Hello and welcome to Recommended Reading, the feature where we talk about books! In honor of October, and the impending election, I would like to recommend a book about clawing your way out of Hell to exact revenge on the people who sent you there: Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim #1), by San Fransiscan Richard Kadrey.
It tells the story of Stark, a sorcerer brut and member of Southern California’s hidden, magically-attuned society. His erstwhile friends banish him to Hell, and after ten years of gladiatorial combat, he murders his way out seeking vengeance.
But he wonders: are Los Angeles, and this mission, really all that different from his last decade?
It’s a bloody good read, with some of the best hard-boiled imagery that I’ve ever come across.
When I was Downtown, I learned a lot about making threats. Make them big. Make them outrageous. You’re never going to kick someone’s ass. You’re going to pull out their tongue and pour liquid nitrogen down their throat, chip out their guts with an ice pick, slide in a pane of glass, and turn them into an aquarium.
Oh, and there’s loads of old movie references, if that’s your thing. (More quotes, the kind that might make even certain commenters blush, can be found at Goodreads.)
I’m usually loath to recommend the first book in a series, but it works as a standalone. Four out of five stars, seasonally appropriate. Content warning, extreme violence and Satanism.
What are some of your favorite pieces of revenge porn? What else have you been reading? I’m on book 1.5 of Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy.
As always, if you’re going to buy anything, go through the Balloon-Juice Amazon Affiliate link (or support your local bookstore)!
M4 – Can I jump on your thread to let people know we have another Author In Our MIdst tomorrow? Seems a good place to let our avid book readers know. Thanks for letting me intrude. Carry on. ?❤
Major Major Major Major
@TaMara (HFG): Oh those are always fun!
Dorothy A. Winsor
I’m reading Madeleine Miller’s CIRCE. Lots of revenge in that one! It’s very well written
Mahabharata is the best piece of revenge porn. Draupadi the wife of Pandavas avenges her insult by washing her hair in the blood of those who insulted her in public.
Fritz Leiber wrote a great Frisco horror novel called “Our Lady of Darkness.”
If ya’ll want somewhere to throw some money at here it is
Enhanced Voting Techniques
My book recommendation and I feel it is highly topical since it is about Russia and dictatorship
Stalin waiting for Hitler
Found it a real eye opener. Stalin really does have his good and utterly horrible sides. But, as the book shows, creating a dictatorship requires hard work, and that’s not Trump.
I’ve read all ten Kadrey Sandman Slim novels. Clearly I think they are worth reading, some novels a bit stronger than others, but always funny, sexy, scary, irreverent, and inventive.
I read Sandman Slim some years ago after reading Wil Wheaton’s gushing praise for the book. I was disappointed. The premise seemed promising, but it’s filled with these achingly hackneyed Mickey Spillane similes that were too much to bear.
I’m reading stormys book Full Disclosure
It’s very chucklelishous She’s had a interesting life and I’m not yet to the orange monster part
Am I allowed to recommend my own books? Well, I’m going to do it anyway. :-) If any of you like a good cozy mystery and/or love Sanibel Island, check out A SHELL OF A PROBLEM and SOMETHING FISHY. They are the perfect weekend reads. Fun detective fiction, set on a beautiful, tropical island, with quirky characters.
Any book by Tad Williams.
@Poptartacus: Thanks for reminding me! I need to check it out. Good to hear it’s a fun read.
I’m going to have to read through Hamilton’s ‘Nights Dawn’ again soon. I enjoyed it the first time around but I’m sure I must have missed a lot powering on through. So much good stuff in there, and all quite optimistic about our space-dwelling future, even given the crazy shit that goes down and what the protagonists discover about the way things really are.
I did enjoy the revenge porn of Stephen Fry’s ‘The Stars Tennis Balls’, which, I’m ashamed to admit, I got a massive way through before I realized it was his take on a much older classic of self-destructive vengeance. I could read his prose all day, just as dexterous and smooth on the page as he is on TV.
Major Major Major Major, I want to thank you for recommending William Gibson to me. I’m currently reading my fourth book by him, Peripheral.
@J.: And I need a fresh supply of mysteries to carry on business trips, so I just ordered the first one. I’m looking forward to reading it.
Major Major Major Major
@FelonyGovt: Oh that one’s great once you figure out the structure.
@Major Major Major Major: Good to know. I’m struggling with it a bit so far, but I’m only about 25 pages in.
I’m reading the 6th novel in this series now. Lately I prefer the fictional hell to the world of Trump.
Major Major Major Major
@FelonyGovt: I think it took 50 or 100 for me ? can also read the very beginning of the Wikipedia article.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: It was great meeting you and Mr. DAW today. Any luck selling any other books?
Dorothy A. Winsor
@japa21: We sold two more–one Wind Reader and one of the earlier book. I was pleased. People coming into a library to borrow books aren’t a natural audience to buy one.
We enjoyed meeting you too. It was kind of you to come and then buy a book!
@J.: My sister and her husband try to go to Sanibel every year. I just sent her birthday gift or this would have been the perfect choice.
I added them to my Amazon “save for later” so I can get them for her sometime.
@Suburban Mom: Thank you so much! It’s a perfect airplane read. (FYI The first book is good, the second one is better.)
@WaterGirl: Thanks! Yeah, people who like Sanibel love the books. (They’ve been the bestseller on Sanibel for months, since they came out.)
I saw “Sandman” and started to go all Neil Gaiman fanboi here…ah well…
A little OT but more appropriate here than anywhere else: how is this guy NOT Floriduh Man?
Major Major Major Major
@Jeffro: Gaiman is a fan of the series though!
Night’s Dawn was really good. My only complaint is I had quibbles about the ending, and was kinda tired of a couple characters by the end. Still a solid work. If you haven’t, make sure you give his Commonwealth series a shot too.
@Major Major Major Major: Oh well there is that…=)
The Count Of Monte Cristo is the ultimate in revenge porn, with a bit of “living well is the best….” mixed in. I had to audiobook it though. Is that cheating?
Circe is on the queue, along with The silence of the girls, as another view of the Odyssey (while I’m at it, check out Robert Graves’ Homer’s daughter and Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad).
Kadrey’s daily pulp covers are one of the few good things on twitter.
Charlie Stross’ new Laundry novel, “The Labyrinth Index” is coming out October 30th. I’m really tempted to spoiler it but I can’t (I’m a pre-reader for his stuff). It’s mostly set in the US this time round, with a really odd premise.
 Charlie got his author copies delivered to his flat a couple of days ago. Charlie is in Canada at the moment on a well-deserved vacation. I got to carry the boxes of books up three flights of stairs to his flat since I was there at the right time, watering his carnivorous plants and sorting through the mail.
I love Charles Stross’s Laundry files.
I also love even more Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series. I read them over and over.
I have read a lot of Kadry’s books including four or five Sandman Slim novels. Pulp fiction. Fun if you take them at that level and don’t expect more.
However The Butcher Bird is a level better. It’s a book I love for the visuals and the characters. So don’t let a dislike of the Sandman Slim novels stop you: go for The Butcher Bird anyway.
Hmmm…I’ve read most of the Sandman Slim books and lumped them under “Urban Fantasy” but I guess they are revenge porn as well. And thinking of Sandman Slim reminds me of Mike Carey’s Felix Castor books, which Carey left hanging about 10 years ago, and Harry Connolly’s Twenty Palaces series, which his publisher lost interest in and canceled. Carey occasionally mentions wanting to finish up the Castor novels on his blog, but other projects seem to keep getting in the way. I would drop everything to read a new book in either series.
Obvious Russian Troll
Aaronovitch has a new book coming out in November (according to Amazon, which is not always accurate). I’m looking forward to both this and the new Laundry Files book.
I’m also looking forward to more time to read the damn things (and to write my own), but that should be coming soon.
@Robert Sneddon: Love his stuff. Next time you see him, ask him why he blocked me on twitter. I’ve never tweeted at or about him.
Good stuff here, some I’ve never heard of. M4, can you put these posts in the Quick Links thingie? I’d make a list but then I’d probably lose it. Thank you in advance.
Each October, I reread “A Night In The Lonesome October” by Roger Zelazny and illustrations by Gahan Wilson. If those two names don’t get your interest, I don’t know what will – aside from having as characters; Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, The Wolf Man, and references to The Old Ones. 31 Chapters, one for each day of the month. Some folk I know read it to each other, alternating night after night, until the final chapter.
Ah yes, that’s a good book. :)
I’m reading, in fiction, Lethal White by “Robert Galbraith” and, in non-fiction, The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers. Both are excellent.
I really enjoyedAll Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault by James Alan Gardner, particularly at this political moment. The basic conceit is that vampires, werewolves, etc., have been hiding in the shadows all these centuries when it suddenly dawns on them that they have something they can monetize: they can give anyone exceptional powers by making the person a vampire, werewolf, etc., like themselves. For, of course, a huge amount of money. And within a couple of decades, almost all of the extremely wealthy are “Darklings” with extraordinary powers, which seems like it ought to go well for them. Except for some people the Darklings hadn’t counted on, along the lines of “those meddling kids.” Gardner introduces the book in Scalzi’s “The Big Idea” (Nov. 10/2017).
Some popular and/or well-known Twitter people use automated block lists to get rid of trolls and A-holes. You probably got swept up in a faulty list.
I’ve read all of Kadrey’s Sandman books– the series starts out strong, but then after the first two or three (for reasons I won’t mention because spoilers) sort of collapses. The most recent one is pretty good, so maybe Kadrey has figured it out.
I think Zelazny’s Amber series qualifies pretty well too…
Read it all the way through, but haven’t looked for any more by that author. I’ll give it 2.5 stars. Tastes vary. It didn’t seem that original to me (escapees from Hell has been done) and I didn’t like the characters much.
P.F. Hamilton’s “Reality Disfunction” and “Neutronium Alchemist” were very good, albeit with a weakish ending. “Pandora’s Star”, “Judas Unchained”, and “The Great North Road” are on my all-time favorites list. The later stuff doesn’t seem to have as much energy.
I just gave a nephew Michael Connelly’s “Echo Park” and “The Drop”. There’s another in the series between those two but more of a sequel feeling (more in common) with those two. “Echo Park” is probably MC’s most dramatic novel. I’m surprised it hasn’t been made into a movie, but I guess screen writers tend to like their own crap better.
All the characters in the above recommended books seemed real to me–not people like I know, but too detailed and consistent and original not to be real. That’s my main criterion these days. I tried to read an Agatha Christie novel once. Pure cardboard characters in my estimation. (But what do I know? Just what I like.)