RRS Roundup: Weird and Western

Howdy, gentle partners. This week’s Read it! Review it! Share it! Goes West with a bit of weird. But first a West that’s just quirky.

The Mule Tamer

The Mule Tamer coverAh, the wilds of Arizona during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Where else would you rather be? The Mule Tamer builds off of a strong and quirky protagonist who is simply fun to read about. The Arizona/Mex flavor of this book strikes a bold note like fresh pico de gallo on a summer day. Alas, at times the prose of this book can be a bit tricky to navigate, bordering on convoluted.

But if you enjoy a good posse every now and then, The Mule Tamer has what you’re looking for. If the first two pages make sense to you (try the ebook free sample first), then sit back and Read it! Review it! Share it!

The Converted

The Converted coverHere’s a new twist on an old genre. The Converted is a Western, no two ways about it. But it’s set on a second world (a world a lot like ours, but not ours–like Gotham or Hogwarts).

A variety of strange peoples, including gray, barbarous mountain men, mix it up in a story that is Western at heart. People have decorated their faces with tats and their horses with genetic alterations, but they still carry six shooters and shotguns.

Overall, it’s an intriguing  book, but the execution gets a little shaky in spots. If you like Westerns and enjoy a little deviation from the norm (like a certain blog writer I know), then Read it! Review it! and Share it!

Guns of Seneca 6

Guns of Seneca 6 CoverThis is a romping fun read. Full disclosure requires I tell you up front, I love a good space western. But who doesn’t? This is a good space western. From the opening sentence the reader knows exactly what sort of book he/she is reading: a rooting-tooting, border-town Western built around a touching father/son relationship.

The only twist is that Seneca 6 is a mining planet orbiting a different sun. The story is well-written and hits all the main targets of the Western genre, including it’s own version of savages. Throw in a bit of a coming of age story, and you’re in for a good read. Of these three, this one was my personal favorite. Read it! Review it! Share it!

Cowboys and Aliens: Mot Juste!

Cowboys and Aliens movie postermot juste/ˌmō ˈZHYst/ Noun: The exact, appropriate word.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me say how ecstatic I am about the timing of this new weird-Western movie. (Fine, the graphic novel has been around since 2006, but how many of you have heard of it?) But I mean, holy alien prodding! I’ve planned the release of Fistful of Reefer to be July 31st (formerly June 31st) for several months. And now it’s announced that Cowboys and Aliens will be released nationwide on July 28th?

I tell you, it’s exactly appropriate. And for those of us who have always rooted for the Indians we can now root for our future galactic overlords. (I jest! I love the Cowboys *grumble, grumble. Stupid, evil Jerry Jones*) Not only is the timing perfect, but the content is perfect as well. [Read more...]

Reeferpunk: Viva This!

It’s always difficult to describe a life-altering moment before it happens. This is one of those, for you. I know the phrase “life-altering” gets tossed around these days by so many Benny Hinn impersonators and beer commercials that it’s hard to believe I still have toenail fungus and less than perfect, sun-kissed abs (I mean, you would think a cube of Miller Light a day would do it). But I use the phrase justly.

[dropcap2]Y[/dropcap2]ou may not yet know what Reeferpunk is. For most of you, I’m certain that on the surface you don’t want to. Reefer and Punk? Didn’t we grow out of the former in the seventies and the latter in the eighties? (I was only 5 the day the seventies died, December 31st, 1979. So I missed the first round.) This may be so, but you put the two things together and they transcend their former realities. Like peanut butter and jelly or wine and popcorn. [Read more...]

Diesel vs. Steampunk: Publishing Ethics

Dieselpunk VS. Steampunk by nitr0gene

Dieselpunk VS. Steampunk by nitr0gene

[dropcap2]W[/dropcap2]hen it comes to ethics, the RedneckGranola is driven by a prime directive — “stick it to the man.” Basically, greed and injustice demand civil disobedience. Thus sneaking food into a movie theater that charges two dollars for popcorn is unethical, while a theater that charges six dollars demands that I sneak in food to support the cause of the globally popcorn-oppressed. Simple. (a 200% markup is business, a 1000% markup is oppression).

But when it comes to the self-publishing ethics and marketing ethics of my upcoming novel, where do I draw the line? It has been said that “a duck is a duck is a duck.” But one could also respond, “duck, duck, goose,” so you can see my problem. (Truly mine is a dizzying intellect.) When writing a dieselpunk, weird Western, pulp adventure story there are two main options available for its marketing: [Read more...]

The Weird West Reboot

TV's The Wild, Wild West

[dropcap2]I[/dropcap2]n the 1960′s, as the American genre of the Western guttered in its final death throes, a new sort of Western birthed onto the scene replacing the Wild West with what has become known as the Weird West. Most prominently, the Weird West is defined by its landmark accomplishment, CBS Studio’s The Wild Wild West.

Aside: After my last post, it has come to my attention that several of you, my faithful readers, have begun to question the lucidity of my waking state (and whether mind-altering substances might be involved). But I assure you, the indelibility of my turpitude is purely natural (and more importantly, untransferable).

Unsurprisingly, considering the fact that CSI’s newest show will be based in Lake Wobegon (just kidding, it’s probably going to end up being Seattle) CBS has resorted to rebooting old favorites. This season they gave us the chance to feel the sun and surf course through our veins as we lip sync the gritty phrase, “Book ‘em, Danno.” It appears that for the coming season, attempts will be made to revive The Wild Wild West, the poster child of all that is weird with westerns. [Read more...]

The Wild West Meets the What If

Dr. Arliss Loveless from The Wild, Wild West

Months ago, while taking my weekly shower, it struck me — the answer to the question that keeps most of us up at night: “What happens when a power hungry petro-oligarchy runs amuck of an anarcho-capitalist wild west?” (And no, the answer isn’t George W. Bush.)

(Warning: small children or readers who suffer from repetitive nightmare disorder should continue reading with their hands over their eyes.)

What happens? The most ruthless and powerful geopolitical state since the Roman Empire. That’s what happens. Known as Texicas, the petrodollar-fueled nation shatters the already unstable Americas by rising to power through a post-revolution Mexican government allied with an infiltrated Texas state legislature that votes to succeed in the year 1921. Just think, in an alternate history not so different from our own I could be a third generation Texican.

Obviously, Louisiana has no choice but to acquiesce to lingering frustration over the War of Northern Aggression, and thus joins Texicas in its new independence. [Read more...]