“What’s Next for the Weird West” essay in AUREALIS MAGAZINE

Posted: December 20, 2019 in Announcement, Weird West, writing
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My nonfiction essay titled “What’s Next for the Weird West” is available in Aurealis Magazine’s last issue of the year, along with excellent speculative stories, essays and reviews.

This essay explores one of my increasingly favorite areas of fiction. I cover some of the crossover aspects of weird west fiction along with new and must-read books, and why the time is ripe for a resurgence in this fun genre.

Editor Dirk Strasser writes about this issue of the award-winning Australia-based monthly SF/F magazine:

We always like to go out with a bang in the last issue for the year and Aurealis #126 is no exception. In this bumper issue we feature ‘Marked for Life’, J.R. Schuyler’s powerful tale of blood magic, snowbeasts and transformation, Stephen Higgin’s quirky and enigmatic ‘Cradle’, and the dark science fiction of Eric Del Carlo’s gender and identity exploration story ‘Flesh of the Other.’

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Excerpt from “What’s Next for the Weird West” is below:

“Howdy, partner.”

A figure silhouetted in a hat and dusty jacket bursts into a bar. Poker players and prostitutes scramble as the loner saunters in, steely eyes prepping for a showdown.

The scene is all too familiar in Wild West stories, which usually incorporate iconic characters ranging from outlaws, gunslingers and law-keepers. On the frontier, where one must keep their wits about them and where anything goes, the stoic cowboy hero archetype helped set the foundation for some of today’s superheroes and modern American fiction. But the Weird West genre offers a fresh take on the iconic—and often overused—imagery and caricatures of the Wild West.

The Weird West genre—where Wild West elements mash with other genres ranging from horror, scifi and fantasy—has been around as long as the Wild West itself though never fully in the limelight. Something about the unknown wilderness invites more speculative wanderings; infusions of werewolves, demons, ghosts, aliens, magic and otherworldly elements seem right at home amidst wild mountains, endless desert and a vast, unforgiving landscape.

Issue #126 also finishes with reviewers’ picks of the best speculative fiction in 2019. 

To read the full essay and other pieces in this issue, visit here.

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