Just in case you’re wondering what to do now that March Madness and the NCAA basketball tournament is coming to a close, we have a suggestion: read something! Better yet, read Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Issue 12.

In honor of said madness, we thought we’d offer our own sort of brackets. Well, something balanced at least. So for you lovers of fiction, we bring a full lineup of tales: three. And for those pulling for poetry, we brought a player off the bench and this time are starting three instead of our usual two. So what does all this mean?

Wait for it . . .

We’re down to The Sensational Six!

Dig in — no office pool or cable TV required:

Fiction Contents:

CROWN OF SORROWS, by Seamus Bayne
As sword and sorcerous as we’ve seen in quite awhile at HFQ! A mercenary must become more (and far less) than human to claim a prize.

RHINDOR’S REMISSION, by Russell Miller
The mantle of centuries weighs heavy: a sorcerer’s vast mystical power on the one hand, imminent senility on the other!

BLADE AND BRANCH AND STONE, by Spencer Ellsworth
New dangers, new magics, and new moral dilemmas meet settlers at the edge of an empire.

Poetry Contents:

Ah, the joys of carving out a peaceful existence in postwar times. Wait — joy might not be the best choice of words.

SIDHE-SONG, by Phil Emery
A Celt survives the battlefield to live life freely and on his own terms. Or maybe not . . . [by the author’s request, ‘Sidhe Song’ was removed from our archives]

LEGEND, by Colleen Anderson
The ultimate endangered species, ultimately hunted to extinction. Almost brings a tear to the eye. Almost.


This issue’s artwork comes from the awesome Mariusz Gandzel.

Born in the 80’s and an architect. His professional career as an illustrator began in 2006 in RPG systems Neuroshima and Monastyr published by Portal, the biggest game publisher in Poland. For the same publishing house he illustrated a board game Stronghold and a card game 51th state. He describes his works in Polish edition of Clanarchy in 2008 as a milestone in his freelance career. Creative cooperation between the author and the illustrator is still continued – they just keep on realizing their crazy visions. After the success of Clanarchy, Mariusz had his choice of offers. His pictures were featured in additions to Shadowrun RPG- right after that he started to make illustrations for Paizo, Nackter Stahl, Sans-Detour, TripleaceGames, Kuznia Gier. At the moment’ the most of his works appear in the Paizo and PrivateerPress products.

A big fan of film music and horror movies from 80’s, he’s still living in Poland.

Check out more of his work here.

HFQ is dragging itself into the modern day with a blog (note the new tab at the top of the page). Scrolls of Skelos? Amateur work! At the HFQ blog your humble and hamfisted editors will hold forth on whatever issues tickle their capricious fancy. There may be talk of books, movies, upcoming projects, submission updates and you — yes YOU, the readers of HFQ will finally get to have your say in a public arena ring hippodrome forum. We’ll do this until such time as the refereeing — er, judging becomes too laborious. But mostly we anticipate a free-for-all into which we’ll randomly foray.

And to head off what we suspect will be the very first comment on the blog, if you’re wondering why we chose this medium over Facebook, let’s just say one is unwieldy and intrusive, and the other isn’t. Now let’s get out the flint and steel and gather ‘round the LJ, passing pipe and wineskin as in days of old!

With that we thank you for your interest in HFQ and hope you enjoy Issue 12. See you in July — if not sooner at the blog — when we celebrate HFQ’s third anniversary!

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