In his January Short Story Roundup, Fletcher Vredenburgh reported on the latest issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly:
As usual, HFQ has got the goods, and both stories grabbed me and then left me hanging. The stunning cover painting, Forbidden Valley is by Brad Fraunfelter.
The first is “Crazy Snake and the Tribute for Pachacamac” by Eric Atkisson. It’s the third story about the Comanche warrior wandering south from the Comancheria (read the others here) into Central America… Fleeing Walker’s soldiers, he and his faithful horse, Aahtaqui, find themselves in the ocean, swimming toward a silver-mist-shrouded shore. Pretty much everything you could want in a S&S story shows up on shore: stone idols, an evil god served by evil priests, fighting, mad sorceries, and ancient curses…
“The Coin and the Mushroom” by Gerald Warfield is… more than worth your time, packing a lot of power into brevity. At just over 1,600 words long, it’s a rejoinder to anyone who tells you how limited short storytelling is.
Matt Hlinak’s “Four Against Olympus” brings together 99% of the gods, demigods, and heroes of Greek mythology in a fantastic, and often funny, romp. Trouble arises when Medea asks Hera, queen of the gods, for help in getting her revenge on her hated ex-husband Jason… This tale is majestic in scope, delving deep beneath the Earth into the prison of Tartaros, and up to the cloud-piercing heights of Mount Olympus…
Adrian Simmons’ “The Siege, The Gums, and the Blue,” is the story of young refugee Izydor Kiel dragooned into the army of Oskzeyn, a city under siege by a horde of barbarians… There’s no great epic battle or quest. Instead, the story provides a ground-eye view of chaotic events, from a boy forced to commit brutal acts in the defense of the city. As usual, from someone becoming one of my favorite authors as well one of my favorite editors, this is very good. I really hate I have to wait three months for the conclusion.
Finally, HFQ #27 has poems. “Role” by Scott Hutchison portrays the fateful encounter between a warrior and an enemy he misjudges badly. Christina Sng’s “Unvictorious” gives us the hopes of a dying man.
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is one of the most reliable regular sources of new adventure fantasy. Here’s the complete fiction TOC, with fiction links:
“Crazy Snake and the Tribute for Pachacamac,” by Eric Atkisson. Comanche adventurer Crazy Snake returns to HFQ with a new tale of intrigue in the remote islands off South America. Part one of a two-part adventure. This is the third Crazy Snake tale (catch up on the first and second). “Tribute for Pachacamac” has bonus artwork by Richard Hartley.
“The Coin and the Mushroom,” by Gerald Warfield. Murder and revenge come to a head in Warfield’s short story.
“Four Against Olympus,” by Matt Hlinak. Gods and mortals, envy and scheming! Hlnak’s story digs deep into Greek mythology and brings in all the heavy hitters for a tale of Titan[ic] proportions!
Bonus story! The Siege, The Gums, and the Blue. HFQ editor Adrian Simmons presents a tale of a boy rescued by chance, a city besieged, a dying king, and the rough net of allies keeping an implacable enemy at bay. Part one of two.
Poems this issue are:
Role, by Scott Hutchison. Because looks really are deceiving.
Unvictorious, by Christina Sng. Because everyone needs a little hope.
The issue also contains staff reports.
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly made a big splash last year with the arrival of the long-awaited anthology of their first few years, The Best Of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Volume 1.
Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is an ezine dedicated to publishing short works of heroic fantasy. It is edited by Adrian Simmons, David Farney, William Ledbetter, and James Frederick William Rowe, and published four times a year in July, October, January, and April. Issues are posted to the website, and are completely free.
We last covered HFQ with issue #26.
See all the details on issue #27 here.