Dead Man's Hand by John Joseph Adams (editor)

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Dead Man's Hand by John Joseph Adams (editor)

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Category: Short Stories
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Rachael Shanks
Reviewed by Rachael Shanks
Summary: A enthralling collection of stories which combine the gun-slinging action of the Old West with the endless imaginative possibilities of fantasy.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: May 2014
Publisher: Titan Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1783295463

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Dead Man's Hand features short stories with themes ranging from time travel and vampires to theology; at first glance it definitely appears to be an eclectic mix. These stories are linked by the genre of the weird west, which is defined by its elasticity. John Joseph Adams' helpful introduction outlines the main features of the weird west and provides a clear, insightful guide to this little-known genre. Far from being mismatched, the eclectic nature of this collection is in fact the greatest strength of the weird west genre. Unconstrained by narrow generic conventions, the authors in this collection have plundered the deepest depths of their imaginations. The result? A colourful, memorable and, above all, imaginative collection of fiction.

Although individual readers will be attracted more to some stories than others (and with such a variety of ideas at play, there's definitely a story for everyone), there are no weak parts to this collection. The overall quality of the stories in Dead's Man Hand is refreshingly high, and lesser-known authors present works equal to those of award-winners like Orson Scott Card.

During my own reading, several stories emerged as my own particular favourites. Ben H Winters The Old Slow Man and His Gold Gun From Space is just as intriguing as the title suggests, and its twisting and turning narrative structure will take the reader by surprise. Each story in the collection is well-crafted, managing to swiftly establish the particularities of its setting (for example, whether it's populated by ghosts or clockwork spiders) and then go on to present an enrapturing story, almost always with a twist to the tale. Mike Resnick's The Hell-Bound Stagecoach', another favourite, is particularly suspenseful.

Overall, Dead Man's Hand is a fascinating read for existing fans of the weird west and newcomers alike. The collection provides a sharp-turning and entertaining journey through the Old West.

After diving into this collection, readers might be interested in investigating the other works of their most-enjoyed authors. For example, Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card or World Binder (Runelords) by David Farland. For fans of the fantastical, I would also recommend Across the Wall by Garth Nix.

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Buy Dead Man's Hand by John Joseph Adams (editor) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dead Man's Hand by John Joseph Adams (editor) at

Booklists.jpg Dead Man's Hand by John Joseph Adams (editor) is in the Top Ten Fantasy Novels of 2014.


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