Neal Litherland's Reviews > The Buntline Special

The Buntline Special by Mike Resnick
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Feb 18, 2012

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 small town, and in this book Edison (who contrary to historical doctrine is a nice and helpful genius rather than an absolute prick that hires people and steals their brilliance) and Buntline have opened shop and have revolutionized more things in town than you can name. The town's wired with electricity, they've developed super-hardened brass, there are horseless carriages, android prostitutes... but despite all of this Tombstone remains a fairly small place. Beyond that, where are these crazy inventors getting the supplies? There's no railhead, hence the need for carriages, and that being the case where are they getting everything they need to invent items like Victorian robots or functioning cybernetic prosthetics? These things are essentially being pulled out of thin air, as there's no logical reason for all of this to be in Arizona. This is why science fiction from the era of industrialization tends to happen in big cities... frontier towns just didn't have anything, and getting supplies to them was a long, arduous process that was sometimes more trouble than it was worth.
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01/12 marked as: read

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