Today we'll be speaking with P Alexander of Cirsova, a publisher of adventure fiction, scifi and fantasy. The flagship magazine of the same name has been in print since 2016. Although it started in the OSR gaming blogosphere, Cirsova is now focused on fiction and pulp. Including the 2022 Winter Issue there have been 25 issues of the magazine published. Newer projects include Mongoose and Meerkat, Anthologies from Misha Burnet, and Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars.
Below I've transcribed, and sometimes heavily paraphrased, a few bits of our discussion. Timestamps are linked above the question, in case you'd like to hear the exact section of the interview. This is only a small slice of the interview which I encourage everyone to watch in full here or just scroll down.
What inspired you to do this? Did it grow out of your involvement in the OSR blogosphere or was it always something you'd wanted to do?It grew out of it. Around 2014 to 2015 I was hitting up a lot of science fiction pulps, doing a lot of reading in tandem with what Jeffro Johnson was doing with his Appendix N series. I had been reading all these old magazines I'd been picking up at flea markets and I wonder if there's any places out there today that would buy this kind of fiction.
Do you have any personal works published?Yes, but only a few through the magazine. I haven't had that much time to work on writing. I do have a choose your own adventure book published before the magazine was started, called City at the Top of the World is the only published work of fiction taking place in the Cirsova setting. Cirsova started out as a setting for a DnD campaign.
Do you feel like the work you have been doing has created any waves in the short fiction space?There's a lot of crossover interests between what we do and a lot of the various pulp revival sub movements. We've always been doing our own thing and never any part of the 'movement' movements. It's a pretty big space, and there's room for growth for everyone around us. We've made waves in that we have a lot of excitement about us and bonafides that an author gets for being published by us, because we've earned a reputation for high quality fiction. At the same time it's not like we're the king of the arena. It's just that the arena is small and there aren't a lot of people in it yet.
Cirsova on making money and paying authorsOne of the points we always try to drive home is that right now the fiction market in terms of monetary value on prose fiction is really, really bad. It's hard to make money off writing. One of the reasons we're insistent on paying at least semi-pro rates is to put upward pressure on the value of fiction. Every once and a while I'll get offers for free works, but I can't accept. If I can publish Cirsova quality fiction without paying you, why should I pay other people for Cirsova quality fiction. That would put downward pressure on everyone's written fiction.