The Perdition Score: Sandman Slim vs the One Percent
It's been seven years since Richard Kadrey blew the lid off urban fantasy with Sandman Slim, a fresh, funny, mean and dirty supernatural hard-boiled revenge story like no other. Now, with the publication of book seven, The Perdition Score, Kadrey forces his antihero to confront his fiercest-ever opponent: his own violent nature.
As as I said in my review of the previous Sandman Slim book, Kadrey spent half a decade playing chicken with himself, putting James "Sandman Slim" Stark in ever-greater peril, with ever-higher stakes, until the very fabric of reality was riding on his shoulders.
But with Perdition Score, Kadrey focuses the action inward, on Stark's problems with himself -- his uncontrollable violent urges, his fears for the people around him, his self-recriminations. At the same time, Stark's gone legit, having joined the elites of the supernatural underworld, both elevated and doomed to endless bureaucracy with people whose company enrages him.
But there's still use for his unique, violent talents: Stark is hunting down the representatives of Wormwood, the cabal of weird 1 percenters who have financialized the entire spirit realm, and who distort it endlessly in their quest to accumulate power. When a dying angel bequeaths Stark a vial of strange liquid called "black milk," and coughs out his last warning him of a war in heaven, Stark knows that Wormwood must be behind it.
Though this book only has half as much violence as any of the other volumes, it has at least double the tension. After 7 years with James Stark, I've come to root for him, to like him, and to worry for him. The idea of James Stark being his own worst enemy is perfectly believable and immediately recognizable. Though Stark's inner (literal) demons put most of ours to shame, the war he wages against them utterly familiar and scarier than any challenge he'll face in the world.
Though the book takes Stark to hell and worse, risks the lives of everyone he loves, and features some of the most epic battles ever written by Richard Kadrey, a master of the form, it's this internal struggle that kept me reading right through to the last page.
Previous reviews: Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha From Hell, Devil Said Bang, Kill City Blues, The Getaway God, Killing Pretty.
The Perdition Score [Richard Kadrey/Harper Voyager]
I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Word on the Street, Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly).
Octavia Butler (previously), the brilliant Afrofuturist, McArthur Genius Grant-winning science fiction writer, died far, far too soon, leaving behind a corpus of incredible, voraciously readable novels, and a community of writers who were inspired by her example.
EFF has just posted a job listing for a development director, seeking someone to "take charge of EFF's eleven-person Development Team in their efforts to raise over $13 million each year," starting late 2019 or early 2020.
When it comes to data analytics or deep learning, there’s one language behind the apps and algorithms that power the biggest companies of today: Python. The best part about this tool is that as versatile as it is, it’s actually fairly easy to learn. But mastery? For that, you need more than just a beginners’ […]
Your smartphone’s GPS is a modern necessity for some trips, but how do you use it safely? It’s been a problem ever since phones went mobile. A certain phone mount even shelled out the money for a commercial during the Big Game, so clearly there’s a market for the solution. Turns out there are a […]
There’s reading for pleasure, and then there’s reading for fuel; absorbing the great ideas in nonfiction books so you can apply them in your own life. In today’s hectic pace, it can be difficult to find the time to do that reading – especially for the entrepreneurs and professionals who can benefit the most from […]