Title: The Ghost in the Doctor
Author: Brenda Cooper
In: Westward Weird (Martin H. Greenberg & Kerrie Hughes)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Weird western
Dates read: 14th August 2020
Format: Short story
Publisher: Daw Books
5th sentence, 74th page: Even the ghost inside of him.
Aeons ago it seems (but in reality, it was only years), a doctor made a deal with a medicine man which would make him just as powerful. Now, he realises that the gift may just be a curse. One that he really doesn’t want.
I found the idea in this short story completely intriguing. The fact that a man who is also a doctor has a slightly weird and definitely judgemental ghost sitting in his being sitting judgement on others. The fact that the consequences of this judgement are kind of severe just helped to add to my level of fascination. There were some slightly awkward moments. But it did really, really love this idea.
Most of the Weird westerns that I’ve been reading have featured cowboys. Even most of the westerns for that matter. Yet, this is the first one that seems to seriously feature Indians. The lead character might still be a white man. But the feature of the Indian culture and Medicine Man was beautiful. And it completely drew me in.
This short story brilliantly explored the pitfalls of power and getting what you think you want. Particularly in the case of this doctor – someone who kind of holds the power of life and death in their hands. But then seriously does so once a little magic is performed. It’s confusing and brilliant and wonderful. The ending was nothing like what ia expected. And somehow all that much more brilliant for it.