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The Buntline Special

(Weird West Tales #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  1,282 ratings  ·  196 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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Average rating 3.46  · 
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 ·  1,282 ratings  ·  196 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 ne
The Shayne-Train
Aug 15, 2013 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
Neal Litherland
Feb 18, 2012 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
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 28, 2011 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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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:
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
Feb 17, 2015 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
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I will start by saying that I was not sure what I was letting myself in for here. I have heard a lot about Mike Resnick but never really intentionally went out to read his work - that is until I picked up his weird West Tales series (yes I will admit it I do not do things by half and if there is a series involved I will usually try and collect it all before I start it)/

So it was a pleasant surprised when I realised how much fun this book was. Yes it took historical events and twisted in to somet
Aug 26, 2014 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
Ranting Dragon
Jan 23, 2011 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
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
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
Katina French
Aug 03, 2013 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
Sadie Forsythe
May 05, 2016 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
Jacob Proffitt
Jan 09, 2012 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
David Schwan
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A steampuck retelling of the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral. Some parts of the story worked well and one seems somewhat contrived. The Bat Masterson story arc exploited a pun on his name yet as a character he was dissapointing.
C Jon Tice
Mar 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-like
I didn't realize picking this book up that it was an alternate history steampunk novel. I usually dislike an authors portrayal of historical figures, but it looked interesting so I thought I'd give it a try.

Doc Holliday was overly cocky and pretty agile for being so sick. All the famous gunslingers were pretty sure of themselves even when facing their undead equal, and the zombie gunslinger had all the advantages for a slaughter yet he still gave the 'good guys' plenty of time to figure a way to
James Martinez
Dec 06, 2010 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 04, 2011 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!
Sep 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-books, 2011-reads
This is really a weird west tale. My favorite character is Doc Holliday.
A lot of fascinating inventions.

Full review in progress .....
Jan 06, 2011 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.
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
really sweet. love the wild west meets steampunk.
Benjamin Kahn
It was a decent read. I liked the integration between the technology and the old west. I started to find Doc Halladay a little tiresome after awhile, and there was a little too much talk and not enough action. I understand that Resnick was following the course of historic events, but then you're basically just inserting technology into real incidents, and it becomes a little redundant. The armour and advanced guns had no real impact on the shootout at the OK Corral, so then what does it matter? ...more
David Radspinner
Jan 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: steampunk, own
Had to abandon about half-way through. I typically hate not giving books a full go but this just could not keep me engaged enough. Perhaps this was a "young adult" book and no one told me. The premise was sound; fictional retelling of the wild west with the famous Tombstone cowboys but with a Steampunk twist. As an Arizona native, I'm very familiar with the story and thought I would love this. I did not. The store plays out much like a cartoon, with random characters assigned historical names an ...more
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not a huge fan of westerns, alternate history, or steampunk, but I am a huge fan of Mike Resnick so I decided to trust him. And I was not led astray. It's 1881 and Thomas Edison lives in Tombstone, Arizona, designing fantastic inventions for Ned Buntline to construct. The Earps are in town, and Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday and a bunch of other famous characters from the time period, plus cyborgs and zombies and vampires. Because why not. It's not really steampunk - it's all electricity, no ...more
Kevin Crow
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
In this novel, Doc Holiday and his vampire friend have been called to Tombstone to defend Thomas Edison from a zombie gunslinger. I’ll make this short. This book is as stupid as it is enjoyable. The prose are repetitive, the end feels rushed and there is no character development. In fact, none of the characters show any emotion at all, even when their close friends die. That being said, this book is exactly as advertised. It’s a fun fantasy romp through the west with your favorite western heroes ...more
Bob Colwick
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Have you ever wondered how the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (side note: it actually occurred in the alley behind the O.K. Corral; kudos to the author for weaving this often-overlooked fact into the alt-history steampunk tale. But I digress) would have gone if the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday would have been outfitted with Gatling gun pistols and lightweight brass armor? If so, look no further than Mike Resnick's first entry into his Weird West's an enjoyable read that doesn't take it ...more
Gray Mouser
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
An agreeable read, but nothing more.

The book suffers from the constriction of replaying events in tombstone and the O.K. Corral shoot-out. In a completely invented setting, the liberties Resnick took with the historical characters would be just part of the alternate world background. Following the historical plot, the deviation from the historical characters and the steampunk science clash too much for me to enjoy the book completely.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Steampunk version of the Shoot out at the Okay Corral.

Why I started this book: Birthday gift from my brother, and since I was flying home this month I thought that I should read the book.

Why I finished it: I don't know that much about the Okay Corral and this is my second time reading Steampunk... that was both to my advantage as the other reviews attest. Popcorn fiction, turn off your brain and enjoy.
Racheal Paquette
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
How did I not read this sooner?! The year is 1881 and in this Weird West Tale, the United States of America ends at the Mississippi river. Medicine men have prevented forward expansion and the government wants to change this. Enter Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Thomas Edison who make up a crazy cast of characters! The wild West gets weird in this book and I loved it! I also loved how Doc Holiday is the main character here! Can't wait for the next one!
Kat Lutz
Sep 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I literally could not finish the third chapter, the writing is Terrible, character interactions annoying and strange, weird dialogue and their is no anticipation, EVERYTHING is basically a copy of all other stories ever written just put in a steampunk setting and it all just grated on me how terrible and difficult it is to even try to continue the book. There needs to be a negative star rating option.
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Michael "Mike" Diamond Resnick, better known by his published name Mike Resnick, was 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 was 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-liste ...more

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 (Weird West Tales, #4)

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