Cirsova’s fourth issue isn’t part of my magazine quest/contest, but I decided this would be a good time to blog about it. Cirsova launched a Kickstarter campaign recently, covering issues 9 and 10, and a friend of the editor is doing a Gofundme fundraiser to cover some unexpected veterinary bills.
Lately, my job hasn’t left me the time or energy to do much writing, so I’m just going to jot down a sentence or two about each story, to give you a quick idea of the setting or style. I hope to do a more in-depth review of Cirsova’s fifth issue, where the stories are set in the world established in Misha Burnett’s “A Hill of Stars”, which was the highlight of Cirsova’s first issue.
Looking at Cirsova #4 quality-wise, I’d give about half of the stories four stars or more, and I wouldn’t give any of them a one-star rating. I normally throw out the single stars like a spastic ninja with a bag of shuriken, so not getting tagged with one is an accomplishment, especially in a double-length issue. Thirty-two of the forty-nine magazines in round one of my quest had at least one single-star story.
Wall Wardens by Lynn Rushlau A magical dome protects a city from being engulfed by lava, but some idiots want to sabotage the dome.
The Lady of the Amorous City by Edward Erdelac. A young King Arthur faces some monsters straight out of HP Lovecraft’s work.
The Unfolding of the World by Harold Thompson. An agent of a colonial empire explores a mysterious kingdom.
The Sands of Rubal-Khali by Donald Uitvlugt. A woman is captured by slavers while searching for her missing sister.
The Witch of Elrica by Jennifer Povey. A witch threatens a royal marriage.
The Vault of Phalos by Jeffery Sims. Two wizards and some soldiers go after evil cultists. Occasional archaic language and infodumps slowed this story down for me.
The Bubbcat by Sean Monaghan. A sci-fi story about a mysterious mission to deliver a mysterious object.
A Suit of Haidrah Skin by Rob Lang. A wizard’s tower is protected by a terrestrial coral reef.
Lost Men by Eugene Morgulis. A Peter Pan story.
Where There Is No Sanctuary by Howie Bentley. Werewolf vs evil wizard. There was a little bit of sexual stuff in this one, and some torture, and I wasn’t really ready for that, at least on the day I was reading it.
Dust of Truth by Joyce Frohn. Female warriors raid and loot. I didn’t feel like the author went deep enough with her matriarchial society. It just felt like women acting like men and men acting like women. I felt it needed something more than just a 100% reversal.
The Priests of Shalaz by Jay Barnson. Sailors discover a gateway to another planet.
The Last Dues Owed by Christine Lucas. A Minoan assassin vs an Egyptian one, but it turns out there’s some history between the two. I’m interested in bronze-age fiction, and this story had some nice twists.
Shadow Vision by Preston Dennett. A magical region of darkness is explored by a blind man, a man who can see in the dark, and a princess with a magical night-vision device.
The Ride by Edward McDermott. Oops, I forgot to take notes on this one. I believe it was about a man on the run from something/someone.
The Phantom Sands of Calavass by SH Mansouri. An investigator visits a colony world to find out what’s been happening to the (alien) miners.