Dead Man's Hand

John Joseph Adams
science fiction, fantasy, anthology
Dead Man's Hand - John Joseph Adams

Edited by John Joseph Adams.

The twenty-three original works - produced specifically for this volume - will range from a brand new Orson Scott Card tale (his first “Alvin Maker” story in a decade), to an original adventure by Fred Van Lente (creator of Cowboys & Aliens). It will also include stories such as Elizabeth Bear’s story of a steampunk bordello, and new writer Rajan Khanna’s exploration of sorcery found in a magical deck of playing cards.

“The weird western is the forefather of steampunk, with a history that includes Stephen King’s Dark Tower and Card’s Alvin Maker,” editor John Joseph Adams explains. “But where steampunk is Victorian, weird westerns are darker, grittier, so the protagonist might be gunned down in a duel, killed by a vampire, or confronted by aliens on the streets of a dusty frontier town.”

The phrase “dead man’s hand’ refers to the poker hand held by Wild Bill Hickok when he was shot and killed by the coward Jack McCall. “What the hand actually was seems to be open to some debate,” Adams continues. “I suppose the only way we could ever know for sure would be to reanimate his corpse or to travel back in time... both of which are the stuff of the “weird western” tale - stories of the Old West infused with elements of the fantastic.”

Here’s the full table of contents (in alphabetical order):

  • Bamboolzed - Kelley Armstrong
  • Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear
  • Sundown - Tobias Buckell
  • Alvin and the Apple Tree - Orson Scott Card
  • Sheriff Poole & The Mech Gang - Charles de Lint
  • Clockwork - David Farland
  • La Madre Del Oro - Jeffrey Ford
  • Holy Jingle - Alan Dean Foster
  • The Devil’s Jack - Laura Anne Gilman
  • Hell from the East - Hugh Howey
  • Second Hand - Rajan Khanna
  • The Red-Headed Dead - Joe R. Lansdale
  • What I Assume You Shall Assume - Ken Liu
  • Ghostwood - Jonathan Maberry
  • Stingers and Strangers - Seanan McGuire
  • The Hell-Bound Stagecoach - Mike Resnick
  • The Man With No Heart - Beth Revis
  • Wrecking Party - Alastair Reynolds
  • Neversleeps - Fred van Lente
  • The Golden Age - Walter Jon Williams
  • Medicine Dance, Arizona - Tad Williams
  • The Old Slow Man and His Gold Gun From Space - Ben Winters
  • Bookkeeper, Narrator, Gunslinger - Charles Yu
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Release date: May 8, 2014
Genres: science fiction, fantasy, anthology
Updated: August 29, 2021