An anthology of weird westerns and genre fiction in the Wild West
This book is appropriate for teenagers.
Double, double toil and trouble...
Shakespeare began the tense apprehension with his melodic yet warning phrase.
Ray Bradbury continued the dark and ominous foreboding that oozes between the words.
Now, it has come to the North American Old West, a world with its severe terrain and hardened residents. The rules were harsher out here, the ethics and morals changed, the fight for life and liberty quite different than anything these pioneers, these outlaws, these six-shooters and rebel rousers, these unquestionably brave men and women had bargained for.
For them, something wicked certainly rode.
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble...
In this anthology, we explore the Old West with a skewed view, showcasing the weird western genre through stories that explore the peculiar and fantastic, the wicked that was and could have been. You'll experience spiritual nightmares, mythical monsters, cosmic outlaws, discerning gods, and science run amok. Even the North Pole Security Division isn't immune to the supernatural strangeness that stalks the late 1800s. In the tradition of pulp and western stories of a bygone era, these are thirty tales to intrigue, amaze, and perhaps downright spook you out of your boots.
So brew up some coffee, head out to the rocking chair on the porch, and tilt your hat to shade your eyes so you can read real close. Just be sure to keep one eye on the horizon, and one hand near your holster. For...
With dark intentions and creatures astride,
Something wicked this way rides.
These authors have graced us with unusual tales that we are proud and honored to share with you.
We recommend taking a gander at their other works as well.
Here are some of the subjects and events the authors have used to flesh out their stories,
along with some explanation of what weird westerns actually are.
We hope you'll sit a spell and learn a thing or two.
Weird West on Wikipedia
J.W. Collins, Western Author
Six-Guns and Strange Shooters: A Weird West Primer from Tor.com
The Weird Wild West: 10 Great Horror Westerns [films] from Bloody-Disgusting.com
Favorite Western Pulps from Rough Edges by James Reasoner
Where to Begin with the Weird West [films] from the British Film Institute
Weird West Fantasy from BestFantasyBooks.com
Old West Legends - Adventures in the American West from Legends of America
Buffalo Soldiers from History.com
Buffalo Soldier Museum official website
Coahuila y Tejas from Wikipedia
Pony Express from Encyclopedia Britannia
Monster Complex - A series of interviews with the editor and authors of Something Wicked This Way Rides!
Wanna know what you're in for? Here's the table of contents.
"Tears of Winter" by Jason J. McCuiston
A small command of Buffalo Soldiers finds the fort they're posted to completely empty, with one naked, dead body left behind. The men must find out what happened... but a strange spirit woman is following them
and haunting their progress.
"Ghost" by Bradley H. Sinor
A secret service officer in the Confederacy is assigned to guard a European diplomat. The diplomat is ultimately murdered, and the young captain must solve the mystery, aside from the ghost that keeps appearing wherever he is.
"Borrowed Gods" by Gustavo Bondoni
Train tracks suddenly appear in a small town, baffling its citizens. But a train is coming with mysterious passengers
to discuss the townspeople's sins.
"Inner Skin" by Kevin M. Folliard
An unidentified creature has been killing people in Devil's Spring. The barkeep has contacted his one-time lover who is a monster hunter for his help, and a card game among outlaws is about to experience a big change.
"The Tears of Scorpions" by John B. Rosenman
A distressed young girl rides into Dulton, New Mexico, clearly hurt and scared. After her arrival, the townspeople start to change, and the doctor suspects something far worse than her experience is happening in this town.
"Bad Day at Prospect Ridge" by Stuart Croskell
A former Army Sergeant Major and his half-Native girlfriend are confronted by a known outlaw who found his men with their heads severed. They find they need to work together to stop whatever has committed this massacre.
"Showdown in the Panhandle" by Matias Travieso-Diaz
A man with the ability to sense emotions is a card sharp in Texas. He comes up on a situation that might just expose
who - or what - he really is.
"Store of Value" by Charles Wilkinson
A taste of new weird in a weird western:
Two brothers are following each other between
Wales and Old West Wyoming, while a dentist
is using her gold mine to replace teeth.
"A Drink With the Devil" by Jonathon Mast
A man returns home to discover his town is gone, taken by the Devil, and he must win a contest to get it back.
"What Hath God Wrought?" by Alistair Rey
A journalist from Boston visits a town in the Mexican Territory.
He discovers something strange is happening at the old mission, and he wants to learn more.
"The Hexman Who Came for Dinner" by Gregg Chamberlain
A strange man buys a spot on a stagecoach,
and he's determined to get the lunch he's paid for.
"Ghost Shirt" by Dwain Campbell
A Canadian Mountie is assigned to stop an Indian magi from starting a war on the British Empire with the help of an old earl and some ancient magic.
"Pony Express" by Vonnie Winslow Crist
A young girl disguised as a boy rides the night leg of
the Pony Express. She is followed by a god-like spirit,
and she finds her assigned ponies - and her wits - must be sharp to outrun it.
"The Ballad of Billie Lee" by Steve Gladwin
A newspaper journalist is writing the story of Black Sam, a marshal, and Billie Lee, a saloon girl who has experienced a terrible crime. But something isn't quite right, and this story needs to be changed.
"State of the Art" by John B. Rosenman
Decades into the future, shows are programmed through computer technology and artificial intelligence. But this not-so-traditional western is starting to change, and it's not necessarily for the good.
"Sunset Cowboy" by John A. Frochio
A stranger riding a quite peculiar horse comes to the Brewster Ranch to claim Jessica Brewster. The sheriff, who fancies the young lady, makes out for the ranch to learn what's going on, and is met with a supernatural strangeness he may have wanted to leave alone.
"The Show Must Go On" by Lawrence Dagstine
A man describes his life with his wife as trick gunslingers performing with traveling old west shows. Their experiences are followed by a man who shows a lot of interest in the woman, and her husband is determined to protect her.
"All the Stars in South R'yleh" by Q Parker
A supernatural couple check into a hotel in South R'yleh, a town that probably shouldn't exist since it's never a good idea to summon the Old Ones. The ladies end up helping find the murderer of a woman who was killed a few nights before.
"Partners" by Peter Prellwitz
A young man agrees to help an old man mine for gold, staying in an abandoned cabin deep in the woods. But the winter is dark and cold, and plans change as their search for gold becomes more desperate.
"The Tombstone Affair: A North Pole Security Historical Tale"
by J.B. Dane
Fritz Claus is enjoying being a marshal in New Mexico when he is called back to become the next Santa Claus. But he has to help a woman find her missing brother first.
"Unpublished Commentary on my Earlier Western Travels"
by Stefan Markos
An artist is commissioned by an entrepreneur to paint a large and unusual painting of Western animals. On his travels, the artist meets an equally unusual someone who is also studying animals.
"Canyon City Chuckle" by L.L. Hill
A brother, sister, and their automaton must hurry to create a ballooning ship in order to escape giant beavers and evil outlaws in their attempt to get out of Canyon City and into Klondike in the Yukon Territory.
"Not Quite a Deer" by Jonathon Mast
Something is stalking a cattle drive.
Something that is... well...
Not quite a deer.
"Claude" by Kenneth Bykerk
The Kroeger brothers have found their own gold mine, and are quite successful in their unwavering efforts to extract the gold. But that winter, they are snowed in by a blizzard, so Hans goes out alone to get supplies from the general store.
"Nightshade Ladies" by Marilyn "Mattie" Brahen
A man and a boy who have killed a prospector for his gold end up at the Nightshade House to hide and rest overnight. But the resident ladies of the night have other ideas.
"And Hell Followed With Him" by Jason J. McCuiston
A giant demon has taken up residence in a mine in Purgatory, Nevada. Gideon Cain, an otherworldly creature cursed over eight centuries, can stop it... at a price.
"The Rider of the Dark" by Darrell Schweitzer
In his youth, Robert Blake interviews an old man
who experienced a horrifying nightmare
during a cattle drive.
"Blind Faith" by Adrian Ludens
A family with unusual disabilities is visited by a man who claims to be a traveling doctor. But his dark actions spur the family to make otherworldly changes.
"Bonnie Lee and the Boneyard Boys" by Martin Zeigler
A young woman's family has died, along with their hired hands, in a devastating fire. But those hands come back to help her in an abrupt and unexpected way.
"Deadfall" by Gregory L. Norris
Two families following the Oregon Trail become lost.
They find themselves in an abandoned town called Deadfall,
but their salvation turns on them.
Images from top to bottom:
Book cover image by InvisibleNature; book cover design by Dark Owl Publishing, LLC
Skeletal cowboy image by Vlad Min from Pixabay
Weird West by Tarmo Juhola
The Snake Eater by Jake Clark
New Lands by Weston T. Jones
Table of Contents images:
Buffalo soldiers image from Getty Images
Virginia Confederacy Capitol from History Replays Today
Old West Railroad by Pamela Romjue
Montana Hotel Saloon in Anaconda, Montana
Girl image from Canva.com
Pipe image from Canva.com
Card game image from Canva.com
Image of Dr. Rankin in 1909 with one of her patients from NYC Vintage Images
Cactus image from Canva.com
Mission image from Canva.com
Stagecoach image is of a commercial stagecoach from A Little Reality blog
Image of North-West Mounted Police, Officers of B Division, Yukon Territory from the Canadian Encyclopedia
Pony Express image from Canva.com
Saloon girl is of unknown origin. If you know, please contact us!
Desert image is Cowboy TV by Frank Schott
Horse image is from Canva.com
Woman shootist image from the National Cowboy Museum
Hotel sign image from Canva.com
Cabin in the snow image from Canva.com
New Mexico image from Canva.com
Bison image from Canva.com
Beaver image by Matt Chiff
Deer image from Canva.com
Snowstorm image from the Strange State blog
Lady of the night image from activerain.com
Mining building image from Canva.com
Cattle drive image from Canva.com
Traveling medicine show image from curioushistorian.com
Skeleton cowboy from shutterstock
Oregon Trail image from traveltrivia.com