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In this science fiction satire of westerns, after the American West was destroyed in a series of biological disasters, rebuilding it is a lot like building it in the first place, but there are crucial differences. For example, new, partly mechanical cattle with computer brains are called steerites. They speak and sing a lot more than the original steers.
Most of the cowboys, outlaws, and lawmen are partly mechanical, too, except for those few humans called control-naturals. That group has to keep all their original equipment, just like the original cowboys. Louie Hong is one of those control-naturals, and life isn’t easy for him. Most folks look down on a man who doesn’t have at least one bionic hand.
Yet Louie Hong is determined to make his way in the new Wild West.
All Hong has to do is explain to the bounty hunters, who are after him for robbing a bank, and the outlaw gang that is after him for stealing the loot, that he hadn’t done any of it.
With a little bit of luck, and the help of Chuck, his steerite companion, Hong hopes to find a home on the range that nobody can take away – not outlaws, not bounty hunters, not cyborgs, not even singing steerites.
In Hong on the Range, William F. Wu has returned to the high-tech Wild West world of his Hugo and Nebula Award finalist short story, “Hong’s Bluff,” and written a rousing, funny science fiction saga complete with cyborg cowboys and outlaws. It is an exciting and witty subgenre of science fiction: The cyber western.
This novel was chosen by the American Library Association, Booklist, and the Library Journal for their recommended and best of the year lists.