Through Wyoming Eyes
by Ken Rand
Review by Steve Sawicki
Yard Dog Press chapbook ISBN/ITEM#: 1893687694
Date: April 2006 / Show Official Info /
Ken Rand and I broke into writing about the same time. We spent an equal amount of time wandering around the small press world. We've both moved, albeit Ken has moved more and gone farther than I, and we've both struggled a bit with occupying space at the edges of the field.
Through Wyoming Eyes collects five of Ken Rand's Wyoming stories; westerns really, three of which have been previously published and two of which are brand new for this chapbook. Rand has a sly, humorous take on the world and this seeps through in his writing. It should be obvious in the titles of some of his works as well, such as "Calamity Djinn". It's evident as well, that Rand has a feel for the open spaces of the West. The first short story, "Bridge O'Doom", is a tale about a man who awakes one day to find a black emptiness occupying space about halfway across an old railroad bridge. The blackness is complete and anything thrown in seems to just disappear. It's not long before the authorities get involved and not much longer still before people start showing up wanting to go through. It's an unusual tale and fairly typical of the kind of story that Rand creates, the juxtaposition of the fantastic among a landscape that some see as dead.
As much as Rand plays with the unusual, it is always how his characters respond to the unusual that is the focus of his writing. So, it is not so much that the mechanical man in the "Clockwork Sheriff" is a wonder and an amazement as it is the focus on the aging gunfighter who loses an expected job to it that matters.
I've always enjoyed Rand's writing and I find that, over the years, he's gotten better at something he was pretty good at to begin with. I highly recommend this chapbook. It's rare to find western science fiction and it's rarer still to find it at this quality.