READ IT HERE: "Deuce of Diamonds"
IN: Space Westerns
Genre: Science Fiction
Space westerns, as a genre, is not something I've been terribly familiar with. Years ago there was a really aweful movie that was meant to be The Magnificent 7 in space. Let us speak no further of it. The TV series Fireflies, of course, was very much a post-US-Civil War scenario down to the stripes on the captain's trousers.
However, if "Deuce of Diamonds" is anything to go by, this sub-genre might be worth paying attention to. This story is as dry as Westerns are supposed to be. In fact the off-handed way in which the young protagonist refers to the death and destruction around him is almost sad. "Almost", because the story keeps moving and doesn't give you much time to think about his choice of words.
I had to smile, though at the line:
“Now, don’t panic,” said Hector. (See what I mean? That’s good leadership, right there.)
The story involves machines, explosions and big, powerful exo-skeletons for humans to wear as they fight, but it's more interesting than many space-marine type stories I've come across. Part of the interest in this story comes from the thought the author has put into creating a world in which the events are plausible.