Tag Archives: Dead Man's Hand

Dead Man’s Hand edited by John Joseph Adams

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: Dead Man’s Hand
Author: John Joseph Adams, Joe R. Lansdale, Ben H. Winters, David Farland, Mike Resnick, Seanan McGuire, Charles Yu, Alan Dean Foster, Beth Revis, Alastair Reynolds, Hugh Howey, Rajan Khanna, Orson Scott Card, Elizabeth Bear, Tad Williams, Jonathan Maberry, Kelley Armstrong, Tobias S. Buckell, Jeffrey Ford, Ken Liu, Laura Anne Gilman, Walter Jon Williams, Fred Van Lente & Christie Yant
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Science fiction, Short story collections, Weird western
Dates read: 4th June – 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: “Am I interrupting?” she asked.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD!

From a kill-or-be-killed gunfight with a vampire to an encounter in a steampunk bordello, the weird western is a dark, gritty tale where the protagonist might be playing poker with a sorcerous deck of cards, or facing an alien on the streets of a dusty frontier town.

Here are twenty-three original tales – stories of the Old West infused with elements of the fantastic – produced specifically for this volume by many of today’s finest writers. Included are Orson Scott Card’s first “Alvin Maker” story in a decade, and an original adventure by Fred Van Lente, writer of Cowboys & Aliens.

Thoughts

What a fantastic collection. And a great new genre to add to my ever-expanding knowledge of / collection of books. Before reading Dead Man’s Hand and Westward Weird, I had never heard of Weird westerns. And now it’s a genre that I’m seriously keen to find more of. There is just something amazingly fun and awesome about this collection. Very, very enjoyable.

The gunslingers and card players throughout this anthology took me on an absolutely joyous ride. One that I was kind of disappointed finished so quickly. The idea of the wild west has always intrigued me, making this the first time that I was completely able to thrown myself into this fascination.

This anthology didn’t quite get five stars because I didn’t fall head over heels for each and every story. Having said that, I would most definitely read this again. Even those stories which weren’t quite as holy crap amazing as the others.

<- Dead Man’s HandThe Red-Headed Dead ->

Image source: Amazon

Dead Man’s Hand by Christie Yant

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: Dead Man’s Hand
Author: Christie Yant
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Mr. Sutherland immediately turned his weapon over to Ed Durham, proprietor, and waited peacefully while a miners’ jury was assembled.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Going through the different hands that were once called “Dead Man’s Hand” and regaling the dead men that held them…

Thoughts

I loved how each little tale of death in this story started off with a hand of cards. And they were the cards that each of the characters were holding. Not that I’ve ever gambled much or played many card games, but it was interesting to see what a Dead Man’s Hand actually was.

It’s also nice how a collection called Dead Man’s Hand ends with a story of that same name. Featuring the cards that originally coined that term. It was well done and rounded out this Weird western collection brilliantly.

All in all, this was a fun and engaging short story. It was well written and left me with a huge smile stretched across my face. As all final short stories in an anthology should be.

<- NeversleepsDead Man’s Hand Collection ->

Image source: Amazon

Neversleeps by Fred Van Lente

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: Neversleeps
Author: Fred Van Lente
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Weird western
Dates read: 22nd November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: The split-second, right before: his breath catching, pulse racing like a thoroughbred, thrilling to the randomness of life without thaumaturgy, the keenness of a skate down the razor’s edge, without horoscopes that definitively told him what the next day would bring, without love enchantments to spark others’ desire, without the certainty magery’s manipulation of reality brought.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

The “Neversleeps” try to keep check with the world. But Edison has different ideas, he believes in free power for the world.

Thoughts

I love that this weird western features Edison. And the experiments on power and all sorts of fun history alright, there is a magic twist and a flying dragon and all sorts of other nonsensical fun, but still… the melding of actual history and pretend history… well, it works well.

This story jumps around in time a little bit, it was a great, fun journey. One that I think I need to take again… put all the pieces together in my head even better on this second reading. But, for now… my first read through was a lot of fun and filled with all sorts of joy.

Neversleeps is a fun and engaging short story. One that I very much enjoyed, and would most definitely read again.

<- The Golden AgeDead Man’s Hand ->

Image source: Amazon

The Golden Age by Walter Jon Williams

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: The Golden Age
Author: Walter Jon Williams
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Superheroes, Weird western, Wild west
Dates read: 17th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: He whirred right over my head, and I felt the breeze from his cape on my face.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

The days of the Gold Rush are over. And, somehow, they have been overrun by a bunch of completely insane superheroes and supervillains running around in capes on their own personal crusades.

Thoughts

I could not stop laughing all throughout this short story. It was quirky and weird. And filled with a great humour that left me grinning. After all, it’s ultimately about a bunch of superhero-type characters running around the wild west. Actually, it’s more supervillains… but the humour and entertainment is still the same.

I absolutely loved that this story focused on the Gold Rush and the lack of law in the land at the time. But, then to overlay this, there were mortal enemies, insanity and all sorts of questionable decisions. There was also a constant discussion of the fact that they are all mad. It’s just a special kind of madness, running around, donning a persona and just generally wreaking havoc and mayhem. A madness that I can 100% get behind by the way.

The Golden Age is a really funny, cute and light short story. It had me giggling and smiling throughout the entire story. There was great wit and entertainment to the shenanigans throughout this. I would most definitely read this again and again whenever I need a light pick me up.

<- The Devil’s JackNeversleeps ->

Image source: Amazon

The Devil’s Jack by Laura Anne Gilman

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: The Devil’s Jack
Author: Laura Anne Gilman
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Demons, Paranormal fantasy, Weird western
Dates read: 12th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: “But you waited.”

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Jack knew better. But he still made a deal with the devil. And now he’s Devil’s Jack, running errands for seven and seven and seven again.

Thoughts

A deal with the devil is never a good idea. But it is a really fun thing to read about. I mean, a deal with the devil is guaranteed to be an interesting beginning to a story. And a great driver for morally grey characters. After all, if they’re doing evil things, then it’s because the devil asked them to and it isn’t because they are evil themselves…

I love how although this is a story about a man who has sold his soul to the devil, it’s primarily about him outsmarting the devil. And the fact that both he and the devil know that even if he’s momentarily outsmarted the devil, it’s just a moment. A quiet little rebellion that ultimately does nothing for Jack.

This was a really fun and humorous short story. I absolutely adored it and had a huge smile on my face the whole time that I was reading it. It was funny and cute. Full of clever, witty moments and just a seriously enjoyable read.

<- What I Assume You Shall AssumeThe Golden Age ->

Image source: Amazon

What I Assume You Shall Assume by Ken Liu

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: What I Assume You Shall Assume
Author: Ken Liu
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Weird western
Dates read: 6th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: The deer trail that they had been following also seemed to dip and twist more than usual.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Amos just wants to be left alone, away from the horrors that humanity rains upon each other. And then he comes across a Chinawoman and a whole heap of issues land in his lap.

Thoughts

This short story is all about standing up for the “little guy”. Or in this case, the little woman. It’s about turning into a hero when you most need to and finding a way to live with the decisions that you make. Or at least, that’s what I got out of this story.

I love how this story constantly flicked between perspectives and timelines. There are great flashbacks to the past and the reasons for both of the characters’ decisions and choices. And they both have completely unique outlooks on the exact same experiences and moments. It also helps to highlight how damaging the “us vs them” mentality can truly be.

This story is not only fun and interesting, but it also highlights the importance and power of words. I love that although there is fighting, guns, and weaponry, somehow it’s the magic of words that really hold the power at the end of the day.

<- La Madre Del OroThe Devil’s Jack ->

Image source: Amazon

La Madre Del Oro by Jeffrey Ford

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: La Madre Del Oro
Author: Jeffrey Ford
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Weird western, Wild west
Dates read: 2nd November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: I was beginning to get a little sore as I’d not rode a horse in some time.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

He’s supposed to be helping fellow lawmen and gunslingers to hunt down the thing that is killing everyone in the area. But, what they come across may be too much even for this ragtag bunch…

Thoughts

I love that throughout this whole story, the lead character is constantly running from the monsters that go bump in the night. It makes this story feel a little more fast paced than I had anticipated… after all, the whole story is about running. And running is fast… see what I did there?

This short story takes the fairly typical themes of gunslingers and mining towns that I constantly come across in westerns. But, it has a slightly more wild west feel to it. One that, partnered with all of the horrible things that go bump in the night left me feeling very content and happy.

La Madre Del Oro is an incredibly easy and fun read. It doesn’t so much have a happy ending. And there is a lot of gruesomeness throughout. But it’s still a story that I would love to read again and again. Gruesome murders and lack of happy ending and all.

<- SundownWhat I Assume You Shall Assume ->

Image source: Amazon

Sundown by Tobias S. Buckell

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: Sundown
Author: Tobias S. Buckell
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Weird western
Dates read: 31st October 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: The territories we purchased from the Russians after the war?

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Willie is a deputy Marshall on the hunt for something that can’t quite be explained. And will probably give you nightmares…

Thoughts

Entering a town that you don’t expect to survive is terrifying. Add to that airships, insects and all sorts of horrible things that go bump in the night… I was kind of surprised that anyone survived at the end of this story. And, of course, super grateful that they did.

I love that the Deputy Marshall is only described as negro only abut halfway through the story. Sit highlights the inherent racism and horribleness of people. And it also drove home how horrible it must be for people who experience this. Even though this was a bit of a fantasy story, this was the part of the tale that I focused on most… that racism and the horror of the crowd.

I really enjoyed this short story. Although I’m not 100% of what happened throughout. It was a little bit convoluted and insane. Which is probably why I enjoyed it so much…

<- BamboozledLa Madre Del Oro ->

Image source: Amazon

Bamboozled by Kelley Armstrong

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: Bamboozled
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #0
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal fantasy, Strong women
Dates read: 23rd October 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: She raised her voice a little, knowing Nate’s ace hearing would pick it up.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Lily has loved Nate for a long time, and they make a great team. Particularly when they’re in the Wild West.

Thoughts

I love reading a paranormal fantasy story and spending it trying to guess what “being” the lead characters are. In the case of this story, I spent my whole time trying to figure out what Nate and Lily’s paranormal species was. I didn’t get it. And now, knowing what I know… I feel like it should have been WAY obvious… but oh well.

The word “bamboozle” has got to be one of my favourites. There is just something… fun about it. So reading a story that features this word as the title was immediately going to draw me in (let alone the fact that it is by a well-loved author and series). But it was the activity of “bamboozling” people throughout this that really had me smiling. And I’m now just going to sit in my little book lair and keep saying the word. Because, seriously, who wouldn’t? It’s a pretty awesome word…

What was I saying?

Oh yeah. This is an awesome short story. You should read it.

Bamboozled.

<- Red DreamsSundown ->

Image source: Amazon

Red Dreams by Jonathan Maberry

Overview
Image result for dead man's hand book cover

Title: Red Dreams
Author: Jonathan Maberry
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Weird western, Wild west
Dates read: 19th October 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Then he fired.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

He is just spending a cold, dark night alone. But then a parade of the dead stream past and the Red Dreams begin…

Thoughts

The beginning of this story was a little bit convoluted and confusing. But, after a while, it started to get… less convoluted and confusing. And much, much better. And once the proverbial penny dropped in my teeny tiny brain… wow. I really, seriously loved this story! And, really, when you’re dealing with death and the dead… I kind of liked that it was so damn convoluted.

I love that this story was not only a parade of the murdered, but a reminder of the cost of war. A reminder that there is always a cost. Not just in soldiers, but also in those who are innocent, including the dogs and cats and horses… it was pretty gruesome really. But, seriously enjoyable.

I’ve love every single one of Maberry’s short stories that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. And this one was no exception. But, now I’m beginning to think that I should really start on some of the novels that I have sitting in my shelves…

<- Strong MedicineBamboozled ->

Image source: Amazon