Friday, October 26, 2012

Books That Put the Weird in the West

Here's two book recommendations that bring a little bit of the fantastic into an Old West (or old west type) setting:

I've recommended some of Cherie Priest's work in this vein before--both the Steampunkian Boneshaker and the more horrific historical Those Who Went Remain There Still. Dreadful Skin reminds me more of the latter, though what it reminds me of most is Lansdale's Dead in the West or Collins'  Dead Mans Hand. It's a set of linked short-stories about a former nun pursuing a supernatural menace across Post-Civil War America. It's episodic and none of the stories builds to a climax in quite the way I would have liked, but it's a quick and entertaining read with some nice set pieces: the first story is a cat and mouse game with a werewolf aboard a steamboat trapped by a storm mid-river.

Felix Gilman's "Lightbringers and Rainmakers" is a a free story at set in the Western-ish secondary world of his novel The Half-Made World (which I recommended here) and the upcoming sequel The Rise of Ransom City. In brief, a frontier is being made from the more malleable reality of the wilderness, and humanity is caught between two opposing forces: the technologically more advanced, oppressive order of the Line and the violent chaos represented by the Gun. The short story weaves an epistolary tale of frontier towns and confidence hucksters in the rich world Gilman has built.


Jack Guignol said...

I've got one for you: L. Wyatt's The Terrible Tale of Edgar Switchblade. It's not a stunning literary work by any stretch of the imagination, but it does give a very D&D-esque tale of picaresque bloodshed: Edgar is a cloven-footed, switchblade-throwin', Bible verse-spoutin' bounty hunter on the trail of a werewolf.

Trey said...

Sounds interesting! I'll have to check that out.

The Angry Lurker said...

Nice recommendations Trey!