Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Review of Cirsova #4 [Part 1]

Before I continue on, there is something readers should know. For those interested, Cirsova is open for story submissions. Have a Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction tale? Then send it in to them. More information on submissions can be found on their site.

In the meantime, here's a review I've been meaning to get out for awhile.

This review took a while to get off the ground. Not only was I away from blogging for a while where this fell on the back-burner, but this issue of Cirsova is twice as big as a normal issue. There is a lot to cover.

With 18 pieces to go through, I decided to split this up into two posts. I hope you will indulge me in this since one long post would clutter everything up.

First up we have Wall Wardens by Lynn Rushlau. This is a fantastical story set in a dystopic world where a warden is framed with one of the worst crimes imaginable. This was a great start to the volume since it slides the reader into a world that clearly screams that this is a pulp magazine. Quite enjoyed this one.

The Lady of the Amorous City by Edward M. Erdelac is next. Two boys are tasked with slaying a monster in absence of a proper knight to take the quest. But things might not be quite what they seem. I have a bit of a weak point when it comes to stories of honorable knights so I already have a bias for this. Great characters and a simple, but engaging, plot. The ending was also my favorite in the issue.

In the third story, The Unfolding of the World by Harold R. Thompson, Captain Anchor Brown is tasked with mapping a river and is enveloped in an adventure when he ends up over his head. This tale features some exciting duels and plenty of adventure to go around. The ending is a bit quiet for my taste.

Then there’s The Sands of Rubal-Khali by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt. This one is about a slave girl on a distant planet desperately trying to win her freedom and find her sister. I wasn’t much of a fan of the ending as it stopped short without resolution; it just missed feeling satisfying.

Next is The Witch of Elrica by Jennifer Povey. This one was about a teenager and a witch getting together during an arranged marriage party. This wasn’t really my type of story, and the ending didn’t do much for me, but it was well told.

The Vault of Phalos by Jeffrey Scott Sims is the first of two novelettes in the magazine. The start was really slow as it was used to set the world up. It took far too much time before we even got a main character’s name. However, it eventually all comes together to a phenomenal final encounter making the wait worth it. It just could have stood a bit more trimming overall.

Ever wonder what a more fantastical Jason Bourne story might be like? The Bubbcat by Sean Monaghan might be what you’re looking for. There are a lot of quick cuts to other locations and times which can make the story disorienting at times, but it works well in the frame of the story. There seems to be a bit of unresolved story revolving around the brother unless I missed something. Nonetheless, it’s one of the best stories in the issue.

After that we come to A Suit of Haidrah Skin by Rob Lang. This was a really imaginative story that was so bleak I thought the pages were turning a shade darker as I read along. This was a fascinating read, but not really my sort of story.

The ninth story is Lost Men by Eugene L. Morgulis. It was a meta take on Peter Pan and I really didn’t like it. I saw the ending coming far too soon in the story. If you like these sorts of stories you will most certainly like it more than I did. The prose was splendid.

The third part of My Name is John Carter by James Hutchings followed, and it was a pleasant breather from the last two stories. I’m no expert on poetry but I do appreciate this series as they attempt to retell the John Carter story. If there is a reason to collect Cirsova issues beyond the excellent stories, it’s for material like this.

There's still more to go, but for now I'll end it here. Tune in next time when we finish off the issue with some great (and not so great) stories to go over.

Oh, and if you have a story you're looking to sell, be sure to check out Cirsova. They'll be open for submissions from June 1st  to July 15th.

Until next time!

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