Kim Harrison Explains Why Westerns And The Fantastical Go Together

Just what is the link between westerns and science fiction and fantasy? Kim Harrison, author of The Hollows series, explains just how — and why — she blends features of old westerns into her books.

In a Q&A with the io9 book club, a sharp-eyed reader pointed out that many of her titles seemed to reference old Clint Eastwood movies. The connection was, indeed, deliberate, as Harrison explains:

Jamie Keller

I LOVE the naming convention and thought the "westerns" naming trope was handled beautifully by you. It seemed to fit without being too silly or wedged into the story line.

Bu then I had to go look up Hereafter (for Ever After) and found it was Clint Eastwood movies more than westerns. What led you down the Eastwood path?

Ha! The titles evolved between my editor and I. I had originally wanted to stick with westerns, but narrowing it to only Clint Eastwood suited me just fine because I love the movies he played in, especially the westerns and the Dirty Harry films. If you think about it, Rachel is a little like that—able to walk into a town and solve their issues in a just, but not necessary legal way. Maybe if Clint had a pixy instead of a horse . . . Ah, never mind.

Pale Rider is one of my favorites of his.

Of course, there are other science fiction and fantasy favorites that blend the tropes of classic westerns into their stories — Firefly, for instance springs to mind. What are some of your other favorites? Tell us about them — and why they work — in the comments now.