Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Signal Boost ~ "Queen of the Martian Catacombs" + Hardcover Omnibus by Leigh Brackett & Cirsova

Queen of the Martian Catacombs is Here.
The Stark Omnibus is Here.

Out today is a very special project from friend of the blog, and one of the favorite current running magazines of mine, Cirsova. No, this isn't another issue though those are still on the way.

These are the first of the three original Eric Stark pulp novels written by Leigh Brackett, one of the inspirations behind Star Wars and one of the greatest authors of the pulp era. The first, Queen of the Martian Catacombs, is out today in both e-book and physical forms, as well as the hardcover omnibus that houses all three stories in one package. Both include new illustrations by StarTwo, but the omnibus features even more art and an appendix on top of it. Each edition has an introduction from someone who knows more than a little about the pulp era. The first one is by the Pulp Archivist, Nathan Housley.

The other two books will be released standalone in the next two months if that's how you prefer them. Their covers are just as bright and exciting as the first.

The three pulp novels originally ran in Planet Stories in the late '40s and early '50s, the last of the Golden Age magazines. Starring a man with skin so black he might be sunburned to Hell and back, Eric John Stark, Brackett introduced her own touch to the classic pulp hero that the modern world has been trying to destroy ever since.

If you're curious about these old pulp tales and want to get your feet wet there are few better places to start than here.

The description of Queen of the Martian Catacombs is as follows:

Trouble is brewing on Mars... With civil war about to erupt, Eric John Stark has been sent to investigate an apocalyptic warlord recruiting mercenaries. More disturbing than the promise of a full scale war to unify the Martian city states is the claim that Delgaun's ally, Kynon of Shun, has at his disposal ancient sorceries that grant him powers of life and death. 
When Kynon's mistress, the beautiful Berild, takes an interest in Stark, the mercenary swordsman finds himself caught in a web of lies, betrayal, and evil magic. Can Stark unravel the mysteries of the lost Martian tribe and pull Mars back from the brink of war? The mysterious Berild is prepared to kill to keep the secret buried in the deserts of Mars--or offer it up on a plate to Stark if he will help her conquer the Red Planet! 
An all-new, fully-illustrated edition of Leigh Brackett's classic Sword & Planet adventure!
All that in a 200 page paperback.

Cirsova really should be commended for this job of keeping the classics in print that the mainstream publishers have been trying to bury for decades. There is so much material out there begging for readers that have given up on the traditional book market with publishers such as Tor and Baen chasing smaller and smaller audiences with their more niche styles and degrading quality of their covers. That it took an up and coming publisher to do these stories justice is a sad reminder of the state of the industry, though it is good for smaller pubs such as Cirsova. With Star Wars movies still releasing and the lies about women representation in the pulp era it says something that these tales are still being hidden from you.

As I've previously said, there are many pulp era authors that have works out of print that have no business having them out of print. From Brackett, to Otis Adelbert Kline, to Ross Rocklynne, to Ray Cummings, to . . . well, to this day there are novels that ran in Weird Tales and Astounding Stories that have still never been compiled or re-released. The Campbellians dropped the ball hard on archiving their predecessors works and the Futurians deliberately set out to bury them.

God bless those such as Cirsova, Armchair Fiction, and DMR Books for keeping them in print. Someone has to do it, and thankfully they have stepped up to the challenge.

So if you're looking for a good pulp yarn you might want to keep your eye on this series. Brackett is one of the best and this edition gives her the justice she deserves.

And for those who want more pulp revolution I have a post coming up this week that should make you happy. It's been some time coming!

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