Cee's FanFic Reviews
Wild, Wild West Stories
Livin' in the Wild, Wild West
The Wild West seems a logical place to set an Uber story, and several bards have done just that. Some are filled with classic western pulp fiction elements; others cover new ground in the genre. But these are all guaranteed to fill yer cravin' for Wild West action. Cowgirls and Indians, shoot 'em ups and posses, guns and leather - what's not to like about these stories?
How the series dealt with this theme: While set in an entirely different time and place, the series incorporated many traditional Wild West themes into its plotlines. From the Good Guys vs. Bad Guys motif, to gals on horseback and camping out under the stars, the Xenaverse and the American West are plum full of similarities, pardner (and let's not forget all that leather). There are a few more specific references to westerns from the series: A couple of early season episodes were named for spaghetti westerns: Fistful of Dinars and The Dirty Half Dozen, and featured bad guys who could have easily walked off those movie sets and into the Xenaverse. Season 4's Daughter of Pomira episode borrowed elements from the John Wayne classic movie, The Searchers. And those Northern Amazons seems an awful lot like a Native American tribe - with their traditional buckskin attire, medicine woman as tribal leader, and spiritual ceremonies (not that I'm complaining - any excuse to put Gabrielle in leather is fine by me). In the 5th season, Animal Attraction included a great take on the classic western gunfight writ with swords instead of six-shooters. The climatic fight scene between Talia and Darcon was a wonderful homage to those great western duels.
We start the festivities off with a great classic of Uber Fanfic. It's an oldie but definitely a goodie written by one of the pioneers of Fanfic Xenaverse.
Toward the Sunset by Della Street
Novel - O/U
Della Street was one of the earliest Bards in the Xenaverse, and she's definitely one of the best. Toward the Sunset was one of the first Novel Length Ubers that really felt like an original story. Jess Chambers is a badass gunfighter. Mattie Brunson is a school marm who takes an interest in the mysterious Jess when she is forced to spend some time in town. Their relationship is prickly at first, and Jess warns Mattie that she can't be trusted. Her prediction soon proves to be correct, as Jess's gang meets up with her again to rob the town. Well-written and full of romance and action. One of the true classics of Uber Fic. Highly recommended.
Della's story might have been one of the first in this genre, but there have been several more really wonderful stories to help satisfy your craving for gun fights and damsels in distress:
Tumbleweed Fever by LJ Maas
Novel - O/U
LJ Maas is a damn good writer, and she shows her stuff again in this novel of the old west. Sarah Tolliver is a strong-willed and independent widow and mother who is struggling to run her cattle ranch. Devlin Brown is a reformed outlaw who agrees to work her ranch and provide protection from the bad guys who want the ranch for themselves. The relationship between the two women grows slowly as they each struggle to open their hearts and move past friendship and into something more. The story is well crafted and the characterizations are strong. You'll be drawn in from the opening scene all the way up to the end. This story comes highly recommended.
Under A Colorado Sky by PatsBard
Novella - O/U
Ty Mason is a reputed bounty hunter who always gets her man. Ty is also keeping a closely guarded secret. Tyrel is a woman. Brianna is the daughter of landowner George Duncan. The dastardly Todd Lundgren has his eye on Duncan's property, and is courting Brianna in an attempt to get it. The town sheriff convinces Ty to court Brianna in at attempt to foil Lundren's plans. She soon develops real feelings for the girl. But what will happen when her secret is revealed? And how far will Lundgren go in his desire to have Brianna for himself? There's lots of shoot 'em up action along with a nice bit of romance that will satisfy Western fans.
In Contention (AKA The Hellcat Comes To Town) By Barbara Davies
Long Short Story - O/U
This story is the first in a series by author Barbara Davies that chronicles the adventures of Deputy Zee Brodie and Christie Hayes. Zee is a former outlaw who has served time for her crimes and has been given a second chance at turning her life around. In this story she attempts to successfully escort a prisoner to the territorial jail. A stop in the tiny town of Contention could prove to be her undoing, as she must face-off against her prisoner's gang of outlaws who are bent on freeing their leader. She must also contend with an intriguing little spitfire named Christie Hayes. The odds don’t appear to be in her favor in either situation. The series successfully captures the feel of the old west, while slowly building a nice relationship between Zee and Christie. Plus there's plenty of shootin' and fightin' and outlaw action to keep you entertained. Recommended.
After reading about Cowgirls, it's time for the Indians (ok, I know the proper term is Native Americans). Surprisingly, this story by Redhawk is one of the very few Western Themed stories out there that features Native Americans in any significant role. Maybe it's because this story sets the bar so high that other bards are loath to explore the territory.
Tiopa Ki Lakota by Redhawk
Novel - O/U
This is an incredible story. Tiopa Ki Lakota is a sweeping story covering several years in the lives of the Lakota people. Anpo is girl child born into the Lakota tribe, but the medicine man declares that she is destined to be a warrior within the tribe - a prediction that proves to be correct. Kathleen is the daughter of a family of Irish immigrants trying to build a new life in a new world. Through a series of tragedies, she is brought into Anpo's tribe and becomes a part of her family. The relationship between the two women is strong and well developed. It is sweet and passionate, yet romantically innocent as well. One of the greatest strengths of this story is the richly detailed depiction of the Lakota people and their culture. From the Lakota language and religion to their family relationships and hunting rituals, every aspect of their lives is explored with vivid realism. We also get an accurate depiction of the white settlers and their prejudices and interactions with the Indians. This one is on my list of all-time favorite stories. Gets my highest recommendation.
For a change of pace from the true western format, we have a period story that still has manages to capture the adventurous spirit of the genre.
Northern Peace And Perils by WolfDragon
Novel - O/U
Set in the Canadian wilderness in the years just after the American Civil War, this story by Wolfdragon is a wonderful period adventure tale that has a nice romance as well. Alexandra Carmichael is a former Civil War soldier with a dangerous secret from her past. Michelle Laberge is a relay operator who finds the soldier as she is near death from wounds and exposure to the freezing elements. She takes the injured woman to her isolated cabin to let her heal. We learn Alex's story through flashbacks to her time in the Confederacy. The intricately constructed plot unfolds apace with the slowly building relationship between the two women. They are two kindred spirits -both living in a tough and unforgiving environment that takes considerable skill just to survive. The themes of isolation - both physical and emotional are explored to great effect throughout the story. With such strong characterizations and an engaging plotline, this one's a real winner. Highly recommended.
And who says you have to be set in the last century to be a Western? This modern day tale by Carrie Carr has enough cowboy hats, cattle rustlers, and shenanigans in the hayloft to make any western lover happy.
Destiny's Bridge by Carrie Carr
Novel - O/U
This story by Carrie Carr is the first in a series of stories chronicling the lives of modern-day rancher Lexington Walters and realtor Amanda Cauble. The series itself is enjoyable, but this first story is my favorite. I'll give Carrie Carr credit for writing one of the most exciting ways of bringing two characters together. Lex rescues Amanda from a life-threatening flood, but it is Amanda who ends up saving her friend from her life of loneliness in this heart-warming romance. The story is character-driven, as the well-developed relationship between the two women is at the heart of the tale, but there's plenty of action here as well. In addition to the perilous flashfloods, we've got cattle rustling and gunfights, too. The supporting characters are also well developed and help to round out the story. This one's an action packed romance that won't disappoint. Definitely recommended.
After you've read a few tales of the old west, it's time to skewer the genre and have some wicked fun. This short story by Nene Adams is funny as hell, and that ain't no bull.
Tin Star - A Cayuse Comedy by Nene Adams
Long Short Story - O/U
This story should come with a major Spew Alert. Don't have any beverages near your keyboard when you read the name of the green-eyed blonde school marm. And let's not even discuss the Indian names! Tin Star is a hysterically funny parody of every cheesy TV western and B-cowboy movie ever made. There's not a single wild west cliché that doesn’t get thrown into the mix in this sometimes witty, sometimes silly story that's guaranteed to make you laugh. Nene Adams also gets a special commendation for using the word "Turgid" outside the realm of male slash fic. Very highly recommended.