The Shootout Solution, by Michael R. Underwood


Leah Tang just died on stage. Well, not literally. Not yet. Leah’s stand-up career isn’t going well. But she understands the power of fiction, and when she’s offered employment with the mysterious Genrenauts Foundation, she soon discovers that literally dying on stage is a hazard of the job! Her first assignment takes her to a Western world. When a cowboy tale slips off its rails, and the outlaws start to win, it’s up to Leah – and the Genrenauts team – to nudge the story back on track and prevent a catastrophe on Earth. But the story’s hero isn’t interested in winning, and the safety of Earth hangs in the balance…

One of the best things I can say about this story is that there is great potential for serialization. Now, normally, I find serialization to be a weak attempt to grab more money from the reader, The Shootout Solution wrapped the story up nicely. I didn’t feel cheated, and I hope TOR puts more of the “genrenauts” stories up on NetGalley, because I’m game for reading more.

This story happened to be an old west genre, but it was encapsulated in sci-fi in such a way, that it reminds me of the original Star Trek in 1966. The $2.99 price on Amazon seems a bit high for such a short read, but if the rest of the genrenauts stories are as good as this one, I’d be a happy purchaser of an omnibus or collection.

This story deserves 4.5 stars, and I want more to read, like, yesterday!


Hello! I’m Mike – a speculative fiction writer, podcaster, and the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books. I’ve circumnavigated the globe, danced the tango with legends, and I know why Tybalt cancels out Capo Ferro. I also roll a mean d20. Before I became a writer, I spent six years in academia, earning a B.A. in Creative Mythology (through the Individualized Major Program) and East Asian Studies from Indiana University and a M.A. in Folklore Studies from the University of Oregon. What that means is that I’m professionally qualified to geek out about mythology, Chinese and Japanese History, and Folklore (anything from mythology to internet memes).


About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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