The short sci-fi/fantasy/noir/b-movie stories of Richard Kadrey
May 7, 2013 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Richard Kadrey is not the most prolific novelist in the world. Still, every five, six years or so out comes another book like Metrophage, or Kamikaze L'Amour, dark, violent, intense works mostly set in and around Los Angeles with characters straight out of a good punk rock song. The self-confessing film nerd is probably best known for his Sandman Slim series, and if you're impatient for the forthcoming Dead Set novel, you can bide your time with a ton of short stories online.

Most come from the extensive Infinite Matrix archives (previously), but a few can be found in various volumes of Flurb (previously, twice).

At least one story has been pulled from Infinite Matrix, but you can still find it via the Internet Archive (the PDF link works). Speaking of offline, Kadrey's blog has been emptied, but shows a dormant site as of May 17, 2011. Still, you can find the list of movies referenced in the first three Sandman Slim novels, which was linked from the Nerdist interview, linked above the break.

And if you're interested in this whole Sandman Slim thing, I have good news for you -- the four volumes are available to preview through Google books (Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha from Hell, and Devil Said Bang), and you can preview excerpts from Harper Collins.

As a random bonus, Kadrey wrote a short piece for Wired in 1998, called Carbon Copy: Meet the First Human Clone. It became a TV movie, No Ordinary Baby.
posted by filthy light thief (13 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I liked the first two Sandman Slim books. Fun, irreverent, witty, unusual and unique. The last two, um, not so much.

For those looking for more books like the Sandman Slim series but way better, I recommend Charlie Huston's Henry Thompson trilogy (a guy having a really bad life filled with death and destruction but still thoughtful and a little philosophical) and the Joe Pitt books (vampires like you've never seen them before!).

Huston has written some comics, and Kadrey's read like they could have come from comics. Both authors have a very cinematic action style of writing and it's no surprise that somebody wants to make a movie out of the Sandman Slim stuff.

I didn't know about Metrophage, so thanks for that. I'm gonna have to track it down.
posted by ashbury at 7:48 PM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Thanks for the suggestions, ashbury. I've only gotten into the first Sandman Slim novel, thanks to various suggestions in AskMe threads, and I like what I've read so far. I'm always happy to have more book and author suggestions.

If anyone is looking for a handy way to read a bunch of these short stories on an eReader or such, someone has put together an EPUB of many of the stories available online. As some of these stories are really short, it's pretty handy. The only problem is that the file is hosted on "wait for free downloads or pay for instant access" type sites, and most of the links are dead. This link worked a moment ago, with the usual countdowns and captchas, and the eBook looks good in the Firefox addon, EPUB Reader, which supports drag-and-drop reading of EPUB files.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:02 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Addendum: the story that was pulled from Infinite Matrix was titled "Blind Shrike," and was later re-published as "Butcher Bird." It seems they were both online for free at the same time for a while, and you can still find "Butcher Bird" around, or you can buy it (including through Baen). BoingBoing covered the free download, and linked to Metrophage, which was also online for a while. It's archived, including permission from Kadrey to share the story, but don't make money from it.

The shift from giving away (some) digital books to selling them might be due in part to Night Shade Books being bought by Skyhorse and Start.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:56 PM on May 7, 2013

I did NOT know there was a fourth Sandman Slim novel out. Damn you, now I won't sleep tonight. :)
posted by mrbill at 8:57 PM on May 7, 2013

Good stories--I'll have to try some of the books.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:41 PM on May 7, 2013

I read the Sandman Slim novels while waiting for my Harry Dresden fix. Good books, sightly darker than I expected. Thanks for the short story links, I didn't know they were available.

On a trip this winter, I loaded my tablet with the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey. Lighter than Kadrey's books, more like a British Dresden. You can definitely tell, at least at first, that Carey wrote the Hellblazer comics for a while. I blew them, I hope he writes more.
posted by beowulf573 at 4:28 AM on May 8, 2013

I'm reading the short stories now and came back to make sure I said thank you. These are quite enjoyable.
posted by dubold at 5:35 AM on May 8, 2013

I liked Sandman Slim as a fun, over-the-top B movie, but Kill the Dead was a groaner and I haven't felt any strong desire to pick up the last two. Slim was fun enough so I'll give his short stories a look, though.
posted by mean cheez at 6:04 AM on May 8, 2013

Huge fan of his writing. I could blather on but I won't.
posted by jscalzi at 6:25 AM on May 8, 2013

Kadrey has also written for DC Comics and he's also active on tumblr.
posted by detachd at 11:14 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I recommend Charlie Huston's Henry Thompson trilogy

God, yeah. Seconding that. Fucking punch in the face that series is.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:21 PM on May 8, 2013

Kadrey has also written for DC Comics and he's also active on tumblr.

From his Tumblr: "My novel, SANDMAN SLIM, is on sale for $1.99 in all ebook formats through the 17th. If you liked it, tell your friends. If you hated it, tell your enemies. Thanks."

It looks like all his ebook novels are $1.99 from various shops (Amazon, B&N, Google Play), except the forthcoming Kill City Blues.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:06 PM on May 14, 2013

OK, I'm most of the way through Devil Said Bang, and while it's interesting to see Stark change from kill 'em all badass into someone who has to plan and scheme more (but still longs to kill everything), the stories kind of slow down. They go from being action films in written form, to being more about character progression and drama. It's not a bad thing, but it's a thing. Not heady enough to be mysteries, either.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:16 AM on June 6, 2013

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