– goodreads –
I’ve been looking for decent weird westerns for a while, to not much success – a lot of what little I could find either couldn’t hold my attention or didn’t have the flavour and atmosphere I was looking for, and I haven’t even made it halfway down my list before I inevitably got distracted and put my “hunt down SFF westerns” project aside. Until now, I suppose, when my mood reading led me to try this. And it’s one of the best (if not the best) I found so far, enough that I got the second novella while I was still reading the first. A rare thing.
With unique worldbuilding, fast pacing, great writing, and a fantastic concept, it’s easy to recommend. And of course, it’s a shitload of fun.
A traitor, the body. Over the years, I had trained my mind and trained it hard. But every time I fired the rifle, or thought about it, my body remained. My body remembered the death that I had dealt.
Set in an alternate wild west where mathematicians are persecuted and their abilities make them fantastic at shooting, the story follows Mad Malago Browne. A wanted outlaw and one of the most infamous mathematicians in the west, she tries to settle for a quiet life and fails repeatedly as her past and notoriety find her.
The worldbuilding is the main selling point of this novella series and with good reason – wild west featuring mathematician outlaws? It’s certainly a memorable concept, and it’s done incredibly well. I’m not much for math (despite my odd fondness for discrete), I’m sure there are plenty of equation and other mathematical in-jokes in chapter titles and elsewhere I simply couldn’t catch, but regardless, it was an absolute delight.
And most of all, it’s short and fast-paced and a riot to read. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any potential sequels.
Recommended to: fans of westerns, math nerds, those looking for a short, fun read
Not recommended to: hmm…can’t think of any obvious deal-breakers