Tales of the Weird Wild West.Top authors take on the classic western, with a weird twist. Includes new stories by Larry Correia and Jim Butcher! Come visit the Old West, the land where gang initiations, ride-by shootings and territory disputes got their start. But these tales aren't the ones your grandpappy spun around a campfire, unless he spoke of soul-sucking ghosts, steam-powered demons, and wayward aliens. Here then are seventeen stories that breathe new life in the Old West. Among them: Larry Correia explores the roots of his best-selling Monster Hunter International series in "Bubba Shackleford's Professional Monster Killers." Jim Butcher reveals the origin of one of the Dresden Files' most popular characters in "A Fistful of Warlocks." And Kevin J. Anderson's Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I., finds himself in a showdown in "High Midnight." Plus stories from Alan Dean Foster, Sarah A. Hoyt, Jody Lynn Nye, Michael A. Stackpole, and many more. This is a new Old West and you ll be lucky to get outta town alive! Contributors: David Boop Larry Correia Jody Lynn Nye Sam Knight Robert E. Vardeman Phil Foglio Nicole Kurtz Michael A. Stackpole Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Ken Scholes Maurice Broaddus Sarah A. Hoyt Alan Dean Foster David Lee Summers Kevin J. Anderson Naomi Brett Rourke Julie Campbell Peter J. Wacks Jim Butcher"
Denver-based author David Boop is a single dad and returning college student. Dave was a journalist before turning to fiction.
Hes published a dozen short stories and written two short films. His stories have appeared in magazines like Tales of the Talisman and SF Trails and in the anthologies Wondrous Web Worlds and Space Pirates. A fixture on the convention circuit, hes spoken at such literary gatherings as Mile High Con, Coppercon and Norwescon.
His novel, She Murdered Me with Science, debuted in August.
General interests include noir, Mayan history, and The Blues. He enjoys watching anime and playing GO.
Bubba Shackleford's Professional Monster Killers by Larry Correia Did not read, as I can't stand Mr. Correias Monster Hunter series and his political views. Was really debating if I should buy this Collection because he contributed, but bit the bullet in the end.
Trouble in an Hourglass by Jody Lynn Nye Nice time travel story, this is how I love my mad scientists in the Old West! Having Trouble be female, headstrong, competent and sexy at the same time was a good mix.
The Buffalo Hunters by Sam Knight A great mix of mythologies and history, really the best way to do weird western. Russians, Native Americans and plain old Xenozoology make for an awesome mix!
The Sixth World by Robert E. Vardeman Archaeologists make awesome heroes, especially at the time were it was truly adventurous as described in this tale. Honestly, this is what the Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull should have been like...
Easy Money by Phil Foglio This Story encapsulates what makes short stories such an awesome Format - the Setup, the characters, everything is super condensed and makes the Twist at the end really powerful. Loved this one!
The Wicked Wild by Nicole Givens Kurtz Another awesome female protagonist in this one, and a Black Lady as well! As if being a washerwoman wasn't harsh enough in the west, when you have to deal with possessed Cowboys on top it can really ruin your day!
Chance Corrigan and the Lord of the Underworld by Miachel A. Stackpole If the title wasn't giveaway enough, this is a true to ist roots Pulp Story done right. Weird Science, World Domination schemes, a science hero that wins by Brains and Guts - all done Right.
The Greatest Guns in the Galaxy by Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Ken Scholes Sci-Fi is the exception in the Weird Western Genre, but this as a really fun take on Alien Invasion AND Time Travel.
Dance of Bondes by Maurice Broaddus Good take on the old Bordello o' blood storyline, where the soiled doves are just too beatiful to be true. Kudos for a Black Protagonist, and an acutally Fresh take on the Story with some cool Monsters (with an actual motivatio beyond wanting to eat you)
Dry Gulch Dragon By Sarah A Hoyt Faeries in the West are another rarely touched on Topic, and this one does it beautifully. The damsel in distress is not so distressed at all, and a Dragon that works in a Mine, well, that is a first for me.
The Treefold Problem by Alan Dean Foster Even though the punny title hurts, this is a really fun take on old west fables? Mad Amos would feel right at home next to Paul Bunyan, and though the humour is on the infantile side, it does work very nicely for the tale.
Fountains of Blood by David Lee Summers If the title did not give it away, this is the mandatory Vampire tale. It is a good one though, and has some healthy dose of Steampunk mixed in.
High Midnight by Kevin J. Anderson I was completely unaware of Mr. Andersons Dan Shambles seriesDeath Warmed Over A very nice surprise and some truly creative Setup, mixing the Noir detective with the Wild West tropes.
Coyote by Naomi Brett Bourke A very Native American tale, with loads of cool imagery and a nice Twisted end.
The Key by Peter J. Wacks As mentioned above, I do like time Travel stories done Right - and this is one that is actually fun to reread until you fully understand what happens. I do not believe that the Framework holds up - nobody tells a complicated Story like that in a Saloon AND get accolades for it. But the ideas are really great, and I would love more stories about Hummingbird and Inazuma. I will check out his contribution to the Arcane America series, Caller of Lightning
A Fistful of Warlocks, by Jim Butcher Already read this in the Brief Cases Anthology Brief Cases, but enjoyed it nonetheless. I am not a fan of Butcher writing women, but Butcher Dresden Files World is just so wonderfully fleshed out, including a very interesting not-horse :)
If you enjoy this review, please consider visiting my blog, where I review books, comment on tropes, and occasionally post my own writing (for free). Also please note, I received this book in exchange for an honest review, no compensation was received.
As always, I’m not quite sure how to review anthologies, especially because this one is written by multiple people. I’ll do my best to describe the reoccurring themes from the book, and comment on the short stories that stood out to me for various reasons, while also giving an overall review of Straight Outta Tombstone as a whole.
Weird westerns are a little odd—not quite steampunk, not quite period drama, not quite fantasy or sci fi, but with definite aspects of all of those genres. I really enjoyed the book, and will have to seek out more weird westerns in the future. Before reading this anthology, I think the only books I’d read that might qualify were Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth and Brandon Sanderson’s Wax and Wayne novels (Mistborn 4-6); both of which I enjoyed, so I think my lack of awareness of the (admittedly quite niche) genre is probably not uncommon. If that’s the case for you but anything I write sounds appealing, I can definitely recommend Straight Outta Tombstone as an introduction to the genre, I enjoyed every short story, and there’s definitely a lot of variation in styles.
There are sixteen short stories in the anthology, varying quite a bit in length. The shortest (Easy Money by Phil Foglio) is just eight pages long, but every story packs a punch (Easy Money not excepted, the classic short story twist ending in the story is one of the best I’ve ever read, each moment leading up to a genuine laugh out loud moment of amusement at the finale. 10/10 would recommend).
I was very happy that most, if not all, of the stories took the setting of the American West, and used it to shine a light on the bigoted treatment of minorities—specifically native Americans, women and people of colour. While this may seem like a mere fact of historical accuracy, it quickly becomes apparent that the way (and the supposed reasons for which) minorities were mistreated hasn’t changed much since Western times. This neatly allows the stories in Straight Outta Tombstone to comment not just on these issues (sexism, racism etc) in our own time, but most forms of discrimination against minorities (gender and sexual minorities, refugees etc) for the mere crime of existing.
Now that everything got all heavy, lets talk about zombies!
Bubba Shackleford’s Professional Monster Killers by Larry Correia is a great starter to this book, and a great introduction (or reintroduction) to weird westerns as a whole. It combines classic tropes like a stoic cowboy and a peppy woman, with the gleeful abandonment of logic to create kickass monsters—‘cause now I really want to read about a tentacle bear.
Sam Knight’s The Buffalo Hunters took on the concept of the weird western by shoving in a third unexpected element—the West, magic and Russians (okay, some of the people are weirder than Russians, but I’m not about spoilers here so go read the book). The result is a chaotic and compulsively readable mishmash of cultures, and that’s a great way to think of the book.
The Wicked Wild by Nicole Givens Kurtz was an interesting story, and the magic system introduced made me hope that there are more works set in the world, or following Zara, the main character. Jim Butcher was the only author I had ever read the work of before reading this anthology, but I can honestly say that I would seek out the work of several authors again, to spend more times in the world and with the characters they have created.
Chance Corrigan and the Lord of the Underworld by Michael A Stackpole was a personal favourite of mine, cunning inventors and the amoral or useless rich being some of my preferred characters to read about. There are intriguingly well thought out systems of technology, interesting hints at a checkered and entangled past for the main characters, and a satisfying yet unexpected conclusion. What more can you ask for?
Dry Gulch Dragon by Sarah A Hoyt has to get a mention, despite the already overlong length of this article, simply for containing the absolutely superb line—“Best he could figure, this dragon was American”—as well as being an entertaining read, and containing some obvious but appreciated parallels to real issues (would you let your sister marry a dragon?!).
Alan Dean Foster’s The Treefold Problem read almost like a creation myth, and the humour in the story is lowbrow (without being crass) in such a way that the reader is left feeling like a friend has just told them a joke. Naomi Brett Rourke’s Coyote, on the other hand, makes use of the Jicarilla Apache tale of Coyote and Yellow Jacket to tell a tale of well-deserved retribution, the ways oppression encourages violence and distrust, and the inevitable result of unjust power dynamics.
The Key by Peter J Wacks is perhaps the most ambitious crossover in the short story, involving a samurai, a Chinese cowgirl, time travel, a female math savant, international politics, Nikolai Tesla, British soldiers and Rasputin into a shockingly cohesive story.
Jim Butcher’s A Fistful of Warlocks does everything a short story about a minor character in a well established world should do, and shed light on character motivations from the continuing storyline without leaning on that storyline and perhaps alienating first time readers. In the case of A Fistful of Warlocks, the plot is set well before the Dresden Files, and stands as a fully realised story in its own right. Anastasia is a sympathetic and interesting character, and the not-horse and infamous deputy are likeable side characters that keep the plot entertaining and ‘settled’ into the world, with both its weird and western aspects.
All in all, Straight Outta Tombstone is a fantastic sampler of the work of a variety of a talented authors. If you enjoy westerns and any form of fantasy or science fiction or vice versa, then this book is for you. If you enjoyed tv shows like Firefly, Carnivale or Penny Dreadful; books like Brandon Sanderson’s Wax and Wayne series or Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth; if you enjoy the entertaining settings and larger than life characters of Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim novels or if steampunk at all interests you; I think Straight Outta Tombstone would be a great choice that might just give you a whole new genre to enjoy. When it comes right down to it, unless the idea of cowboys and aliens makes you roll your eyes back, I think Straight Outta Tombstone will contain something you’ll enjoy. I certainly did.
The book began with considerable potential, with Larry Correia igniting things neatly with his 'Bubba Shackleford's Professional Monster Killers'. Jody Lynn Nye kept up with an incredibly improbably but campy 'Trouble in an Hourglass'. But from there, things became sedate. There were lots of competent stories, but most of them took themselves too seriously, fusing philosophy and whatnot into their works. Kevin J. Anderson lit up the proceedings with his 'High Midnight', and the ever reliable Jim Butcher gave us 'A Fistful of Warlocks'. But the rest... I think I have had enough of weird western. What about you?
Papa Pat Rambles has additional commentary, particularly about the cover art: http://habakkuk21.blogspot.com/2017/0... BUBBA SHACKLEFORD’S PROFESSIONAL MONSTER KILLERS by Larry Correia. Ever since Owen got to throw his boss out of the window, his fans have been clamoring for more. And, by going into the past, we can get a LOT more Monster Hunter stories. Some things stay the same: not all monsters are evil; chicks with guns are WAY cool; and NOBODY ever said “Dang, why did I bring all this ammunition?” Oh, yeah, and the government is mental.
TROUBLE IN AN HOURGLASS by Jody Lynn Nye. Well, her name isn't REALLY trouble. Beauty may, perhaps, be only skin deep, but mischief goes right down to the bone. Mom tends bar with a shotgun, daddy builds time machines in the shed.
THE BUFFALO HUNTERS by Sam Knight. What do you get when you go hunting buffalo with a giant Russian count and his daughter? Well, you get buffalo, for one thing. Not much sport to it, but this sort of thing really happened. In this case, though, it's not the buffalo that are the biggest threat.
THE SIXTH WORLD by Robert E. Vardeman. This story combines mad scientists, native spook stuff, and little grey men. The most sympathetic character gets killed first, but he was sort of a wimp.
EASY MONEY by Phil Foglio. Nasty, nasty man writes a story with a punchline at the end. It's a HECK of a good cowboy story, too.
THE WICKED WILD by Nicole Givens Kurtz. This could ALMOST not be a Wild West story, but it's the wicked ways of the Wild West that make the people possible. Umm, I didn't mean to do that much alliteration. Anyway, bad guys use to be able to get away with stuff until they got shot. Or something.
CHANCE CORRIGAN AND THE LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD by Michael A. Stackpole. Nicely steampunk in nature, a classic tale of the poor & downtrodden being taken advantsge of by the owners of the mine.
THE GREATEST GUNS IN THE GALAXY by Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Ken Scholes. After the Big Shoot-Out, there's always some kid who thinks he has to prove himself. Usually, the story ends with a pimply 15 year old staring up at a blue sky. Sometimes it ends in zombies. Or not.
DANCE OF BONES by Maurice Broaddus. When you take a man's money, you do the job he hired you to do. And if that means you have to do a little extra? Well, that's a risk you take.
DRY GULCH DRAGON by Sarah A. Hoyt. Would you want your sister to marry a dragon? There's really NOTHING I can say about that concept without the risk of offending a brother-in-law. Really. I've got some responses, but I think I may have gone a bit far already.
THE TREEFOLD PROBLEM by Alan Dean Foster. Mad Amos Malone and his trusty steed, Worthless, are not the sort you want to aggravate. Amos walks into a foreclosure situation, and, well, they just blow the competition away.
FOUNTAINS OF BLOOD by David Lee Summers. It's rather a creepy title, but I don't know what I'd come up with to replace it. A hired gun goes beyond the necessary minimums to provide true service to the man who hired him; and there are vampires, and a bodacious lady marshal who rides a motorcycle called Wolf.
HIGH MIDNIGHT by Kevin J. Anderson. The Shamblin' Zombie Private Eye encounters the ethics of the Wild West through time travel. Sort of.
COYOTE by Naomi Brett Rourke. This particular story has just as much non-natural events as the others, but it reads truer. Some of the other stories NEED a volume like this in order to exist; this one doesn't. The story of the old man and his grand-daughter could appear anywhere from Boy's Life to Playboy to Good Housekeeping. Maybe not Popular Mechanics.
THE KEY by Peter J. Wacks. Sorry. Didn't get this one. It has lots of famous people in it, though. And there is whiskey involved.
A FISTFUL OF WARLOCKS by Jim Butcher. Everybody said Wyatt Earp was a tough lawman. He says, in this story, that he can't leave just because the bad guys want him to, or pretty soon everybody will be pushing him. Seems like a good philosophy for a Wild West lawman to have.
Between the title and the cover, it didn't take much for me to be salivating over buying this. I'm a big fan of the Weird West, as many folk know, going back to my work on Doomtown Reloaded for the Deadlands RPG universe. Add in some of my literary heroes like Jim Butcher, Kevin J. Anderson and Larry Correia, and I was practically begging Baen to take my money on this one.
As I write this, it's sitting at #2 in Anthologies and it'd be a GREAT time to click to push this beautiful book to #1. I may have spoiled how much I enjoyed it, but read on if you're not convinced yet.
I had a long plane ride home last night from LibertyCon and got a lot of reading done, including this anthology. The stories included were so action-packed that I was able to sail right through it. Really a stellar job of getting a lot of unique voices that are both fun and have a great handle on writing stories that make weird west.
I'm not going to do a summary of every story involved, as it would take far too long, but I'll highlight some of my favorites.
The best story in the volume, hands down, was "Trouble In An Hourglass" by Jody Lynn Nye. Jody has always had a great feel for short fiction, and didn't disappoint here. The characters really stand out in this time travelling adventure that made for a lot of fun. One can see how big of a fan of Dr. Who she is by the way that she made this world work, another bonus. I really hope i can see more shorts with Trouble involved, a character very difficult not to fall in love with -- even though you know you shouldn't!
My next favorite was "Dry Gulch Dragon" by Sarah Hoyt. She poses a simple question at the very beginning of this story which is one of the best hooks I've ever read: would you let your sister marry a Dragon. It spins from there in to a world of elves and a fae-land within the west, something I'm not sure I've read done before, and I loved it! This felt like a classic fantasy tale and is worth the price of admission by itself.
Best concept and unique exectuion award, which I do differentiate from my favorite story, goes to Peter Wacks with "The Key". It opens up as a tale within a tale, a Chinese woman betting a bar that she has a story worth giving her a free shot of whiskey. Wack's use of time in different scenes, which follows a crazy path featuring Nikola Tesla and Rasputin, exectues a really nice way of using formatting and scenery to add a cool temporal flare to the story, as heroes hunt down and protect the key.
There wasn't a story I disliked in the whole volume, which is rare for anthologies. I can't get enough of the Weird West, and this actually surpasses my last favorite weird west antho, Dead Man's Hand edited by John Joseph Adams, which I nearly uphold as a bible of what the genre should be. Great work all around.
Some great supernatural Western short stories. I'm going to have to find the rest of these.
Bubba Shackleford's Professional Monster Killers by Larry Correia - ★★★★ A bunch of monster hunters are hired to take out a Native American myth. Great stuff.
Trouble in an Hourglass by Jody Lynn Nye - ★★★★★ Nye smartly shows how to do time travel right in a short story. Fantastic!
The Buffalo Hunters by Sam Knight - ★★★★ Some rich Russians mix it up with a Native American creature. Solid."
The Sixth World by Robert Vardeman - ★★★ This was OK. It's about a cryptozoologist looking into an odd skull like from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Easy Money by Phi Foglio - ★★★ Very short but a decent twist at the end.
The Wicked Wild by Nicole Givens Kurtz - ★★★ A corrupted man goes after some kind of witch or sorceress.
Chance Corrigan and the Lord of the Underworld by Michael Stackpole - ★★★★★ Two inventors go after one another. This was great!
The Greatest Guns in the Galaxy by Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Ken Scholes - ★★★ Two aliens show up in the Old West and cause a zombie apocalypse. Meh."
Dance of Bones by Maurice Broaddus - ★★★ Some ranchers are chased by a magician after going to a whore house. Meh.
Dry Gulch Dragon by Sarah A. Hoyt - ★★★★ Not bad. Warhammer 40K type story set in the Old West about a dragon trying to help a human brother and sister.
The Treefold Problem by Alan Dean Foster - ★★★ A settler will lose his property unless he clears off his 160 acres in the next 24 hours. Eh.
Fountains of Blood by David Lee Summers - ★★★ A story of vampires in the old West. Could have been done better than it was.
High Midnight by Kevin J. Anderson - ★★★ A zombie mixes it up with some evil ghosts. Not great for a series with at least 4 books.
Coyote by Naomi Brett Rourke - ★★★ A Native American and his granddaughter tell a story.
The Key by Peter J. Wacks - ★★★ Tries a little too hard to bring real historian figures into this tale of an alternate West dealing with seeing the future.
A Fistful of Warlocks by Jim Butcher - ★★★★ A short story set in the world of The Dresden Files with Warden Luccio going after some Thule Society members back in the Wild West. (Warlocks live for a very long time.) Chronologically it would be the first story set in the universe. While it does occur first, it's best read after "Dead Beat" when these characters begin to appear in Dresden's life.
When I heard one of my favorite authors (Jim Butcher) was contributing to a weird west anthology, I knew I had to get it. I was also excited to read some other authors I hadn't read before. As with any anthology, there were some stars, some that were just eh, and some that I kinda wish I'd skipped. This was my first time ever reading anything by Larry Correia. I know he's got a boatload of awards and is a big name in the urban fantasy genre. His Monster Hunter International series is HUUUUGE. So, when I heard there was going to be something in here by him, I was intrigued. It was a pretty big let down for me. Not that the writing was bad, it was just uninteresting. His story didn't add anything to the genre for me, didn't make me want to read more from him. Just boring. Oddly, it was the only one in this collection that I flat out didn't like. The breakout stars of this anthology are "The Buffalo Hunters" by Sam Knight, who I'd also never read before (but will probably find something else of his to read based on his submission here). The Greatest Guns in the Galaxy was fun. (By Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Ken Scholes.) High Midnight by Kevin J Anderson was also a favorite and I've already got more from him on my TBR list that just got bumped up. And, of course, there was Fistful of Warlocks by Butcher which didn't fail to entertain. The real surprise for me was how much I loved the short story "Coyote" by Naomi Brett Roarke. I love native tales, and Coyote especially. I know it's hard to adhere to telling a story about Native Americans in the west without making it boring or another story we've heard before. This one was really great and I'll definitely be reading more from Ms. Roarke in the future. It was brilliant and unsettling, but also oh-so-satisfying. For anyone who is a fan of weird west, or someone who is just getting into the genre, this is a great introduction across the spectrum of what to expect. Go get a copy and read it! Happy trails. :)
I've liked westerns for many many years, though recently I've taken to reading more scifi than western, the action is better, and the stories are more interesting. Who would have thought that combining western settings with scifi stories could be so much fun. If you like either westerns, or scifi, or even (to a lesser degree fantasy), then you need to read this story collection. You'll find all the usual culprits, wild bill, train robberies, smoky saloons, six guns, and on and on, but none of them are quite what you're used to in your typical western towns. This collection of stories will delight and entertain, putting new spins on old characters, providing glimpses into new and original western settings, and even elves (did I mention there were elves?) make an appearance in this collection, along with aliens, time travel, dragons, and even more wonderful and zany takes on how the west was won. :) Highly recommended, you can't go wrong with this collection of stories, run out and pick up your own copy today.
I was really excited about this collection. It has a story in the Monster Hunter universe and a story in the Dresden Files universe - IN THE SAME BOOK! How could that not be amazing?
Well, it could not be amazing because it's westerns. Don't get me wrong, I like them, they're just not the top of my list. It is rare for me to be deeply impressed with a western - the western is very much my father's genre.
I liked the Monster Hunter story. I liked the Dresden files story. I didn't love either of them, but they helped fill that need to read in those universes. I liked the story by Phil Foglio even if I could see the end coming. There were a couple of stories that were MEH. My favorite story - far and away was actually "Chance Corrigan and The Lord of The Underworld" by Michael A. Stackpole. Western, steampunk, magic... definitely a worthy read.
If you like Westerns that are not your normal cowboy vs Indian vs rancher vs outlaw vs lawman, you are likely to find something to entertain you in this collection of tale tales that at least visit the old West. A couple of these tales I have encounters in author anthologies (Butcher and Correia), but most were new to me, even if the authors were not. You have aliens, dragons, time travel, horror, dark magic, shapeshifters, and steampunk all mixed in with your standard cowboys, Native Americans, greedy Easterners, and stalwart lawmen. My favorite tale (The Key) opens and closes in Yuma, but most of the action takes place in China with walk-ons by Winston Churchill and Nikola Tesla. Now I just need to get and read the other two collections of Weird Westerns Baen has put out!
Like most story collections, this one is a mix of fair to pretty good, with perhaps a stellar example or two. As the subtitle implies this is a collection of weird westerns, with weird definitely being the operative word. Though there are a few entries that are primarily steampunk, most deal with some form of the supernatural. A range of evil creatures are confronted and, usually, dispatched by the hero or heroine. There were also a couple of convoluted time travel adventures. "The Greatest Guns in the Galaxy" was probably the worst. My favorite was "The Treefold Problem" because of its most humorous ending. Most of the others were entertaining while being read, then pretty forgettable. Good for some light reading.
NOTE: Review only for "A Fistful of Warlocks" by Jim Butcher. This short story takes place WAY back before any of the other stories in the series. A young Warden (not yet leader of) Anastasia Luccio is on the trail of a rogue Warlock. Entering Dodge City on a creature disguised as a horse, she ends up teaming up with Venator Wyatt Earp against some necromancers in town. An epic battle takes place (as only Jim Butcher can write) and though the day is won, two necromancers escape. These are revealed to be Kemmler and his apprentice Grevane, both of which are known to readers. Another excellent tale. Recommend.
Another one I found in one of those best of Colorado writers lists. There are times when a short story collection is just what I need. 15-20 pages and I can put it down and pick it up later without having to remember anything. As usual, some very good ones and some just OK ones. None of them were bad though and I read them all. Plus, always fun to see Dan Shamble make an appearance. You must be in a old west mood to read these though. It did get old after a while, but I knew that going in so not huge deal.
If you like tales of the old west, especially if you like tales of the old west spiced with a bit of the bizarre or supernatural, you will enjoy these stories. The authors depict their setting well enough that you can practically taste the dust at the back of your throat. You may run across some familiar characters and even those that aren't familiar have excellent stories to tell.
Under normal circumstances, I would never pick this book up, since I have issues with the editor. However, I’m trying to read everything in the Dresden universe, and this book has the most recent Dresden story, so I checked out a copy from my local library. I must say there is a chunk of decent fiction in here, much by authors I’ve never read before, which made for an enlargement of my to-read list.
Being a big Dresden fan, I was looking forward to a story involving Luccio for way before we get to know here. Unfortunately the story felt a little stale, like Butcher was writing it for $#!+$ and gigles. Although he sets it up to be the premise for another series of books, one feels he should perhaps finish the Dresden series lest he become another GRR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss or Scott Lynch.
This was an awesome read. I liked all the stories in it, and loved most of them. David Boop did an amazing job gathering these disparate stories and putting them together in a cohesive whole that really works. You can read my full review over on MySF Reviews.
A great anthology. some stories were better than others, but the ones that stood out for me were Larry Correia's and Jim Butcher's. I really hope Larry writes more adventures of Bubba Shackelton and his Monster Hunters. The other stories were a combination of steampunk and monster stories and all were good.
A Fistful of Warlocks by Jim Butcher, You can also find this short story in "Brief Cases" (A book with a bunch of Butchers' short stories)
This fun western story is set in Dodge City were Warden Luccio is on the job hunting down a mad man. It's a fun read.... I'm mean, who hasn't dreamt of fighting shoulder to shoulder with a FAMOUS BELOVED LAWMAN (yes I will hold my tongue and not say who)
"Weird West" isn't one of my things. I read this solely for the Correira and Butcher stories, both favorite authors of mine, and those are what my rating is for. Correira's was good, and Butcher's was great.
I still tried the rest of them, and did enjoy some of them. If you're into Weird West, go for it.
There are a couple of reasons that I like short story anthologies. I discover new to me authors through reading stories that are well told. If I find a story that I don't like, it is only a short piece of fiction to endure. This book has a lot of really good short stories. The reason it took me so long to complete this book is that I have had very little time to read since I began it.
Five solid stars for A Fistful of Warlocks by Jim Butcher. I have wanted to know more about Anastasia Luccio and this story gave me just enough. Adding in Wyatt Earp, the Venatori Umbrorum, and some small town politics made this a fast paced, super fun, addition to the Dresdenverse.
Bubba Shackleford's Professional Monster Killers by Larry Correa, Trouble in an Hourglass by Jody Lynn Nye, Chance Corrigan and the Lord of the Underworld by Michael A. Stockpole, A Fistful of Warlocks by Jim Butcher.
A collection of mostly lighthearted or silly steampunk and bizarre fantasy. Some of these are pretty good. While cheesy western tropes abound, a colossal fart plays a role in at least one. You've been warned.
Larry Correia AND Jim Butcher in one book? It's gotta be good. Good enough to read. Only two stories were really bad and I did not finish them. Stackpole loves his adjectives, I don't. Wacks goes steampunk and I never really got into that.