the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘western

territoryTerritory by Emma Bull

published in 2007

where I got it: purchased used

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Territory is one of those books that I really enjoyed, but it’s hard to articulate why I enjoyed it. Reading this book was like climbing under a soft heavy blanket – everything just felt right. Emma Bull certainly isn’t the only author to ever write a weird west tale, to ever envision that Wyatt Earp had some kind of magic that protected him, his brothers and their interests, and Doc Holliday. But I think she’s the only one to do it quite like this, to pit Earp against someone like Jesse Fox.

 

I was never all that interested in Wyatt Earp. And maybe that’s why I liked Territory so much. In this novel Wyatt is, umm….   wallpaper? A room accessory?  He’s there, but he’s the lamp in the room that is used to so you can see other things. Earp is walking through the story, having convinced himself the universe revolves about him, but this isn’t a story about him.  Doc Holliday thinks he’s the star of this story as well . . . .

 

Territory revolves around the fictitious characters Jesse Fox and Mildred Benjamin.  Fox may introduce himself as a horse breaker, but his skill set lies elsewhere. He’s been drawn to the boom city of Tombstone by his Chinese friend Lung Chow.  Chow’s been trying to train Jesse in other arts for years, but Jesse’s stubbornness keeps getting in his way.   Mildred is a widow, she works as a typesetter with one of the local newspapers. A woman with her feet in two worlds  and her ear to the ground,  she finds herself drawn to a man as secretive as she is. I really loved Mildred and what she goes through, her thoughts about where she in her life and how she got there. Earp might be a lamp that allows you to see other things, but Mildred is where all the brightness in the story comes from.

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The Doctor and The Kid by Mike Resnick (sequel to The Buntline Special)

Published Dec 2011

where I got it: received review copy from Pyr

why I read it: enjoyed The Buntline Special, the first book in the series.

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A fun, easy read, The Doctor and The Kid should probably be categorized as Young Adult. There is some mild swearing, and references to sex, but there is nothing in this book your teen hasn’t read before.  With a fairly simple plot and fun characters, it’s a good foil to all the heavy dense doorstopper melt-your-brain books that have been floating around lately.

It’s known, that I’ve a major weakness for tragic characters. And do they come any more tragic than Doc Holliday?  Wracked with consumption, as unflinchingly honest as he was bitter, he knew death was right around the corner, so why fear anything in life?

Resnick’s The Doctor and the Kid most certainly is not the true story of Doc Holliday, but it is a fun one.   Advertised as a steampunk western, The Doctor and the Kid doesn’t have a lot of action in it, Doc simply hasn’t got that kind of energy.  More a character study of Holliday and how he’s forced to realize that people don’t care that he’s classically educated or coughing up blood all the time – all they want to know is how many people he’s killed.  He’s not at all the person people think he is, and that was my favorite aspect of this book.

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Everything I need to know about life I learned from Joss Whedon’s show Firefly.  I’ll admit, I was late to the party, seeing it on DVD after the fact, and that it was my husband who originally said “honey, you have GOT to see this!!!”.  But really, Firefly is one of the best shows ever to grace the small screen, it’s a western scifi dramedy romance action, and when it ran, Fox had no idea what to do with it so they ran the episodes out of order and then canceled it.

Starring Nathan Fillion (@nathanfillion), Morena Baccarin, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, Ron Glass, Gina Torres, Jewel Staite (@jewelstaite), and Sean Maher, have any 14 episodes ever had a greater cult following?

Science Channel has picked up the rights and will be showing Firefly in it’s entirety (hopefully in the right order) along with some little extras after each episode. Honestly, the extras sound a little cheesy and unnecessary, but I ain’t complainin’.  So mark your calendars for March 6th at 8pm to see the full 2 hour pilot and weekly episodes in the correct order of some of the best science fiction ever filmed.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re in luck because you know what they say about your first time.

  First things first, I adore Doc Holliday. 

Second things second, Mike Resnick’s The Buntline Special just might be the most fun I’ve had all year. Equal parts clever, crazy, snarky and suspensful, if you are looking for a good time here’s a book you can’t go wrong with.

In an alternate history style reminiscent of Tim Powers, Resnick takes what we know happened (or at least what probably happened), and adds in that magical, wonderful science fiction question of “what if”. His answer includes cyborg women, assassins brought back from the dead, Native American magic, horseless carriages, inventors with too much time on their hands and all the fun you can have in the Wild Wild West. It’s not the deepest book I’ve ever read, but sometimes girls just wanna have fun.

In thing only slighty alternate history 1880’s, Thomas Edison has a rockin’ steampunk prosthetic arm and works with Ned Buntline in the town of Tombstone to create horseless carriages, fancy weaponry, brass body armor, cyborgs, and all sorts of other wacky inventions. What Tom thinks up, Ned creates. They’ve brought the electricity revolution to Tombstone. Secretly the inventors have been funded by the US Government to find a scientific way of counteracting the medicine men of the tribes, whose magic has kept the white men from expanding their country past the Mississippi river.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.