- Schuyler Hernstrom brings the heat with another grim faced barbarian encountering ancient future-tech in a quest to save his village.
- Misha Burnett continues to show the world how to give the old New Wave spin on things a fresh face.
- James Hutchings reminds the world that there's life left yet within the Homeric epic genre with more of the John Carter saga.
- Brian K. Lowe's outing doesn't quite rise to the level of his fantastic Invisible City, but he's another author that has yet to let me down.
- Michael Tierney manages to present a heroic Sacagawea who doesn't feel like a forced "U Go Grrl" within that sadly neglected setting for fantasy - the American frontier. Okay, so it wanders from the frontier back to Madison's Washington D.C., but it still counts.
Beyond just proving that Cirsova can survive a dip in quality and come roaring back, this issue made me sit up and take notice of something that has happened over the last year. After a decade long spell of having roughly one go-to author names (Glen Cook, for the record), I now have more than I can keep track of. I was eagerly anticipating this issue not just because I trust the editor, but because I really enjoy the authors on the cover. They give me something positive to look forward to, and that's something that I haven't had in a long time.
It's a great sign, this return to fun, and the rise of a new culture of writers dedicated to 'Cirsova style fiction' serves as a much needed corrective to the market.