I’m continuing the weird western series.
Raw Feed (1991): Razored Saddles, eds. Joe R. Lansdale and Pat LoBrutto, 1989.
“Thirteen Days of Glory”, Scott A. Cupp — This tale of what the defenders of the Alamo were really like — homosexuals trying to set up an independent homeland in Texas — wasn’t shocking ( and I’m not sure it was supposed to be), but it was kind of funny — particularly the image of the Alamo defenders dressed in women’s clothing, made-up faces, and jewelry taunting their Catholic opponents. There’s a bit of historical inaccuracy in the admittedly figurative reference to the Inquisition. It was suppressed in 1834, two years before the Alamo.
“Gold”, Lewis Shine — Protagonist Malone wants Lafitte’s pirate treasure to compensate for his poor youth, to provide independence from his wife’s fortune, and to realize his political goals. Malone realizes that gold has a life of its own apart from its owner. He finds himself adopting beliefs alien to him simply to further his ultimately futile political goals. Shiner is reiterating common beliefs in art: that money can’t buy happiness, that the compromises a good, ambitious man must make to gain power corrupt him, that power and money seek to perpetuate themselves and have a will of their own. They are often true but not necessarily so. But to have things turn our well for Malone would not be as dramatic. The story is, in a sense, a coming of age tale as Malone learns the lessons of life that Lafitte already knew.
“Sedalia”, David J. Schow — This was an ok story of dinosaur ghosts (and then real dinosaurs) returning to the world in our time. The major attraction of this story was the scenes of dinosaur mayhem and Schow’s clever style and western dialect. The dinosaur roundup wasn’t that interesting. Continue reading →
Another retro review while I work on something for another outlet.
From January 12, 2010 …
Review: DAW 30th Anniversary Science Fiction Anthology, eds. Elizabeth R. Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert, 2002.
Apart from the introductions by Wollheim and Gilbert covering Donald A. Wollheim’s contributions to American publishing culminating with his founding of DAW Books, there’s nothing that makes this book stand out from DAW’s many other anthologies except it doesn’t have a theme. The ratio of good to adequate to bad stories is pretty standard – not nearly high enough for a celebration of 30 years of quality publishing. That’s probably inevitable for a group of all original stories, but this anthology, which features installments in several DAW series, also doesn’t serve as much of an enticing sampler of DAW’s goods.
The two stand out stories are Tad Williams’ “Not With a Whimper, Either” and Ian Watson’s “The Black Wall of Jerusalem”. Williams’ story is told through newsgroup exchanges as various users try to figure out what is behind several disruptions of communications and utilities. It’s a worthy and ambiguous addition to a science fiction tradition of sinister machines including Jack Williamson’s “With Folded Hands”, Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream”, and, especially, Frederic Brown’s “Answer”. Watson’s story is surprisingly Lovecraftian in structure and theme. Its poet narrator is troubled by dreams he’s been having since returning from Jerusalem where he went for inspiration to write a William Blake style work of religious mysticism. There he encountered the Black Wall, a gateway that pops up in different parts of the ancient city, and goes beyond it to investigate the lethal beings of another dimension. Continue reading →