Principia Ponderosa, edited by Juliana Rew

Principia Ponderosa, edited by Juliana Rew book coverGenre: Weird Western
Publisher: Third Flatiron Publishing 
Published: 2017
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Reviewer: David L. Felts

Third Flatiron Press has been putting fun little anthologies for a while now. Principa Ponderosa, edited by Juliana Rew, is the 18th Third Flatiron anthology. I’ve read numerous other and found them all, like Principia Ponderosa, to be very entertaining. Principa Ponderosa contains 17 stories, all featuring western themed stories combined with some speculative fiction element: fantasy, horror, steampunk, paranormal….

Contents

  1. Blazing Beamard by Stanley Webb
  2. Lampblack and Dust by J. L. Forrest
  3. The Quiet Crime by Jordan Ashley Moore
  4. The Monster Hunter by Angus McIntyre
  5. The Groks of Kruk County by Columbkill Noonan
  6. Mourning Dove by Jackson Kuhl
  7. Willing by Premee Mohamed
  8. The Great Man’s Iron Horse by Mark Mellon
  9. The Hunt by Salinda Tyson
  10. La Loca by Robert Walton
  11. The Gleaming by John J. Kennedy
  12. Closing the Frontier by Philip DiBoise
  13. No County for Young Men by Martin Clark
  14. The Wind Father by Geoff Gander
  15. Etiquette for the Space Traveller: Dealing with the Ship’s Cat by Lisa Timpf
  16. Gardening in a Post-Apocalyptic World by Sheryl Normandeau
  17. The JPEG of Dorian Gray by Brian Trent

The last three stories are billed as humorous flash fiction and are fun but unrelated to the western theme.

Some of the standouts for me:

Lampblack and Dust, by J. L. Forrest, is a fun romp featuring a female character by the name of Faireweather. She arrives in the town of New Water on her motorcycle to search for her niece after an Ice-duster attack. Faireweather has tattoos which are magic and can be used to project helper animals. Faireweather and her abilities make the type of strong, capable character that is fun to read about.

Mourning Dove, by Jackson Kuhl, gives us a place where the local paper predicts the future. When Jed Vega and his outlaw gang arrive, they find they are expected, and their fates already known.

Willing, by Premee Mohamed, mixes a western setting with not-so-beneficent aliens. Arnold and Marla are poor farmers who have a child very late. Clover is an odd one; when a sacrifice is demanded, what will Arnold and Marla do?

La Loca, by Robert Walton, takes the western theme and mixes it with genuinely creepy ghost story. Joaquin Murrietta, accompanied by a vengeful spirit, rides along.

No Country for Young Men, by Martin Clark, introduces the fun element of artificially intelligent guns. Red Mahler and Rosie (his gun) have to get ready for an unavoidable standoff.

Lastly, The JPEG of Dorian Gray, by Brian Trent, is a fun mix of apocalyptic fantasy and horror, as the title’s namesake, long for release, seeks to find his last remaining image.

Although I only called out a few, all of the stories here entertained. Pick it up and enjoy another fun read from Third Flatiron Press.

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