a handful of his writings: The Golden Fleece, Six Cent Sam’s, The Cosmic Courtship, Absolute Evil, A Goth From Boston, and Sara Was Judith, and I can’t help but feel like we’ve stumbled upon a forgotten but significant missing link in the history of early Weird Fiction. Julian bridges the gap between the high gothic era, writing throughout the gilded age, and the early golden age of pulps.

Just how influential was he on early writers of Weird Fiction? How influential were other early writers of Weird Fiction on him? In his final novel from 1920, he describes a cult of lads at Harvard who refer to themselves as “Dagons” and proceeds with a litany of old and exotic tomes kept on their shelves in what most would immediately recognize and refer to as “Lovecraftian” in manner and style. Hawthorne had a keen interest in the metaphysical and where it clashed with rapidly advancing sciences and medicines–the very core, some scholars would say, of Lovecraft’s brand of cosmic horror.

Right now, it would be very difficult to say or do more than just speculate on his significance. What we do know is that he was incredibly prolific and at one time fairly well-regarded. Indeed, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is on record stating his preference for Julian over Nathaniel. While we can’t really make any broad declarations as to his significance or lasting influences, I do believe that this project and our next one going forward will have laid the foundations to re-evaluate the significance of Julian Hawthorne’s writing and influence in our contemporary context.

We aim to have The Cosmic Courtship out the door by August at the latest. Retailers should have them before the end of the year. If you’re looking for other ways to support Cirsova publishing, look no further than Amazon, where you’ll be able to find all of our titles just by searching for “Cirsova.”

New Anthology Project Edited by Misha Burnett

Misha Burnett has recently announced a new anthology project through Cedar Sanderson’s new Sanderley Studios imprint which he will act as editor for.

The focus of the anthology will be stories for young readers. I’m guessing and hoping this means classic boys adventure in the vein of RL Stevenson with some rip-roaring swashbuckling of Dumas and relatable levity of Twain. And maybe the princesses and aliens of Burroughs and Kline.

Submissions are looking for stories that will appeal to both teen boys and girls.

I am looking for exciting adventure stories that showcase (but not preach) virtues, suitable for boys and girls in their teens.

Submissions open on Mar 15th and will run until May 15th.

The ideal story would be between 5,000 and 10,000 words and be action oriented. All genres considered, but exotic settings preferred–Science Fiction and Fantasy, but also Wilderness Survival and Historical Fiction.

For details, see the post on Misha’s website!

Also, be sure to check out Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer, out now in print, ebook, and audiobook!

$10k Stretch Goal Met! + Sneak Peek at Scenes of Hawthorne’s Romances

Thanks to everyone’s support, we’ve hit our $10k goal and will be starting a Cirsova Classics imprint focused on bringing previously unscanned and uncollected Public Domain pulp works back into print in modern formats. I know that Michael and Robert are already chomping at the bit to get started on the next project. We may even be able to begin as early as this fall [roughly as soon as we get The Cosmic Courtship out the door]. Most likely the next work we get out will be the uncollected Hawthorne novel, Sara Was Judith, and with the novella A Goth From Boston as a companion volume. We’ll try to get both of those by mid-2022. 

Hawthorne was fascinated by the concepts of astral travel, out of body and out of time experiences, hypnotism, and clairvoyance.  These play a central role in several of the short stories of his that I have read and is the means by which the heroes travel to Saturn in The Cosmic Courtship.  While I have not yet had a chance to read Sara Was Judith, it’s not hard to guess from the pitch that it will be about some form of clairvoyant astral discorporation. 

We’ve got an idea or two for the third project/fourth book, but haven’t quite settled on it just yet.  We’ll let you know when we do.

A few people have asked about illustrations–unfortunately, The Cosmic Courtship, like many stories published in All-Story, did not have accompanying illustrations [many of the well-known later pulps that were fully illustrated tended to be monthly or quarterly]

We are, however, including a facsimile reprint of Scenes of Hawthorne’s Romances in all formats but the pocketbook [it’s just too small, sorry!], which IS lavishly illustrated.

Below is just a small sample of the work, and you’ll understand why we went with a facsimile approach–also why, even though the text is extant, we felt it worth including in its original presentation, as it is available nowhere else. 

Cirsova Publishing to Reprint Nearly-Lost Julian Hawthorne Planetary Romance, “The Cosmic Courtship”

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Cirsova Publishing is proud to announce that it has partnered with Michael Tierney and Robert Allen Lupton to restore and reprint Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship, a never-before-collected pulp Planetary Romance by the son of famed American author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The Cosmic Courtship Serialized across four issues.

Mary Faust, a brilliant scientist, has developed a machine that can allow the conscious human soul to explore the cosmos! Her promising young assistant Miriam Mayne has accidentally transferred her consciousness to Saturn, where she falls under the enchantment of an evil sorcerer! Jack Paladin, her love, sets out after her on a thrilling celestial journey to the ringed planet! Swashbuckling adventure and high romance await in Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship!

While most are at least somewhat familiar with Nathaniel Hawthorne as one of the great American authors, less well known is that his son Julian was an incredibly prolific writer in his own right. Julian wrote on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from literary analysis of his father’s works to poetry to period romances and adventures. Late in his career, Julian even dabbled in the emerging genre of Science Fiction.

The Cosmic Courtship was serialized in Frank A. Munsey’s All-Story Weekly across four issues, beginning with the November 24, 1917 issue and running through the December 15, 1917 issue. While this story has been in the public domain for some time, it has never been collected or published elsewhere until now.

Cirsova Publishing has taken on this exciting project with the aim of preserving this story for posterity and ensuring that it is not lost to future generations.

Fred A. Small Cover Restored by Michael Tierney

Michael Tierney is a pulp historian and archivist who has written extensively on Edgar Rice Burroughs, having created the massive four volume Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology, and is currently working on another Art Chronology about Robert E. Howard. He has been involved in the comic book industry for 40 years, owning two of the oldest comic book stores in Central Arkansas until switching to mail-order only in 2020. He is also an accomplished science fiction writer and artist, having worked on his Wild Stars saga since the 1970s. Michael not only made his pulp library available for this project, he provided the photographic images of these rare magazines so that a manuscript could be produced. He has also lent his years of experience digitally restoring damaged pulp art to restore the original cover by Fred W. Small to create a unique cover for this edition.

Robert Allen Lupton is a prolific author, pulp historian, and commercial hot air balloon pilot. He has published nearly 200 short stories across numerous anthologies, including the New York Times Best Selling Chicken Soup For the Soul series, and has published several anthologies and novels. His most recent novel, “Dejanna of the Double Star” was published in December 2020. Robert has been an active Edgar Rice Burroughs historian, researcher, and writer since the 1970s, including at ERBzine, where several of his articles and stories are published. Robert has painstakingly recreated the text as it was originally published from the digital images provided from Michael’s collection.

Cirsova Publishing has been publishing thrilling adventure science fiction and fantasy since 2016. They have published nearly 20 issues of their flagship publication, Cirsova Magazine. Additionally, they have published a number of anthologies, a fully illustrated edition of Leigh Brackett’s Planet Stories-era Stark adventures, Jim Breyfogle’s Mongoose and Meerkat, and the 35th Anniversary Editions of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars.

This collected edition of The Cosmic Courtship will be released later in 2021.

Audiobook of Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer Coming Soon!

Very soon, we’ll have an audiobook edition of Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer available. Read by Brandon Casinelli, this is a work that Misha Burnett considers his masterpiece. You will not want to miss it.

Also, as of right now, the hardcover editions of Endless Summer are going for marginally less than the paperbacks on Amazon. Be sure to grab a copy!

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!