Edited by John Joseph Adams
Titan Books, $15.95, 409 pages
Dead Man’s Hand, edited by John Joseph Adams is a smart and quirky short story collection focused on the more bizarre aspects of the American Wild West. Described as stories from the “weird west” for a reason, the narratives included in this collection deal with ghosts, demons, giant wasp creatures, alien invasions, clockwork men and women, as well as the more traditional Wild West tropes such as gunslingers, whores, outlaws and card games. The book contains 24 stories, including stories from the well-known authors Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Kelley Armstrong, Elizabeth Bear and Jonathan Maberry, just to name a few.
“Not to be confused with “space westerns” like Joss Whedon’s beloved, cancelled-too-soon TV show Firefly, weird westerns generally take place right here on Earth, only the world we all know and love is just a little bit different.”
This is a fantastic story collection that includes well-written stories with complicated plots, and plenty of charisma from a number of well-known authors. While not every story will be to every reader’s liking, there is plenty to choose from in Dead Man’s Hand. This is a great book for readers interested in paranormal shenanigans with a Wild West flavor, so cuddle up by the campfire (or on your somewhat more comfortable couch) and be prepared to be entertained by one heck of a wild read.
Reviewed by Whitney Smyth