Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West by John Joseph Adams
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed the stories I enjoyed. There are some really amazing stories in this. But they made up less than half the book. The rest ranged from "meh" to "ew, I'm not reading this."
I'll admit, I'm petty about reading. I see no reason to waste my time on something I am not enjoying, but these are some of the reasons I "noped" out of a story in this book.
-Bad things happen to a horse.
-Character willfully ignores suffering horse.
-Horse doesn't even have a name.
-Minority character has a name but he's just called "the Mexican."
-Most of these stories have very little diversity. Maybe I've been spoiled by amazing queer, women, and POC books, but there were times I just couldn't read another boring white dude.
-Orson Scott Card's name. (I didn't read a single word of his story so I can't comment on it specifically, but I try not to read things by people who are anti-queer.)
I get that these are westerns, and most westerns portray the West as a whitewashed fantasy of toxic masculinity. That's why, even though I love aspects of the drama, I can't force myself to watch western movies.
I just thought adding the speculative elements meant it would be... better. Modern. Inclusive and free of the tropes that limit the genre and relegate it to the category of "Things only my grandpa likes. No, not the cool grandpa. The one that thinks Linda and Gayle are just roommates."
And a handful of the stories were absolutely amazing. The ones by Liu, Bear, and Macguire come to mind. But the rest was... disappointing.
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