Thursday, November 19, 2015

Science fiction westerns

I'm editing a collection of my writings on genre and pulp literature. Included is an essay on horror and sci-fi western hybrids. I'd added some comments in English at the end of the text, possibly snatched from the Fictionmags or other e-mail list discussions, but I won't be incorporating them into my essay (or at least all of them), it's long enough as it is. But here they are, for your reading pleasure:

Did you ever read FOR TEXAS AND ZED by Zach Hughes? (Popular Library, 1976) It's my all time favorite in the SF-about-Texas sub-genre, and it's a pretty good story to boot!

From the jacket copy:

"Spacemen from Texas on Earth had settled this remote planet centuries ago. While the rest of the galaxy was being divided between two vast warring empires, Planet Texas preserved its
independence, created its own unique civilization, developed its own advanced technology. But now all that Planet Texas was and all that it believed in were threatened, as the super-powers of space moved in for the kill."

William Rotsler's space western novel (THE FAR FRONTIER?)?

Eric Frank Russell, "The Illusionaries," PLANET STORIES 11/51, reprinted in Andre Norton's anthology SPACE PIONEERS.

David Drake's Hammer Slammer spinoff, The Sharp End, though set in a galaxy far far away, was structured along the lines of Sergio Leone's western, Fistful of Dollars.

Julian F. Grow:
The Fastest Gun Dead (ss) If Mar 1961
The 7th Annual of the Year’s Best S-F, ed. Judith Merril, Simon &
Schuster 1962
The Sword of Pell the Idiot (nv) F&SF Apr 1967
The Starman of Pritchard’s Creek (nv) If Dec 1968
Bonita Egg (nv) F&SF Sep 1969
Formula for a Special Baby (nv) F&SF Dec 1969

Phyllis Eisenstein's "In the Western Tradition". Wonderful story. (A time viewer story, one of my pet categories.) F&SF, March 1981

William F. Wu's story and novel of a robot in the west: "Hong's Bluff" and HONG ON THE RANGE.

I dug out Eric Frank Russell's "The Illusionaries" (PLANET STORIES 1951, reprinted in Andre Norton's anthology SPACE PIONEERS), and that's the category it falls into also. Aliens land on
earth, are accustomed to enslaving lesser species by controlling their perceptions, try it on humans and it works fine, but decide that they can't make it work, get in their spaceship, and check out.
The end of the story suggests that the humans have been creating an illusion for the aliens and invokes Wyatt Earp and Jesse James.

All of Quinn Yarbro's vampire novels are historicals as well, and "In the Face of Death" is set muchly in the West of American Indians and San Francisco pre-Civil War ... and in the South during the war.

Howard Waldrop, with "Night of the Cooters" (Omni, April '87; also in the Waldrop collection NIGHT OF THE COOTERS, and in Kevin J. Anderson's GLOBAL DISPATCHES anthology) which has Texas Rangers battling H.G. Wells' Martian invaders -- of WAR OF THE WORLDS fame -- at the same time they are landing elsewhere on Earth (1898?). A gem.

Anybody yet mention Jonathan Lethem, _Girl in Landscape_ (1998), which makes complicated (but perfectly recognizeable) play with _The Searchers_ .

WiIliam Tenn's story "Eastward Ho!" which, I think, was about the Indians crowding the white man out of America.

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