The Getaway God: latest Sandman Slim is a hard-boiled, supernatural treasure
Richard Kadrey has returned to the world of Sandman Slim with The Getaway God, a hard-boiled, down-and-dirty supernatural end of the world novel that demonstrates that even if the world is ending, Kadrey's capacity to spin gripping, hilarious, grisly adventures has no end in sight. Cory Doctorow reviews the latest installments in one of modern horror's greatest series.
I remember reading the first Sandman Slim book -- I snuck out onto onto the balcony on a Saturday morning, put up the hammock and sat down to read for an hour. Four hours later, I had finished it, and my wife had forgiven me for bailing on our afternoon because I had so delighted her with the choicest lines from Sandman Slim, which were more than adequate recompense for the lost afternoon.
What makes the Sandman Slim so addictive and so sticky in the imagination is a formula that has just enough familiarity to give you something to hold onto, but which challenges Kadrey to outdo himself with each volume. In each of these books, Sandman Slim discovers some supernatural crisis that threatens the world -- and sometimes also heaven, hell, and the rest of existence. Each time, Sandman Slim needs to overcome his own foibles and weaknesses to save things, and each time, things are harder than the last time.
The amazing thing is how Kadrey continually manages to keep this fresh, coming up with new and greater existential crises for all of reality, new domains of even-more-elder gods who raven at the edges of our dimension. Part of what keeps it fresh is Kadrey's encylopedic knowledge of the mythos, loony beliefs, demonology, and theology of dozens of sects, cults, faiths and subcultures, whose potency has not been diminished by being brewed into the weak tea of hundreds of lesser horror novels.
The other trick in Kadrey's act is his genuine gift for hard-boiled dialog. Sandman Slim is, by far, the toughest-talking, snappiest, fastest verbal gun of contemporary literature, and his voice is such an unvarnished pleasure that they makes these books into treats without parallel.
Like the five volumes before it (reviews: Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha From Hell, Devil Said Bang, Kill City Blues) The Getaway God is a book to treasure and re-read and amuse your friends by offering up choice morsels when they grow impatient with your lost afternoon in the hammock.
If you've got younger people in your life -- or if you just can't get enough Kadrey -- I also thoroughly recommend Kadrey's fantastic supernatural YA novel Dead Set, which rebooted all the conventions of YA horror and found fresh seams of ore in tunnels that lesser writers had long-since given up as exhausted.
The Getaway God
The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 — it’s based on Andrew Ainsworth’s original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like “aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?” (via Bonnie Burton)
Yahoo has released a machine-learning model called open_nsfw that is designed to distinguish not-safe-for-work images from worksafe ones. By tweaking the model and combining it with places-CNN, MIT’s scene-recognition model, Gabriel Goh created a bunch of machine-generated scenes that score high for both models — things that aren’t porn, but look porny.
I dote on fidget gadgets — soothing gizmos intended to give your hands something to keep busy with, like modern worry-beads — and while you can’t buy Chris Bathgate’s amazing machined sliders, and the Fidget Cube Kickstarter just closed, there’s still Thinkgeek’s new Jumbo Noah Fidget Toy, which looks like a lot of fun and […]