Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Debut spotlight + Cover art - "Taxidermy" by Narcisa Stoica

The Romanian speculative fiction is struggling, but I do not find the situation hopeless. Prospects of development can be seen in the online medium where local short stories are published, but also in print at Galileo Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine. Volumes are published too, new works of fiction and also reprints of the classical ones. I believe that hope exists for the Romanian speculative fiction. My conviction for a better future was enforced recently by the discovery of a new debut. A young Romanian writer, Narcisa Stoica, not only makes her first appearance with a novel, but it is a fantasy story, which can be seen as a rare beast here.

Narcisa Stoica published around ten short stories so far, online and in print, and she gathered personally these stories in an electronic volume, “The words with me”. Narcisa Stoica’s proper debut will be made however this November with “Taxidermy”, the first novel in a fantasy trilogy.

Jaer Verron, a young expert in taxidermy, begins a journey to the empire’s capital in search of fame and adventures, a place where dangers are everywhere and the enemies have no mercy.

Mizurro, the Emperor Raghmen’s daughter, a beautiful and intelligent woman, puts at work her strategy knowledge, gathered secretly from the dusted tomes of the imperial library, against her brothers in the competition for the title of throne successor.

The two destinies coalesce when Mizurro sends Jaer on a mission that takes him to the distant satraps of the empire, revealing the resorts that keep in fragile balance an extremely  complex and mysterious world, one of which depends not only Mizurro’s future as throne successor, but also the survival of the empire.

It sounds very interesting, more so since fantasy approached from the Romanian side is something I wished to see for some time now. I’ll add to this the excellent work done once again by Millennium Books, the publisher of Narcisa Stoica’s “Taxidermy”, with the cover artwork. They do keep this aspect at a very high standard. The artist of the cover artwork is Ehsan Dabbaghi, an Iranian artist who worked with Millennium Books before, and who in time I become to appreciate a lot. The artwork is entitled “Alone” and can be admired in its full glory at the artist’s CGSociety portfolio. As a matter of fact, my sole complaint with Millennium Books’ choice is that the actual artwork is present only on one third of the cover. However, I understand that this concession is made specifically for the entire artwork to be featured on the cover. Going with the art on full front cover was not possible. Still, I would have given Ehsan Dabbaghi’s work half of it. Nonetheless, it is yet another praiseworthy effort from Millennium Books in both publication and cover art.

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