I’m not one to read Westerns, weird or otherwise, though I do have a few Western films that I enjoy. However, since I have read quite a number of works by several of the authors in Straight Outta Tombstone, I thought I’d give it a try. David Boop made a truly fun anthology.
There were so many fun stories in it, it was hard to pick my top few to mention in this review. Even the stories that weren’t quite my cup of tea were still solid and fun stories. I rate every story in this anthology four stars or higher (most are higher). After much internal debate, I determined my favorites were “Bubba Shackleford’s Professional Monster Killers”, “Dry Gulch Dragon”, “Coyote”, “A Fistful of Warlocks”, and “The Treefold Problem”.
I’ve been a fan of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International for many years now, and “Bubba Shackleford’s Professional Monster Killers” finally tells us a story from the very beginning, not too long after the founding of MHI. Hannah Stone was my favorite character in the tale. She was tough as nails and knew what she could do. Strong female characters is one of my favorite things about Correia’s works. The women in his stories don’t take no guff from nobody (since this is a weird Western, I figured using appropriate language would work).
Another favorite author, Sarah A. Hoyt, penned the interesting tale of “Dry Gulch Dragon”, found near the middle of Straight Outta Tombstone. In a weird Western way, it reminded me a bit of Dragon Half, one of my favorite fantasy anime and manga series. I loved the combination of the fairie world and homesteading in the old west, and all three of the major characters were well written and quite interesting. A touch of romance (just a touch, so don’t be scared away) made the story complete.
When I was young, I loved reading all the mythology books I could get through the Bookmobile that visited my small town in the summer. Some of my favorite myth stories were those of the Native Americans, and “Coyote” (by Naomi Brett Rourke) has joined my favorites from that field. It’s a classic tale of comeuppance, told with subtle flair and panache. It adds an authentic Old West touch to Straight Outta Tombstone. This is the first story I’ve read by Rourke, and it won’t be the last.
The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher is a fun urban fantasy detective series with interesting characters and fun scenarios. This story is set long before Harry Dresden was born, focusing on Anastasia Luccio, a warden for the White Council who is still around during several of the main Dresden books. Her pursuit of some dangerous individuals leads her to Dodge City and the company of Wyatt Earp. The story was solidly entertaining and shed some light on an earlier time in the series.
I have always been a fan of tall tales, and “The Treefold Problem” is a wonderful one by Alan Dean Foster. A homesteader is having financial problems and almost loses his farm when a large mountain man shows up with his trusty “steed”. What follows is one of the tallest tales in the truest sense of the phrase. I had great fun reading it!
If Boop can continue putting out more collections like Straight Outta Tombstone, he has a bright future as an anthologist (in addition to his writing). If you’ve been wanting to try out a weird Western or two (or 16), this is a great place to get started. There’s something here for everyone to enjoy.
“Bubba Shackleford’s Professional Monster Killers” by Larry Correia
“Trouble in an Hourglass” by Jody Lynn Nye
“The Buffalo Hunters” by Sam Knight
“The Sixth World” by Robert E. Vardeman
“Easy Money” by Phil Foglio
“The Wicked Wild” by Nicole Kurtz
“Chance Corrigan and the Lord of the Underworld” by Michael A. Stackpole
“The Greatest Guns in the Galaxy” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Ken Scholes
“Dance of Bones” by Maurice Broaddus
“Dry Gulch Dragon” by Sarah A. Hoyt
“The Treefold Problem” by Alan Dean Foster
“Fountains of Blood” by David Lee Summers
“High Midnight” by Kevin J. Anderson
“Coyote” by Naomi Brett Rourke
“The Key” by Peter J. Wacks
“A Fistful of Warlocks” by Jim Butcher
Release Date: July 3, 2017 (USA)
ISBNs: 1481482696 (9781481482691)
Publisher: Baen Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (some (mostly) social drinking, brief tobacco usage)
Language: 2 (mostly mild, occasional stronger, deity)
Sexuality: 1 (brief, some innuendo, references to ladies of the evening)
Violence: 3 (many gun fights, death, zombies, some more graphic than others)