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Reimagining the Western Genre

Keith ‘Bandit’ Ball rides in with fiction that blends worlds, reinvents ideas & digitises old school charm

by Wayfarer with images from Jon Towle and Dick Allen
9/30/2023


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An incredible asset for any biker-- my 5-Ball Racing Flat Out Vest. There are pockets enough to fit a gun, a book, a mobile phone and your keys to the highway of your soul.
An incredible asset for any biker-- my 5-Ball Racing Flat Out Vest. There are pockets enough to fit a gun, a book, a mobile phone and your keys to the highway of your soul.

 
It was hard to rope in this wild one for any number of bucks. Finally, through a preferred distributor of books, I was able to get hold of the novel ‘Shane’ by Jack Shaefer. The blurb on the cover states honestly, “If you read only one Western in your life, this is the one” (quote by Roland Smith). This brief article is not a book review. We are sidewinding towards a parallel genre, which may or may not exist—yet has plenty of fiction from its most prolific author K. Randall Ball (Bandit to us minions of the Bikernet.com Empire).
 
 Now, we celebrate another veteran author who has re-imagined the Wild West with a unique sound and flavor. It kicks like a mule and bites like a rattler.

"Life is nuts, and then you die" ~ Keith R. Ball
"Life is nuts, and then you die" ~ Keith R. Ball



I don’t know if readers have found any other biker fiction or any author who has written for decades, multiple stories and novels about motorcyclists as if they were living in the Old West, with the key difference being iron steeds replacing the cavalry. Probably the meek victims and/or mute spectators can be called the cattle, with evil ranchers being replaced by modern cartels and politicians.

Heck, there are plenty of wine, women, dollars, Mexicans and guns to give you a poker run for your money. A complete and comprehensive Wild West adventure with all elements remaining mostly the same—except motorcycles as the preferred choice of the protagonists and gunslingers.

"There’s more to life than a job, or titles. There’s integrity, freedom and adventure to be considered." ~ Keith R. Ball
"There’s more to life than a job, or titles. There’s integrity, freedom and adventure to be considered." ~ Keith R. Ball



How and where Keith got this concept is something for his autobiography which he seems to push away as he is too busy living and looking for new projects to conquer. It would be more interesting to know why he stuck with this theme and reference point—the Frontier land, as re-imagined into motorcycle clubs, outlaws, bankers, governors and drug-dealers.

Everyone wanted a piece of land back then. Now they want to own you—you are the product as well as the consumer. A cash cow that is mute and domesticated into neutered bliss! Among such lifeless lives roars the reluctant hero of Keith Randall Ball’s fiction. A true visionary of the craft, circumstance, contemporary culture and trending news. His fiction is never a run-of-the-mill action adventure. There are hidden references to the life of Americans then and there, unveiled through its publishing date.

"Think and ride free. It works." ~ Keith R. Ball
"Think and ride free. It works." ~ Keith R. Ball



His short stories are too many to be listed and a challenge probably to Bandit himself to compile it into themes or time-periods. His novels though are more accessible and now even available as e-books anywhere in the world.

True to his alias, Bandit steals our hearts and minds and takes away our focus from the obvious, dreary, everyday worries toward bigger things. Things larger than us individuals. Events and laws that will affect us significantly, that may even destroy our life and livelihoods and bring an end to America as defined by its Constitution and culture.

"Life is incredible, all you need to do is to get out of bed and get moving. It’s all at your fingertips." ~ Keith R. Ball
"Life is incredible, all you need to do is to get out of bed and get moving. It’s all at your fingertips." ~ Keith R. Ball



History does seem to repeat itself. There may not be many steam engine trains, hidden natives, wanted posters, high noon duel, or gold rush. Yet, now we have dysfunctional transport system (department?), illegal voters, domestic terrorism, Silicon Valley’s expanding digital encroachment, Wall Street honchos robbing banks, disarmed & censored citizens, defunding police while financing wars overseas, media that seems to sell pulp & paper instead of news, scientists selling snake oil and animals going extinct.

"At a point we are all dying, just some faster than others." ~ Keith R. Ball
"At a point we are all dying, just some faster than others." ~ Keith R. Ball



The spirit and heart are not to be tamed. A broncho awaits the touch of the master. A man who allows the personality and character of his ride to become a friend rather than resemble a slavish mule. Soon, we see, Science Fiction as envisioned by critically acclaimed author Robert A. Heinlein, as perennial Frontier Country expanding into distant galaxies, across lightyears, return to planet Earth. In Keith Randall Ball’s Sci-Fi adventure Sam’Chopper’ Orwell, we got a glimpse into the future which has now fully manifested itself into our present day life and work. Smart gadgets and stupid college graduates with no employable skills. The predictions have come true, but the predilections have borne no fruitful food for thought.

"We are actually living in the Best of Times, and everyone has the opportunity to grow, build, learn, better themselves and prosper."  ~ Keith R. Ball
"We are actually living in the Best of Times, and everyone has the opportunity to grow, build, learn, better themselves and prosper." ~ Keith R. Ball



In fact, thought as crime may be the situation. People only seem to consume handheld device content and the Big Tech companies are driving away traffic on key freedom-fighting websites which present ideas and opposition such as on Bikernet.com – denying us the natural flow of rivers of affection and supply of revenue.

Whether or not Shane represents the essence of human nature in survival mode, Bandit’s fiction certainly intensifies our desire to try freedom, try resistance or try having a spine. You don’t need a name nor position to make an impact or lead a positive change. You only need an idea. Bandit has a splendid one—the motorcycling Western. So let's ride free and Happy Thinking Goddammit!

"Ride Free Forever....." ~ Keith R. Ball
"Ride Free Forever....." ~ Keith R. Ball



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Reader Comments


Once again Mr Ball has stepped in the deep end of the pool. Using a motorcycle as a metaphor for a horse is hardly new, but placing it as the means of transportation in a western novel is , well novel.

The integration of modern day political and social issues further intrigues. I’m in!

Kerry McCammon
Sullivan , IN
Sunday, October 1, 2023
Editor Response Thanks brother and good to hear from you.
--Bandit

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