Put down that fantasy novel. Yes, you. I know who you are. You love the magic, and the wilderness, and the dragons and the wizards and the elves. Oh, the elves! Can’t get enough of those pointy eared little bastards, can you?
Any of you people out there who have a fantasy novel on your shelf and are reading it because you like escaping into another world where a band of mysterious people trek off into the wilderness on a dangerous quest and encounter bizarre and chilling dangers should replace that book with a western.
Why the Western? Please ignore the bulk of westerns that litter grocery store book shelves and have the 215th iteration of horny violent US marshal saves the town, gets the girl, and winks at Miss Kitty. I can appreciate that most of you will scoff at reading a western, because this is mostly what you see.
The good westerns to me are like escaping into another world where a band of mysterious people trek off into the wilderness on a dangerous quest and encounter bizarre and chilling dangers. The difference is that that the other world really existed, the dangerous wilderness became your back yard, the mysterious people were your ancestors, and if you were born a couple of centuries earlier that may well have been your life, too.
Got rage issues? So does Boone Caudill, the anti-hero of The Big Sky, one of the most unsentimental westerns I’ve ever read. Like sex, drugs, and rock and roll? So did Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp, or at least loose girls from the opera. Want to live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse with tattoos, piercings, and a mohawk? So did our forefathers. One of the little known addendums of the Treaty of Paris was the stipulation that they Iroquois confederacy had to return the 5000 children kidnapped and adopted during the American Revolution. When they came back to their boring families, 1000 turn right around and went back to the Iroquois. Read about the life in Wilderness, Fire Along the Sky, and Savage Wilderness.
|Simon Girty from Tim Truman's Wilderness|
I know you all loved Unforgiven, Firefly, and will admit to liking Bruce Campbell in The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr. Get of your fantasy high horse and try one of these out.