Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Weird West Review: How the West Went to Hell

Finally got my lazy arse around to doing some more reviewing, and thankfully my insatiable thirst for Weird West writing led me to this dandy piece out on Amazon. Well, rather it's a bundle of pieces. It's an anthology of Western Horror with all sorts of interesting ideas and very well executed.

I haven't yet read through the entire thing, but overall I'm very pleased with my purchase. Eric S. Brown knows his craft and does an excellent job at each piece he writes at.
So far his first story in line is the biggest, dealing with demons, holy warriors and Satanic politics. And not the usual politics, I mean ones where Satan is actually involved.
Erm, okay, one's not involving DC or the UN. There, ought to clean that part up anyway.
Basically a demon has a plan to make Earth suck so bad that it will usher forth Judgement Day, and has chosen a backwoods town in the West to start it up in, and a handful of folks are band together to try and stop him.

Anywho, it has quite a few characters, and yet Brown does a good job of making them all stand out and not seem like stereotypes of Western stock stories, which is really hard to do. And this is coming from a guy who is terrible at remembering characters. The villain is undeniably evil and you really come to hate him, but he actually does have a tiny bit of charm. Mostly the guy is a complete troll and can't help but screw around with people. Imagine Edmund Blackadder crossed with an anarchist serial killer.

Fair warning though, don't get attached to any of the characters in any of these stories. These stories are dark and don't end happily. No, really. Some of these are downright dirty. Not something I like personally, but if you like Stephen King style unpleasantness then you'll really get into these. That's not to say they are distasteful or poorly executed, they are by intention supposed to be pretty grim. Just giving a heads up, since I personally like stories with happier endings, but that's purely a matter of taste.

There are of course lots of cowboys and zombies. The zombie craze of the last decade hasn't quite petered out yet, and of course everyone and their grandma wanted to put cowboys and zombies together in the same basket. We get a few of those in here, and they aren't bad either. It's just hard to take that sort of thing and make it seem new and fresh, y'know? Kind of like zombie video games. Cripes, there's been an undead horde of zombie games!
It'd be delicious irony if the zombie virus were spread through such games. It'd explain why in every zombie story it spreads so fast, eh?

I really want to call out one story in particular though, since it stuck out and really hit a good note. In the story Weeds we get a truly awesome short story involving a pair of Union soldiers tumbling into a town that had once been bustling with human life, but now seems vacant and unusually overgrown with plant life! Of course they go in and what should they find? Botanical monstrosities!

Folks, plant monsters in fiction are criminally underused. I don't know, maybe I just haven't seen them that much outside of Day of the Triffids or Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but wow I'm amazed they aren't used more, and Weeds really made me happy. :)

I'll get around to the remainder of the stories inside, but for now take my word for it and give it a look if you're interested in Horror or Western stories, and Weird West especially.

And just to note for my own amusement, I checked out the author's page to see what else he'd written, and stumbled upon the largest cache of Bigfoot fiction I've ever seen in my life. Seriously, the guy has written a bagillion Sasquatch books. I'd bet my next paycheck he's written more stories on Bigfoot than the Syfy Channel has made Bigfoot movies, and they've done a lot! And somehow they dragged Lance Henriksen into almost each and every one of them. It's uncanny. The guy was in Terminator and Aliens, and somehow sank to doing Syfy Originals with a kid's lunch money for a budget. I dunno, maybe he just plain likes doing Bigfoot movies.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy! Take care and keep reading! :)

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