Anyone who has read Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim novels (Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha from Hell, Devil Said Bang, and the soon-to-be released Kill City Blues) knows how singularly unique—and utterly badass—this series is.
The saga is a twisted amalgam of L.A. noir, Lovecraftian horror, deviant internet porn, and a sitcom from hell. It tells the story of a guy who is part human and part monster (and who, for a short time, ruled Hell as Lucifer), and who may very well be humankind’s only champion in a universe that is much more incomprehensible—and terrifying—than it seems.
The real brilliance of these novels, at least for me, is in the way Kadrey twists his existential and spiritual musings into the narrative.
It’s the unholy gospel according to Sandman Slim.
Here are some of my favorite quotations from the series:
• “The universe is a meat grinder and we’re just pork in designer shoes, keeping busy so we can pretend we’re not all headed for the sausage factory.” —Kill the Dead
• “Try not to sing too many sad songs for yourself. The universe already hates you. Self-pity isn’t going to help.” ―Sandman Slim
• “We’re just bugs on God’s windshield.” —Aloha from Hell
• “When you jump off a cliff, is it better to land on jagged rocks or burning lava? I know this one. The answer is obvious: It doesn’t matter where you land. You just jumped off a cliff.” ―Sandman Slim
• “Sometimes there’s nothing worse than the truth. It can be harder and sharper and hurt more than a knife. The truth can clear a room faster than tear gas. The problem with telling the truth is that someone then has something on you that they can use against you. The good part is that you don’t have to remember which lie you told who.” —Kill the Dead
• “…don’t tell me regret is all about having a soul. Everybody has regrets, but most people use their souls about as often as they floss, which is usually two days before they go to the dentist.” —Kill City Blues
• “We must always look after our friends, even when they are foolish. Especially when they are foolish.” ―Sandman Slim
• “Hell didn’t make me a monster. It just confirmed all my worst fears about myself.” ―Devil Said Bang
• “Hell and earth are the same thing. Separated by nothing more than a thin shroud of understanding…” —Aloha from Hell
• “Memories are bullets. Some whiz by and only spook you. Others tear you open and leave you in pieces. Someday the right one will catch you right between the eyes and you’ll never see it coming.” —Kill the Dead
• “Revenge is never what you think it’s going to be. There’s no pleasure and glory, and when it’s done your grief remains. Once a man does the things you’re talking about, he will never be the same, and he can never go back to who he was before. Worst of all, no matter how many enemies you kill, you are never satisfied. There is always one more who deserves it. When it becomes too easy to kill, it never ends.” ―Sandman Slim
• “Everyone alive wants revenge, even if it’s simply for the affliction of existence.” —Kill the Dead
Looking for an addictively readable and insanely entertaining series this summer? Look no further than Kadrey’s Sandman Slim saga. A quote from Aloha from Hell sums it up perfectly: “Get out the chain saws and pass the mint juleps. It’s party time…”