Anna's Reviews > The Buntline Special

The Buntline Special by Mike Resnick
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Jul 06, 12

bookshelves: steampunk, the-unfortunately-unrelished, science-fiction
Read from June 29 to 30, 2012

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 coherent narrative, or anything else that you discuss if you participate in a basic fiction writing workshop.

Characterization was practically nil, which is made even more pathetic by the fact that Resnick was working with more than just pre-made characters—he was working with real people. Everything that happened to them was written as if it was no consequence. Even worse, Bat Masterson’s part in the story was completely useless. If you read the back of the book it seems to emphasize his part—as well as Johnny Ringo’s (who actually has something to do with the half-hearted and decidedly incoherent pseudo-plot). However, this is not the case. In fact, Bat’s part seems to be the sort of fluff that I was always taught to cut because editors don’t like it, and it only hurts the quality of your narrative. Obviously Resnick didn’t get that memo.

Speaking of characterization, I was also incredibly disappointed to find that Geronimo was portrayed as childish and, above all, two faced (as we see at the end of the book). Unfortunately, Resnick seems to think the stereotypical approach to Native Americans is in vogue for Weird West books. Unfortunately for him, he missed that memo, as well. Even the medicine man that helps Doc and the rest of the crew is not only the worst sort of two-dimensional, but just as stereotypical. I was half expecting to hear them throw around stiff ‘How’s and ‘You pale-face’ and other such nonsense.
Frankly, I’m glad this tree murder is a fast read—it’s not at all exciting, but the horrid writing makes it easy for your eyes to skip whole pages. I found myself having to go back and reread multiple times. However, it was all for naught, really, since I’d missed absolutely nothing. Not that any of it made sense.

That said, I would strongly warn any steampunk/weird west/etc. enthusiast away from this crime against literature. Go watch Brisco County, Jr. if you want something in the same basic genre, and you won’t feel like you’ve killed brain cells by the end of it. And don’t be like me and feel confident about it just because Goodreads suggested it—the site seems to go by genre rather than quality. This sorry excuse for a book has none of the latter. But, then again, what else could I have expected when the book advertised with a ridiculous amount of cleavage on the cover?
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Reading Progress

06/29/2012 page 19
6.0% "Right now I think Resnick has beaten it into my head that this is, in fact, a modern-day Edisonade. Yes. Yes, Mr. Resnick. WE GET IT, MR. RESNICK! If I have to hear one more reference to manifest destiny, I might have to start flipping tables. And I'm only 19 pages in! Augh! Do not like. I'm not sure if it's my bad morning or if the book really is this frustrating starting out."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Tim (new) - rated it 1 star

Tim Elliott Amen sister. This book was a stinker from page one .Sorry you had to endure it too.


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