A Tale of the Far West

A new part of the big and fascinating Far West transmedia and world-building project is out there now: Tales of the Far West. It’s an anthology of stories by a slew of killer talent and, hey, also me. You can read an excerpt from Scott Lynch’s tale with the great title, “He Built The Wall To Knock It Down,” right here.

My story, “Errant Eagles,” is about gunfighters, lawmen, an airship, a train, and living with the consequences of the choices you make. It’s also about forgiveness and the Gun.

Here’s roughly how it opens:

Delicate things, airships. The things work only if everyone on board behaves themselves. Get someone on board who ain’t got no respect for fellow travelers or the delicacy of flight and the whole thing can fall in a hurry.

The Maiden’s Breath looked something like a riverboat on its back, slung from its gasbag on hand-woven cables, the sky-ship’s white planks and shining brass bright in the afternoon sun. Angled black smokestacks splayed out below like the legs of a newborn foal. Trails of coal smoke smeared the air behind it. In place of paddles, wide props, looking like lovely petals, pushed her through the sky.

She was no soaring ship. She cruised above the plains so low that some small-town temple towers might have scratched her paint. No pagodas loomed in sight on that wide prairie, though—she sailed over wild grasses and subtle hills, her passengers bound for Prosperity in the west. Her faint altitude was meant to give her passengers a close look at the open range below, at the bucolic charm of its windswept fields of grain and the roaming flocks of flightless thunderbirds.

That shallow flight also had Redhand wondering if he could survive a leap from the airship’s starboard railing. The sunlit prairie rushed by below. Passengers cried out in panic.

The ship was on fire pretty fierce by then and Redhand thought it might provide him the cover he needed to get free. Redhand hoped Hollowaigh would reel from his pistol-whipping in the parlor long enough for Redhand to vanish in the chaos of the accidental kerosene fire. Maybe Hallowaigh, who said he was aboard on a case, on behalf of the Twin Eagle detective agency, would stop to put out the fire started when he threw Redhand into a kerosene lamp. Maybe Hollowaigh, who thought so little of pulling his pistol in the crowded airborne parlor, would think twice about making a foolhardy leap that would surely break a leg or two.

Redhand’s dreadlocks whipped about his head in the smoke and wind as he thought on the leap himself—thought too long.

Get your hands on the book or the e-book via the Far West store or Amazon, if you like.

Special thanks, by the way, to Logan Bonner, for pointing me at The Builders and the Butchers, whose music I gorged on while writing this story.

Music: “The Night, Pt. 1,” The Builders and the Butchers

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities

lambshead-cabinet

Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities

Now this is something I’ve been looking forward to telling you about. I think you’re going to dig this book. I say this not just because I know you so well, know what you like, but because this book is nigh irresistible. Look at the names in the Table of Contents, revealed yesterday at io9, and tell me how much you want this book. Turn your eyes to the center ring, ladies and gentlemen, and gaze upon The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities.

Somehow, I am a contributor to this book. My little story, “The Auble Gun,” appears among the Broadmore exhibits—Holy Devices and Infernal Duds. I won’t tease that story just yet, but I’ll say this: my mind reels when I look at its neighbors in that book. Pardon my French, but holy shit.

This Cabinet of Curiosities is, of course, invented and edited by the brilliant VanderMeers, Ann and Jeff. They’ve put together a hell of a volume that promises to be beautiful to the eyes as well as the imagination. Behold, a peek at the sterling art! Look there, and see thoughts on the editing and assembly of such a book! What’s this, if not a post about the book itself?! Look upon that cover, good people, and marvel!

Already enamored? You can preorder the book at Amazon even now.