Monday, May 18, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - When the Wild West Gets Weird

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for bloggers who like books and lists. It's awesome and is graciously hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Somewhat to my own surprise, I am inordinately fond of Westerns.  Even more perhaps, I love a good so called Weird Western.  It's a story that mashes up a Western and a fantasy and often has a good bit of steampunk thrown in as well because the time period is right. 

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie so I thought I would explore this very specific sub-genre.  I haven't read ten of these books but there are a couple I really love so I thought I'd list those as well as some of the books I'm most interested in reading.  It will give me a nice list to work from and hopefully spark some other folks' interest in the Weird West.  Also if you are an aficionado of this strange little corner of book world and have some recommendation, lay 'em on me! Pretty Please!


Those I can recommend...
1) The Veneficas Americana Series by M. K. Hobson
The first book in this series follows the journey cross country from California to New York of a young untutored country witch and a high society warlock.  It has one of the most interesting magic systems I've ever read AND a character named Dreadnought - how can you resist.  It's also got adventure and romance and is just all around awesome.  The Native Star is book one, The Hidden Goddess is book two.  There is also a third book which I haven't yet gotten to: The Warlock's Curse which is about the two original characters' son.  

2) Territory by Emma Bull
It tells the story of the events leading up to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral but in this version Wyatt Earp is a wizard.  The perspective is from two fictional characters who I love (one is a lady typesetter who writes dime store novels under a pseudonym) and the magic is quite subtle.  This book doesn't quite make it to the gun fight so I am hoping for a sequel some day.  

3) Serenity: Those Left Behind by Joss Wedon, Brett Mathews, and Will Conrad
This is a little different from the other two because it is rightfully science fiction that takes place in space and in a far future.  But humankind has spread out among the stars and on many of the outer planets they have reverted to a frontier type society very similar to the wild west.  The short-lived TV show Firefly is one of my favorites of all time and this is a continuation of that show (and movie) in graphic novel form.  Unfortunately I've only read the first in the series but it was great!

Those that I want to pull the trigger on soon...
4) Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

5) Six-gun Snow White by Cathrynne M. Valente
Fairy Tale retelling AND Weird West - I think my head might explode. 

I've enjoyed some of Tim Pratt's short fiction and this, his first novel, sounds like a very original tale!

7) Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Unfortunately the wild west wouldn't be the wild west without an abundance of Bordellos - in this book the whores are the heroines which sounds like a nice change of pace.  

8)  Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
This book sounds like it leans pretty heavy towards steam punk and I've read very mixed reviews but I still really want to read it.

9) Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
I may be cheating with this one because it is not alternate history; it takes place outside our own world.  However, I love Joe Abercrombie and the words "frontier" and "gold rush" occur in the blurb so that's good enough for me to call it Weird West.

10) The Buntline Special by Mike Resnick
I actually picked this one up and read a few pages and didn't get hooked so moved on BUT I'd like to give it another try.  It looks interesting and it did remind me a little of the Doctor Who episode A Town Called Mercy.


There is one Weird West book that I've tried that did not work for me and that is Stephen King's very popular The Gunslinger.  On the flip side I may be the one of the few people on the planet that actually enjoyed the movie Cowboys and Aliens. 

That's all for me this week!  I'll be interested to see what kinds of topics others choose!  

And with that I wish you Happy Weird Trails!

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