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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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The Buntline Special (A Weird West Tale) Paperback – December 1, 2010

3.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Weird West Tale Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this lusterless steampunk western, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday are outfitted with superhard brass body armor and Gatling-style handguns; Thomas Edison is a cyborg working with Ned Buntline on motorized stagecoaches and other wonders; lawman Bat Masterson has vampiric tendencies; gunslinger Johnny Ringo is a zombie bent on besting Holliday in a gunfight; and Geronimo is a successful shaman and general making sure the United States stops at the Mississippi. Five-time Hugo winner Resnick brings a sparse, dialogue-centric writing style to the classic story of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, twisting it ever so slightly to blend magic and mechanism into its narrative weave. The larger story of the feud is untouched, making Resnick's rendition feel like a copycat of Tombstone with gears glued on. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

Tombstone, Arizona, 1881. Thomas Alva Edison, sent by the American government to devise a scientific way to combat the magic of the Apache, who have stalled U.S. expansion past the Mississippi, has been viciously attacked. Hired to protect him and to find out the identity of the attempted assassin are Wyatt Earp and his brothers. Earp reaches out to his old friend, Doc Holliday, and to gunslinger-turned-newspaperman Bat Masterson. Resnick�s spirited retelling of the Gunfight at the OK Corral is, like Mark Hodder�s recent Burton & Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (2010), an imaginative and thrilling blend of historical fact and science fiction. In Resnick�s version of the Wild West, science and magic are poised for a showdown. Real-life American publisher and dime novelist Ned Buntline constructs wondrous, futuristic devices out of brass. Tombstone is lit by Edison�s electric lights. Gunfighter Johnny Ringo returns from the dead to join the Clanton brothers against the Earps. And Bat Masterson�well, let�s just say there�s a good reason why he�s called Bat. Sf veteran Resnick�s skillful storytelling makes it difficult to separate real characters and events from his wild imaginings, and that�s just part of the fun. --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Series: A Weird West Tale
  • Paperback: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616142499
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616142490
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,051,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Blodgett on December 27, 2010
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.
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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:

<Quote>

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.
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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.
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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.
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Urban dictionary.com 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 inventions...like 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.
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