Science Fiction Western is a part of the Western genre which includes a variety of visual arts such as film literature, radio, television and painting like Sci-fi cowboy art. This part of the Western genre involves placing fictional sci-fi elements such as aliens in a traditional Western setting. Some popular Sci-fi Westerns include movies such as the Westwold, Futureworld and Cowboys vs. Aliens.
As do most of Western genre, Science fiction western including sci-fi cowboy art, romanticizes loyalty and virtue. Most of the time, there are dress codes followed in the Western genre. For example in most western artworks (and movies and literature) the villain usually wears a black hat while the hero wears a white one.
History of the Western Science Fiction Genre
The Western Genre is devoted to telling stories which were generally set in the Old American West in the latter half of the 1900s where it got its name. Westerns usually portray the desolation and difficulty experienced by the families of the American frontier. Usually, these families experience a change that would hugely affect and change their lives. Most of these big changes would eventually include conflict between the natives and the foreign settlers or cattle ranchers against the U.S cavalry.
The Western genre has branched out to various subgenres such as Classical Western which includes Spaghetti Western, Osterns, Revisionist Western, Acid Western and Contemporary Western which includes Space Western, Curry Western, Horror Western, Weird Western and Science fiction Western where Sci-fi cowboy art belong.
Science fiction western is usually confused with Space western but it must not be so because these two are clearly very different from each other. For one, Space Western is a frontier story that is characterized in most American Westerns except that they are transferred to an environment of space exploration and living.
Science fiction Western however happens in the past, or in a world resembling the past where modern technology is present or is already existing.
One of the films considered to be the earliest form of Science fiction Western is the Phantom Empire. And since then, many Science fiction westerns have been produced not only for film and TV but also for novels, comic books and the arts just like the Sci-fi cowboy art.
Some of the popular movies that have the element of Science fiction western in it include:
- Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series
- Bruce Boxleitner’s Frontier Earth
- Rajnar Vajra’s Shootout at the Nokai Corral
- Kazu Kibuishi’s Daisy Kutter
- Doug Tennapel’s Iron West
- Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s Cowboys and Aliens
- Wild Wild West (1999)
- Ghost Rider (2007)
- Cowboys vs Aliens (2011)
- The Wild Wild West (1965-69)
- Star Trek: Spectre of the Gun (1968)
- Firefly (2002)
- Wild Arms
- Wild Guns
- Fallout: New Vegas
This list is only a few of the movies, novels and television series that have combined the elements of science fiction and Western in one. If you do a further study, you will find that although there are many movies and television shows done in good taste by combining science fiction and western elements, there are actually very few books for this genre. As a matter of fact the earliest book to ever meld the elements of science fiction and western was the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
Science Fiction Western Art
Science fiction inspired art is often forward thinking, that is it depicts scenes of the future. It could also be about robots and androids. Most of the time they dwell on fantasy and what is beyond. Science fiction western art on the other hand or the Sci-fi cowboy art as most of us call it usually features a cowboy dressed in futuristic apparel.
Most of the science fiction western art include artworks and illustrations inspired from movies such as Cowboys vs. Aliens ( 2011), Transformers III ( 2011) and many others. Aside from that, Science fiction western art may include cartoons or anime depicting science fiction western element. Most of the anime today are Western inspired only that they have a more modern-feel. Western inspired anime is categorized under science-fiction western art.
One of the popular anime that can be categorized under Science fiction western is Cowboy Bebop which is about the adventures and misfortunes of a group of “cowboys” travelling on a spaceship named he Bebop. A lot of people consider this anime series as one of the best since it talks and explores on a lot of ideas such as existentialism, philosophy and loneliness.
Another Science fiction western anime is the Gun x Sword which has plenty of action and funny scenes that are bound to entertain its viewers. The setting of this anime series is reminiscent of the wild west but with more modern technological elements. This anime also includes bandits, outlaws and other western elements.
Outlaw Star is another anime that is a combination of science fiction western and space western. The story is set in another fictional universe which is called “Towards Stars Era” universe. It includes elements of space pirates, outlaws, assassins and cowboys.
There are lot more other anime under the Science fiction western category. In fact, many anime have been so inspired with science fiction mixed with a bit of western element.
We can safely say that Science fiction western genre, which includes Sci-fi cowboy art, is one of the most popular genres of the Western category. Not only has been around for so long now, but it still continues to exist today in the form of movie remakes such as Cowboys vs. Aliens which is yet to be shown and in anime series that tend to be more on the Science fiction western genre. This subgenre of the Western genre will continue to live on as long as there are people who continue to watch and believe in the impossible.
Futuristic movies that are inspired by the Old American West has such a charming appeal to it. It will never grow old, and people will always enjoy watching, reading and hearing about such things.