Tales of the Far West edited by Gareth-Michael Skarka

 

Imagine: A fantasy world, but not one based on Medieval/Dark Ages European culture and myth, but rather on the tropes of the Spaghetti Western and Chinese Wuxia. Add steampunk elements. Mix well.

A fantasy world that mixes the inspirations of Django and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon… The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and House of Flying Daggers… Fistful of Dollars and Fist of Legend.

A fantasy world that’s explored through a book series, a constantly-updated website, a tabletop role-playing game, comics, artwork, webseries and much, much, more.

This is FAR WEST.

In Tales of the Far West, Skarka brings together a number of today’s top writers to create an anthology like no other. In this collection you will find that elements of Wuxia and Kung Fu are brilliantly mixed with Western and Steampunk to create a slick and unique world.

By far the best story of the anthology is Scott Lynch’s entry, “He Built The Wall To Knock It Down”, which truly captures the essence of what this collection is trying to achieve. The story is told from the point of view of the scribe, and tells of his relationship with his master who saved the scribe when he got a little too cocky when trying to expose a cheat at a poker game. The story follows journey of the two of them as the scribe tries to learn the lessons his master has to teach.

The other entries that I also enjoyed includes “Purity of Purpose” by Gareth-Michael Skarka, “Railroad Spike” by Ari Marmell and “The Fury Pact” by Matt Forbeck, these stories are shorter but just as thrilling and leaves you wanting for more.

The stories in this collection are just the beginnings for a role-playing game that is still in development so I know much of the background hasn’t been worked out yet. However I wish the stories here are more interrelated like in the Wild Cards series so I can get a fuller sense of how the world is and who the players are.

This anthology contains some brilliant stories and have created an interesting world for the upcoming RPG. It’s well worth the money you pay even if you are getting it for Scott Lynch’s story alone.