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Cover of Weird Westerns co-edited by Kerry Fine
August 2020
University of Nebraska Press

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Weird Westerns

Race, Gender, Genre
Edited by: 
Kerry Fine
Michael K. Johnson
Rebecca M. Lush
Sara L. Spurgeon

"Weird Westerns" is an exploration of the hybrid western genre — an increasingly popular and visible form that mixes western themes, iconography, settings and conventions with elements drawn from other genres, such as science fiction, horror and fantasy. Despite frequent declarations of the western’s death, the genre is now defined in part by its zombie-like ability to survive in American popular culture in weird, reanimated, and reassembled forms.

The essays in "Weird Westerns" analyze a wide range of texts, including those by Native American authors Stephen Graham Jones (Blackfeet) and William Sanders (Cherokee); the cult television series "Firefly" and "The Walking Dead;" the mainstream feature films "Suicide Squad" and "Django Unchained;" the avant-garde and bizarre fiction of Joe R. Lansdale; the tabletop roleplaying game "Deadlands: The Weird West"; and the comic book series "Wynonna Earp."

The essays explore how these weird westerns challenge conventional representations by destabilizing or subverting the centrality of the heterosexual, white, male hero but also often surprisingly reinforce existing paradigms in their inability to imagine an existence outside of colonial frameworks.


Kerry Fine is an instructor for writing programs in the Department of English at Arizona State University.

Praise for this book

"This tantalizing collection addresses a wide variety of print, television, and film westerns that incorporate steampunk, zombies, time travel, alternate history, science fiction, and many more influences. 'Weird Westerns' proves that the western continues to be a relevant genre in American popular culture.”

Victoria Lamont
author of "Westerns: A Women’s History"

“This comprehensive and fascinating journey through the unique landscape of the weird west analyzes texts from a fresh perspective that resonate with social issues of the present day. From Native American and African American representation to sexual and racial identity, this book will inspire further research and discussion.”

Paul Green
author of "Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns"