Rudy Rucker is one of my favorite authors of all time. So it's no surprise that the books he read in 2015 and recommend on his blog sound interesting to me: Purity by Jonathan Franzen, Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Inherent Vice and Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Peripheral by William Gibson, All Families are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland, Sandman Slim Series by Richard Kadrey, Genius at Play: the Curious Mind of John Horton Conway by Siobhan Roberts, Jean-Michel Basquiat by Leonhard Emmerling, A Palazzo in The Stars by Paul Di Filippo, and The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne. 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