Fun Fact: When I was a little kid, there were two things I wanted to be—a mermaid, and a cowgirl. I don’t even know why I wanted to be a cowgirl, but I would run around the house pretending I was riding a horse and lassoing things. That was the entire extent of my knowledge on cowgirls—horseback riding and lassos. To be fair, I did kick ass at those arcade shooting gallery games (I once got a score so high, the little electronic score-keeping thing had to start over from zero because it didn’t have space for all the digits), and I loved horseback riding even though I’ve only gotten to do that a few times, mostly at touristy places where you just ride along a trail.
But alas, I never did become a cowgirl (or a mermaid, for that matter), so I have to fulfill my dreams by reading about them instead. So here are ten sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal books that are set in the Old West and that I recommend if you want to get your Weird West on!
American Hippo by Sarah Gailey
This is the least SFF book I have on the list because there’s no magic or paranormal creatures or anything, but there are hippos, and that counts for something. These two novellas (put together into one book) are set in an alternate history where the characters ride hippos instead of horses, which is super cool, and I love how diverse and morally gray the characters are.
Hotblood! A Centaur in the Old West by Toril Orlesky
This was the first thing I read that could be called a western. It’s a M/M graphic novel/webcomic about, you guessed it, a centaur in the Old West! It’s a cute story with some gorgeous landscape artwork and more morally gray characters.
Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
This standalone is about a women who falls into a death-like state every so often and the mysterious, infamous outlaw ex-lover who comes to save her. The story sometimes blurs the line between the real and the paranormal, and it’s got some surprising twists.
The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher
This is more of a quintessential Weird West book, I believe, that takes place in a little town called Golgotha where the residents are pretty accustomed to strange things happening. It’s got a large cast of characters, each with their own strange and/or heart-breaking secrets.
The Devil’s Revolver by V.S. McGrath
This series blends the Old West with magic and is about a girl who wields a cursed revolver that kind of has a mind of its own and also makes her a year older each time she uses it to kill someone. The world is interesting, and though there’s some darkness to the story, the motley crew of characters is fun.