Dead Man’s Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West
Edited by John Joseph Adams Link Here
From a kill-or-be-killed gunfight with a vampire to an encounter in a steampunk bordello, the weird western is a dark, gritty tale where the protagonist might be playing poker with a sorcerous deck of cards, or facing an alien on the streets of a dusty frontier town.
Here are twenty-three original tales—stories of the Old West infused with elements of the fantastic—produced specifically for this volume by many of today’s finest writers. Included are Orson Scott Card’s first “Alvin Maker” story in a decade, and an original adventure by Fred Van Lente, writer of Cowboys & Aliens.
INTRODUCTION John Joseph Adams
THE RED-HEADED DEAD Joe R. Lansdale
THE OLD SLOW MAN AND HIS GOLD GUN FROM SPACE Ben H. Winters
HELLFIRE ON THE HIGH FRONTIER David Farland
THE HELL-BOUND STAGECOACH Mike Resnick
STINGERS AND STRANGERS Seanan McGuire
BOOKKEEPER, NARRATOR, GUNSLINGER Charles Yu
HOLY JINGLE Alan Dean Foster
THE MAN WITH NO HEART Beth Revis
WRECKING PARTY Alastair Reynolds
HELL FROM THE EAST Hugh Howey
SECOND HAND Rajan Khanna
ALVIN AND THE APPLE TREE Orson Scott Card
MADAM DAMNABLE’S SEWING CIRCLE Elizabeth Bear
STRONG MEDICINE Tad Williams
RED DREAMS Jonathan Maberry
BAMBOOZLED Kelley Armstrong
SUNDOWN Tobias S. Buckell
LA MADRE DEL ORO Jeffrey Ford
WHAT I ASSUME YOU SHALL ASSUME Ken Liu
THE DEVIL’S JACK Laura Anne Gilman
THE GOLDEN AGE Walter Jon Williams
NEVERSLEEPS Fred Van Lente
DEAD MAN’S HAND Christie Yant
As you can see, there is a lot of big-name authors and 23 stories in this anthology, making it hard to give a review of each story. Therefore, this review is for the whole anthology and not every individual story.
I have to start by saying, wow, there are some real gems in this book. Like all anthologies, not all of the stories will be to everyone’s taste, but there is enough variety here for even the fussiest reader. Some of the lesser known authors’ (to me) story stood out as great examples of the weird west genre.
Here are my comments on two of the stories. The first of which is Joe Lansdale’s ‘The Red-HeadedDead’.
The Red-Headed Dead is the first story in this publication and it’s a great way to start! It is easily one of my favourites and I would have bought this anthology just to read this one story. This was the first story of Mr. Lansdale’s I’ve read (I have corrected that error now) and my introduction to his Reverend Jebediah Mercer. The good reverend is a gun-wielding, demon slaying priest with an attitude and too many personal issues. This story has a real pulp horror feel and it follows Mercer as he hunts a monster in the wilderness. Mr. Lansdale is considered by many to be the modern father of the weird west genre (R.E. Howard being the grandfather) and this story showcases his writing skills. In fact, I enjoyed The Red-Headed Dead so much I immediately bought all the Reverend Mercer’s books I could find (a review is coming for them soon).
Hellfire on the High Frontier by David Farland. I enjoyed this story of a lawman chasing down a clockwork fugitive and the unusual place it eventually leads him. I would really love to see some more this stories set in this world, it was captivating. Please, Mr. Farland, write more!
Would I recommend this book? Yes. I stated in a review (Goodreads) that this was the best read of 2017 for me, and I meant it. This is an awesome introduction to these fine word wranglers, and also the fascinating weird western genre. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favour and buy/lend/read it today.
Variety of the stories: 4
Quality of the stories: 4
Weird Western Theme: 5
Overall: 4 Stars!
- 5 Stars: Awesome! I couldn’t put it down
- 4 Stars: Fantastic. A real page-turner
- 3 Stars: Enjoyable. A good read
- 2 Stars: Not fun. A struggle to read
- 1 Star: Not recommended (no hate)