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Spring 2017 special Eldritch Earth issue. Burroughsian adventure on a prehistoric Lovecraftian Earth. Novella The First American, by Schuyler Hernstrom Short Stories War of the Ruby/Shapes In the Fog, by Brian K. Lowe Darla of Deodanth, by Louise Sorensen In the Gloaming O My Darling, by Misha Burnett The Queen of Shadows, by Jay Barnson Beyond the Grea Spring 2017 special Eldritch Earth issue. Burroughsian adventure on a prehistoric Lovecraftian Earth. Novella The First American, by Schuyler Hernstrom Short Stories War of the Ruby/Shapes In the Fog, by Brian K. Lowe Darla of Deodanth, by Louise Sorensen In the Gloaming O My Darling, by Misha Burnett The Queen of Shadows, by Jay Barnson Beyond the Great Divide, by S.H. Mansouri Through the Star-Thorn Maze, by Lynn Rushlau The Bears of 1812, by Michael Tierney A Killing in Karkesh, by Adrian Cole Poetry My Name is John Carter (Pt. 4), by James Hutchings


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Spring 2017 special Eldritch Earth issue. Burroughsian adventure on a prehistoric Lovecraftian Earth. Novella The First American, by Schuyler Hernstrom Short Stories War of the Ruby/Shapes In the Fog, by Brian K. Lowe Darla of Deodanth, by Louise Sorensen In the Gloaming O My Darling, by Misha Burnett The Queen of Shadows, by Jay Barnson Beyond the Grea Spring 2017 special Eldritch Earth issue. Burroughsian adventure on a prehistoric Lovecraftian Earth. Novella The First American, by Schuyler Hernstrom Short Stories War of the Ruby/Shapes In the Fog, by Brian K. Lowe Darla of Deodanth, by Louise Sorensen In the Gloaming O My Darling, by Misha Burnett The Queen of Shadows, by Jay Barnson Beyond the Great Divide, by S.H. Mansouri Through the Star-Thorn Maze, by Lynn Rushlau The Bears of 1812, by Michael Tierney A Killing in Karkesh, by Adrian Cole Poetry My Name is John Carter (Pt. 4), by James Hutchings

41 review for Cirsova: Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    The only way that the Cthulhu Mythos works nowadays is for some enterprising author to recontextualize the material, either exploring new ways for their characters to interact with it--I still need to read Lovecraft Country and The Ballad of Black Tom--or using the raw material in a different genre. "A Hill of Stars" from this magazine's first issue was like that, using the Lovecraftian prehuman history of Earth as setting for adventure stories that the editor pegs as "Burroughsian" but to me The only way that the Cthulhu Mythos works nowadays is for some enterprising author to recontextualize the material, either exploring new ways for their characters to interact with it--I still need to read Lovecraft Country and The Ballad of Black Tom--or using the raw material in a different genre. "A Hill of Stars" from this magazine's first issue was like that, using the Lovecraftian prehuman history of Earth as setting for adventure stories that the editor pegs as "Burroughsian" but to me smacks more of Robert E Howard. Cthulhu purists may quibble about details, especially about tone and the presence of humans, but we don't need that kind of negativity around here. What's genius is opening the Eldritch Earth setting in an organized way to other authors. The collection itself is strong, going for the most straightforward adventure-type stories, but nobody really asked for otherwise.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    I will admit that I am really ashamed of myself when it comes to this review copy. It was my first print review copy! And actually, I started reading it right away after receiving it. Although perhaps my mistake was making this our bedtime buddy read with my boyfriend – and one year later, we are still buddy reading it 🤦🏻 I thought it would make a more interesting review if me and our D&D Dungeon Master reviewed it together, but... I can't get said Dungeon Master to read it often enough with me. I will admit that I am really ashamed of myself when it comes to this review copy. It was my first print review copy! And actually, I started reading it right away after receiving it. Although perhaps my mistake was making this our bedtime buddy read with my boyfriend – and one year later, we are still buddy reading it 🤦🏻 I thought it would make a more interesting review if me and our D&D Dungeon Master reviewed it together, but... I can't get said Dungeon Master to read it often enough with me. We can only read so much before we fall asleep. Regardless, I will also admit that perhaps it was just not too much to our liking. Perhaps we'd have finished it sooner if we liked it more. I will definitely agree that it is VERY D&D etc. themed! So fans should enjoy it. But it was maybe a little bit too.. odd in places. Maybe just not for me. If you're a tentacle and Lovecraft fan though? Definitely yes! It's all about the weird creatures, prehistoric tech, loads of tentacles and anything that eats humans (mostly Barbarians). The ideas are definitely cool, and if you're a fan of any of those themes, go for it. It is also a collection of many different authors, so if you don't like a story or two, you will probably enjoy the rest. I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion. Read Post On My Blog | My Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dave Higgins

    Alexander gathers a series of tales that suggest what might happen if people of violence and cunning rather than book-learning faced Lovecraftian threats. This edition contains eight short stories, one novelette, and one poem, The majority of the prose works are set in the Eldritch Earth, an alternate prehistoric era that blends classic swords-and-sorcery with dinosaurs and Lovecraftian weirdness. ‘War of the Ruby’ by Brian K. Lowe. With night closing in and fog-choking the streets, Lannic wants Alexander gathers a series of tales that suggest what might happen if people of violence and cunning rather than book-learning faced Lovecraftian threats. This edition contains eight short stories, one novelette, and one poem, The majority of the prose works are set in the Eldritch Earth, an alternate prehistoric era that blends classic swords-and-sorcery with dinosaurs and Lovecraftian weirdness. ‘War of the Ruby’ by Brian K. Lowe. With night closing in and fog-choking the streets, Lannic wants an evening drinking by the fire. His new companion Senela would prefer they retire to bed. However, dark forces searching for an artefact that she stole deny them both their wish. This story has a strong pulp fantasy feel: a less-than-honourable swordsman, a female thief of equal morals and agency, magical artefacts, sorcerous priests; each presented in prose that focuses on action rather than introspection. ‘Darla of Deodanth’ by Louise Sorensen. When a rich woman hires Darla to find her missing dog, it seems like easy money—until the trail leads to the home of an Elder Thing, one of the pre-human builders of the city. Sorensen’s Elder Thing is a skilled blend of original source material and new setting: readers familiar with At the Mountains of Madness are likely to have no doubts this is the same species, but the nuances of behaviour are entirely plausible for a city where humans and Elder Things coexist as—if not equals—not slave/tool and master/user. ‘In the Gloaming O My Darling’ by Misha Burnett. As the Yrrowaine age, they withdraw to the depths of the sea; however, their queens need to mate with human men, a mating that is rumoured to seem like sex with the most beautiful woman imaginable. For Tak and Michorn, chained on the shore, the truth is deeply relevant, but how can they plan a response when there have been no known survivors? Burnett reimagines how the breeding of Deep Ones and humans, subtle and cultish in ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’, might happen in a world of slavers and commonly accepted weirdness. Drawing upon the commonalities between all humans, however different a world they inhabit, he skilfully balances the proactivity of classic pulp heroes with the dread of the incomprehensible of Lovecraft. ‘The Queen of Shadows’ by Jay Barnson. Jorgan left Deodanth, and the feuds between noble families, years ago. However, a letter from his sister claiming she dreads for her life draws him back into the city and into the dark spaces beneath the city that were home to its pre-human builders. Mixing the assassin-filled politics and insane experimentation of pulp fantasy with the hyper-science of Lovecraftian history, Barnson besets a classic hero with betrayals and threats that offer less certainty of human victory than usual. ‘Beyond the Great Divide’ by SH Mansouri. The insectile Slagborn are the rightful inhabitants of the equatorial wilds. Certain of his place SB-13 leads a slave raid against a human tribe who dare to encroach; however, the visceral chaos of war is very different from the purity of the hive. Mansouri skilfully walks the line between protagonists who are merely humans in ‘rubber masks’ and those whose psychology is inaccessible to readers—or at least offers no opportunity for sympathy—providing a glimpse of an alien culture while also showing the struggle of all sentient beings to balance group and self that unites even the most ostensibly different social structures. ‘The First American’ by Schuyler Hernstrom. When the reptilian Dryth raid his tribe and carry off his love, Tyur swears vengeance. But, with the raiding party having withdrawn into the searing deserts, he will not survive the chase—unless he breaks the law of the tribe and petitions the sorcerer who lives in the peak of the mountains. Hernstrom’s novelette blends the trope of a barbarian warrior’s epic quest for vengeance with hyper-science that sits in the liminal zone between magic and futurism. Thus, while this is a solid action piece with strong characters, some readers might find the juxtaposition of hunter-gatherer tribes with modern science a touch jarring. ‘Through the Star-Thorn Maze’ by Lynn Rushlau. A mere archivist in a rigidly hierarchical society, Corree’s only way to escape the lecherous Sir Trahan is to flee the Citadel; but that would require navigating the deadly maze that surrounds it. Her only hope is to free Lark Waymaker, a slave who was once an honoured visitor from beyond the maze. Focusing on character and fear of the unknown, rather than overt magics and strangeness, Rushlau reframes the heist or jailbreak narrative for a fantasy world. ‘The Bears of 1812’ by Michael Tierney. When hunters killed a grizzly and gave her cubs to the President of the United States as a gift, natives warned they would bring a curse down on themselves. As British troops advance on the White House, one US army officer is tasked with bringing a native guide back to appease the spirits. Deviating from the official story of her death, Tierney speculates that Sacagawea (of the Lewis and Clark expedition) was summoned to Washington by the First Lady in case the curse on taking grizzly bear cubs was true. With few documents providing insight into the real Sacagawea, and native oral tradition contradicting some of them, it is hard to tell whether readers with a specific interest in her life will find her portrayal convincing or not; however, the characterisation is plausible and the spiritual aspects subtle rather than overt, so those interested in alternate histories and colonial war stories are likely to enjoy it whatever their stance on magic being real. ‘A Killing in Karkesh’ by Adrian Cole. Having purged a lost city of the Cult of the Goat, Arrul Voruum pursues his quarry to Karkesh. However, the authorities are not welcoming of witchhunters and the survivors of the cult have dispatched foul assassins to end his threat. While this is a sequel to another story that featured in a previous edition, Cole focuses on character and immediate issues rather than grand arcs, and integrates backstory smoothly where necessary; thus the story functions equally well as a solo tale in a slightly more fantastical vein than Solomon Kane. ‘My Name is John Carter (Part 4)’ by James Hutchings. Captured by the monstrous Tharks, Dejah Thoris attempts to win them to her side. When they respond with further cruelty, John Carter strikes back hard. This is the fourth part of Hutchings’ retelling of Edgar Rice Boroughs’ Barsoom series as an epic poem. The start and end points are well chosen to allow this to stand as a complete arc for those readers unfamiliar with the previous parts; however, as with the lays and sagas of Tolkien and other such authors, readers are likely to either see it as a skilled use of poesy to enhance narrative or an example of an interesting story buried by form depending on their stance on poetry in general. ‘Shapes in the Fog’ by Brian K. Lowe. As Lannic and Senela race through the fog-covered streets, the barmaid who served them is caught up in the chaos. In this companion tale to ‘War of the Ruby’, Lowe provides insight into some of the mysterious events of that story. While each of those authors who have used the Eldritch Earth setting have placed their own slant on it, there are commonalities that are likely to divide reader opinion of the topic as a whole. Alexander describes the setting as a mix of Lovecraft and Edgar Rice Burroughs; and it is certainly both more weird than either Tarzan or Mars and more muscular than classic Mythos. However, the result is not an even division between the two points: the protagonists are thieves, warriors, and priests, each persons of action rather than Lovecraft’s academics, creating a contrast with his tales; but classic pulp in the vein of Conan already includes the trope of magic that is foul and illogical, weakening the impact of cosmicism. Thus, although the stories are likely to provide pleasingly fresh stories of people facing adversity and accepting their agency for fans of pulp action, those fans of Lovecraft who consider the insignificance of humans as the core trait of his work might disagree with Alexander’s claim that the stories are a change from authors sticking some mythos trappings on and calling it Lovecraftian. Overall, I enjoyed this edition of the magazine immensely. I recommend it to readers seeking less cerebral Lovecraftian plot arcs or rollicking fantasy stories.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Another great issue full of exciting pulp stories, this one with a special theme of Burroughsian adventure set on a prehistoric Lovecraftian Earth, the Eldritch Earth. The two standout stories for me this time were by authors who I had discovered in previous issues of Cirsova, Schuyler Hernstrom's novella "The First American", and "A Killing in Karkesh" by Adrian Cole. Another great issue full of exciting pulp stories, this one with a special theme of Burroughsian adventure set on a prehistoric Lovecraftian Earth, the Eldritch Earth. The two standout stories for me this time were by authors who I had discovered in previous issues of Cirsova, Schuyler Hernstrom's novella "The First American", and "A Killing in Karkesh" by Adrian Cole.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve DuBois

    The Lovecraft-Burroughs marriage is a rocky one, but Eldritch Earth shows potential as an authorial environment. The best stuff in this collection is very good indeed, with highlights from Burnett, Mansouri and Hernstrom.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pearse Anderson

    This whole magazine issues takes place in a shared universe of Lovecraftian origin. I had no starting point for this universe and felt it was too confusing, pulpy, off-putting, and poor to continue reading. Next, please.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter K

    An intriguing read. Lots of variety. I loved the Eldritch Earth stories. Will probably try to read more of these.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brian Stein

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Clark

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ted

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joel Adamson

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mark Harrop

  13. 4 out of 5

    Arthur Pindragon

  14. 5 out of 5

    Todd Everhart

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laj

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hawkings Austin

  17. 4 out of 5

    William Eckman

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jay Barnson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Scott E Nash

  20. 5 out of 5

    Severius

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christos Antonaros

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sablehawk

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emperorponders

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jon

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris Wojcik

  26. 4 out of 5

    James Schmidt

  27. 4 out of 5

    H. P.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Galaxy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Larry G Pryor Jr.

  30. 5 out of 5

    John Ward

  31. 4 out of 5

    Kim Bishop

  32. 4 out of 5

    Gregory L. Hollen

  33. 4 out of 5

    Patricia L Fletcher

  34. 4 out of 5

    Gary Feather

  35. 4 out of 5

    David Eyk

  36. 4 out of 5

    Lezli

  37. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Fry

  38. 4 out of 5

    John Wardell

  39. 4 out of 5

    Len Evans Jr

  40. 5 out of 5

    Georgia Acker

  41. 5 out of 5

    Sheba Hall

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