Book Recs: 5 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books Set in the Old West

 
 

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

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | Review

Hotblood! A Centaur in the Old West by Toril Orlesky

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.

Goodreads | Webcomic | Purchase | Review

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | Review

The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | Review

The Devil’s Revolver by V.S. McGrath

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | Review

 
 
 

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  1. Greg

    Ooh now we’re talkin! Weird West haha! Hotblood looks pretty good- I don’t think I’ve read any centaur stories.

    The Six Gun Tarot was pretty good, I thought, and I really should read the next one for more Western weirdness- not to mention the third one which I’ve long wanted to read, because pirates, but just haven’t yet.

    Greg recently posted: Sunday Post #302

    1. Kristen Burns

      There are not enough centaur stories out there!

      I really need to read the next one too lol. I don’t even have an excuse because I have a physical copy of it sitting on my shelf that I kind of impulse bought a long time ago lol.

  2. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

    Unbury Carol and Hotblood! sound super cool. I admit I don’t read cowboy stories much now but I did love them a ton in the past. There is something totally unique about the old west. I love the idea of riding hippos too for some odd reason. ❤️

  3. Olivia Roach

    American Hippo is on my wishlist thanks to your review. And I have had my eye on The Devil’s Revolver. I do like the old west setting but need to read it more! I have a book on my shelf called Vengeance Road by Erin Browan (? Last name could be wrong) and that is one set in the old west that I need to read… I am looking forward to it!

    Olivia Roach recently posted: American Fairytale [Book Review]

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay! I really liked American Hippo. The Devil’s Revolver is cool too, I think the last book is supposed to come out this year. I’ve seen that one around! I hope you enjoy it :-)

  4. Maxine

    If you are after Western with monsters, inclusive characters and magic, I highly recommend Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen. It is so great. Lots of fun.

  5. Lola

    I recently picked up an urban fantasy reverse harem book set in the Old West and I am eager to read it as it sounds like a fun combination of genres and I don’t think I ever read a book set in the Old west yet. I think I made a start on Hotblood, but then forgot about it again. I plan to read that one eventually.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh, nice! It does sound like a fun combo of genres. I know you had started Hotblood, but when you never mentioned it, I figured you just didn’t like it lol. I hope you enjoy your Old West RH book!

  6. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    Cool post! I always wanted to be a cowgirl when I was a kid too. I remember being obsessed with all of the old Westerns that used to air on TV every Saturday afternoon – Bonanza, Big Valley, Rawhide, etc. I love the idea of putting sci-fi/fantasy elements into those kinds of stories.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Yay, someone else who wanted to be a cowgirl, haha. I didn’t even watch westerns, but my dad watched a lot of rodeos, so maybe that put the idea in my head, idk lol. But yeah, I love the combo of western and SFF :-)

  7. suz

    Sci-fi westerns always remind me of Firefly. I loved that. There’s something sexy about cowboys but I don’t like horses much so I wouldn’t want to be one lol.

  8. Brooke Lorren

    This is a genre I’m not really familiar with.

    I think it’s funny how you wanted to grow up to be either a mermaid or a cowgirl. My mom always told the story about how my aunt wanted to grow up and “become a monkey and marry the milkman”. She never did either.

    Brooke Lorren recently posted: The Quick Fire Fantasy Book Tag

  9. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    That’s cute, I mean don’t question it young you was obviously cool and recognised being a cowgirl was an awesome aim in life. I spent hours pretending I was a tiger, I feel like your pretend was more achievable at least.

    Some cool books on here as well so since you didn’t achieve your cowgirl aims at least you have some books to bring back that nostalgia, maybe I should read some shifter romance for my nostalgia? Not quite the same is it?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Young me was so much cooler than current me. I laughed out loud that you pretended to be a tiger, hahaha. I love that.

      You should definitely read some tiger books to revisit your childhood dreams ;-)

  10. Brittany

    I didn’t realize this before but I need more fatasy books in the old west! I don’t know if I have ever read one but it sounds amazing, I will check these ones out :D Thanks!

  11. Sam@wlabb

    That American Hippo cover is really something. You don’t see that often. I think I have read one alternate history type fantasy series set around about the old western times. The Rae Carson series – Gold Seer Trilogy, which I thought was fabulous.

  12. Roberta R.

    Not a Western fan, but it sounds like there’s a lot of fresh stuff in the genre 🙂.

    Quote: “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”.
    Really? LOL. I suppose you made a lot of boys so envious. You know, those who think girls suck at games 😉.
    The intro to your post was funny. I can picture you lassoing things around! 😂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m still a bit surprised that I’m a western fan, although it’s still just SFF westerns :-P

      There were no boys around, just my parents, who I think were pretty entertained by my score lol.

        1. Kristen Burns

          If it makes you feel any better, when I was a kid, I used to show up the boys in PE when we did physical fitness tests, like pull-ups, and I got way too much enjoyment out of it 😆

  13. spiffi

    Laura Anne Gilman’s “The Devil’s’ West” series is awesome and fits this genre – highly recommended! Silver on the Road is the first book in the series.