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Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West PDF, ePub eBook HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD!    From a kill-or-be-killed gunfight with a vampire to an encounter in a steampunk bordello, the weird western is a dark, gritty tale where the protagonist might be playing poker with a sorcerous deck of cards, or facing an alien on the streets of a dusty frontier town. Here are twenty-three original tales—stories of the Old West infused with element HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD!    From a kill-or-be-killed gunfight with a vampire to an encounter in a steampunk bordello, the weird western is a dark, gritty tale where the protagonist might be playing poker with a sorcerous deck of cards, or facing an alien on the streets of a dusty frontier town. Here are twenty-three original tales—stories of the Old West infused with elements of the fantastic—produced specifically for this volume by many of today’s finest writers. Included are Orson Scott Card’s first “Alvin Maker” story in a decade, and an original adventure by Fred Van Lente, writer of Cowboys & Aliens. Other contributors include: Tobias S. Buckell * David Farland * Alan Dean Foster * Jeffrey Ford * Laura Anne Gilman * Rajan Khanna * Mike Resnick * Beth Revis * Fred Van Lente * Walter Jon Williams * Ben H. Winters * Christie Yant * Charles Yu * INTRODUCTION John Joseph Adams THE RED-HEADED DEAD Joe R. Lansdale THE OLD SLOW MAN AND HIS GOLD GUN FROM SPACE Ben H. Winters HELLFIRE ON THE HIGH FRONTIER David Farland THE HELL-BOUND STAGECOACH Mike Resnick STINGERS AND STRANGERS Seanan McGuire BOOKKEEPER, NARRATOR, GUNSLINGER Charles Yu HOLY JINGLE Alan Dean Foster THE MAN WITH NO HEART Beth Revis WRECKING PARTY Alastair Reynolds HELL FROM THE EAST Hugh Howey SECOND HAND Rajan Khanna ALVIN AND THE APPLE TREE Orson Scott Card MADAM DAMNABLE’S SEWING CIRCLE Elizabeth Bear STRONG MEDICINE Tad Williams RED DREAMS Jonathan Maberry BAMBOOZLED Kelley Armstrong SUNDOWN Tobias S. Buckell LA MADRE DEL ORO Jeffrey Ford WHAT I ASSUME YOU SHALL ASSUME Ken Liu THE DEVIL’S JACK Laura Anne Gilman THE GOLDEN AGE Walter Jon Williams NEVERSLEEPS Fred Van Lente DEAD MAN’S HAND Christie Yant

30 review for Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West

  1. 4 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    With the exception of two or three stories which I didn't love as much as the rest, this is a great collection with a common theme: wild west. Some have magic, others steam engines, and some have both; some have only one character in it with the exception of the thing they are fighting, others have battles; some are about the living, others are about the dead; some have only humans, others other creatures too; some are sad, some humorous. And this is only small part of it. I can keep going. This With the exception of two or three stories which I didn't love as much as the rest, this is a great collection with a common theme: wild west. Some have magic, others steam engines, and some have both; some have only one character in it with the exception of the thing they are fighting, others have battles; some are about the living, others are about the dead; some have only humans, others other creatures too; some are sad, some humorous. And this is only small part of it. I can keep going. This anthology shows just how grateful this theme is. You can do anything with it. The Red-Headed Dead: A Reverend Jebediah Mercer Tale by Joe R. Lansdale East Texas, 1880 A reluctant Hand of God, Reverend Jebediah Mercer from the dead of the west, is drawn to yet another fight against the evil. It is way too short, but I loved it. Where else could you read about fist fight with a vampiric monster? The Old Slow Man And His Gold Gun From Space by Ben H. Winters Sacramento, California, 1851 Crane and Caleb, two gold prospectors, get an opportunity of their lifetime when a strange old man offers him a very special deal. A story with a twist in the end. Hellfire On The High Frontier by David Farland Wyoming Territory, Circa 1876 Morgan Gray, a Texas ranger, is on a trail of a skin-walker when a Stranger who helped him out before calls in a favour. Morgan can't refuse. He has to go to the High Frontier, a city in the clouds discovered four years earlier. You won't know where this story would take you judging by its beginning. The Hell-Bound Stagecoach by Mike Resnick Arizona Territory, Circa 1885 Four people are travelling together and only when they start talking do they realize that their coach isn't an ordinary one. Great ending. The coachman shouldn't have put those four together. Stingers And Strangers by Seanan McGuire Passing through Nevada, Westbound on the Southern Pacific Railway, 1931 Thanks to this story I got this anthology. Fran and Jonathan are on their way 'to determine the reason that the local Apraxis swarms have been moving during their settled season'. The Apraxis isn't the only thing they find. There is an annoying scene with a very beautiful woman they meet, but the ending saved it. Bookkeeper, Narrator, Gunslinger Charles Yu Lost Springs, Wyoming, 1890 A young man accidentally finds himself in a role he never expected. He also never expected an extraordinary gift. Holy Jingle by Alan Dean Foster Carson City, Nevada Territory, 1863 Something strange happened to Monk's young friend. He can't get him out of the brothel. So Monk finds a special man for the job. Great story and great ending. The Man With No Heart by Beth Revis Arizona Territory, 1882 Ray Malcolm needs answers about his origin, the truth about why his bones are made of metal and why he doesn't seem to have a heart. Following the trail of mechanical spiders, he finds everything he needs. Wrecking Party Alastair Reynolds Arizona Territory, 1896 A dirty wanderer is caught 'wrecking the horseless carriage on Main Street a little after two in the morning.' The sheriff recognizes him as his old friend and partner and allows him to tell his story. Why is he attacking machines? Hell From The East by Hugh Howey The Free Territory of Colorado, 1868 To be honest, this one was a bit boring. An officer goes mad and kills a bunch of his soldiers. The narrator tells us of his attempt to understand what happened. Second Hand by Rajan Khanna Wyoming Territory, Circa 1874 A story with a great idea: cards that can be used magically either as weapons or something else. The two characters from the story are in the town to talk to one of the Card Sharp old-timers, but everything goes wrong. Alvin And The Apple Tree by Orson Scott Card The State of Hio, 1820 Alvin comes to a village where every person blames themselves for one sin or another. Being a Maker, he fixes it in the end. I'll just leave two quotes from this story and most would understand why: 'Certainty is how you feel about your opinions. Knowledge implies that you’re pretty sure, but that you’re also right. Certainty doesn’t require that you be right.' And this one: 'Making other people ashamed of themselves so you can feel proud of being better. Those are sinful kinds of pride.' Madam Damnable’s Sewing Circle by Elizabeth Bear Seattle, Washington, 1899 A setup that is too long for something that isn't really a story, but rather an episode in a brothel. While the world seems more than interesting (a villain has some kind of device strapped on his arm and it makes people do what he wants), it is just an episode.Next, an Indian female character doesn't have to be Priya. I want to know why Madam Damnable is so formidable. Still, it is funny how the narrator presents her 'sewing' business. Strong Medicine by Tad Williams Medicine Dance, Arizona Territory, 1899 Medicine Dance is a very special place. Every thirty nine years something happens to the town and it needs any help it can get. And every thirty nine years, on Midsummer's Day a stranger comes to their aid. Red Dreams by Jonathan Maberry Wyoming Territory, 1875 When a story features a man who participated in the Sand Creek massacre, it is impossible to empathize. it starts with him being the only survivor in a battle. He starts hearing strange sounds and even strangers things start happening around him. Then Walking Bear came. Bamboozled by Kelley Armstrong Dakota Territory, 1877 Nate and Lily and their group of thieves are on another job where she has to pretend to be something she is not. Nothing is as it seems. Great twist in the end. Loved it. Sundown by Tobias S. Buckell State of Colorado, 1877 Willie Kennard, a Marshall, comes to Duffy in pursuit of a man who killed a group of miners whom he was guarding. Another great story with a twist and a satisfying ending. La Madre Del Oro by Jeffrey Ford New Mexico Territory, 1856 A young man gets deputized by a sheriff's deputy for a posse to catch a murderer of a young girl. The man isn't just a killer - they say he also ate her. So the deputy, one former gunslinger, our young narrator, and their guide are after Bastard George. Only, George isn't the greatest danger out there. What I Assume You Shall Assume by Ken Liu Idaho Territory, Circa 1890 A story of a power of words. Chinese are being hunted all around the area out main character is passing through. A Chinese woman stumbles into his camp. I didn't really like all the switching between the present and the past, but it helped me accept the ending. After thinking about how this story ends, I realized it ended as it was supposed to. The Devil’s Jack by Laura Anne Gilman The Territory, Three Days’ Ride Northeast of the Canyon, July 1801 Jack played against the devil and lost. The story finds him sixteen years into that job trying to outrun his master's call. He will play again, but not for himself. The Golden Age by Walter Jon Williams Alta California, Spring 1852 A humorous and at the same time a bit sad story of superheroes and super-villains of the Wild West. Neversleeps by Fred Van Lente Monument Valley, Near Navajo Territory, Northbound on the Northwest Pacific Express, 120 years after the Awakening I don' think I'll ever read 'Leviathan' (one: it is YA so I won't lose much; two: I don't like how Nikola Tesla is depicted there . yes, I've read the reviews). But now I know that I won't mind a female character Tesla. Not the Tesla, but a descendant. The world in this story is a world where science and electricity are banned, everyone turned to magic, dragons are used to pull trains, etc. The title refers to government Pinkerton agents who hunt down anyone who uses the forbidden items or electricity or anything else the government judges inconvenient. 'Nicola Tesla had been the West’s most wanted Science Criminal, with a million-dollar bounty on her head.' Dead Man’s Hand by Christie Yant Deadwood, Dakota Territory, 1876 Various and often contrary accounts on what happened to Wild Bill Hickok. Overall, this has been a great collection of stories with only a couple of those that weren't as strong as others.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lea

    A great introduction to the genre of Weird West! All of the stories started with interesting ideas -- some were more successful making a good story out of those ideas than others, but all were definitely worth a look. I didn't dislike any of these, although there were just a couple that didn't hold my interest. I did discover that -- for me -- a little Weird West goes a very long way. I think this genre works better in film for me. Nice collection -- recommend!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I'm not marking this as read or giving it a rating yet because I've currently only read one short story from the anthology. I do intend to come back to it and read the rest at some point though so I'll update this review when I get around to it. 3 stars for Stingers and Strangers by Seanan McGuire: Read: 11th May 2016 Stingers and Strangers is Seanan McGuire's contribution to the Dead Man's Hand anthology. Fran and Jonathan have now been working together for 3 years (& I have to admit that the I'm not marking this as read or giving it a rating yet because I've currently only read one short story from the anthology. I do intend to come back to it and read the rest at some point though so I'll update this review when I get around to it. 3 stars for Stingers and Strangers by Seanan McGuire: Read: 11th May 2016 Stingers and Strangers is Seanan McGuire's contribution to the Dead Man's Hand anthology. Fran and Jonathan have now been working together for 3 years (& I have to admit that the jump in the timeline was a little jarring since the previous three stories have followed on one immediately after the other) and their latest case has them travelling to Colorado to investigate the strange behaviour of the local Apraxis Hives. Considering Apraxis wasps are the size of a man's shoe and as intelligent as the humans they feed on (in fact, they absorb the memories of the humans that they consume!) they're a pretty terrifying creature. So anything that has them running scared has got to be of nightmare proportions and that is the creature that Fran and Jonathan have been sent to deal with. Although I enjoyed this short it seemed a little odd that the couple's relationship had changed so little in three whole years (this actually felt more like it was several months after the previous story) but I loved the progress they make here. The wasps were suitably creepy but I think the show down with the main monster fell just a little bit flat, I would have liked that section to have been just a few pages longer and more detailed. This wasn't my favourite story about this couple but it was well worth reading if you're a fan of the previous ones and I'm looking forward to spending more time with them both.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Only read Stingers and Strangers by Seanan McGuire. I'm a little surprised that 3 years have passed since we last saw Jonathan and Fran. But beyond that, this was an awesome story with a lot of fun little glimpses into the further cryptid world and species. I particularly enjoyed the moments between Fran and Jonathan which seemed to really deepen their relationship.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    Short and fun, with enough action, humor ... and romance too. “Very well, then: let me tell you about the Apraxis wasp. First, picture a yellow jacket the size of a shoe.” “My shoe or yours?” she asked. “Mine.” Fran shuddered. “Pictured.” “Good. Now, give that yellow jacket human intelligence.” “You’re messin’ with me,” Fran said.” Three years after their fateful meeting in Tempe, Arizona, Jonathan and Fran are still working together. Their new case takes them (and a bag-full of Aeslin mice) to Bogg Short and fun, with enough action, humor ... and romance too. “Very well, then: let me tell you about the Apraxis wasp. First, picture a yellow jacket the size of a shoe.” “My shoe or yours?” she asked. “Mine.” Fran shuddered. “Pictured.” “Good. Now, give that yellow jacket human intelligence.” “You’re messin’ with me,” Fran said.” Three years after their fateful meeting in Tempe, Arizona, Jonathan and Fran are still working together. Their new case takes them (and a bag-full of Aeslin mice) to Boggsville, Colorado ... something is scarring off the dangerous Apraxis wasps, of course those two will stick their neck in the middle of that hive. Giant wasps, dragon-princesses and a mind-scrambler.... just the average day of work for our couple.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    Only read Stingers and Strangers by Seanan McGuire, because INCRYPTID!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Harry Casey-Woodward

    This is my introduction to the weird west genre and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover it. The genres of horror, fantasy and sci-fi blend seamlessly with the western in these stories. Admittedly, you could argue that westerns count as fantasy anyway. However, the supernatural elements in these particular Wild West stories have been turned up a notch. You’ve got your typical western characters having to deal with vampires, clockwork robots, giant wasps and people not being dead w This is my introduction to the weird west genre and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover it. The genres of horror, fantasy and sci-fi blend seamlessly with the western in these stories. Admittedly, you could argue that westerns count as fantasy anyway. However, the supernatural elements in these particular Wild West stories have been turned up a notch. You’ve got your typical western characters having to deal with vampires, clockwork robots, giant wasps and people not being dead when they should be. My favourite has to be ‘Strong Medicine’ by Tad Williams, because it has dinosaurs. I also liked ‘What I assume you shall assume’ by Ken Liu, a blending of American and Chinese history that also focuses on the literal power of words. ‘The Golden Age’ was also fun, because it explores what may have happened if costumed heroes and villains ran amok in the Wild West. My least favourite stories were the ones where the writers wrote in so much fantasy that it overrode any western elements. The best ones are the ones where you don’t notice the fantasy, or it feels perfectly natural. Overall a fun, dazzling and quite inspiring collection.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I only read Stingers and Strangers by Seanan McGuire. This story is the fourth in a series of short stories about Jonathan Healy and Francis Brown from the author's InCryptid series. A couple have appeared in anthologies, as this one does, and a couple are available for free on the author's website. This story starts 3 years after the last story, in 1931, back on a train headed west and then in a town in Colorado. I don't know, as much as I like the idea of using a common world or series as the I only read Stingers and Strangers by Seanan McGuire. This story is the fourth in a series of short stories about Jonathan Healy and Francis Brown from the author's InCryptid series. A couple have appeared in anthologies, as this one does, and a couple are available for free on the author's website. This story starts 3 years after the last story, in 1931, back on a train headed west and then in a town in Colorado. I don't know, as much as I like the idea of using a common world or series as the foundation for stories that will appear in magazines and anthologies, it's really tricky to make it work too. Aliette de Bodard does it as well with her Xuya universe, but they're only loosely related most of the time, those stories stand on their more. And there were still times when reading Xuya stories where I felt like the impact would be lost for people who didn't know the history or importance of a theme or idea. But this is trickier. If I didn't know who the Healys were, what a dragon princess was, what the Aeslin mice were, I don't think I'd like this much, I'd feel lost and I wouldn't feel connected to these characters. But I did know and it was a very Healy romance (guns, knives, crypt ids and danger) and I enjoyed it. Some of the other stories in the book looked like they might be good, but I have too many other anthologies on my kindle and on my to-read list, I just couldn't spend the time on one who's theme didn't do it for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jasper

    originally posted at: http://thebookplank.blogspot.com/2014... One sub genre that isn't the mainstream when it comes down to fantasy and science fiction is the western genre. I have come across a few books that do feature some great western stories, those of Joe Abercrombie, Mike Resnick and Guy Adams. Westerns, be it steampunk influenced, classical or with a tinge of science fiction all do pique my interest so when I found out that Titan books was releasing not one but twenty three western stori originally posted at: http://thebookplank.blogspot.com/2014... One sub genre that isn't the mainstream when it comes down to fantasy and science fiction is the western genre. I have come across a few books that do feature some great western stories, those of Joe Abercrombie, Mike Resnick and Guy Adams. Westerns, be it steampunk influenced, classical or with a tinge of science fiction all do pique my interest so when I found out that Titan books was releasing not one but twenty three western stories, be it in a anthology I was more than stoked to get reading. The story of the Dead Man's Hand anthology were picked out by John Joseph Adams, he is a critically acclaimed editor of many anthologies and various science fiction fantasy magazine, one of his anthologies The Living Dead was nominated for a World Fantasy Award! So the premise of diverse western stories and a renown editor this had to be one awesome read, and it sure as proved to be one! A lot of readers do shy away from anthologies but Dead Man's Hand is really, really one wild weird west ride. The stories that make up the Dead Man's Hand anthology are all original stories and the list is as follows: 1. The Red-Headed Dead by Joe R. Lansdale 2. The Old Slow Man and His Gold Gun From Space by Ben H. Winters 3. Hellfire on the High Frontier by David Farland 4. The Hell-Bound Stagecoach by Mike Resnick 5. Stingers and Strangers by Seanan McGuire 6. Bookkeeper, Narrator, Gunslinger by Charles Yu 7. Holy Jingle by Alan Dean Foster 8. The Man With No Heart by Beth Revis 9. Wrecking Party by Alastair Reynolds 10. Hell from the East by Hugh Howey 11. Second Hand by Rajan Khanna 12. Alvin and the Apple Tree by Orson Scott Card 13. Madam Damnable’s Sewing Circle by Elizabeth Bear 14. Strong Medicine by Tad Williams 15. Red Dreams by Jonathan Maberry 16. Bamboolzed by Kelley Armstrong 17. Sundown by Tobias S. Buckell 18. La Madre Del Oro by Jeffrey Ford 19. What I Assume You Shall Assume by Ken Liu 20. The Devil’s Jack by Laura Anne Gilman 21. The Golden Age by Walter Jon Williams 22. Neversleeps by Fred Van Lente 23. Dead Man’s Hand by Christie Yant As you can see from the list above there are some well known and a bit lesser known authors (at least for me) that feature in Death Man's Hand. As what I normally do when I review an anthology I pick a few stories that really caught my eye and that I thoroughly enjoyed, this doesn't mean that I didn't like the other ones its just that writing something about every story would turn this into a too lengthy review. (I am going to spill some beans on the bold ones) One thing that falls to note when you are a few stories into Dead Man's Hand is the diversity of the featured stories. Like I mentioned above they come in many forms. Like a supernatural story where vampire hunting holymen take the central stage to killer wasps down to aliens and back to a classic showdown and magical cards. John Joseph Adams has selected some terrific stories from his anthology and yes this is the first anthology that I read of him, but still there are some stories in this anthology that really put you to the edge of your seat and some that are for me ready to be translated into a full length novel as well. 1. The Red-Headed Death by Joe R. Lansdale An anthology always needs one powerful story to kick off the book and this is exactly what Joe R. Lansdale's, The Red-Headed Death does. Some people might call the idea behind this story cliche but you know what it rocks. The Red-Headed Death is a supernatural vampire story. It's a relatively short story only a few pages long, but that is all it needs. The Reverend, one Jebediah Mercer, is send on another task by God. He is a holy man and one thing that doesn't fit in this picture is of course the supernatural entities. He soon discovers some weird things going on in a cemetery and when he sets out to investigate it proves more than true and he has to deal with the blood-sucking kind of supernaturals. But Jebediah isn't only armed with some garlic, wooden stakes and a sprinkle of holy water, no he is packing some serious heat! .44 Colts just to name one. Now you can guess just the direction that The Red-Headed Death will go into I reckon, one gunslinging showdown! THe shortness of this particular story really works in it's favor it's exactly enough to produce one single short storie, get you on the edge of your seat and trigger you to find out just what kind of stories the remained of the anthology has in store for you! 2. The Hell-Bound Stagecoach by Mike Resnick I know Mike Resnick solely for his own Weird Western Tales, the steampunk, alternative history mash-up series. In it he has already shown that he has a creative mind when it comes down to using the western theme. So when I read that one of his stories featured into this anthology I did got my hopes up to see Doc Holliday make an appearance, but Mike Resnick goes into a different direction with The Hell-Bound Stagecoach. The story is based on an already published one but Mike Resnick translates this into a bit more horrific and weird western story. One thing that is tricky when it comes down to short stories is info dumping, The Hell-Bound Stagecoach has definitely influences of a strong character plot but Mike Resnick slowly reveals more and more about the different characters and just their role in the plot itself. as you can probably make up from the titles, there is only one direction to which this stagecoach is going, and that is straight to Hell. However it's not only about the destination perse, it's about the journey and this aspect, is what Mike Resnick shows in a creative way. It is a pretty weird story but in the few sentences everything falls into place. 3. Stingers and Strangers by Seanan McGuire A lot of readers will know that Seanan McGuire also goes by the name of Mira Grant and this is where I know her from, she has shown her self to be able to freak out people completely with her Newsflesh and Parasitology series. Stinger and Strangers however follows up on a different series that she is still currently working on: InCryptid. Now I am not familiar with this series but I could understand everything that featured in Stingers and Strangers to enjoy it completely. Stingers and Strangers tells the story of Jonathan and Frances who are making their travels through Colorado in the 1930's to check in with an Apraxis swarm . Apraxis are gigantic wasps that have the level of intelligence of human beings. Its this latter part that makes them a top predator instead of a simple insect, well that and given the fact that they are of a giant size. The cryptozoologists Jonathan and Fran (in-training) have their hand full to quell this threat. This is not a typical shoot-out western but I am always in for some science/biology in my stories and this is what Seanan McGuire shows. Dangerous and just a bit bizarre creatures that pose a threat to mankind. 4. Bookkeeper, Narrator and Gunslinger by Charles Yu Bookkeeper, Narrator and Gunslinger is a classic showdown, who is the fastest draw in the west kind of story. But well calling it classic is not possible since it features in a weird west anthology, so it does have a twist! The story is written in a first person narration and this really helped to create a much more engaging feeling it. In the little town where Bookkeeper, Narrator and Gunslinger takes place there were three people termed the fastest gunslingers Fallon, Ratface and Pete. They exactly new who was the fastest but place two and three remained to be guessed. The person we follow, the narrator is basically the narrator of the town and does some bookkeeping on the side but you know, some people are just to bit of a smartiepants for others and soon the match gets changed...it isn't Pete vs. Fallon anymore but Fallon vs. out protagonist. Which adds to the last bit of the title. This is one of those stories that readily sucks you in as you read everything that the main protagonist is going though, leading up and doing the eventual 40 meter staredown and pray that you are the fastest one! 5. Second Hand by Rajan Khanna As I have said before there are well known and lesser known author in the Dead Man's hand anthology and sorry to say this but I haven't read anything by Rajan Khanna before, but finishing Second Hand I am in for a full length book of it! This is one of those stories that has a lot of promise to it. You are thrown directly into the heat once you start reading Second Hand, you see one of the character, Hiram, playing a card and not completely according to the general rules. His chaperon and trainer, Quentin quietly observers and sees Hiram make a stupid mistake. What directly felt to note were the capitalized words Cards and Played, once you read them you know that they have a much bigger meaning to them and soon you do find out just what it all means and this put a big smile on my face! I read stories like Wild Cards which are totally awesome but Rajan Khanna gives a completely new meaning to the words Card Sharps. Because the Cards that both Quentin and Hiram use have a supernatural tinge to it and basically makes them a bit like mages, I have to stop here from telling more but its really cool stuff and a great idea to use in a story. Anyway, Quentin and Hiram are for a specific purpose in the city, they have to find a certain someone to help them understand, but one the said person is located it all turns to the very bad very soon. Rajan Khanna has started to build a great premise in Second Hand that will hopefully be featured in more stories or a full length book! 6. Strong Medicine by Tad Williams Tad Williams is one of the big names in the anthology and I have been a big fan of his stories for a long time, my fantasy reading began with his Otherland series. If you think about a weird western tale, than Strong Medicine fits the bill spot-on. The story takes place in Medicine Dance, Arizona here once every thirthy-nine years during midsummer something weird happens to the town of Medicine Dance. Time stops for a moment, or I should be saying goes back a few million decades... The dinosaurs, other reptiles and even mammoths make a brief reappearance during these midsummers days. The story however is just far from a simple quell the threat, protect the city type of story, it's more on the contrary, it shows a strong character driven story, one thing that I have come to enjoy from Tad William's other stories. Just as with the story of Charles Yu, Bookkeeper, Narrator and Gunslinger, Strong Medicine is also written in the first person perspective and this time we follow a stranger who is "just visiting" the town of Strong Medicine. Now on the first read through I had a lot of questions about what exactly was going on in the first few pages, is this guy really a stranger or what, it seems that some townpeople do know him and other don't, also he has a lot of knowledge about the midsummer events... All along the way there are some interesting things happening between this stranger and several of the townpeople and it seems that he has a heart for a few but what exactly remains to be seen, just untill the last page where Tad Williams give you one major plot twist, I didn't see this coming at all and I quickly read the story again and now it makes a ton of sense. I am a big fan of just these kind of stories, totally unexpected, a terrific read. 7. Dead Man's Hand by Christie Yant Christie Yant's Dead Man's Hand (not the anthology) is the last story of the anthology and just as where The Red-Headed Death gave the kick-off sign, Dead Man's Hand nicely decelerates the anthology. In Dead Man's Hand the story of James Butler Hickok by John McCall is being retold. It mentions briefly in the beginning "Your card are dealt anew every moment of the day. So are the card of the other players". And this is precisely what happens, it doesn't only feature the stories of James Butler Hickok and John McCall but also some other saloon proprietors. It took me a while, re-reading the story two or three times to full get the grasp of the story. But once understood it packs a powerful punch. A solid closing of the Dead Man's Hand anthology. I have only highlighted seven of the twenty-three stories but I can safely say that the remaining stories are just a great as the once that I have written about. Just like I mentioned on top and what you can hopefully make up from the explanations is that the stories are very diverse. But they do all have one thing in common they are a made up of good and solid idea's, some did take a rereading of me to fully grasp the story but once I did I smiled even more, there are some mighty clever and interesting stories hidden within Dead Man's Hand. This is my first John Joseph Adams anthology and I am more than pleased with the high quality of stories that he has collected, I will be definitely keeping an eye out on his next anthology to come. So far one of the best anthologies that I have read this year.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    I am going to do this short, because they stories are just that, some very short, and if I say too much, then I have said it all. Introduction—John Joseph Adams Now I know what weird western is The Red-Headed Dead—Joe R. Lansdale Short story about a priest. Ok but really short. The Old Slow Man and His Gold Gun From Space—Ben H. Winters Weird, short and had a nice twist Hellfire on the High Frontier—David Farland Maybe they work cos they are short, interesting. Anyway, I liked the stuff at the end. very I am going to do this short, because they stories are just that, some very short, and if I say too much, then I have said it all. Introduction—John Joseph Adams Now I know what weird western is The Red-Headed Dead—Joe R. Lansdale Short story about a priest. Ok but really short. The Old Slow Man and His Gold Gun From Space—Ben H. Winters Weird, short and had a nice twist Hellfire on the High Frontier—David Farland Maybe they work cos they are short, interesting. Anyway, I liked the stuff at the end. very cool The Hell-Bound Stagecoach—Mike Resnick A nice weird one. I liked it Stingers and Strangers—Seanan McGuire InCryptic tale. You can follow along even if you have read nothing from that "world" Bookkeeper, Narrator, Gunslinger—Charles Yu I did feel a bit confused with this one Holy Jingle—Alan Dean Foster A bit so and so. The Man With No Heart—Beth Revis I wondered where this one was going and at the end I totally wanted a book about him. Cool. Wrecking Party—Alastair Reynolds Scary future for all of us, nice sense of doom Hell from the East—Hugh Howey I read it 30 min ago and have forgotten it already *checks* Right, sun dance. Ok the concept was interesting of what is to come Second Hand—Rajan Khanna Same with this one *check* Right, cards. Needed more explaining Alvin and the Apple Tree—Orson Scott Card I have not read the Alvin books so..who is Alvin? Anyway freaky town! Madam Damnable’s Sewing Circle—Elizabeth Bear Not that much happened, I know they are short but still Strong Medicine—Tad Williams Now this was one weird place. Very nice. Red Dreams—Jonathan Maberry Freaky end, I do like freaky endings. Bamboolzed—Kelley Armstrong A good story Sundown—Tobias S. Buckell I could have needed some more explanations here, it should have been longer La Madre Del Oro—Jeffrey Ford Ohhh, the end, I need more, what was that?! Awesome, creepy. What I Assume You Shall Assume—Ken Liu Eh, I mean ok, but I would rather have read this set in China and not a backstory The Devil’s Jack—Laura Anne Gilman Interesting fellow this Jack. The Golden Age—Walter Jon Williams Ha, this one was weird too, but hey that is why they are weird westerns. Got to love that Neversleeps—Fred Van Lente Hey they mentioned Tesla, that is always good, cos booo Edison, Tesla rules! Could have been even more interesting fully fleshed out. Dead Man’s Hand—Christie Yant I did not get this one. Was it even a story? And like always, some were good, some were ok, some I still remember, some I forgot. It's an anthology after all and every story will not be to my taste, they never are. But what they all had in common was that even if I was not a fan, they were still interesting. So weird cool stories set in a west you have not seen before.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bogdan

    Like expected mostly nothing out of the ordinary here. There are some good and engaging story, but not quite enough to really appreciate this kind of stuff. To be frank I was interested mostly for the weird factor... The Red-Headed Dead: A Reverend Jebediah Mercer Tale by Joe R. Lansdale ...ok... About the hunt for a vampire. Hellfire On The High Frontier by David Farland... Interesting in the beginning, but not so, after one point. The Hell-Bound Stagecoach by Mike Resnick ...ok...The title descri Like expected mostly nothing out of the ordinary here. There are some good and engaging story, but not quite enough to really appreciate this kind of stuff. To be frank I was interested mostly for the weird factor... The Red-Headed Dead: A Reverend Jebediah Mercer Tale by Joe R. Lansdale ...ok... About the hunt for a vampire. Hellfire On The High Frontier by David Farland... Interesting in the beginning, but not so, after one point. The Hell-Bound Stagecoach by Mike Resnick ...ok...The title describes very well the main ideea here. Stingers And Strangers by Seanan McGuire ...One of the best here. A good fantasy story set in the West. Dragon daughters, wasps, mind readers, etc Holy Jingle by Alan Dean Foster . Better than others. Vampiresss.Again. The Man With No Heart by Beth Revis ...Weird steampunk at it`s best!!! Red Dreams by Jonathan Maberry ...ok...With ghosts. La Madre Del Oro by Jeffrey Ford ...Hunting some kind of a dangerous creature. The Devil’s Jack by Laura Anne Gilman ...ok...Our hero is one of the Devil servants after he looses in a cards game. The other fourteen...meeehhhh not in my league!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cathy (cathepsut)

    Part of Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong. An Otherworld Universe Story: Werewolves in the Wild West. Good story, plot and characters.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tarl

    Weird West Anthologies are always a kind of mixed bag for me. Sometimes they are the same ol' clichés, while others manage to mix the proper amount of weird westerns so that the reader manages to stay engaged throughout the entire collection. Dead Man's Hand of one of the latter. Adams has done a remarkable job bringing a large variety of stories into this collection. There are weird westerns of very genre (ie: steampunk) as well as new and interesting storylines outside of the usual gunslinger Weird West Anthologies are always a kind of mixed bag for me. Sometimes they are the same ol' clichés, while others manage to mix the proper amount of weird westerns so that the reader manages to stay engaged throughout the entire collection. Dead Man's Hand of one of the latter. Adams has done a remarkable job bringing a large variety of stories into this collection. There are weird westerns of very genre (ie: steampunk) as well as new and interesting storylines outside of the usual gunslinger cliché. In this collection, there were a few stories that stood out for me. “Karen Memory” by Elizabeth Bear was a good story, though at the time, I was unaware it was actually the opening chapters to Karen Memory. The piece of story that Bear presents in the anthology itself is fairly solid, her writing being as masterful as ever, but because it is only a piece of a longer work, a lot is left unanswered by the end of the story. Still, Bear's excellent writing makes this a unique and interesting story. “Alvin and the Apple Tree” by Orson Scott Card stood out for another reason. Though Card's writing was fairly skillful in this story, and the premise was unique, I couldn't get behind it. I am not sure if it was just the characters and their powers, or their interactions, but something about them bothered me and kept me from enjoying the story itself. Still, it was a unique idea and helped mix things up. “The Red-Headed Dead” by Joe R. Lansdale is a sheer pleasure to read, despite not being as engaging or as entertaining as his previous stories. This story reads like a fight stretched out longer than perhaps it should have been, but it is engaging and by a master of the genre before weird wests were a thing. That said, it ended up being overshadowed by some of the other stories in this anthology. “Dead Man's Hand” by Christie Yant was by far the most usual stories in this collection, and yet one of the most artistic. Presenting differing ways a certain scenario plays out by also mixing in various versions of the 'Dead Man's Hand' made for a very interesting read. All in all, there were very few disappointing stories in this anthology and they are greatly overshadowed by the positive stories. If someone was to ask me what they should read to understand the weird west genre, I would recommend this book. Adams did a good job here, and his joy in the genre shines through.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    "Stingers and Strangers" by Seanan McGuire This is a good one, y'all. Fran and Jonathan travel to Colorado to find out what's been scaring the giant wasps, and in the process they finally, FINALLY admit their true feelings for each other. Took them long enough! I guess I assumed that they got together after Frances moved in with the Healys, but I find the idea that they've been dancing around the question for THREE YEARS fucking hilarious. Anyway. Listen, I DON'T LIKE WASPS. Maybe it's the fact th "Stingers and Strangers" by Seanan McGuire This is a good one, y'all. Fran and Jonathan travel to Colorado to find out what's been scaring the giant wasps, and in the process they finally, FINALLY admit their true feelings for each other. Took them long enough! I guess I assumed that they got together after Frances moved in with the Healys, but I find the idea that they've been dancing around the question for THREE YEARS fucking hilarious. Anyway. Listen, I DON'T LIKE WASPS. Maybe it's the fact that I read The Fairy Rebel at an impressionable age, but wasps are EVIL. Giant-sized ones that possess human-level intelligence and want to lay eggs in you and harvest your brain for memories? NOT OKAY. Seanan is so GOOD at horror. But even giant fucking wasps are afraid of something. If you've read any of the full-length InCryptid books, you know what that something is, but Frances and Jonathan won't find out for another couple of stories. In the meantime, they're gonna get married! Yay!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    This is a book full of shorts. I only read the incrypted, Stingers and Strangers, and while it was good, not quite up to her usual standards.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Casey Hampton

    I enjoyed this collection of odd tales from the weird west. It may not have knocked my boots off, but I felt them tugged from time to time. And really, what more can we ask from an anthology. Stuffed with clockworks, vampires, dinosaurs, and aliens, John Joseph Adams (editor) has wrangled some fun stories. Each author strikes a unique set of harmonics on the scale of voice and tone, and yet the individuality of fellow contributors isn't lost, but rather merged into a larger, primarily singular me I enjoyed this collection of odd tales from the weird west. It may not have knocked my boots off, but I felt them tugged from time to time. And really, what more can we ask from an anthology. Stuffed with clockworks, vampires, dinosaurs, and aliens, John Joseph Adams (editor) has wrangled some fun stories. Each author strikes a unique set of harmonics on the scale of voice and tone, and yet the individuality of fellow contributors isn't lost, but rather merged into a larger, primarily singular melody suiting this particular subgenre My top five IOP (In Order of Printing): * "The Hell-Bound Stagecoach" by Mike Resnick * "Bookkeeper, Narrator, Gunslinger" by Charles Yu * "Second Hand" by Rajan Khanna * "Red Dreams" by Jonathan Maberry * "Dead Man’s Hand" by Christie Yant * And honorable mention goes to the introduction. John Joseph Adams sets the table for the reader, establishing a foothold on the subgenre through brief and accessible historical context. The audiobook consists of dueling narrators. Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross take turns, with Gigante reading the majority. And while Ross has a rich and pleasing voice, she lathers on too much thick Southern-sweet for the ear to wholly appreciate. All in all, a fun anthology. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys tales set in the Ole West with a twist of odd fringed with funny.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Wyatt

    I loved this book. Most of the stories I found interesting and unique. I have been a Weird West fan before it was a "Thing". Steampunk is a fairly new territory for me but I have already found some good books from that Genre. If you like the Wild West.. read this. If you like Steampunk... read this. If you like horror and sci-fi... read this. If you like weird... read this. Just... read this!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Thomas

    I’ve grown to enjoy subject-based genre anthologies, provided I like the underlying subject matter and John Joseph Adams has yet to produce an anthology that I have not admired. This collection is no exception as he has put together a nice assortment of “weird western” short stories, featuring some well-known authors such as Joe R. Lansdale, Mike Resnick, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, and Elizabeth Bear as well as others that were new to me. As always, I liked some better than others but there I’ve grown to enjoy subject-based genre anthologies, provided I like the underlying subject matter and John Joseph Adams has yet to produce an anthology that I have not admired. This collection is no exception as he has put together a nice assortment of “weird western” short stories, featuring some well-known authors such as Joe R. Lansdale, Mike Resnick, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, and Elizabeth Bear as well as others that were new to me. As always, I liked some better than others but there is not a clunker in the bunch. There are 23 short stories in this collection, ranging from cowboy vampires to robot marshals, to aliens and steampunk adventure. The unifying theme is the Old West, but certainly nothing like the westerns that Zane Gray or Louis L’Amour would write. All in all, a fine collection that has, alas, added yet more authors to my “must read more of their work” list.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bauer

    This is a shining example of what a great editor, rich material and excellent contributors can do to make an outstanding anthology. The theme of "Weird Westerns" are not done often, but as with this collection, when done right, can be truly outstanding. The stories run the table from Cthullu mashups to steampunk Westerns and everything in between. Not a single disappointing tale in the anthology. Fans of virtually any kind of speculative fiction WILL find something to love in the pages. My person This is a shining example of what a great editor, rich material and excellent contributors can do to make an outstanding anthology. The theme of "Weird Westerns" are not done often, but as with this collection, when done right, can be truly outstanding. The stories run the table from Cthullu mashups to steampunk Westerns and everything in between. Not a single disappointing tale in the anthology. Fans of virtually any kind of speculative fiction WILL find something to love in the pages. My personal Top Three were; "The Golden Age" - Walter John Williams "Stingers and Strangers" - (Should be mandatory reading for any fan of McGuire's InCryptid series) "Red Dreams" - Jonathon Maberry Superb collection, overall.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    There's no doubt that Adams is a master anthologist- he consistently gets the best and brightest voices in SF/fantasy literature. The stories are usually fresh too- I'll rarely find one or two I've seen elsewhere. This collection, however, fell a little flat. Maybe it was the subject matter- I'm just not that into westerns, even with a twist, and by the end of the anthology I felt tired of it. There's something more, however. The stories didn't feel as transgressive as they usually did for an Ad There's no doubt that Adams is a master anthologist- he consistently gets the best and brightest voices in SF/fantasy literature. The stories are usually fresh too- I'll rarely find one or two I've seen elsewhere. This collection, however, fell a little flat. Maybe it was the subject matter- I'm just not that into westerns, even with a twist, and by the end of the anthology I felt tired of it. There's something more, however. The stories didn't feel as transgressive as they usually did for an Adams anthology. They were all extremely similar, and I thought there was very little creativity in the subject matter. Everything was well written, but there's only so much reading about young to middle aged men with a gambling problem.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Serra

    Old West Steampunk. Mike Resnik story as always great.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bea Charmed

    Stories by Kelley Armstrong, Laura Anne Gilman, Seanan McGuire, and other fantastic authors plus some new authors. I can't wait!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jo Ann

    Just not compelling enough to finish, stories are on the mediocre side. No point wasting any more time here.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Lee Rossman

    I really enjoyed the stories I enjoyed. There are some really amazing stories in this. But they made up less than half the book. The rest ranged from "meh" to "ew, I'm not reading this." I'll admit, I'm petty about reading. I see no reason to waste my time on something I am not enjoying, but these are some of the reasons I "noped" out of a story in this book. -Bad things happen to a horse. -Character willfully ignores suffering horse. -Horse doesn't even have a name. -Minority character has a name bu I really enjoyed the stories I enjoyed. There are some really amazing stories in this. But they made up less than half the book. The rest ranged from "meh" to "ew, I'm not reading this." I'll admit, I'm petty about reading. I see no reason to waste my time on something I am not enjoying, but these are some of the reasons I "noped" out of a story in this book. -Bad things happen to a horse. -Character willfully ignores suffering horse. -Horse doesn't even have a name. -Minority character has a name but he's just called "the Mexican." -Most of these stories have very little diversity. Maybe I've been spoiled by amazing queer, women, and POC books, but there were times I just couldn't read another boring white dude. -Orson Scott Card's name. (I didn't read a single word of his story so I can't comment on it specifically, but I try not to read things by people who are anti-queer.) I get that these are westerns, and most westerns portray the West as a whitewashed fantasy of toxic masculinity. That's why, even though I love aspects of the drama, I can't force myself to watch western movies. I just thought adding the speculative elements meant it would be... better. Modern. Inclusive and free of the tropes that limit the genre and relegate it to the category of "Things only my grandpa likes. No, not the cool grandpa. The one that thinks Linda and Gayle are just roommates." And a handful of the stories were absolutely amazing. The ones by Liu, Bear, and Macguire come to mind. But the rest was... disappointing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Freyavenlyo

    I haven't really heard about weird western before. I read Ginn Hale's The Long Past and other stories and found the genre very interesting. And getting this anthology as a present soon after was a stroke of luck. I rated all the stories individually and the average for this book come up as 3,4 star. To my favorites I counted "Stingers and Strangers" by Seanan McGuire (5 stars, great world building and main characters), "Second Hand" by Rajan Khanna (4,5 stars, where a deck of card can be used as I haven't really heard about weird western before. I read Ginn Hale's The Long Past and other stories and found the genre very interesting. And getting this anthology as a present soon after was a stroke of luck. I rated all the stories individually and the average for this book come up as 3,4 star. To my favorites I counted "Stingers and Strangers" by Seanan McGuire (5 stars, great world building and main characters), "Second Hand" by Rajan Khanna (4,5 stars, where a deck of card can be used as something magical) and "What I assume you shall assume" by Ken Liu (5 stars, about the power of words and believing in them). The stories of Alastair Reynolds, Elizabeth Bear, Tad Williams, Kelly Armstrong and Fred van Lente all got 4 stars. They equally had something new and surprising or very captivating characters defining their stories and so getting my attention. On story I was not sure how to rate, because even if it takes place in America around 1850 it does not capture the heart of the weird western genre at all. It is Orson Scott Card's story "Alvin and the Apple Tree" and revived Card's character of Alvin Maker. Quite an interesting story, very philosophical and theological, but it seemed a little bit off-topic. All in all quite an interesting reading experience for a genre I did not even know existed or had any special interest in it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Cranmer

    Dead Man’s Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West opens with “The Red-Headed Dead” and Joe R. Lansdale’s Reverend Mercer clashing with what Hand Editor John Joseph Adams calls in the introduction “a new unholy monster to battle.” With all due respect, that may be an understatement. Our good Reverend, on horseback, is swept down a hill and past a graveyard to a makeshift cabin as the surroundings area is being shredded apart by unhallowed forces. Before Mercer can pause for a breather, a creature t Dead Man’s Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West opens with “The Red-Headed Dead” and Joe R. Lansdale’s Reverend Mercer clashing with what Hand Editor John Joseph Adams calls in the introduction “a new unholy monster to battle.” With all due respect, that may be an understatement. Our good Reverend, on horseback, is swept down a hill and past a graveyard to a makeshift cabin as the surroundings area is being shredded apart by unhallowed forces. Before Mercer can pause for a breather, a creature that has “hardly a face at all” and “dark pads of rotting meat above its eyes” appears through a hole in the roof and descends on him. He quickly realizes his blessed bullets touched with drops of silver are useless. Is Mercer ready for Boot Hill? Lansdale was the chief architect of modern weirder storytelling that began with 1986’s Dead in the West, and this current story shows he hasn’t missed a beat. Bravo to Mr. Adams for beginning the anthology on such a high note. “The Old Slow Man and His Gold Gun from Space” by Ben H. Winters had me chuckling several times during this amusing and atypical little number. Two losers named Caleb and Crane, with “golden promises of Sutter’s Mill” in 1851, get more than they bargain for when an old man from the planet Neptune offers them a simple proposition. He carries “an antique flintlock pistol” that locates gold and proposes that they split the gold, explaining his people on the eighth planet eat it for food and they’re in danger of running out. Crane asks the obvious question—why doesn’t the old man just do it himself—which is answered. But, I’m betting most readers won’t guess the ending. In “Holy Jingle,” Alan Dean Foster’s character Mad Amos Malone is asked by Hank Monk—famed 19th century stage coach driver—to help him investigate the disappearance of pal and co-worker John Barrel, who was last seen at a Carson City brothel. Monk is visibly worried but tries to play it off as nothing more, perhaps, than a woman from the dreaded east who’s enraptured Barrel. If it is anything more “I’ll gnaw the hindquarters off a northbound polecat” Monk adds. He has little money and offers a gold watch given to him by Horace Greely. Mad Amos accepts. Of course, when they arrive at the establishment, they find things at play “that transcended love and sex.” Mr. Foster is a revered fantasy and science fiction writer whose credits include novelizations of Star Wars and Star Trek amongst numerous others. “Holy Jingle” was so darn entertaining; it had me looking for a 1996 short story collection called Mad Amos. “Hell from the East” is told by the mega-popular—deservedly so—Hugh Howey. Two soldiers are guarding a certain Lieutenant Randall who “took the sickness” and killed five men in their camp. Upon hearing Randall murmur Arapaho language in his sleep, they suspect he has “gone native” and set out to search for clues. Their discoveries are anything but normal as is Lowey’s assured and poetic writing. Not to be missed. “Alvin and the Apple Tree” by Orson Scott Card is an alternate history of the American frontier circa 1820 in which Alvin Smith meets Johnny Appleseed. Appleseed asks Alvin if he is a “primitive Christian” which sets off a discussion that leads into Appleseed informing him the nearby community of Piperbury is “a godly town.” Alvin travels on to Piperbury where according to a Mrs. Turnbull who he meets at a funeral procession, it’s “the wickedest place in all the world.” He learns that over a number of years, many residents had committed suicide and were buried in one of two well-populated cemeteries. After Alvin unravels the hamlet’s mysteries, he returns to confront the legendary Appleseed. This story is a genuine page turner but seems heavy handed and somewhat out of place with this particular type of weird western collection. Fans of Mr. Card (Ender’s Game) and his acclaimed The Tales of Alvin Maker will undoubtedly disagree and be thrilled by this latest adventure, the first in over a decade. In the wonderfully titled “Madam Damnable’s Sewing Circle” by Elizabeth Bear, an eclectic group of parlor ladies (called seamstresses here) take in a gunshot-wounded soiled dove turned vigilante named Merry Lee and a steadfast Indian girl named Priya. The sewing circle soon learn they have their hands full against Peter Bantle and his hardcases intent on recovering his flesh property. Bantle sports a contraption, “black leather truncheon,” on his left arm made up of copper coils and bare wires—in a nutshell, an electric glove used to burn his whores and his enemies. The crisp atmosphere of this story weaves real, if somewhat forgotten, Old West personalities like Julia Bulette and Madame Damnable with the rich voice of protagonist Karen Memery (“like memory only spelt with an e”). Many Western writers falter badly when attempting to write the lingo of the times, but Ms. Bear succeeds with Memery and I, for one, hope for more stories featuring this full-bodied and refreshing character. The final story in the collection, “Dead Man’s Hand” by Christie Yant, relates a tale familiar to nearly all Western fans: the murder of James Butler Hickok by John McCall in Deadwood on August 2, 1876,(sidebar: in a nice turn, the collection is dedicated to Wild Bill) starting with Hickok’s fateful card hand and a newspaper account. Then, Ms. Yant tells the tale again, but this time because “The hand you’re dealt is not the one that would have been dealt a moment before,” Hickok’s hand has changed and so has the newspaper account. This continues on for several more retellings, each with a different outcome for Hickok and McCall. “Dead Man’s Hand” is a nice Twilight Zone style coda to this satisfying collection. There are 16 more stories, making 23 in all, in Dead Man’s Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West. Additional authors include: David Farland, Mike Resnick, Seanan McGuire, Charles Yu, Beth Revis, Alastair Reynolds, Rajan Khanna, Tad Williams, Jonathan Maberry, Kelley Armstrong, Tobias S. Buckell, Jeffrey Ford, Ken Liu, Laura Anne Gilman, Walter Jon Williams, and Fred Van Lente. Like most collections, some entries are more entertaining than others but every narrative is strong and held my attention. Often I was left trying to figure where the author was headed and more often than not I was wrong. And that’s always welcomed.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Kahn

    A fairly solid, fun collection of stories. The majority were excellent, but there were two or three longer stories that went back to back that weren't as interesting and slowed the pace a little. But for the most part, a great collection of Western stories with a twist that kept me interested through the whole book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This was a really fun read. I got it for the Seanan McGuire story, but all the stories were worth reading. Plucky saloon prostitutes, alien infestations, mythological references, werewolves, time travel—definitely ran the gamut. Settings were fun, too. Very inclusive in terms of race, gender and gender identity, and sexuality too.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Hamilton

    There were many standout stories in this collection, and there should have been. Authors included some of my favorites, and now I have a few more. The stories covered the gambit of weird west tales and got all the elements right. I know I will read some or all of them again in the coming years.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    A surprisingly good anthology with the majority of the stories being very enjoyable. Normally with short stories i find one or two decent efforts and the rest are bland to awful. This book broke the mold i must just like the genres, can't beat the weird west.

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