HONG ON THE RANGE by William F. Wu


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A futuristic cowboy satire in which a rootless young wanderer is swept up by a gang of desperadoes. Into an American West depopulated by some unnamed catastrophe meanders Louis Hong, an innocent job-hunter, remarkable not for his strength (which is negligible) or courage (ditto), but for a total lack of the bionic limbs, eyes, or other organs without which no self-respecting pioneer would be caught dead. Involuntarily involved in a bank robbery, Louie finds himself chased from Missouri to the Sierras, but thanks to some faithful companions--babbling tenderfoot Harris Nye, bedecked with shiny new attachments; Betsy, a surly woman with a big secret; and the aptly named Chuch, a solar-powered cyborg steer with a Boston accent--he survives a series of antic encounters with gunfighters, slavers, and other hazards. Readers may find the first half here a bit aimless--Louie has a tendency to wander off on side trips, and the cast of characters grows to the point of confusion--but eventually Wu cleverly weaves the threads back together, leaving his antihero with both the girl and a prospect of steady work. A handful of illustrations feature augmented cowboys in various exaggerated poses. Like De Havens' Joe Gosh, this will appeal less to action-adventure fans than to those with a taste for sly tongue-in-cheek.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1989
Page count: 247pp
Publisher: Walker