Or Science Fiction? These Westerns include futuristic themes, such as traveling back into time to save the old West or fight Sasquatch, Even Steampunk makes it’s way into the Western.
For a “really out there pushing the envelope of Westerns” read try Felix Gilman’s Half-Made World a wonderful steampunk tale of the dystopian West.
“The world is only half made. What exists has been carved out amidst a war between two rival factions: the Line, paving the world with industry and claiming its residents as slaves; and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence that cripples the population with fear. The only hope at stopping them has seemingly disappeared—the Red Republic that once battled the Gun and the Line, and almost won. Now they’re just a myth, a bedtime story parents tell their children, of hope.
To the west lies a vast, uncharted world, inhabited only by the legends of the immortal and powerful Hill People, who live at one with the earth and its elements. Liv Alverhyusen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels to the edge of the made world to a spiritually protected mental institution in order to study the minds of those broken by the Gun and the Line. In its rooms lies an old general of the Red Republic, a man whose shattered mind just may hold the secret to stopping the Gun and the Line. And either side will do anything to understand how.”
What makes this a Western? This is a multi-genre book, shelved in Fantasy and Science Fiction, the setting is the West. John is a loner on a heroes quest. The Hill People represent the NativeAmerican Indians, the Guns are the bandits, the Lines are the industrialists.
The year is 1889. Thirty years ago, The General built the Red Valley Republic. At this time the world was lush with trees and grass. The world was evolving. Flash forward to present day. The world is desolate…thanks to the battle between the Lines and the rebel Guns. The Lines are focused on industry and spreading it across the world as quickly as possible. The Guns are the bandits of the world. They fight not with words but with weapons and violence.
Liv Alverhuysen is a doctor of Psychology. Dr. Alverhuysen receives a letter addressed to her late husband from Mr. Howell. Mr. Howell is the director of the House Dolorous. Mr. Howell wants Liv’s husband to come out West and share his teachings with the world. Liv is in need of some adventure and packs her bags and travels West.
John Creedmoor is an Agent of the Gun. The General has a secret locked away in his mind. A secret that who ever possess this knowledge will gain ultimate power. John wants this power for himself. He is a loner and likes it this way. While aboard the steam ship John meets Doctor Alverhuysen. John must make a choice…protect Liv or watch out for himself.
Gilman, F., “The Half -Made World.” New York, Tor Books, 2009.
Another edgy paranormal book: The Flight of Michael McBride by Midori Snyder.
Frank Borelli’s A cop’s Nightmare 2:Vampires in the Old West
William and J.A. Johnstones’s The Last Gunfighter: Sudden Fury.