Friday, June 13, 2014

Bizarre Books: "Six-Gun Gorilla"

My book Six Guns of Madness and proposed series based on it are part of a genre known as Weird West. I didn't even know the term existed until recently, but I knew I loved it. Weird West is basically putting supernatural or science fiction elements into a Western theme. One of the weirdest of all Weird West stories has to be Six-Gun Gorilla.

Very little was known about Six-Gun Gorilla until recently. The original story was written by an anonymous author and published in 1939 as a fifteen-part serial in a British magazine called Wizard. After that, the story disappeared until it was mentioned briefly in the UK pop culture compendium, Boys Will Be Boys in 1948. The title so tantalized readers that it became legendary, but it's only now (thanks to a loss of copyright and digital media) that we can enjoy the insanity.

The best part about Six-Gun Gorilla is, of course, its title. The story itself takes the concept literally and completely straight. SGG is about a gorilla named O'Neill who was transported as a child from Africa to Colorado and purchased by a kind prospector. The prospector teaches the gorilla to do Western things like pan for gold, and shoot a gun. When his owner is murdered for failing to find a vein of gold, the gorilla puts on Colts and sets out to avenge the prospector's death across the Old West.

The name Six-Gun Gorilla is more popular than the actual book. It was loosely adapted into a comic book series that took the concept of a gun-toting gorilla, and spun it off into a weird sci-fi adventure about a war-torn planet with a reality show transmitted through cybernetic implants. But you can still read the original story. As I said, Six Gun Gorilla is no longer under copyright in the US or UK. A PDF of individual or the full series can be downloaded for free.

I wonder if Six Guns of Madness would have been better with a gorilla...

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