Review: Cirsova Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense, Issue #9/ Winter 2021

Cirsova Magazine is gearing up for the release of its Spring Issue for 2022, readers, so now seems to be a good time to review their 2021 Winter Issue*. This one has thrills and chills aplenty, with the cover story being particularly frightening. A word of free advice? Do not read that story in the dark before going to bed. It will not do you any favors!

But this is putting the cart before the horse. Let us take a look at the description for this issue of Cirsova Magazine and see what it has to say for itself:

For We Are Many

By PAUL LUCAS

Infinite universes are filled with myriad worlds of infinite possibilities—and infinite selves! One man hunts and is hunted across the multiverse, seeking absolution!

The Wreck of the Cassada

By JIM BREYFOGLE

The Mongoose and Meerkat have been hired to lay claim to the salvage of a wrecked ship… and will be partnered with none other than the Hand of Bursa!

Wychyrst Tower

By MATTHEW PUNGITORE

A strange find on a Caribbean expedition haunts the atavistic Dulf Abbandonato… Why would the family name of an old New England friend appear in the West Indies!?

She Saw It Creeping Up the Stairs

By MARK PELLEGRINI

Lisa and her mother have moved in with her grandmother! Grandmother is wheel-chair-bound, and Mom is in the other room… So who is walking around upstairs?!

Fail Early, Fail Well

By W.L. EMERY

Some projects are doomed to failure… Sometimes, it’s better they fail sooner than later! It is Vinellius’s job to ensure the worst of these projects fail just right!

Thorwynn Stapledon and “The Mellifluous Phoenix”

By SU-RA-U

It was supposed to be a drug-fueled science fiction anthology alleging to recreate the human brain! But what was the sinister truth behind The Mellifluous Phoenix?!

Harmonious Unity Burns

By Jed Del Rosario

The most diverse city in the Federated Alliance is burning! Riots and upheaval have necessitated the intervention of elite mercenaries—who is behind the chaos?!

My Name Is John Carter (Part 10)

By JAMES HUTCHINGS

[Editor’s Note: Continued from Cirsova Vol 2. #6]

Stealing the Alchemist Stone

By RICHARD RUBIN

Burke Fletcher and his wife Llana have just absconded with an Alchemist Stone! But the baron they stole it from is not the only one who desires its arcane powers!

To the Sound of a Silent Harp

By WILLIAM HUGGINS

Harp, a deadly and addictive vidliq, will possess you forever—much like Cavan, the magnate who built his fortune on it! Ciaon, Cavan’s errand boy, finds himself caught in a deadly web of deception—can he escape, or is he, too, a man possessed?!

Queen of the House

By J. MANFRED WEICHSEL

A door-to-door salesman promises a fantastic cleaning device that can get rid of anything and everything! But what can get rid of a salesman who won’t give up?!

The Creation of Science Fiction

By MICHAEL TIERNEY

 

For We Are Many has the feel of an old Twilight Zone* episode, though not from our particular perspective. One can see some hint of Sliders* in the story’s premise, but that is about as far as it goes. The protagonist is a man coming face-to-face with his sins, and that leads him to leap to the wrong conclusion entirely. How he resolves this cycle of destruction and death is not a climax one anticipates, though it isn’t exactly startling, either.

Jim Breyfogle’s The Wreck of the Cassada sees the Mongoose (Mangos) and Meerkat (Kat) ally with an old nemesis. If you read the 2019 Spring Issue or Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat, Vol. 1: Pursuit Without Asking*, you will recognize their temporary partner in this venture. The story also supplies a good reason for why Mangos doesn’t like to swim – and this reader cannot find fault with his logic!

Wychryst Tower is told in an archaic style and it may occasionally require one to go back over a sentence to be sure it was understood the first time until you get into the rhythm. Nevertheless, it is a fine adventure with a happy ending, and the horror is not so bad that you cannot read it before falling into bed.

She Saw It Creeping Up The Stairs… Well, if you don’t like seeing harm come to small children, this story is not for you. If that is not a barrier to reading a good horror piece, however, then this tale about the thing that makes sounds in Lisa’s grandmother’s house and which grandmother has never looked in the eyes will entertain you. But be forewarned; this is not something to read before bed. Not if you want to be able to sleep peacefully, at least!

Fail Early, Fail Well is a fun little adventure that suggests the author, W.L. Emery, got to see Leverage* at least once. What happens when interstellar companies cut corners and bamboozle various governments into paying for projects that cost more than they are worth, or which promote investments that will never see a return? One man has an idea how to make quite a bit of profit from this business – and in the process, he accidentally saves people as well!

Halfway through Thorwynn Stapleton and “The Melliflous Phoenix,” I started to grin. SU-RA-U typically writes horror but, in this case, it struck me that this episode is more humorous than terrifying. Oh, the ending is disconcerting, but as for how you get there… Pardon the giggles, but I think you ought to read it and decide for yourself.

Harmonious Unity Burns is a rather serious look at how politics can be manipulated from behind the scenes. The action is good and the story is tense, but the worldbuilding makes me think this story is part of a larger universe. If that is so, I would like to read more of it. The depth implicit in the descriptions of the system, the races, and the characters is barely scratched upon in the course of this installment.

Since this author is currently reading A Princess of Mars* and wrote a review of the John Carter* film for Upstream Reviews, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a word about the poem My Name Is John Carter which is now at Part 10. Part 9 is available in this issue here. Part 10 was as worthy a read as the previous one, and I am grateful to James Hutchings for transcribing the story into lyrics that are pleasant to read. If none of the stories above tempted you to purchase this issue, then My Name Is John Carter (Part 10) ought to do the job!

Richard Rubin’s Stealing the Alchemist Stone felt like a cross between He-Man*, Andre Norton’s Witch World*, and an episode of the original Star Trek* television series. A blend of science and magic, the story leads a reader through many twists and turns before reaching an appropriately dramatic climax. Mr. Rubin does the old pulp writers proud in this episode and, if he hasn’t already, I would like to see him develop this world further. It is a worthwhile avenue of entertainment and escape, readers!

To the Sound of a Silent Harp is a fantastic tale set in a future, dying Earth. Interstellar travel exists, and so does interstellar crime. The same goes for drugs, one of which will kill users whose supply is cut. Known only as the Harp, the protagonist has no intention of touching the stuff. His boss, on the other hand, has some very unpleasant plans for the Harp – and the hero!

Queen of the House rounds out the issue with a hilarious homage to The Jetsons*. No, I will not say more than that. The tale is funny and will make you think of the classic cartoon series, but it is definitely its own universe. A worthy conclusion to the collection contained herein.

For the grand finale we have an essay by Michael Tierney about The Creation of Science Fiction. Short and to the point, I wish it had lasted longer, as it provided some fascinating insights into the origin of sci-fi. Further pieces by Mr. Tierney on this subject would be more than welcome for this Cirsova reader. I want to see more on this topic in the magazine in the future!

If you have not already purchased their Winter Issue, readers, then pick it up in paperback* or ebook format today! You will not regret having this excellent collection of tales on your digital or physical shelf, or left on top of your coffee table. It will be a great conversation starter, and your guests just may be inclined to pick up the 2022 Spring Issue after they peruse this one!

*These are Amazon affiliate links. When you purchase something through them, this author receives a commission from Amazon at no extra charge to you, the buyer.

If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at www.carolinefurlong.wordpress.com. Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth, while her poetry appeared in Organic Ink, Vol. 2. She has also had stories published in Planetary Anthologies Luna, Uranus, and Sol. Another story was released in Cirsova Magazine’s Summer Issue in 2020, and she had a story published in Storyhack Magazine’s 7th Issue and Cirsova Magazine’s 2021 Summer Issue. Order them today!

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