Gunslingers. They're the fastest guns in the west, the quickest draws this side of the Mississippi, steady as a rock, can shoot the wings off a fly. And the best part about them is this: they can be anyone. These folks are reeling drunks, old fatasses, hopeless romantics, drifting loners, broken-down losers, haunted by Some Terrible Secret, dying of Some Terrible Disease, with nothing left to prove, or with everything left to prove. They're slow-pokes, stutterers, half-breeds, and women. They're the eternally overlooked and the eternally underestimated, no one's first pick for any team. And they're always, always your ace in the hole - the person whose clean draw or crack shot is going to change your showdown from certain death to unlikely victory.
It's no wonder our culture is so fascinated by gunslingers. They're all of this, and one thing more: they're us. We, with all our faults and pecadillos, have within us the same shining potential to do one pure thing in a lifetime of anonymous mediocrity. One perfect shot. Well, that's the idea, anyway.
We're delighted to host Kim Lakin-Smith, author of the new dustpunk thriller Cyber Circus (we love it) and the dark fantasy rock opera Tourniquet (we love it too), and a contributor to our own anthology, Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse. Kim is also one of the guests at the Kitschies' Steampunk Evening on 8 December - your chance to talk gunfighters with her in the safety of Blackwell's on Charing Cross Road.
Why don't you set yourselves down and bend our ears with tales of your favorite gunslingers in the comments?