[Book Review] Baen Books: ‘Straight Outta Tombstone’

Straight outta tombstone feature

Tales of the Weird Wild West.

Top authors take on the classic western, with a weird twist. Includes new stories by Larry Correia and Jim Butcher! 

Come visit the Old West, the land where gang initiations, ride-by shootings and territory disputes got their start. But these tales aren’t the ones your grandpappy spun around a campfire, unless he spoke of soul-sucking ghosts, steam-powered demons, and wayward aliens. 

Here then are seventeen stories that breathe new life in the Old West. Among them: Larry Correia explores the roots of his best-selling Monster Hunter International series in “Bubba Shackleford’s Professional Monster Killers.” Jim Butcher reveals the origin of one of the Dresden Files’ most popular characters in “A Fistful of Warlocks.” And Kevin J. Anderson’s Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I., finds himself in a showdown in “High Midnight.” Plus stories from Alan Dean Foster, Sarah A. Hoyt, Jody Lynn Nye, Michael A. Stackpole, and many more. 

This is a new Old West and you’ll be lucky to get outta town alive!

What instantly grabbed me was the cover. A zombie gunslinger holding a pair of pistols. The cover art by Dominic Harmon is excellent, it gives you a great idea of what you will find in between the covers. It jumps out and tells you instantly that this is not your average western. This graphic lets you know it’s Western-based, but there is more to it.

I’m also attracted to the amount of detailing he put into the image. If I’m correct, those are Colt single actions. The fact that I can actually identify the gun, shows that he truly did his research.

This is a Weird West anthology edited by David Boop and a huge collection of well-known (and some lesser-known) authors. You get 16 stories, all of them written in different styles, many set in different universes, all written by different authors. Even if you don’t know what Weird West is, you’re going to find something in here that you like.

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 Givens Kurtz
Chance Corrigan and the Lord of the Underworld by Michael A. Stackpole
The Greatest Guns in the Galaxy by Bryan Thomas Schmidt & 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

On a Side Note:

For those that don’t know what Weird West is. Weird West is the black-sheep sibling to Steampunk. Steampunk is (typically) a genre of science fiction that has a Jules-Verne type feeling, in a Victorian era setting (or least inspiration), and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. The Weird West is the North American equivalent, as both the Victorian era and the Wild West were early 19th century.

If you like tales of the Old West that have a bit of the bizarre or supernatural, you will enjoy these stories. It’s the best of both worlds, Sci-Fi meets the Wild West.

Like (almost) any anthology, there are hits and misses, but there are enough hits to make this well worth picking up.

My two favorite authors in here are Jim Butcher and Jody Lynn Nye; both are good stories, but definitely not novel worthy. The anthology stories are frequently ones the authors had ideas for, maybe even started, but couldn’t get a full novel out of. This is a way to build back stories on popular characters, toy with ideas, and in general brainstorm in ways that may not normally fit into their worlds.

My favorite story in here is ‘Bubba Shackleford’s Professional Monster Killers‘ by Larry Correia. It’s a nice little backstory to the origins of the
Shackleford family.

Overall, I would give this 4 stars and say that this story compilation is a good vacation read.

PopCultHQ Rating – 4 Stars


Written by: 

Larry Correia
Jody Lynn Nye
Sam Knight
Robert E. Vardeman
Phil Foglio
Nicole Givens Kurtz
Michael A. Stackpole
Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Ken Scholes
Maurice Broaddus
Sarah A. Hoyt
Alan Dean Foster
David Lee Summers
Kevin J. Anderson
Naomi Brett Rourke
Peter J. Wacks
Jim Butcher

Edited by David Boop
Cover Art by  Dominic Harmon
Published by Baen Books

How we rate our Books

1 = We finished the book with effort

2 = Readable, but more fluff than substance

3 = Good

4 = Pretty Good and worth passing on to your friends

5 = We couldn’t put the book down