|Territory, by Emma Bull
||[Dec. 15th, 2011|02:11 pm]
Review copy provided by Tor. Reread.
Tor's reissue of Territory is gorgeous. The brooding blue cover is exactly right, and I hope the same person or people, whoever they are, is/are allowed to design many more covers for Tor, because really, this is the thing, understated and appropriate and so very fine.
Usually when I review reissues, I talk about how well they've hold up. And Territory has held up well, but with a 2007 copyright date, it hasn't had to wait for my rereading for very long. I can't really intone, "Back in those days," with any degree of wisdom.
What I can do is remind you that this book is out there, and it's fun to read even for people who could not give the tiniest damn about Wyatt Earp--nor, in fact, about Morgan Earp, Jim Earp, Virgil Earp, or their little-known cousins Lars and Hjalmar Earp. I would say, in fact, that I could not possibly care less about anybody called Earp except that this book reminds me that I'm wrong: I find the Earp women interesting. (Has anybody got a reference for a book about the Earp women and/or Kate Elder/Holliday? That's Tombstone-related nonfiction I would read.) Since my first reading of Territory, I have read my first actual genre Westerns, from my grandfather's collection, and I love my Grandpa, but--I still just do not care about Tombstone in any direction. And I still like this book.
So why do I like this book? Mostly it's Chow Lung, and the Earp women, as I said; mostly I like the supporting characters. It's not that Jesse and Mildred are in some way bad, I just find that in some books it's the rest of the cast that catches me, and this is one. I would like Chu, too, but...
...well, that's the thing. Chu's part of the story is barely started in Territory. The ending is not really an ending per se, and I find that four years on I'm grateful to hear rumors and reports that Claim is realio trulio a substantial way along, because this isn't very satisfying as a complete story, but as the beginning of something it does the job the beginning is supposed to do: to draw you in deeper and make you want more. And I do want more. Soonest, actually. But for now, there's a new edition of Territory, and it's gorgeous, and it's still good stuff. If you haven't gotten around to it, now's a good time.