Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express. She’s also an author in the subgenre, her most recent title being Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts. In her spare time, she roams the sea of stars as an automaton space pirate.
Traditionally we think of money, a nice house in the suburbs, a good night’s sleep, exercise, and a balanced diet as ways to improve the quality of our lives. Nine times out of ten, those strategies are pretty effective. But another option exists…one that heretofore has flown under the proverbial radar.
I’m talking about automaton gunslingers.
Now, many of us are familiar with the robot gunslinger from Westworld. However, that’s a futuristic android, not a steampunk automaton. I’m thinking Victorian-inspired characters here, e.g., the automatons in The Phantom Empire, the 1935 Gene Autry serial.
Or the “mechanical outlaws” from Iron West (Image Comics), Doug TenNapel’s western steampunk graphic novel. There are also automaton henchmen in Pauline Baird Jones’ Steam Time short story. In my Weird West steampunk adventure Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts, the sidekick character is an automaton gunslinger who channels Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name. There’s even a robot gunslinger that never made it to television.
Okay, so a few of them exist in the fictional world. (More would be great and if you know of any please hit me up.) But think about what automaton gunslingers could accomplish if they existed for real, right here, right now. What if you could have your very own automaton gunslinger? I’ve been giving the matter some serious thought and came up with five ways an automaton gunslinger could improve your quality of life.
1) Your Metallic Advocate – You’re at the grocery store on a busy Saturday morning and only two cashiers are working. Under normal circumstances, that’d be a recipe for stress and possibly a migraine. But never fear—you’ve got your automaton gunslinger with you! Customers will part like the Red Sea as they ogle your stylish sidekick with awe. After all, nobody is going to mess with two hundred pounds (or more) of solid metal man. Now you can jump to the head of the line!
2) The Repellerator – There’s nothing peskier than unsolicited door-to-door salespeople. You know, the kind who try to sell you carpet cleaning services, surplus building supplies, or Charles In Charge season box sets.
Well, if you had an automaton gunslinger, he could stand right behind you as you open the door. Keep it in the shadows for maximum effect. Crank up an Ennio Morricone tune for atmosphere and you have a terrific deterrent for unwanted visitors. Once word spreads about your new sidekick, your front door will be forever off limits.
3) Your Surrogate Mom – Another way an automaton gunslinger could improve your quality of life is by discouraging bad habits using the sheer power of its personality. For one thing, the automaton would always be around. Like Django incarnate, it would always be watching you, always aware of your every single move.
You’d probably eat less junk food, bite your nails less often, clean your residence more frequently, and cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough. In turn, you would receive lots of compliments on your sparkling abode and cold-free track record.
4) The Great Zapper - Say you enjoy camping. The great outdoors has so much to offer: fresh air, invigorating hikes, being one with nature, and all the trail mix you can eat.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside, namely, those obnoxious insects. Flies attack your food; gnats drive you nuts with their strange buzzing, and mosquitoes inflict those nasty welts. Stupid jerks.
But if you had an automaton gunslinger, it could shoot all of those irksome buggers away! Being a machine, it would take out them varmints with expert precision. Maybe even three or four at once! Think of how peaceful your camping trip would be. Shooting bugs would make great target practice, too.
5) Your Bodyguard – A dangerous outlaw could accost you anywhere, at any time. Never mind that we’re in the 21st century. You just never know. An automaton gunslinger, with its trendy Colt and lightning-quick reaction time, could dispatch such threats in the blink of an eye.
Actually, forget real life—this would make a great movie. Remember The Bodyguard (1992)? Reboot it with yourself in the starring role (male or female, doesn’t matter) and replace Kevin Costner’s part with your automaton. We’re talking box office gold (or at least the newest $5 DVD from The Asylum. Move over, Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid!). Now you can expand your cable TV selection like you’ve always wanted!
Gosh, doesn’t that sound fabulous? An automaton gunslinger for every man, woman, and child would not only improve the quality of our lives, but also make the world a better place.