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The Buntline Special (Weird West Tales #1)

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,063 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
Welcome to a West like you've never seen before, where electric lights shine down on the streets of Tombstone, while horseless stagecoaches carry passengers to and fro, and where death is no obstacle to The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo. Think you know the story of the O.K. Corral? Think again, as five-time Hugo winner Mike Resnick takes on his first steampunk western t ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Prometheus Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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My expectations were erect and fully engorged going into this story. A steampunky Tombstone meets Terminator, complete with android sex machines, magic, zombies, and even a vampire…my inner nerd was swooning.

And then...well...Shit!!

Like getting doused with ice water, my happy quickly shrunk and went limp, which is a tough thing to adknowledge, espcially since Mike Resnick is one of my favorite storytellers. Yet, despite having all of the ingredients for a fun-loaded page turner, the book never
The Shayne-Train
Apr 17, 2015 The Shayne-Train rated it really liked it
So, sometimes the Goodreads reviews from trusted reviewers can steer you away from time-wasting drivel. And other times, you take a chance and think: "Did they read a different fucking book? This was AWESOME!" This time is most definitely the latter.

You want Western? Oh it's dripping with it. Gunfights and faro layouts and cathouses and horse-rustlers and meticulously maintained facial hair and Indian medicine men and Federal marshals. Oh, and Doc fuckin' Holliday.

You want sci-fi? How about cybo
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 12, 2012 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it
I suppose read "sort-of" might be more appropriate. I just couldn't get into this book, so I skimmed through to see how he tied it up. If you can use that phrase.

This was a somewhat interesting idea with it's total (steam punk) rewrite of history and the gimmicks included. I have never found a steam punk novel I liked. I read a synopsis and think I ought to like a given book but in the end (so far) I never have. Part of me thinks that this might have worked better as a graphic novel. Oh well. So
Neal Litherland
Feb 18, 2012 Neal Litherland rated it did not like it
The Buntline Special is one of the worst examples of either Steampunk or Weird West that I've ever come across. With characters/historical figures as rich as the Earps and Doc Holliday, you'd think this wouldn't be an issue... but from a pure lack of description of characters and the town, to the blandest shoot outs I've ever read, the Special falls flat on its face.

Additionally, The Buntline Special violates one of the key rules of alternative history; ignoring the ripple effect. Tombstone is a
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
This one was a fun, rollicking read. I love westerns, and I think Resnick did great with this different view of the history of Tombstone involving the Earps, Doc Holiday, Bat Masterson, and the Cowboys. Recommended to western fans who like a little weird, steampunk fantasy vibe.

Full review to be posted on Bitten by Books website:
Nov 21, 2014 Harris rated it did not like it
So, apparently, me and “steampunk” have really not been getting along that well. This novel is no different; a boring account of the Gunfight at the OK Corral spruced up with superfluous fantasy elements that have no real effect on the story in an alternate history setting that falls apart under the least scrutiny. Really pretty bad, it can’t even rise to the level of dumb fun. I don’t think I can think of anything that really worked, from the absurd premise to the ridiculous puns drawing on his ...more
When my boyfriend came to me( a horrified look on his face) and told me I had to read this book, I wasn’t aware that he was asking me to read it so I could be scarred for life.

To be frank, I can’t even find something good about this book that isn’t stretching the truth. It seems, despite how prolific Resnick is, he writes like Stephenie Meyer. That is to say, he writes but doesn’t seem to bother with things like improvement. Come to think of it, he doesn’t bother with things like creating a coh
Katina French
Aug 03, 2013 Katina French rated it really liked it
I'm a little confused by so many poor reviews of this book. Not having read anything else by Mike Resnick, maybe there's a big disconnect between his style here and the rest of his work. Or possibly, fans of real Old West history were expecting something in a more solidly plausible alternate history vein, as opposed to this which is more pure steampunk Weird West fantasy.

I like a book that delivers what it promises, and The Buntline Special does. It's pretty much what would happen if they decid
Feb 22, 2015 Eric rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the fact that I had hard time putting it down, this book was awful. It was so awful, that I ended up rage reading it to see if it ever improved. It didn't.

The most egregious problem for me was the lack of characterization. This was especially true for the female and Native American characters in the book. Women could be dived into four categories: prostitutes, robot prostitutes, former prostitutes, and women who can't understand why their men like prostitutes. The depiction of Native Am
Jacob Proffitt
Jan 18, 2012 Jacob Proffitt rated it it was ok
While I expect to find a lot of hand-waving in this kind of fantastical alternate history, this book simply had too many elements that required a suspension of any kind of common sense. Robotic whores, electronic tracking devices, electricity with no known source, bullet-proof brass, zombies, vampires, shamanistic magic... It's like Resnick threw darts at a list of elements from other fantastical-type books and hoped it'd appeal to lots of people as a result. Resnick is a talented author and the ...more
May 06, 2016 Zarah rated it it was ok
Ermahgerd, was that book ever dull. I mean boring to the boringth degree! The writing is fine, if stark, but simply nothing happens. It's all talk, talk, talk—let me describe these anachronistic inventions to you, invitations to drinks and meals, greetings, threats and 'I'm not afraid to die' or 'I'm already dying' quips—talk, talk, talk and very little actual doing, even less actual narrative and/or development. I suppose Resnick figured we all know who Earp, Holliday and Ringo are so no need t ...more
Ranting Dragon
Jan 29, 2011 Ranting Dragon rated it really liked it
Shelves: benni

The latest book by the prolific Mike Resnick is The Buntline Special, a standalone novel that gifts the events leading up to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral with a steampunk treatment. In this fantasy world—depictions of which are supplied by the talented illustrator, J. Seamas Gallagher—the United States cannot expand beyond the Mississippi River due to the magic-wielding Medicine Men of the Apache Indians, led by Geronimo. Thomas Edison, inventor extraor
⊱ Irena ⊰
2.5 stars
A number of things I am interested in should have been enough for me to like this book. But it felt more like: Oh, we need vampires. Got it. What next? Zombies? Do we have zombies? No? Here you go. What about automatons? Ok, here take these whore automatons. And put some well-known names in the story as well. And another thing, even though I know it is an alternative reality I couldn't accept the idea of Thomas Edison as a good natured, well-meaning inventor only interested in his inve
James Martinez
Jan 25, 2011 James Martinez rated it really liked it
So how do you breathe new life into a story that has been told as many times as the shootout at the Ok corral? Mr. Resnick does a great job by adding some steam punk style inventions by Thomas Edison that are built by Ned Buntline and you have a pretty good starting point. Add to that real Indian magic that has kept the white man at bay, an undead gunslinger and a Bat Masterson that actually turns into a giant bat and you have a very interesting retelling of a well traveled story. If you like we ...more
Mar 02, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it
really sweet. love the wild west meets steampunk.
Felix Zilich
Нед Бантлайн - известный газетчик времен Дикого Запада. Фактически - один из основоположников жанра “вестерн”. Статьи, книги, авторские колонки. Про всех известных преступников первой половины XIX столетия, а также про тех, кто появился позднее. В течении своей писательской карьеры Бантлайн участвовал в дуэлях (успешно), уличных беспорядках (не менее успешно). Однажды его едва не линчевали. Когда Бантлайн сообщил Дикому Биллу Хикоксу, что намерен написать про него книгу, стрелок достал свой ство ...more
Scott Lee
Feb 12, 2014 Scott Lee rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read only one steampunk novel before this one, a William Gibson, I think and I wasn't terribly impressed, although it was inventive. This one is admittedly a bit more pulpy and more of a genre mash-up, you've got fantasy, western, science-fiction/steampunk etc. all rolled in here with bits of horror in the appearance of both John Ringo (a zombie) and Bat Masterson (a giant vampire bat, and then a vampire).

The writing flows quick and easy and Resnick makes convi
Shazza Maddog
Sep 18, 2014 Shazza Maddog rated it really liked it
This was a very fun read. The changes in the familiar story of what happened at the gunfight at the O.K. Corral are different enough to really keep my attention, and the dialogue is snappy. I would've really liked more description, but I understand editors are whining about description.

Disappointing to someone who loves word pictures, believe me.

So. Anyway. Back to this novel.

John "Doc" Holliday comes to Tombstone to help out Wyatt Earp. His friend has been asked to protect Thomas Edison and N
Mar 17, 2011 Craig rated it really liked it
This is a funny, steam-punkish, alternate-history retelling of the gunfight at the OK corral with Thomas Alva Edison, Geronimo, magic, a vampire, and enough other stuff thrown in to fill the kitchen sink twice over. It's very cleverly executed; a really fun volume!
Feb 07, 2016 Wit rated it liked it
Hmm, The Bunting Special is an easy read since there is not a lot that happens in terms of development. Character wise or in terms of fleshing out events. I felt that the people were being moved from one event to the next with no real feeling. Sure, there were reasons, but the way the character's were done made it seem like they couldn't care less.
I am interested in the history of the American West and the gunslingers, so I was excited to read this book, but was left feeling like maybe my young
Steve Conoboy
Jun 17, 2014 Steve Conoboy rated it liked it
Odd book.
Enjoyable remix of western legends with crazy technology... but it all gets a bit hung up on the metal hookers invented by Edison and Bunt. I mean really hung up. Everybody wants a go with them, which I find frankly difficult to get my head around.
There's also a lot of repetition. A character will tell someone their thoughts or latest news, will bump into someone else a little later, then tell them the same bloody thing. And again. It grates on the nerves.
The ending is incredibly rushed
Jan 13, 2011 Emily rated it it was ok
Great dialog. However, I kept waiting for something to happen, and when it did, it was the end of the book. That was not what I expected.
Dec 27, 2013 Luke rated it liked it
The Buntline Special is an interesting book. It's definitely not great, but it is a fun read, especially if you like Westerns and Steampunk. The alternate history of the shootout at the OK Corral, complete with vampires, medicine men, and all sorts of other bizarre and fantastic elements is creative to say the least. It reminded me of Scott Westerfeld''s Leviathan although I'd say Westerfeld's novels are a tad better.

Maybe I expected too much, but the biggest issue I had with this book was that
Stevie Franklin
May 03, 2014 Stevie Franklin rated it liked it
Being new to Westerns, but a lover of Steampunk, I really enjoyed this book. However, I was a little disappointed with the character development. I think the lack of depth written into the story is mainly because these are famous people, and we should already know who they are. But, being new to the Western genre, I'm not as familiar with the lore behind these characters. I think I missed some of the emotional connections because I had no reference or attachment to these characters. I was just r ...more
Joe Santoro
May 30, 2015 Joe Santoro rated it really liked it
I picked this up from the library on a whim, I'm a fan of Resnick (I liked both his space opera series and his 'Stalking the...' Private eye book)... I wasn't disappointed with this one. It's pretty much the actual story (as much as larger than life legend that's been re-told so many times can have an actual story) of the shootout at the OK Corral, but Steampunk-ized. We have Edison and Buntline inventing stuff in Tombstone, with Resnick's homebrewed twist of Geronimo and other Indian 'medicine ...more
Aug 21, 2014 David rated it liked it
Shelves: completed
The Buntline Special is set in an alternate universe where the United States terminates at the Mississippi Rivers, held at bay by Indians with mystical powers. Tombstone is its own territory and there a young Tom Edison team up with Ned Buntline to put marvelous inventions into the hands of the people. Stagecoaches are driven by electric batteries- which angers the horse ranchers. Special Guns fire mutliple rounds. Electric lighting abounds. And Buntline has figured out a special method of refin ...more
Feb 07, 2011 Johne rated it liked it
This was such a fun exercise - I blew through this in short order. Resnick does a great job here of introducing venerable tropes in fresh ways, marrying plausible steampunk elements with zombies (a revived Johnny Ringo as literary zombie) and Bat Masterson as an actual bat (before he became a more classic vampire). I enjoyed the interaction between the POV character Doc Holliday and the Earps, although the fight at the OK Corral felt rushed and could have been handled better.

I found myself editi
MB Taylor
Mar 14, 2013 MB Taylor rated it liked it
I read The Buntline Special earlier this month, starting shortly after finishing The Six-Gun Tarot. Buntline was the type of book I was expecting when I read Six-Gun; mostly light, steampunk & magic in the Wild West. Oddly, I enjoyed Six-Gun a bit more than Buntline.

The two books aren’t very comparable except that they're both steampunk westerns. Buntline is pretty lighthearted fare; while Six-Gun is a horror novel. Six-Gun takes place in the fictional town of Golgotha, Nevada in 1869; Buntl
Mar 23, 2013 Monty rated it really liked it
Buntline Special is the first installment of Resnick's entertaining and quirky "Weird West" series of Wild West meets steampunk. The characters are all well-known historical people, who may never have actually met each other historically, but they certainly meet up in this alternate history. The inventions of Tom Swift and Ned Buntline are provided to the likes of Doc Holliday and the Earps. Of course, the Clantons, the Cowboys, and John Ringo are also thrown into the mix. The climax of the book ...more
Jan 02, 2011 Louis-Étienne rated it really liked it
For a reason or another, I seem to have drifted towards more steampunk reads than usual of late and The Buntline Special is latest to have captured my attention. Mike Resnick is one of those writers who’s been around for so long and published so many novels that he is surrounded by a mythical aura of sorts. Unfortunately, up to now I had never read any of his work, and I’m now thinking that may have been a mistake. His first attempt at steampunk is absolutely riveting, blending in plenty of the ...more
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Michael "Mike" Diamond Resnick, better known by his published name Mike Resnick, is a popular and prolific American science fiction author. He is, according to Locus, the all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short science fiction. He is the winner of five Hugos, a Nebula, and other major awards in the United States, France, Spain, Japan, Croatia and Poland. and has been short-listed ...more
More about Mike Resnick...

Other Books in the Series

Weird West Tales (4 books)
  • The Doctor and the Kid (Weird West Tales, #2)
  • The Doctor and the Rough Rider (Weird West Tales, #3)
  • The Doctor and the Dinosaurs

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