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The Ghosts of Watt O'Hugh (Watt O'Hugh Trilogy #1)

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  70 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Watt O'Hugh III is a self-made man, Civil War vet, Time Roamer, former orphan of the New York slums and dime novel hero of the lost, magical West of the 1870s - and his riotous adventures mark one of the most original literary fantasy novels in recent memory. When O'Hugh returns to New York as the star of a Wild West show, he thinks his ship has come in. But that's before ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Steven S. Drachman (first published June 28th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 603)
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David Katzman
Aug 29, 2012 David Katzman rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of the Western genre with openness to the fantastical
Ghosts has a big heart and will appeal to lovers of Western mash-ups. You’ve got mysticism. You’ve got zombies. You’ve got a fascist utopia. You’ve got time travel. You’ve got ghosts and gunfighters. You’ve got politics. But it’s carried off with a restrained quality that prevents the story from careening off the rails. Even the violence is restrained. The reluctant hero, Watt O’Hugh, tends to the laconic, and he relates his shootouts in matter-of-fact style. In fact, I would describe the predom ...more
Mike
The American West is already imbued with a near mythological quality in the American imagination and thus the combination of the American West with elements of the fantastic is an infrequent occurrence. Given its infrequency I rather look forward to that special combination of familiar American mythology made strange by the mystical or the macabre. So when author Steven S. Drachman asked me to take a look at his novel The Ghosts of Watt O’Hugh I was excited to once again delve into the magic of ...more
Valentina
This book refuses to be labeled. It begins a memoir, turns into a Western with some flashy fantasy heels, then becomes an action and adventure novel, followed closely by a time-traveling extravaganza.
I knew I was going to like it from the first page. How? Because the narrator has a fresh, unique voice that captures the reader’s attention from the very beginning. This is not as easy to do as it might seem. Watt is charmingly sarcastic, with wit enough to send the reader laughing.
The plot itself
...more
Mark Laporta
Fresh and startling in its sheer unpredictability, Vol. 1 of Watt O’Hugh’s adventures is a treasure chest of fantastical delights from beginning to end. The bold underlying concept is itself realized in a such a free-flowing, risk-taking style, it’s a wonder the book was written without a safety net.

In the midst of the gritty surrealism that suffuses every aspect of the story, there surges an ongoing grim humor—shedding light, dark, bemusement and an undercurrent of fascination for the sheer abs
...more
Kat
Jul 03, 2014 Kat rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I would recommend this book to anyone that likes Science Fiction, History, Mysteries, Love stories.
I received The Ghosts of Watt O’Hugh and Watt O’Hugh Underground from Goodreads First Reads. The Ghost is a good summer read, living in the New York area I found it interesting how the author Steven S. Drachman has woven the City and its history into his book. I don’t want to give away the entire story line in this review other than to say that you follow the main character adventures from his early life as a child of the street in New York City to his adulthood as a cowboy in the West. The writ ...more
Blue
Drachman's book is a genre-bending page-turner. When I think about the laundry list of things that are in the book (gun slinging adventures, evil plots from all around the world, mythological creatures, a very manly woman (or is it a womanly man?), NYC in 1860s, J. P. Morgan and his love interests, the wild west, prison breaks, cowboys, outlaws, broadway shows...) I wonder how any of it came together to make any sense, but it all does. Drachman writes well, though the language sometimes borders ...more
Albert
Overall Feedback: Unbelievable book from an greatly skilled writer. Steven mesmerizes the reader from page to page and so fully integrates many different genres into one book, a feat that deserves accolades all by itself. But Steven does more than mix genres into one story, he writes an endearing and action packed one at that. I did not want to ever put it down but alas a person does need to sleep on occasion. This is one you should not let pass as your imagination will be tickelled from every a ...more
Sift Book Reviews
Where Watt O’Hugh the III goes, legend follows. The Ghosts of Watt O'Hugh is an eclectic mix of western, time travel, romance, and magic and with a myriad of famous characters, it reads like a historical who’s who of the late 1800s. 4 stars out of 5.

The author excelled at maintaining character continuity; Watt flourished as a flawed human being. He didn't feel characterized; he felt real and this was a great strength for the story.

The fantasy and romance elements in this book were kept simple an
...more
Rob
Feb 01, 2012 Rob rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: scifi
This genre-mashup is the story of a Civil War vet with an odd habit of slipping loose in time. In 1875, when trying to track down the woman he loved before the War, Watt stumbles on a Montana centered anti-government conspiracy that has its roots in ancient China. In the course of his adventures, he crosses paths with J.P. Morgan, Oscar Wilde, and even Leopold Kronecker, the 19th century mathematician (who seems to be a villain), some women of the dark arts, a couple of dragons, and an army of " ...more
Vlad V.
Genre: Defies categorization!
Rating: 4.5 stars.

In The Ghosts of Watt O'Hugh, Steven S. Drachman effectively blends several different genres - fantasy, science fiction, tall tales, and American folklore (I'm sure I'm forgetting some) - and the result is a dazzling hallucination of a frontier adventure with an Alice in Wonderland vibe that defies categorization.

At its core, The Ghosts of Watt O'Hugh is a tale of unrealized love and the pursuit of one man to assuage heartache by reuniting with the
...more
Jon Etheredge
I paid money out of my own pocket for a copy of this book because Steven Drachman is a gentleman with a good sense of humor.

"The Ghosts of Watt O'Hugh" is the memoir of a 19th century shootist-turned-hapless-time-traveler who is conscripted into The Cause, a mission he doesn't understand. Drachman weaves a labyrinthine narrative of history, blending famous (and infamous) period personalities in a mystery about love, life, and death.

The plot develops at its own pace, lumbering through the book at
...more
Leslie
I found this book at my community bookstore, which features local authors. I'll admit that I was attracted by the beautifully-designed cover, but then I was drawn in immediately by the gripping, genre-bending storyline and compelling characters. I'm surprised this book hasn't gotten more attention, particularly because of its rich historical detail. Drachman paints a vivid portrait of American life in the 1800's, and I especially loved his descriptions of New York City. I can only imagine the h ...more
Kim Heimbuch
This book has a line-up to appease every readers interests. From zombies, conspiracy, mysticism, and the wild west all tossed into a fascist Utopian world where Civil War vet, Watt O'Hugh III can jump through time and meets some of the most notorious people in American history.
This book is written like no other jumping from one genre to another, which I found very enlightening and gave the book such a vivid depth. It was as if when writing the book he was watching television and when he was rea
...more
Adriane
As the title says it is strange and astounding indeed. This surprisingly fresh novel was honestly unlike anything I've read. A mash up of western, sci-fi, and metaphysical musings, it was somehow so much more than the sum of it's parts.

The first chapter had me puzzled but intrigued. I had no idea what to expect as I turned page after page being drawn deeper into the world (or rather many worlds) of Watt O'Hugh. Strong and well defined characters, a plot that left my head whirling and the pure p
...more
Kibbin
The story goes that this novel was sat festering away at the back of Drachman’s mind until a stay in the hospital after working too long and too hard for a law firm. It was during this stay that he encountered the story of noted ex-lawyer, gunslinger and chin of the year winner Brisco County Jr. The semi-factual science fiction/fantasy adventure spurned Drachman on to finish his own tale with the intention that Brisco and Watt would one day meet up to fight bad guys and ride into the sunset toge ...more
Zachary
I won this book as part of a First Reads contest. The publisher was extremely kind and sent me copies of both books in the series. The fact that The Ghost of Watt O'Hugh is getting fairly good reviews on this site makes me feel a bit better about not liking it very much myself. I began reading with certain expectations and most of them were not met. Specifically, I was expecting an adventure novel about a classic pulp-era hero in the vein of the Shadow or John Carter or Doc Savage. Watt O'Hugh i ...more
Zach Sparks
I won this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

I'm not even sure where to begin with this review. This book managed to fit so much into so few pages and the author somehow manages to do this with a brilliant blend of world building, character growth, and an intense need to know what happens next.
My only complaint was that it was too short, and I can't wait for the next instalment to see how this beautiful world fleshes out and the story unfolds.
Fantasy Literature
I confess to having mixed feelings when I was done with The Ghosts of Watt O’Hugh, by Steven S. Drachman, but the book’s relative brevity, strong finish, and the fact that its sequel, Watt O’Hugh Underground, was an improvement, means in the end I feel OK in recommending it, with a few caveats.

The cover will tell you right away we’re in Western world, with its neckerchiefed, gun-toting, cowboy-boot-wearing hero with the square jaw dodging a bullet, all of it drawn in that classic comic book West
...more
Mark Eanes
Great first effort. Obviously, a lot of knowledge of 19th New York and Wild West was utilized in this book. The genre bending of Fantasy and Western merge well into a unique and memorable read. Some great descriptive passages. Looking forward to more from this author.
Alan Lee
Received this from Goodreads First read. This book was a fun read, nothing spectacular. Tried being too much at once I think. One of those rare times, when a movie might would be better than the book. I would actually love to see this book made into a movie.
Lulu
Oct 10, 2011 Lulu marked it as to-read
I won this book from the first reads giveaways and I am so excited to read it. Thanks.
Noah Powlen
Great book. Imaginative, funny, entertaining, and emotionally compelling.
Meagan
I don't normally read Westerns, but I love Magical American Realism so I was optimistic when I received this book. Unfortunately, the book fell into some kind of uncanny valley that made it difficult to stay invested in. The plot was slippery and difficult to track, with lots of tangents that might have been better placed elsewhere. The narrators word choice was also strange, in parts slipping into old timey western speak and then a few paragraphs later throwing in modern phrasing WITHOUT it see ...more
Bob Stuhlsatz
I received this book for free as First Reads book.

I enjoyed reading this book but it's not for everybody. The story skips around a lot and requires leaps of faith in a lot of the abilities some of the characters had. I didn't have a problem with this but I know many will.

I enjoyed the lead character, Hugh, and a secondary, but very important character, Mr. Tang. I think the lack of plausibility in some areas, like the existence of Sedonia, is what kept me from rating this higher.

Like I said, I
...more
Ranjit
Terrific time-traveling western, and I'm not normally a fan of westerns. The book is engagingly written, funny and suspenseful, and touches on a lot of 19th century history, like the Civil War draft riots and J.P. Morgan (who doesn't come off too well), for starters. I read the Kindle edition, but I recommend the paperback edition, with it classic comic-book cover.
Tiffany
Tiffany marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2015
Alex
Alex marked it as to-read
Jan 11, 2015
Sue
Sue marked it as to-read
Dec 30, 2014
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Goodreads Librari...: I'm having trouble combining two editions of my book 3 18 May 24, 2014 06:24PM  
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I am a writer and critic whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Phoenix, Entertainment Weekly, The Village Voice and The Chicago Sun-Times, among other places. I grew up in Maryland and I currently live in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

The Ghosts of Watt O'Hugh is my first published novel. I suppose that rather than write ten other books, I put everything that I lov
...more
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