cover image The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny: Tales of the Weird West

The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny: Tales of the Weird West

Edited by Jonathan Maberry. Outland Entertainment, $19.95 trade paper (350p) ISBN 978-1-954255-68-5

Bestseller Maberry (Kagen the Damned) brings together 16 unsettling and often brutal tales exploring the darkest, weirdest aspects of the Old West. While some stories focus on man’s own inhumanity and cruelty, many also bring in supernatural elements—including vampires, werewolves, and creatures from Indigenous folklore—to provide a healthy dose of external conflict and bloody violence. Standouts include Keith R.A. DeCandido’s “The Legend of Long-Ears,” which reimagines Calamity Jane as having a Cassandraesque gift for prophecy; Greg Cox’s “Bigfoot Gorge,” about a mining expedition gone horribly wrong; and Aaron Rosenberg’s “The Stacked Deck,” in which a gambler enters the card tournament of his life. Laura Anne Gilman spins a fable-like yarn of settlers coming to a new land in “In the End, the Beginning,” and Jennifer Brody’s “The Night Caravan,” the only science fiction piece in the bunch, hits all the right notes as two sisters try to survive an inhospitable desert. This strong array of chilling frontier tales feels like perfect campfire story fodder. (Dec.)