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Cirsova #2: Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine (Volume 2) Paperback – July 25, 2016
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Adrian Cole's "Sealed City" gives us eldritch, sword-and-planet - fun and dark and apparently a look into his wider world of the Dream Lords.
Brian K. Lowe's "Hoskin's War" gives us some Historical Fiction with a forgotten history twist. It's a great story, full of action and adventure and saving the girl. Highly recommended.
Karl Gallagher's "Squire Errant" sees a nice change of pace. While heroic, the real hero here isn't the main character, but the village he turns into a monster hunting militia. A great piece about the heroism of men protecting their homes.
James Hutchings "My Name is John Carter" continues a verse retelling of Burroughs' A Princess of Mars. It's fun, especially if you've read Burrows. Some of the poetry can be a little hammy, but you always forgive it with a chuckle.
S.H. Mansouri's "The Water Walks Tonight" is a Viking adventure. It's got great potential, but doesn't have much of a payoff. It sets up a mystery - what are the sins of these men - but we don't ever really get it solved. Some viking things may not have been explained as well as they could have been.
Michael Tierney's "Shark Fighter" is a fantastic concept, but I was left feeling it could have been executed better. Everything makes sense in the end, but the beats didn't bring me there. I was intrigued in the end, but had to drag myself to get there.
And Schuyler Hernstrom's "Image of the Goddess"... This is worth the price alone. Hell, double the price and it's worth it. I wasn't a fan of Hernstrom's first story in Cirsova 1. This one though proves the man is a genius. It's what you might expect from a series of novels packed into a novella where it never feels rushed. It's funny, with a monk, a wisecracking sorcerer, hot barbarian warrior girl, awesome fight scenes, a heist, subversion (but never cynical), zombies, giant apes... Oh, the list goes on and IT'S SO GOOD! Read it!
Kristine Kathryn Rusch's essay, "Rescuing Women", is a fantastic summary of the place of women in Science Fiction, going through the forgotten history and taking a gentle stab at the current rhetoric of "breaking barriers". It's good stuff.
If you're on the fence about Cirsova, get off. Read this. It's awesome.