I didn't used to consider myself a weird western guy. I wrote in science fiction, sometimes horror and some weird westerns. Well, when I moved to Arizona a couple of years ago, I've pretty much been all weird western. When I got to cons I tend to try and do weird western panels and presentations. But, whilst I am a weird western guy, a recent review of Legends of the Dragon Cowboys got me thinking. The reviewer said these are not your typical monster bashing weird westerns--true.
As I've said before, there's a bunch of editors and writers who think all weird westerns must be dark horror. Other weird western writers and editors think anything set in the west that has horror, or science fiction content is fine. But, by quantity, there were a few years between 2005 to 2015 when almost everything was dark fiction. Now, the dark fiction is somewhat tapering off and the science fiction weird western has renewed strength. I think Cowboys & Aliens started this tend, but it's around in other places. Even one of the later Matt Smith Doctor Who episodes was a true SF weird westerns ["Mercy"]. David Boop's trilogy Straight Outta series are the multi genre variety. And so are my recent novellas.
What really signaled the change to me was editing Tales From Dry Gulch. No monsters, and very little of that formula. I got some very creative stories and some were ghost stories and some were science fiction. None of them were the ultra dark fiction that tried to crowd the science fiction weird western from the planet. I have no idea if the pendulum will swing back the other way. I do wish more folks would buy these books. They're good stories.