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.
Five years and five volumes later, I've just finished reading The Getaway God, the latest of Richard Kadrey's delightful tortures for poor James "Sandman Slim" Stark, a supernatural assassin and magician who has escaped from Hell to LA, and has given us good reason to suspect that they're simply different names for the same place.
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
A teenager describes his hilarious adventures installing a surplus, 1,500lb mainframe in his parents' basement
Connor Krukosky's lifelong hobby was collecting and refurbishing superannuated computing equipment, which is surprisingly cheap provided you have a lot of space -- Krukosky scored things like keypunch machines for a mere $7 (though he had to drive 1,000 miles roundtrip to get it home).
Jen "Klingon Pop Warrior" Usellis records covers of pop songs, translated into Klingon, the apex of which is surely her rendition of "Let it Go" ("yIbuSQo'") from Frozen. (via Borderlands)
The Lixada LED Handheld Flashlight is a $9 stocking-stuffer ($29 for 4): a six-LED/36 lumen flashlight that clips directly over the terminals of a 9V battery, forming an easy flashlight rated for up to 10,000 hours (battery life depends on whether you're switched to 6, 4 or 2 LEDs). One reviewer uses 9V batteries swapped […]
Who are these people that have time for a job, social life, and actual healthy meals? With a nutrition segment on seemingly every talk show and entire networks devoted to food, it can sometimes seem like we’ve never left our mother’s house and her constant admonitions to “eat your vegetables!” And okay, she was right. […]
Every Christmas list has names you dread buying for. But hold up: Before you wave the white flag and get them yet another gift card, scroll down a few. We’ve got 15 items that run the gamut from stylish old-school lighters to cutting-edge audio tech, enough variety to please any Scrooge. And the best part? […]
We’re living in the age of Big Data. As the driving force behind everything from Google’s famed algorithms to self-driving cars, massive sets of complex data can be found at the heart of some of today’s most exciting and important technologies. The Ultimate SQL Bootcamp Certification Bundle will give you the skills and tools you […]