by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten
Sixes Wild: Echoes, by Tempe O’Kun. Illlustrated.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, June 2016, trade paperback $15.95 (155 pages).
This is a mature content book. Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region.
This short novel is a sequel to O’Kun’s Sixes Wild: Manifest Destiny, an anthropomorphic-animal Western published by Sofawolf Press in June 2011. That won the 2012 Cóyotl Award in the Best Mature Novel category, and was a nominee for the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award in the Best Short Novel category. (For the record, there has also been a promotional 8-page Sixes Wild: The Bluff comic book, illustrated by Sidian.)
Echoes begins where Manifest Destiny ended. The setting is White Rock, Arizona Territory, a stereotypical dusty early 20th-century Western town (they have newfangled electric lights) except that the townsfolk are all anthro animals – sort of. (I still haven’t figured out how a big-winged fruit bat sheriff who flies and hangs by his feet upside town in his sheriff’s office can ride a horse.) The main characters are Jordan Blake, the fruit bat sheriff, and Six Shooter, a rugged hare bounty hunter. What nobody knows (well, they pretty much do by now) is that Six is really a crossdressing female, and she and the sheriff are secret lovers. Very graphic lovers; this is a mature content book.
Manifest Destiny ends with Six going after Tanner Hayes, the arrogant lion mine-owner revealed to be a villain who goes on the run. Echoes begins with Six coming back to town empty-pawed.
“‘Thought you had a lion to run down.’
‘Hayes has gone to ground. Haven’t got mah gun back either.”” (p. 7)
Meanwhile, she’s heard a new rumor that interests her.
“She rests her paws on those revolvers, one a silver heirloom, the other a blue steel substitute. ‘A spot of treasure hunting.’
I look up from my bookkeeping to take account of Six. One never can tell how serious she takes her tomfoolery.
‘Ah’ve been hearin’ rumors.’ She brushes the dust from her fluffy tail. ‘Folk tell of a cliff-house with all manner of lost riches.’
With a sigh, I lean back in my chair, steeple my wings, and put away the pen with one foot. ‘I wouldn’t put much stock in saloon scuttlebutt.’
‘Nor would ah, but ah heard it from an old ‘yote traveling with the circus.’
My wing fingers interlace. I wish I knew her better, and not just because I’d like to know if she’s poking fun at me. ‘If he knew where all this treasure was, why was he traveling with a circus?’
‘He said it was cursed.’ Her dexterous paws dance theatrically. ‘Everybody who went lookin’ met a grisly end.’” (p. 8)