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Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird…
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Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West (edition 2014)

by John Joseph Adams (Editor)

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696173,491 (3.82)2
Member:TheAlternativeOne
Title:Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West
Authors:John Joseph Adams
Info:Titan Books (2014), Edition: Uncorrected Bound Proof, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Fantasy

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Dead Man's Hand by John Joseph Adams (Editor)

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With the exception of two or three stories which I didn't love as much as the rest, this is a great collection with a common theme: wild west.

Some have magic, others steam engines, and some have both; some have only one character in it with the exception of the thing they are fighting, others have battles; some are about the living, others are about the dead; some have only humans, others other creatures too; some are sad, some humorous. And this is only small part of it. I can keep going. This anthology shows just how grateful this theme is. You can do anything with it.

The Red-Headed Dead: A Reverend Jebediah Mercer Tale by Joe R. Lansdale
East Texas, 1880

A reluctant Hand of God, Reverend Jebediah Mercer from the dead of the west, is drawn to yet another fight against the evil. It is way too short, but I loved it. Where else could you read about fist fight with a vampiric monster?

The Old Slow Man And His Gold Gun From Space by Ben H. Winters
Sacramento, California, 1851

Crane and Caleb, two gold prospectors, get an opportunity of their lifetime when a strange old man offers him a very special deal. A story with a twist in the end.

Hellfire On The High Frontier by David Farland
Wyoming Territory, Circa 1876

Morgan Gray, a Texas ranger, is on a trail of a skin-walker when a Stranger who helped him out before calls in a favour. Morgan can't refuse. He has to go to the High Frontier, a city in the clouds discovered four years earlier. You won't know where this story would take you judging by its beginning.

The Hell-Bound Stagecoach by Mike Resnick
Arizona Territory, Circa 1885

Four people are travelling together and only when they start talking do they realize that their coach isn't an ordinary one. Great ending. The coachman shouldn't have put those four together.

Stingers And Strangers by Seanan McGuire
Passing through Nevada, Westbound on the Southern Pacific Railway, 1931

Thanks to this story I got this anthology. Fran and Jonathan are on their way 'to determine the reason that the local Apraxis swarms have been moving during their settled season'. The Apraxis isn't the only thing they find. There is an annoying scene with a very beautiful woman they meet, but the ending saved it.

Bookkeeper, Narrator, Gunslinger Charles Yu
Lost Springs, Wyoming, 1890

A young man accidentally finds himself in a role he never expected. He also never expected an extraordinary gift.

Holy Jingle by Alan Dean Foster
Carson City, Nevada Territory, 1863

Something strange happened to Monk's young friend. He can't get him out of the brothel. So Monk finds a special man for the job. Great story and great ending.

The Man With No Heart by Beth Revis
Arizona Territory, 1882

Ray Malcolm needs answers about his origin, the truth about why his bones are made of metal and why he doesn't seem to have a heart. Following the trail of mechanical spiders, he finds everything he needs.

Wrecking Party Alastair Reynolds
Arizona Territory, 1896

A dirty wanderer is caught 'wrecking the horseless carriage on Main Street a little after two in the morning.' The sheriff recognizes him as his old friend and partner and allows him to tell his story. Why is he attacking machines?

Hell From The East by Hugh Howey
The Free Territory of Colorado, 1868

To be honest, this one was a bit boring. An officer goes mad and kills a bunch of his soldiers. The narrator tells us of his attempt to understand what happened.

Second Hand by Rajan Khanna
Wyoming Territory, Circa 1874

A story with a great idea: cards that can be used magically either as weapons or something else. The two characters from the story are in the town to talk to one of the Card Sharp old-timers, but everything goes wrong.

Alvin And The Apple Tree by Orson Scott Card
The State of Hio, 1820

Alvin comes to a village where every person blames themselves for one sin or another. Being a Maker, he fixes it in the end. I'll just leave two quotes from this story and most would understand why: 'Certainty is how you feel about your opinions. Knowledge implies that you’re pretty sure, but that you’re also right. Certainty doesn’t require that you be right.' And this one: 'Making other people ashamed of themselves so you can feel proud of being better. Those are sinful kinds of pride.'


Madam Damnable’s Sewing Circle by Elizabeth Bear
Seattle, Washington, 1899

A setup that is too long for something that isn't really a story, but rather an episode in a brothel. While the world seems more than interesting (a villain has some kind of device strapped on his arm and it makes people do what he wants), it is just an episode.Next, an Indian female character doesn't have to be Priya. I want to know why Madam Damnable is so formidable.
Still, it is funny how the narrator presents her 'sewing' business.

Strong Medicine by Tad Williams
Medicine Dance, Arizona Territory, 1899

Medicine Dance is a very special place. Every thirty nine years something happens to the town and it needs any help it can get. And every thirty nine years, on Midsummer's Day a stranger comes to their aid.

Red Dreams by Jonathan Maberry
Wyoming Territory, 1875

When a story features a man who participated in the Sand Creek massacre, it is impossible to empathize. it starts with him being the only survivor in a battle. He starts hearing strange sounds and even strangers things start happening around him. Then Walking Bear came.

Bamboozled by Kelley Armstrong
Dakota Territory, 1877

Nate and Lily and their group of thieves are on another job where she has to pretend to be something she is not. Nothing is as it seems. Great twist in the end. Loved it.

Sundown by Tobias S. Buckell
State of Colorado, 1877

Willie Kennard, a Marshall, comes to Duffy in pursuit of a man who killed a group of miners whom he was guarding. Another great story with a twist and a satisfying ending.

La Madre Del Oro by Jeffrey Ford
New Mexico Territory, 1856

A young man gets deputized by a sheriff's deputy for a posse to catch a murderer of a young girl. The man isn't just a killer - they say he also ate her. So the deputy, one former gunslinger, our young narrator, and their guide are after Bastard George. Only, George isn't the greatest danger out there.

What I Assume You Shall Assume by Ken Liu
Idaho Territory, Circa 1890

A story of a power of words. Chinese are being hunted all around the area out main character is passing through. A Chinese woman stumbles into his camp.
I didn't really like all the switching between the present and the past, but it helped me accept the ending. After thinking about how this story ends, I realized it ended as it was supposed to.

The Devil’s Jack by Laura Anne Gilman
The Territory, Three Days’ Ride Northeast of the Canyon, July 1801

Jack played against the devil and lost. The story finds him sixteen years into that job trying to outrun his master's call. He will play again, but not for himself.

The Golden Age by Walter Jon Williams
Alta California, Spring 1852

A humorous and at the same time a bit sad story of superheroes and super-villains of the Wild West.

Neversleeps by Fred Van Lente
Monument Valley, Near Navajo Territory, Northbound on the Northwest Pacific Express, 120 years after the Awakening

I don' think I'll ever read 'Leviathan' (one: it is YA so I won't lose much; two: I don't like how Nikola Tesla is depicted there . yes, I've read the reviews). But now I know that I won't mind a female character Tesla. Not the Tesla, but a descendant.
The world in this story is a world where science and electricity are banned, everyone turned to magic, dragons are used to pull trains, etc. The title refers to government Pinkerton agents who hunt down anyone who uses the forbidden items or electricity or anything else the government judges inconvenient. 'Nicola Tesla had been the West’s most wanted Science Criminal, with a million-dollar bounty on her head.'

Dead Man’s Hand by Christie Yant
Deadwood, Dakota Territory, 1876

Various and often contrary accounts on what happened to Wild Bill Hickok.

Overall, this has been a great collection of stories with only a couple of those that weren't as strong as others. ( )
  Aneris | Apr 22, 2017 |
*as of now this review is only for the Seanan McGuire portion of the anthology*

While I wish it had gotten a little more into exactly what the music teacher was (I'm so curious,) I really enjoyed this short story in the InCryptid world. More of the fantastic Aeslin mice, more of Jonathan and Fran, and more monsters to hunt and learn about. I'm very excited about the ending and ready to move on to the next novella/short story. ( )
  MynTop | Apr 8, 2016 |
I am going to do this short, because they stories are just that, some very short, and if I say too much, then I have said it all.

Introduction—John Joseph Adams
Now I know what weird western is

The Red-Headed Dead—Joe R. Lansdale
Short story about a priest. Ok but really short.

The Old Slow Man and His Gold Gun From Space—Ben H. Winters
Weird, short and had a nice twist

Hellfire on the High Frontier—David Farland
Maybe they work cos they are short, interesting. Anyway, I liked the stuff at the end. very cool

The Hell-Bound Stagecoach—Mike Resnick
A nice weird one. I liked it

Stingers and Strangers—Seanan McGuire
InCryptic tale. You can follow along even if you have read nothing from that "world"

Bookkeeper, Narrator, Gunslinger—Charles Yu
I did feel a bit confused with this one

Holy Jingle—Alan Dean Foster
A bit so and so.

The Man With No Heart—Beth Revis
I wondered where this one was going and at the end I totally wanted a book about him. Cool.

Wrecking Party—Alastair Reynolds
Scary future for all of us, nice sense of doom

Hell from the East—Hugh Howey
I read it 30 min ago and have forgotten it already *checks* Right, sun dance. Ok the concept was interesting of what is to come

Second Hand—Rajan Khanna
Same with this one *check* Right, cards. Needed more explaining

Alvin and the Apple Tree—Orson Scott Card
I have not read the Alvin books so..who is Alvin? Anyway freaky town!

Madam Damnable’s Sewing Circle—Elizabeth Bear
Not that much happened, I know they are short but still

Strong Medicine—Tad Williams
Now this was one weird place. Very nice.

Red Dreams—Jonathan Maberry
Freaky end, I do like freaky endings.

Bamboolzed—Kelley Armstrong
A good story

Sundown—Tobias S. Buckell
I could have needed some more explanations here, it should have been longer

La Madre Del Oro—Jeffrey Ford
Ohhh, the end, I need more, what was that?! Awesome, creepy.

What I Assume You Shall Assume—Ken Liu
Eh, I mean ok, but I would rather have read this set in China and not a backstory

The Devil’s Jack—Laura Anne Gilman
Interesting fellow this Jack.

The Golden Age—Walter Jon Williams
Ha, this one was weird too, but hey that is why they are weird westerns. Got to love that

Neversleeps—Fred Van Lente
Hey they mentioned Tesla, that is always good, cos booo Edison, Tesla rules! Could have been even more interesting fully fleshed out.

Dead Man’s Hand—Christie Yant
I did not get this one. Was it even a story?

And like always, some were good, some were ok, some I still remember, some I forgot. It's an anthology after all and every story will not be to my taste, they never are. But what they all had in common was that even if I was not a fan, they were still interesting. So weird cool stories set in a west you have not seen before. ( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adams, John JosephEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Armstrong, KelleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckell, Tobias S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Card, Orson ScottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Farland, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ford, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foster, Alan DeanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gilman, Laura AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howey, HughContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Khanna, RajanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lansdale, Joe R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Liu, KenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maberry, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McGuire, SeananContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Resnick, MikeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Revis, BethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reynolds, AlastairContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Van Lente, FredContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, TadContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, Walter JonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Winters, Ben H.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yant, ChristieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yu, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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An anthology of original stories "of the Old West infused with elements of the fantastic."
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Twenty-three original stories of the Old West infused with elements of fantasy and science fiction.

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