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The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale Paperback – 15 Dec 2010

2.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr; paperback / softback edition (15 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616142499
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616142490
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 351,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Mike Resnick is a journeyman in a world of apprentices, one who knows his craft. His name on a book guarantees a solid story and believable characters, constructed with imagination and grace. Most important of all, it guarantees entertainment. --Raymond E. Feist

About the Author

Mike Resnick has won an impressive five Hugos and has been nominated for thirty more. The author of the Starship series, the John Justin Mallory series, and the Weird West Tales, he has sold sixty-nine novels and more than two hundred fifty short stories and has edited forty anthologies. His Kirinyaga series, with sixty-seven major and minor awards and nominations to date, is the most honored series of stories in the history of science fiction. Visit him online at

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Ermahgerd, was that book ever dull. I mean boring to the boringth degree! The writing is fine, if stark, but simply nothing happens. It's all talk, talk, talk—let me describe these anachronistic inventions to you, invitations to drinks and meals, greetings, threats and 'I'm not afraid to die' or 'I'm already dying' quips—talk, talk, talk and very little actual doing, even less actual narrative and/or development. I suppose Resnick figured we all know who Earp, Holliday and Ringo are so no need to develop their character. And the poor women, they aren't even alive if you judge by their characterization, just faceless whores that range from wholly human, half-human or not human. But they're all pretty interchangeably unimportant. Ugh. My library has two more of this series, but I won't be bothering with them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fun ideas & take on the (well known caracters &story), but needs work on the storytelling (& a few surprises would have been nice..)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars 42 reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maddening (spoiler warning) 27 Dec. 2010
By S. Blodgett - Published on
Format: Paperback
I wanted to love this book because it sounded like a fun little steampunk western romp. However one thing kept me from enjoying the book....nothing happens.

Don't get me wrong, things do happen but I hardly consider one sentence descriptions to be action scenes. The gunfight at the O.K. Corral? Half a page. The climactic showdown that's been promised for the entire book? Half a page. The ending? A 1 page cliffhanger that sets it up for a sequel.

The rest of the book consists of getting breakfast and chatting in saloons and a wh@re house. Characters go talk to another character for a page, then back to the saloon. They wake up, get breakfast, go visit a character, then back to the saloon. Oh, Bat Masterson is, get this, turned into a bat! So there's plenty of dialogue about how to keep him caged up at night. It's 300 pages of this. I'm not even exaggerating, nothing happens except talk, talk, talk, solve the problem in a paragraph. There's no exciting or engaging solutions to any problems in this book, they're just there and then they're not.

I'm only giving this 3 stars because the dialogue and characterisations are very well written. Other than that I found it to be an absolute sleeping pill. Don't be fooled by the book description and go in expecting an action novel because it's not. I like Mr. Resnick's work but this book just felt completely lazy and phoned in. He had some good ideas that could have been alot of fun but didn't quite seem to know what to do with them. Seek out Ivory or Dragon America instead if you want a good Mike Resnick novel.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk fans will enjoy the ride, but The West was left in the dust, and I mourn its absence. 4 Jan. 2011
By Mrs. Baumann - Published on
Format: Paperback
Plot Summary: The year is 1881, and Tombstone, Arizona is a town like no other. Served by horseless stagecoaches and illuminated by electric lights, this dusty town hosts the premiere inventors in the country, Thomas Edison and Ned Buntline. The U.S. government charges the Earps - Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan - with protecting Mr. Edison from all enemies, and they send for their friends, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson. This dream team will face not just the Clanton gang, but some fearsome medicine men, and a quick-draw corpse that used to be Johnny Ringo.

The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale succeeds with the steampunk, but it never cowboy'd up to the culture. I think it had the potential to be great, but there were too many misses along the way. For instance, the dialog was disappointingly bland. I wanted to hear the Old West come alive in the poetry and cadence of the language, but everyone's speech was far too contemporary for a historical setting. I kept trying to insert an accent, but it wouldn't stick. Just a little bit of Mark Twain's voice would have given the whole story a flavor of authenticity. The only exchanges with any spark occurred between Doc Holliday and his sometime lady-love, Big Nose Kate:


He was suddenly overcome by a paroxysm of coughing, and sat down again. She brought him a handkerchief, and he handed it back to her a few minutes later when he was done.

"That's more blood than usual," she noted, staring at it.

"I don't know what you expect me to do about it. Cough out the window, maybe."

She stared at him for a long moment. "I don't know which to do," she said at last, "nurse you or kick you in the balls."

"Do I get a vote?" he asked. (241)

<End Quote>

I was excited to see this Wild West dream team of gunfighters assembled, but the reason behind it was too vague to drum up any further enthusiasm. We learn that the U.S. Government wants to expand across the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean, and they believe that Thomas Edison is their single best asset for overcoming the magic-wielding Native Americans. The Earps, Bat Masterson, and Doc Holliday are to protect Edison and his partner, Ned Buntline at all costs. This leads to the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but unfortunately the setup was so generic that it didn't give me much of a mystery to chew on in between.

The steampunk elements brought a glow to my brass-plated heart, and here is where The Buntline Special shined. The descriptions and illustrations were the stuff of steamies' dreams, and I happily plunged into the mechanized world of horseless carriges, gatling revolvers, and, er, metal "working girls." It was all well done, and by far, my favorite part of the story.

Steampunk fans will enjoy the ride, but the west was left in the dust, and I mourn its absence. This could have been amazing if The Buntline Special had truly joined The Weird with The Old West.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great idea...but. 1 Jan. 2011
By bc lewis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a great idea for a steampunk western tale but the author doesn't do much with it. It's a shame really he could have done so much more than what he did. A lot of talking but not much happening. The author would have been better suited to create orginal characters and put them into a steampunk western. This is an alternate universe but the author seemed unwilling or too lazy to go all the way with it.

At the end there's an unneeded history lesson that consumes way too much space than could have been better used to expand the story.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars West? Yes. Weird? Not so much. 4 Feb. 2011
By A. KAPLAN - Published on
Format: Paperback
I had been really looking forward to The Buntline Special. I love Weird Westerns in general. I had also read on the publisher's blog that they didn't just want to publish steampunk novels, but wanted something with a twist. So when this book turned out to be a disappointment for me, it was a pretty big disappointment indeed.

For a 300+ page book, The Buntline Special felt pretty slight. The characters, outside of Doc Holiday, didn't feel particularly developed. It's hard to emotionally invest in characters you don't get to know. And if I'm not invested in the characters, I'm also not invested in their conflicts. And if I'm not invested in the conflicts, there's not a lot for me to care about.

Even worse, the "weird" elements just felt layered on top of a fairly lackluster standard Western. None of the fantasy elements were necessary. Electric powered stagecoaches? Robot prostitutes? Zombie gunmen? All window dressing. A character gets transformed into a giant bat, and absolutely nothing is done with it. If the fantastical elements of a story aren't going to be important, then they shouldn't be there at all.

So, overall, a wasted opportunity.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not a great steampunk or western 6 Sept. 2013
By Storey on a Story - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Urban defines 'steampunk' as:
A subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan "What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner." It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.

In Mike Resnick's novel The Buntline Special, steampunk goes West. I was extremely excited about this adventure. Steampunk has been around for a couple decades, but it is a relatively new favorite sub-genre of mine. Wild West, however, I have loved since I was a youngen' watching old Gunsmoke reruns. So I thought "SWEET! This is gonna be awesome!" But it was just 'meh.

Over the years there have been many retellings of the Earp brothers, Doc Holiday, the Gunfight at the OK Corral, and life in Tombstone. Mike used much of this preestablished and common knowledge to jump directly into the well known characters and setting. Why spend pages reinventing the wheel?
Adding (or attempting to add) spice to another dime novel covering the famous Tombsone showdown is the introduction of Thomas Edison and Ned Buntline; inventors of electric street lamps, electric stage coaches, impenetrable brass, robotic prosthetics, and actually entire robotic women for Kate's brothel. Steampunk, well done, is a seamless fusion; but in this instance I felt it was all so forced. While suspending belief is part of loving fiction, there is no structured and organized science behind these a forcefield that can sense who is friend and who is foe. Throw in a few Native American medicine men casting curses, a vampire Bat Masterson, a zombie Johnny Ringo, and shape-shifting Apache braves and the story gets quite muddled.

After a lot of drinking, eating, gambling, more drinking, bickering, threats, technobable, there really wasn't a whole lot of pow...which is what we really want from a Western, right?

My first impression of Mike Resnick is not high, but he has several more novels that may develop better.
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