About Space Westerns

What is a Space Western?
Space Westerns are a genre of literature that combines the classic western with a science fiction or science fantasy novel.

In a traditional western, a new frontier is being explored and settled, the great American west.  Law enforcement is somewhat scarce, Native Americans (Indians) are always a threat, Outlaws run wild, and life is a very rugged experience that requires a high level of personal fortitude.

Space Westerns typically substitute space for the American west.  Space is full of untamed areas where justice is defined by the one who holds the most power, and government is scarce.  Sometimes, the best justice is formed by the guns a person wields.  Technology also tends to be somewhat scarce and only in the hands of the powerful.

Firefly & Serenity

The most clear example of a space western is the TV show Firefly, and it's companion movie, Serenity.  In Firefly, Earth has long since been abandoned, as its resources have been exhausted.  The inner worlds are full of technology and wealth, while the government is strict and controlling.  Society is a mixture of Chinese and American society, with most people fluent in both languages.

The outer worlds are terraformed to look as much like Earth as they can be made to.  Settlers are then placed on the planet, volunteers who are eager to explore a new planet, but don't realize they'll be given virtually nothing to work with.  The Settlers are typically given a herd of animals, some rations, and some basic tools, and are then left on this new world to fend for themselves.  Corruption and greed typically run wild. 

The 'verse is also under attack by Reavers, savage and crazy men who kill all they encounter.  "If they catch you, they'll kill you, rape your body, and sew your skin to their flesh, and if you're really lucky, they'll do it in that order."

In the midst of this, Malcolm Reynolds and his crew fly around the 'verse in their Firefly space ship, struggling to make ends meet as they do whatever work they can find.  They also have to defend their ship from pirates and brigands, and steer well clear of any law enforcement that comes their way.  "A ship brings you work, a gun lets you keep it."

A Whisper in Space
A Whisper in Space, written by myself (David C. Drizzit) is a work that follows in this tradition.  The main character, Miles Knighton, is a bounty hunter who also has a bounty on his own head.  His crew is a mishmosh of characters from around the verse.

In this universe, many of Earth's nations banded together to form a world government that is now called the "Nation of Earth."  This government is tyrannically and oppressive, the embodiment of the much feared "nanny state."  The seedy underside of the Nation of Earth is one that fails to enforce its laws against slavery, and struggles to enforce its rule over fringe planets that technically fall within its borders.

The Chinese empire has left Earth, and carved out a portion of the galaxy for itself.  In its fight for survival, the Chinese have become a beacon of freedom and democracy, shedding the tyrannical communist government that ruled over it for decades.  The Chinese Empire must constantly defend itself from the Nation of Earth, which desires to assimilate all humans into one government.  The

American State remains as well, in a much weakened form and clinging to a small corner of the galaxy.  Technology is sparsest in the Americas, as resources are funneled into an elaborate defense grid.

The savage threat rears its head in the form of Mujees, savage Islamic extremists who remain committed to destroy all who turn away from Islam.  Acting as merciless pirates and raiders, they plunder towns and indenture men into their service, by force if need be.  No man or government is outside the wrath of the Mujees.