Home Published Downloads Links News Contact Reviews N-Gen


The New Reviews

I will attempt to introduce you to some of the books and movies that I look at for inspiration for Aces High material.
With a 5 bullet review system to Rate the story in general and the Relevance to the concept of a mythical western.

Shadow On The Sun
The Sixth Gun

The Sixth Gun

Format: Graphic Novel
Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt
Web: Oni Press
Released: 2011

"this is not the old west as we know it"

This is a review of volume 1 of what looks like 5 compilation books, and I might be buying the rest of them!

The story is about 6 magic guns and starts with Becky Montcrief 'inhereting' the Sixth Gun from her Grandfather shortly before he is gunned down by some viscious characters. What follows is a chase story where this bunch of evil dudes, goaded on by 'Blood Thirsty Bill', attempt to catch up with the girl, and take the sixth gun from her. Becky picks up a couple of allies along the way who seem to know what's going on and we learn a bit about the history of the 6 guns.

The story opens up the potential for lots of future weirdness as it rushes headlong to its conclusion. Which is worth getting too. If you have read Lansdales Jonah Hex stories, and enjoyed them, then I can't see a reason why you wont like these. There's ancient history associated with the guns, but you also get a touch of Native mythology thrown in. And I think its done quite well.

As far as I can tell this whole story could be rolled up into an Aces High campaign with almost no extra work, plot wise. It ties in nicely with the next AH book I'm working on and I couldn't have discovered this at a more opportune time.

Thoroughly recommended. Go and get it, it's on Amazon and other places.

Looks like there's going to be a TV movie based on it too!



Format: Book
Carl Hose
Web: carlhose.net
Released: 2010

"and other tales of horror set in the old west."

Carl Hose has written quite a few short novels that have been convieniently gathered into about 8 or 9 anthologies. Most of them seem to deal with supernatural or horror but, according to his website, he has decided to concentrate on writing songs and playing music. Which is a shame, because this book is actually quite good and fits with Aces High really rather well.

Deadtown contains 13 short stories dealing with zombies, ghosts, werewolves, mummies and other appropriate concepts. Mostly these stories are all written from a white mans perspective(which isn't suprising) and with european style monsters. But there are a couple in here that also do the horror western with a Native American taint. You get a story about Skinwalkers and the Legend of Falling Rock from the Native perspective.

Mostly these stories could be easily translated into scenario shorts. They all deal with one major concept and then briefly explore the reactions of people that are exposed to them. I enjoyed most of the stories, with Fools Gold being a favourite, but I wouldn't point to any one story and say that it was bad.

My only criticism is that some of the short stories felt like they were too short! I would have been happy with fewer, longer tales. I would also have liked to have seen more Native mythology incorporated, but that's just me!

Carls stories are an easy, quick read that deliver a solid punchline and the occasional twist that keeps you on your toes. Well worth tracking down in my opinion.


Shadow on the Sun

Format: Book
Richard Matheson
Web: Richard Matheson on SFE
Released: 1994

"Terror casts Its Shadow over the Old West."

You will probably know Richard Matheson as the author of the ground breaking novel 'I Am Legend' written in 1954. If you have never read I am Legend, you probably should; it is an excellent book. He is also responsible for lots of other interesting stuff including contributions to The Twilight Zone and Star Trek!

One night while browsing Amazon I stumbled across this book. It caught me by surprise for two reasons. I thought Richard Matheson was so old that he should probably be dead and I had never heard that he also wrote westerns!

So this is a horror story set in the old west. You don't get an exact date but it opens with an Indian agent successfully negotiating a peace treaty with a group of Apache indians and the local Cavalry/Government representative. It all starts quite nice and friendly and then corpses start showing up. The Apache start to get the blame, but it turns out that they are just as worried (if not more so) than the townspeople. A stranger makes himself noticeable in town and things get rather bloody rather quickly. The Indian agent finds himself in a race to prove that the Apache are not responsible for the bloody deaths which leads him on a journey, over the space of three days, that culminates in... a cave with a shaman.

Sorry, I don't want to spoil the story and I'm new at this writing review lark.

I liked the story because it kept me guessing. You don't really find out what is going on until the end. I think it gives a good impression of western cultures and bigotry. The story moves from a frontier town, with its blinkered population, to an Apache encampment in the forests. You get a good cross section of the two cultures and how they react to each other. Throw in the mystical element (which is based on an Apache story) and I think you get a well written novel that gives the impresson that it has been accurately researched.

I only gave 4 bullets for the Rating because I felt that the story rushed through its final few pages. Other than that I liked it.

I gave it the full 5 bullets for Relevance because, while the story would be tricky to convert into an Aces High scenario as it stands, everything in the book could be useful. The Apache mythology appears to be correct and would provide an rpg gang with an extremely challenging foe if they were to meet it.