The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny: Tales of a Very Weird West

Outland Entertainment Dec. 2023. 350p. ed. by Jonathan Maberry. ISBN 9781954255685. pap. $19.95. FANTASY
The Weird West of this collection is a place where the legends of the Wild West meet the uncanny denizens of horror in settings that range from the magical lands of faerie to the days of the First World when Coyote and Changing Woman walked the Earth. The story in this collection that best exemplifies this Weird West is “The Legend of Long-Ears” by Keith R.A. DeCandido, with its blend of two larger-than-life legends of the Old West—Calamity Jane and Marshal Bass Reeves, as told by an ancient spirit of justice. Two stories with a similar theme, “Desert Justice” by Maurice Broaddus and “In the End, the Beginning” by Laura Anne Gilman, present alternative possibilities for the story of “how the West was won” and who it was, or could have been, won by. “Bigfoot Gorge” by Greg Cox is the standout of several stories in the collection that trip over the line into horror.
VERDICT Recommended for readers of Charlaine Harris’s “Gunnie Rose” series and Gilman’s “Huntsmen” series and those who appreciated Wild, Wild West, as the stories in this collection take that wild and run with it.
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