J. D. Jordan's Calamity: Being an Account of Calamity Jane and Her Gunslinging Green Man was published by Heliosphere Books in September 2016.
Information about J. D. Jordan:
JD Jordan lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Ellie, and a whole bunch of kids. He’s a huge scifi nerd but, despite the contents of this novel, never purposefully sat down to watch or read a Western until the Green Man rode into his imagination. Now he can’t get enough of them.
Calamity is his first novel.
You can find sample chapters, a companion story, a guide to Jane's calamitous saddle slang, and more at o-jd.com.
Information about Calamity: Being an Account of Calamity Jane and Her Gunslinging Green Man:
I'm sure you've heard of Calamity Jane, but this is not a novel about Calamity Jane. At least not the Jane you may have read about. Calamity Jane is part of the legends of the Wild West, but long before she scouted with Custer or "Wild Bill" Hickok, she was a fifteen-year-old girl with a fiery temper.
Violence and tragedy turn young Jane's world upside down and soon she finds herself riding with an alien gunslinger - the Green Man - through a landscape of revenge and betrayal.
Along the way, she learns how to shoot a six-gun and how to stand on her own, even when surrounded by Lakota warriors, and be respected. From space ships to guns that can shoot the wings off a butterfly a mile away, young Jane realizes that the universe is far bigger than the Wild West and that she can trust no one in it to save her but herself.
When the villainous Grays meddling in the wars between the Indians and the government stand in the way of the Green Man making his way home, Jane finds her desire for revenge may be less than her loyalty for the longrider. And in that realization, she becomes the hero the Wild West has long remembered.
So, forget what you know of how the West was won. Forget the Indian Wars and Custer's Last Stand. Instead, learn the truth of what happened when a young girl met a longrider she called the Green Man...
A REVIEW OF J. D. JORDAN'S CALAMITY: BEING AN ACCOUNT OF CALAMITY JANE AND HER GUNSLINGING GREEN MAN
J. D. Jordan's debut novel, Calamity: Being an Account of Calamity Jane and Her Gunslinging Green Man, is an interesting piece of speculative fiction, because it combines science fiction and western elements in an original and enjoyable way. It's an intriguing glimpse into the early life of Martha Jane Canary, who is better known as Calamity Jane, because it reveals what happened to her when she met an alien gunslinger and longrider called the Green Man.
I'm sure that all of us have heard of Calamity Jane and know who she is, because she is a well-known figure of the Wild West, but none of us have ever had an opportunity to read about her early life in a speculative fiction format. This novel offers readers a totally new perspective to her life, because the author's vision of her early years is refreshingly inventive and different from what actually happened in her life.
J. D. Jordan's Calamity is an intriguingly gritty novel that offers plenty of entertainment to readers who enjoy western stories. I have to admit that I was amazed by this novel's entertainment values, because the story was good and the characters were interesting. This novel is one of the most interesting reading experiences I've had in a long while, because it's something different due to the author's bold reinvention of Calamity Jane's early years.
Here's a bit of information about the story:
- The story is narrated by Calamity Jane and is divided into three parts: 'Seeing The Elephant', 'Someone To Ride The River With' and 'A Man For Breakfast'.
- The story begins with a brutal scene of a barely fifteen-year-old Martha Jane Canary being almost raped in a barn by a man called Jimmy. She is scared and tries to fight back, but nothing seems to help her. Suddenly the Green Man appears and saves her from Jimmy. She tells the Green Man that Jeb Boone killed Mr. Harthra and his boys. She also mentions that Jeb Boone took Mr. Harthra's flying ship. Martha follows the Green Man and tells him that she wants to kill the man who is responsible for the death of Mr. Harhtra and the boys. She is set on revenge, because Mr. Harthra was good to her. Together, Martha and the Green Man go after Jeb Boone...
This is the beginning of a story that reveals how Martha Jane Canary becomes Calamity Jane and learns many things. It's a slightly different kind of a coming of age story.
The story grabbed hold of me and made me want to read it as fast as possible. It was interesting for me to read about what happened to Jane, because the author wrote fluently about her life and feelings and avoided sentimental and melodramatic moments. The story was wonderfully seeped in rough and unforgiving realism that highlighted the harsh conditions of the Wild West.
The characterisation works well, because J. D. Jordan gradually reveals information about Jane and the Green Man. Both of the protagonists are fascinatingly rough around the edges and have flaws and traits that make them realistic.
Martha Jane Canary aka Calamity Jane is a strong-willed and fiery-tempered young woman who has quite an attitude. She's been alone for a while and has had to take care of herself. Although she lets people see that she is tough and can take care of herself, she has an insecure side to her that she keeps hidden from others. She has a lot to learn, because she finds out that she can trust no-one but herself.
The author has given Jane a bold voice, which is filled with youthful rage, roughness, wittiness, inexperience and insecurity. He makes Jane a believable person by writing boldly about how she tries to survive in a hostile world where life is cheap and how she transforms from Martha to Jane.
The Green Man is a tall alien man with antennae on his head. He's a cold-hearted person who's rough around the edges and doesn't treat everybody kindly, because he doesn't think highly of people. He can use his powerful voice as a mighty weapon to make men cower before him. The author writes intriguingly about him from Jane's perspective, because Jane witnesses what he does and how he deals with different situations and problems.
Jane and the Green Man have quite an unusual bond and relationship between each other, because they're independent persons who have been thrown together by brutal and violent circumstances. They're different yet strangely similar in certain ways and try to tolerate and overlook each other's habits and traits.
I was surprised to see discrimination and prejudice mentioned in this novel. The author wrote well about how the green men are being treated, because they're different from human beings. Because they've come from space and look different, they're often treated badly and are not considered equal to men.
I found it fascinating that there are also Grey Men in this novel. I won't go into details about them in order to avoid writing spoilers, but I can mention that there's little love lost between the Grey and the Green men, because they're different from each other. These alien men added plenty of fascination to the story, because you don't often have an opportunity to read western stories that feature aliens.
When I read this novel, I got the impression that J. D. Jordan is fascinated by western stories, films and TV series, because he wrote convincingly about western elements and paid attention to building an intense atmosphere. I'm sure that this novel will strike a chord among readers who have read westerns and who are familiar with the film Cowboys & Aliens, HBO's Deadwood and AMC's Hell on Wheels, because it has a few things in common with them.
I look forward to reading what J. D. Jordan writes next, because this novel was something different and I enjoyed reading it. I sincerely hope that he continues to write this kind of fiction, because he has a gift for it.
J. D. Jordan's Calamity is a satisfyingly gritty, intense and entertaining novel that deserves the attention of speculative fiction readers who enjoy reading fast-paced western stories. It's something different, because it offers a fascinating glimpse into the early life of Calamity Jane by shedding light on her comradeship with an alien gunslinger. It's quite an extraordinary sci-fi western romp.
Excellent and satisfyingly gritty entertainment for adults!