James Stark's returned to LA from hell's gladiator pits and has been tearing things up ever since -- but what do you get for the monster who has everything? Killing Pretty has the answer. Read the rest
2013 was a great year for my encounters with debut novels -- first novels from new authors, and first-time excursions into young adult fiction from established adult fic authors, and even an editorial debut. Starting with Leonard Richardson's incredible Constellation Games, and moving onto books like Mur Lafferty's long-awaited major press debut The Shambling Guide to New York City, Richard Kadrey's YA debut Dead Set, and many others. Click through for the full list -- it makes great holiday reading! Read the rest
This week's episode of Gweek is sponsored by Rickshaw Bagworks, manufacturers of San Francisco-made messenger bags, backpacks, and laptop sleeves. Use the discount code boingboing for 15% off an entire order through August 15th.
Joining me in this episode:
Gareth Branwyn writes on art, technology and culture. He is the former Editorial Director of MAKE and has been an editor at Mondo 2000, Wired, and bOING bOING (print). He has written seven books, including Jamming the Media, co-authoring Boing Boing's Happy Mutant Handbook, and Jargon Watch. He is currently putting together a collection of his best work, called Borg Like Me (& Other Tales of Art, Eros, and Embedded Systems).
Jim McCann is an award-winning playwright and comic book writer. He is the writer & co-creator of Return of the Dapper Men, which garnered 5 Eisner nominations and won the Eisner for Best Graphic Novel. This award-winning team has reunited to launch Lost Vegas from Image in March 2013, a universe filled with intrigue as one gambler-turned-slave has 24 hours to go all in and pull off the greatest heist the universe has seen. In 2012 McCann launched Mind the Gap, an ongoing paranormal thriller/mystery series from Image. McCann has also written the following titles: New Avengers: The Reunion; Hawkeye & Mockingbird: Ghosts; Widowmaker; Hawkeye: Blindspot; and Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol. He writes in Los Angeles and believes Mac & Cheese should be at the top of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Read the rest
Kill City Blues is the latest in Richard Kadrey's amazing hard-boiled supernatural thriller series Sandman Slim. I've been a Kadrey fan since his landmark debut novel Metrophage, and have read and enjoyed all his work since, but Sandman Slim are the novels Kadrey was born to write.
Sandman Slim is a "Sub Rosa," part of the hidden world of magical people and beings who live beneath our noses. A precocious and gifted magician, he inspired jealousy in his coven, who conspired to send him to Hell while he was still alive. He was a novelty in the Underworld, and was sent to fight in a gladitorial pit, and eventually trained to be an assassin. After a daring escape from Hell, he returned to Los Angeles to reap a horrific revenge on the former friends who'd doomed him.
That was several books ago. Now, in book five, Sandman Slim has been around the block a few times, experienced several dramatic turns in his life, fought off zombies and vampires and creatures from beyond the universe, discovered the true identity of God and Lucifer, and stumbled upon the universe's impending unwinding.
Kill City Blues is the story of that impending universal destruction, and it revolves around the hunt for an artifact that may be our plane's only defense against the elder gods who are seeking to break in and reclaim the reality that was stolen from them. And of course, Sandman Slim isn't the only one hunting for it. His quest leads him -- and his competitors -- to Kill City, a dead Santa Monica megamall where the roof caved in and killed hundreds. Read the rest
Richard Kadrey read from Devil Said Bang at SF in SF and afterwards I spoke with him about the novel. He told me that he originally wanted to write some hard-edged noir like Jim Thompson or Richard Stark with a supernatural aspect. Since he'd sold one book to the publisher, he figured he could sell more, and as the series spun out, his original close vision expanded. "I didn't start out with the intention of re-writing the history, like I said, of reality," he told me.MP3 for reading | MP3 for interview
Devil Said Bang is the latest Sandman Slim novel, and Richard Kadrey continues to knock them way the hell out of the park. As with previous volume (the first three were Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, and Aloha From Hell), Devil is the harder-than-hard-boiled story of James Stark, a distant descendant of Wild Bill Hickok and a wild magic talent whose LA coven conspired against him, sending him to Hell. There he was turned into a gladiator and assassin, killing hellions in the pit and murdering Lucifer's generals in their beds until he escaped to earth, bent on revenge.
Devil is the latest installment in what is, at core, a superhero story (albeit one with a lot of gore and Satanism) and after three books, Kadrey has arrived at that point where the superhero's successful adventures have left him with so many powerful artefacts and so much authority and so many dead enemies that he's essentially become a God. Devil is a story about the ways in which it can be pretty terrible at the top, as Stark tries to come to grips with his own power -- power he's always reviled in others -- while continuing to slaughter, bad-mouth, and humiliate his enemies, be they demons, angels, monsters, ghosts or humans.
Filled with perverted sex, awesome one-liners, gore, murder, and a necronomiconical sense of the daemonic, Devil shows that these are the books that Kadrey was born to write. One of the original cyberpunks, Kadrey has always been the grittiest of the gritty lot, the chipped switchblade in a box full of fractal-edged nanofabricated scalpels. Read the rest
IO9 has published the first 40 pages of Devil Said Bang, the fourth of Richard Kadrey's kick-ass, super-gritty demonic supernatural horror Sandman Slim novels (the first three were Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, and Aloha From Hell). I loved Devil. Even by the high standards set by the whole series, it shines. It's out on Aug 28th, and I have a review cued up for then. Here's a snippet: "Filled with perverted sex, awesome one-liners, gore, murder, and a necronomiconical sense of the daemonic, Devil shows that these are the books that Kadrey was born to write. One of the original cyberpunks, Kadrey has always been the grittiest of the gritty lot, the chipped switchblade in a box full of fractal-edged nanofabricated scalpels. Compared to Kadrey, other supernatural horror writers feel like they've been drinking the thrice-brewed tea of HP Lovecraft, while Kadrey has been performing blood sacrifices in abandoned LA parking garages. Read these books, and be delighted."
Read the rest
I punch the tunes into the jukebox and make sure it's turned up loud. I've loaded up the juke with a hundred or so devil tunes. The Hellion Council can't stand it when I come to a meeting with a pocketful of change. Wild Bill, the bartender, hates it too, but he's a damned soul I recruited for the job, so he gets why I do it. I head back to the table and nod to him. He shakes his head and goes back to cleaning glasses.
The next SF in SF reading series on July 7 is a punk-rock extravaganza: John Shirley and Richard Kadrey, the guys who put the "punk" in cyberpunk, reading together. Kadrey, of course, has reinvented himself as a totally hard-boiled, awesome horror writer with his triumphant Sandman Slim series (I've just read a proof of the next one, and it's killer). Shirley's short story collection was one of the most excitingly mutated books of 2011.
Doors and cash bar open at 6:00PM Event begins at 7:00PM Suggested $5 - $10 donation at the door helps support Variety Childrens' Charity of Northern California Seating is first come, first seated
The Variety Preview Room Theatre The Hobart Bldg., 1st Floor -- entrance between Quiznos and Citibank 582 Market Street @ 2nd and Montgomery
Though we're delighted to have our own online toystore up this holiday season, there are a thousand things we could recommend from elsewhere. Cutting it down to a couple of hundred, for our fourth annual gift guide, wasn't easy; this year was a fantastic one for books, games, gadgets and much else besides. From stocking stuffers to silly cars, take yer pick.
Aloha From Hell is the long-awaited third volume in Richard Kadrey's hard-boiled, kick-ass supernatural horror series Sandman Slim (the other two being the Satanic revenge novel Sandman Slim and the hard-boiled zombie thriller Kill the Dead). The series' hero, Stark (AKA "Sandman Slim"), was a wild-talent magician whose jealous coven sent him from LA to Hell, where he spent 20 years fighting hellions in a gladiator pit by day and assassinating the princes of Hell by night. When he escaped to Earth and discovered that his nemesis Mason had killed his beloved Alice, he exacted slow and brutal revenge on the whole magic circle -- except Mason, whose power had grown and who had seemingly disappeared from the universe and zipped it up behind him.
In Aloha, Stark has finally started to recover from his time in Hell, to become something better than "the monster who kills monsters" -- in other words, he's losing his edge. He's falling in love (with another monster, of course), and has taken up hobbies (like cat burglaring with the immortal alchemist Vidocq, who invented forensic science 150 years ago, just before he figured out how to infinitely extend his life and switched to thieving).
But Stark isn't compatible with peace (even relative peace), and it's not long before Stark finds himself embroiled in a new adventure: an exorcism of a rich kid in Studio City, assisted by a defrocked priest who dabbles in Cthulhuism. And as has been the pattern in the other two books, every complication reveals itself to be the work of Mason, Stark's old archnemesis, who has been bottled up in Hell, but hasn't let that get him down -- he's made lemonade out of his lemons and is organizing the legions of Hell under his banner in a plot to storm Heaven and destroy the universe. Read the rest