Spotlight: Cirsova: Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine

I’m glad others are digging into Cirsova, one of the best, if not the BEST SFF magazines out there. If you are just starting you can’t go wrong with issue #5.

Mighty Thor JRS - Fantasy Book News & Reviews

Every once in a while I like to do a spotlight post to shine a light on an author, or book, or series that I think is awesome and more people should know about.

Today that light is shinning bright on Cirsova Magazine!

I have been in a bit of a reading and blogging slump for a while now. I took a step back, trying to figure out what I was missing, what I needed to turn this slump around. So I decided to go back to my fantasy roots. What got me into fantasy in the first place?

The answer to that was Sword and Sorcery and other pulpy spec. fic. goodness. I love REH, ERB, Lieber, Lovecraft, Moorcock, Wagner, and Clark Ashton Smith. So sure I can get out all my old copies of these authors, and I did. But I began to wonder, is anyone still…

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Pick this guy up for 50%

oneeyedjacks

To kick off the summer reading season, starting in the month of May, I’m putting a 50% coupon code on my novel One-Eyed Jacks. “A great pulp noir piece involving casinos, gunfights, exotic women, and a dash of magic reminiscent of Big Trouble in Little China. Fun, exciting fiction that reads like my favorite movies […]

via 50% off Urban Fantasy Noir Adventure — Brink’s Chaos Theory

 

I read this guy on my flight from Tokyo to San Diego after discovering J.D. Brink in Cirsova, and thought it was great. Really fun noir-ish, action movie vibe, well worth the price. Pick it up.

Short Fiction

I am convinced that there is a direct correlation between short fiction and innovation in fiction, both in the styles of individual authors and in fiction styles as a whole. In Speculative Fiction, there can be said to be four primary movements within the 20th Century–Pulp, Hard SF, New Wave, and Cyberpunk. Each of them […]

via Short Fiction, or “What Needs To Happen Next” — mishaburnett

Misha’s posts are always thought provoking. I’m really into the peer-published anthology concept and currently working on a story to submit to his 21st Century Action Fiction. It’s about time we look at different publishing models and improve on the old format.

 

StoryHack Action & Adventure Issue 0 Cover Reveal

Bryce Beattie just revealed the cover for Action & Adventure 0 and it looks fantastic. I’m excited to be part of this project and honored to be in the inaugural issue. There is a lot of love and effort being put into this project and from everything I have seen so far it really seems to be paying off. Storyhack0.jpg

For those of you not familiar with this project, StoryHack Action & Adventure is Bryce Beattie’s answer to the Pulp Revolution. Instead of lamenting the fact that the large magazines ignored tales of action and adventure, and looked down on sword & sorcery, he decided to start his own project.

This is the future of SFF publishing, fast, raw, and honest. Written and distributed by writers and editors who love the genre and whose only goal is to entertain. This is 1973, the internet is CBGB, and punk rock is right around the corner. Hop on and hold on tight because this is going to be a crazy ride through a brand new word.

 

Joining the Pulp Revolution with Storyhack Action & Adventure Issue 0!

It’s finally official, my Musket and Magic story A Tiger in the Garden will be in issue 0 of Storyhack Action & Adventure!

I am beyond humbled and happy that I get to debut my first story in such a fantastic way. Bryce Beattie exemplifies the Pulp Independent Aesthetic. He said fuck it, I’m starting a magazine that features the kind of stories I love, and actually went ahead and did it.fuckyeah

The Pulp Revolution is growing, becoming an unstoppable force. Every week a new anthology, magazine, or independent work gets published, while social media is chock full of fascinating genre discussion. For the first time in forever, I’m energized and motivated to read and write, trying my best to keep up with each requested submission. It is a great time for SFF!

I’m excited to be a small part of this movement, and I hope my contribution is up to par. It’s honestly humbling debuting my first piece next to great writers like Jon Mollison and the others that will make up Storyhack 0.

Stay tuned, once more information about this issue comes out I will let everyone know. Now on to finishing my pieces for all the other submissions I intend to make.

 

 

Read: 9 April 2017

I read moderately these past few weeks, a bit less than I usually do, but that’s mostly because of vacations and long work days. I also focused on short story collections and magazines, which take up a lot of time.

9 April 2017

Neuromancer by William Gibson. This is one of my favorite books so when I came across the $1.99 Kindle price I grabbed the digital version for a reread. Written in 1983, Neuromancer.jpgNeuromancer and I are the same age and I wanted to see if it still held up now that I have gotten a bit older. Aside from some edgylordy descriptions and 80’s style fatalism, the novel reads like something written today. Crisp, well written, and full of great scenery and action. It’s even more impressive once you take into account that half of the crap in the book that seems cliche was actually first created by Gibson. Cyberpunk is one of my favorite sub-genres and this novel was the original cyberpunk piece.

Suldrun’s Garden (Lyonesse #1) by Jack Vance. Another novel from 1983, Jack Vance’s first part of the Lyonesse trilogy is fantastic. A melancholy and remorseful fantasy novel, unlike anything popular today, reminiscent of pre-Tolkien fantasy with magic and fairies suldrunsgardenboth marvelous and sinister. This novel was so good I read the whole thing in one sitting, and now I’m waiting for a good day to do the same for the sequel. If you want to read fantasy different than the gritty hyper-realistic stuff out right now or the overwrought high fantasy of the 80s and 90s, give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War That Won It by John Ferling. A fantastic overview of the American WhirlwindRevolution in the context of the times. This book puts a lot of focus on the cultural aspect of the Revolution and the events that led up to hostilities. It goes into significant detail, covering the major battles and even a few of the lesser known engagements. A fantastic read about a historical period that gets burdened with romanticized accounts due to it being covered mostly in the early years of one’s education.  I have a new found love for 17th and 18th-century history, specifically focused on the Colonies so this scratched that itch. I have a history of the French and Indian War and one focused on Colonial Spies waiting on my Kindle right now.

That’s about it for the past few weeks. I’m about to start Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister and then go through some histories. Then I think I might return to Robin Hobb for Liveship Traders.

Reading, Writing, and Keeping up with the Revolution.

It’s Sunday morning here in Japan. There is a slight spring drizzle outside so I’m sitting here listening to the rain and enjoying my second cup of French Pressed coffee. I was supposed to run a 5k yesterday but it got axed due to rain, so instead, the organizers led an hour-long yoga flow class that kicked my ass. I need to start putting more emphasis on mobility and balance because I don’t want to turn into one of those stiff old guys, walking around with a limp. laptopcoffee

I took a few days off of work this week, some old friends are visiting Tokyo and I’m going to show them around, take them to Kamakura, etc. I’m pretty excited to spend time with them and also avoid work. They lucked out and will be here with the Sakura in full bloom so it should be a great time for sightseeing.

The Webz

It’s an exciting time in the reading, blogging, writing world. The Pulp Revolution seems to growing and growing every day. I can barely keep up with all the blog posts, podcasts, and new indy releases. I have Geek Gab and JimFears podcast standing by. I also took a bunch of notes while reading the first two Leiber collections that will eventually go into an opinion article I plan on writing. So much stuff so little time.

Writing

Last week I finished my latest story. A Musket&Magic piece that was inspired by Howard’s horror writing. I sent it off to WotF for shits and giggles, but I think it will make a great addition to my upcoming collection. I then started putting together ideas for my submission for the 21st Century Pulp anthology. Gotta admit I’m not much for coming up with ideas in the present, but I’m enjoying the challenge. Hopefully, I make the deadline. Unfortunately, my writing got a bit stalled due to binge watching Breaking Bad for the first time.

Reading and Reviews

Awhile back I decided that I will no longer write individual book reviews unless the book blows me away or I want to bring up a certain point for discussion. I’m not a book reviewer and have no intention becoming one.  But the whole point of this blog is reading and writing so I’m going to start doing a monthly review, combining everything I read into one post. I’m going to have the first done sometime tonight.

 

Hugo Crap

Nominations for the 2017 Hugo’s just got released. Every year I tell myself that I should follow the whole awards thing, get an idea of what’s popular, read up on some up and coming stars. Every year I remember that I don’t give a fuck. I don’t even know who won best novel last year.

The nominations look so painfully dull that I can’t even make myself finish the Amazon descriptions. Who reads this shit?  Hugobob

I’m just going to accept the honest truth that modern SFF does not align with my tastes and keep reading what I enjoy and writing what makes me happy.

 

 

Cirsova #5 More Than Just a Magazine

Cirsova #5 finally came out this weekend and I devoured this fantastic issue. If you follow me at all you have no doubt read about my enthusiastic discovery of Cirsova which led to me taking up the banner of the Pulp Revolution and rekindling my faltering love for Fantasy. I enjoyed issue #3 of Cirsova so much I bought the back issues and Kickstarted  #5 and #6. Cirsova

Cirsova isn’t just another SFF magazine. It’s a herald of a movement that will change Science Fiction and Fantasy, a romantic revolution that will bring back the magic, wonder, and adventure drained by the cancerous ghouls of litfic-fantasy.

Cirsova is part magazine, part mission statement. It’s an artistic collaboration akin to a digital Montparnasse in the 1920s, where the outcast artists and writers built and borrowed from each other, constantly innovating without a care for the giants of the industry.

The format of Issue #5 collaborates my thesis by being a themed issue. Almost every story is centered on the shared Misha Burnett created Eldritch Earth setting, with a goal of “telling Burroughsian stories in a Lovecraftian setting.”

All six of the collaborations succeed, giving a glimpse of a unique alien world and it’s inhabitants. Misha Burnette’s piece, In the Gloaming O My Darling, is one of the standouts. A grotesquely chilling piece that mixed Lovecraftian pulp horror with a modern grimdark style that really worked for me.

The highlight of the issue and a story I think illustrates the absolute badassery and potential of the Pulp Revolution writers, is Schuyler Hernstrom’s* novella, The Fist American. A piece of dark science-fantasy filled with savage barbarians, time-traveling astronauts, lizardmen, genetic mutations, flying saucers, and dinosaur riding. Schuyler crammed so much fucking awesome into one story that it should require a trigger warning for readers who haven’t been awakened to the Pulp Revolution, their poor litfic-fantasy weakened minds might shatter from exposure to so much action and excitement.

But of course not everything is perfect, and I think the magazine still has a lot of room for growth and improvement. For example, compared to past issues I don’t really dig the cover art. It doesn’t really capture the theme and mood of the pieces within. I much prefer the art found in past issues, which was a unique painterly fantasy style that stood out from the other hyperrealistic covered magazines. I also thought that the issues would have been tighter if it didn’t include the non-themed pieces, for example, The Bears of 1812, was a good historical-fantasy, but it felt out of place compared to everything else.

What Cirsova lacks in polish it makes up for with clear editorial purpose and passion. Reading these stories you can’t help but notice that the authors have an undisputed love for adventurous and heroic fantasy. It’s clear Cirsova isn’t one of those award chasing magazines filled with pseudo-lit stories that hit every current trendy sociopolitical theme yet fail to tell anything that resembles a compelling story. No, Cirsova is rough and raw, but unceasingly real.

Pick up issue #5, join the revolution, you won’t be disappointed.

*Schuyler Hernstrom has a great short story collection called Thune’s Vision.

Writing Update: March 2017

I just finished the first draft of my latest story, An Eye for Eligos. A dark musket and magic tale set during the American Revolution, where I attempted to channel the darker aspects of Howard’s writing. Violence, black magic, sinister monstrosities, all of the pulpy stuff I enjoy.

I did a quick editing pass, then read it to my wife. She usually mercilessly tears my stuff apart so her input is priceless. She liked it but pointed out that it was darker, a whole lot darker,  than my usual stuff.

Tomorrow I’m going to run a few more in-depth passes, let it sit, then send it to WotF. The contest right now is a bit of a placeholder, I don’t particularly feel that this piece will place, mostly due to its horror vibe and the higher level of violence. But that’s ok because I wrote it for my planned story collection that will have a dark sorcerous pulp theme.

I also intended to knock out something for the Baen contest but I don’t think I will make the deadline. I might dig through my digital closet and pull out some old story, spiff it up real quick, and hope it magically impresses.

This weekend I will begin on something for the 21st Action Pulp anthology I posted earlier. Something about Mexico, tequila, cartels, Santa Muerte, and mustaches.  When that’s done I’m planning on moving on to space babes, sentient techno-bears, and space mutants, something I believe will be sent to Cirsova if it opens up.

In between all of this I will try to squeeze in some blog posts. I devoured a bunch of Leiber, read Vance’s Lyonesse, and have Cirsova 5 loaded on my Kindle. Posts need to be written and discussions need to be started