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
Veteran reviewer/interviewer Rick Kleffel (previously) has just posted a long podcast interview (MP3) with Neal Stephenson, discussing his latest novel, Fall; or, Dodge in Hell ("a science fiction novel with a fantasy novel stuck inside of it").
A couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to hear Subgenius founder, the Reverend Ivan Stang, interviewed on the Comedy on Vinyl podcast (previously) and to discover that the Church of the Subgenius was selling a $35 Salvation/Membership/Ordainment kit that was chock full of goodies.
Announcing: the tour for "How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems," Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book
[Randall Munroe traces the phenomenal success of his webcomic XKCD with this Boing Boing post; and I've avidly followed his career ever since (he's returned the favor), so I was delighted to learn in February that he had a new book coming out and I'm more delighted still to host the official announcement of his […]
Whether you’re an artist, designer or just organizing a photo album, photo editing software is a must. And software designers know it: Platforms like Photoshop and Lightroom have a ton of helpful features, but you’ll pay for them in spades. Luckily, there’s some competition in the photo editing arena. Right now, Skylum’s Luminar software is […]
Who needs a holiday sale? Sometimes there’s no better time than the thick of summer to find deals. We should know – we’ve found ten deep discounts on some must-have items. Whether you’re searching for CBD edibles, exercise gear, chargers or other tech, take a look. But don’t look long – these prices aren’t likely […]
Heading abroad? Even if it’s just a short trip, there’s a lot to prepare for. Travel can be incredibly rewarding, but it can tricky to navigate different cultures and lodging arrangements – and even trickier to do it cheaply. Before you go shopping for suitcases, here’s our pick for a good first investment: The Ultimate […]