In a steampunk version of the Old West, there are cyborgs working in the bordello, motorized stage coaches and other mechanical wonders. Behind all the inventions in Tombstone, Arizona is Thomas Edison, who trying to devise something to overpower the magic of the Apache tribe. While Edson is targeting the magic of the Apaches, an assassin is targeting him. Wanting to continue their westward expansion, the US government has turned to Wyatt Earp and his brothers to protect their best resource and uncover the assassin’s identity. Needing a bit more help, Earp calls in Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson.
The Buntline Special has the potential to be an interesting retelling of the gunfight at the OK Corral, but unfortunately, this potential is largely unrealized. Resnick's dialogue driven style fails to explore all the possibilities and the characters seem to talk about action more than they actually do anything. Both the technology and the magic serves more as window dressing than as an integral part of the plot.
The Bluntline Special by Mike Resnick was a huge disappointment that had the potential to mix the Old West with steampunk wonders. While the wonders were there (along with great illustrations), they failed to blend into the story. This is not the first book by Mike Resnick I would recommend to readers. Nor is it a good representation of steampunk.
The Buntline Special by Mike Resnick
Published by Pyr
The Buntline Special by Mike Resnick is available at Amazon.com
My free review copy of The Bunline Special was provided by the publisher.