Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weird West: An Untapped Goldmine

It's no secret that the Wild West genre in fiction and real life history is one of the most interesting and beloved things to have taken place within this world. The idea of cowboys defeating evil bandits, searching for lost gold, dealing with rampaging natives or cleaning up a corrupt justice system on the fringes of society holds an almost magical element. There is something inherently enticing about free men on the frontier with cobalt revolvers, big singe shot Sharps rifles and rapid fire lever action rifles fighting in the pine forests to the open prairie.

The cultural love for this concept hasn't been limited to just Americans alone, as other cultures have found it of interest as well. Many people of Japan have found a great love of Western style music, dress and wide open freedom in their hearts. I found my own spirit warmed when reading this article in particular:

Suffice it to say that the Wild West concept has always been popular and probably always will be. It's one of the most fun and immersive settings in history. And this brings me to one of the most fun genres in fiction: Weird West.

If something as inherently awesome as cowboys in the untamed West is cool, then why not match it up with other things that are also entertaining? Just like samurai or pirates, cowboys are just one of those things that are insanely awesome no matter what you pair them up with. In fact, pairing them up with other vastly disparate concepts only seems to enhance their cool factor!

In fact, let's look at some of the cool things that have come out of Weird West!

1. Firefly, which I consider to be a Space Western and a variety of Weird West and one of the best shows ever. Also, if you haven't seen Firefly, how freaking dare you! Watch it. Now. No, I'm not kidding. Watch it.

2. The Wild Wild West, which I've reviewed and loved.

3. Valley of Gwangi, a movie about cowboys dealing with sodding dinosaurs! How much more epic do you get than that?

4. The Adventures of Brisco County Junior, which is sooooooo much fun.

5. Cowboys and Aliens, which was okay. They didn't screw it up, which is more than I can say for Transformers by Michael Bay.
File:Cowboys & Aliens.jpg

There is some pretty cool stuff in literature too, and I was so glad to find as much as I did here:
I'm considering potentially getting into the Dark Tower series. Maybe. Not sure. Not typically a Stephen King fan. We'll see.
I'll get around to reading another awesome concept, The Cowboys of Cthulhu. No, really! That's a real thing! Look!
I'll letcha know how that one goes. Another series that looks darned promising that I've heard about before is the Merkabah Rider, a Jewish mystic travelling about the West fighting evil. If nothing else, that Volcanic repeater he has looks wicked cool!

And yet I can't help but feel like there is a lot of untapped potential. Wild West mixes with just about anything! It can mix with fantasy, horror, scifi, alternate history, pirates, aliens, zombies, steampunk, dinosaurs, robots, mysticism, monsters, anything! It really seems to me anyway that only lately have people been trying to tap into Weird West, one of the coolest things since fire.

Don't worry, I'll be diving into some of the books floating around there, as I am so there for some of these cross-genre concepts. Still, I feel like there is room for exploration here. I'm amazed that there is so little cowboy/dinosaur stuff out there. I mean, come on, cowboys and dinosaurs! What could be more amazing than those put together? Okay, maybe sharks that can fire lasers from their faces fighting robot eagles that have talons coated with diamond battling honey badgers that can fart superheated plasma while samurai with lightsabers and flamethrowers are cutting down hordes of hippie zombies.

But that's a little farfetched. Samurai aren't terribly fond of flamethrowers. I think ya'll get what I mean though. Another thing I noticed to my delight is an upcoming convention called the Weird West Fest, check it!
Hoping I can hop over there this year and have some fun. :D

Anyway, I'll review some of this stuff in the near future, and I hope that I have sparked imaginations and caught interest. :)
In fact, seeing some of this open territory here, I might take a stab at writing some Weird West myself... Hmmm...

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