Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim Series #1)

Sandman Slim - Richard Kadrey Sandman Slim is about a young man who is tossed into Hell alive by his fellow magicians. Early on he exhibited far more talent than the rest of his circle and he assumed that jealousy caused them to want to be rid of him. Once in hell he was put into an arena reminiscent of the roman Colosseum to fight various creatures. Stark was expected to die immediately, but much to the shock of the fallen angels that populate hell he survived. Eventually, he became a sort of hit man or "the monster that killed monsters," because being human, no one expected it of him. Stark is given a key to the room with thirteen doors, that allows him to travel anywhere and when his girlfriend Alice is killed on earth by the very same circle that imprisoned him in hell, he murders his handler Azazel. He escapes hell with The Veritas, a coin which always tells the truth and the black blade. Due to his time in hell, Stark is very hard to kill though being stabbed or shot will still hurt. After one attack with a weapon his body become impenetrable to a similar attack, which is good because this book is absolutely filled with action.Okay, we should talk about the problems. This book is largely set in L.A. and there are no people of colour. This kind of erasure is commonplace but it is still highly irritating and especially so when the protagonist is a White male destined to save the world. There are also no GLBT characters however they are not completely erased because Kadrey decides to use a homophobic slur twice in the book. First on pg 106: "Why don't you get out of here Grandpa? We have a reputation and you're driving down property values. Cherry doesn't want to talk to you. And, by the way, you look like a faggot in that jacket." And then again on pg 121: Wells snaps, "Don't touch that." He's still not looking at me. "And the Sub Rosa can kiss my ass. I don't work for pixies and necrophiliacs" He says, "pixie" the way a redneck says faggot." Okay, here's the deal: If you are going to erase a marginalized group erase them completely. There is no justification for throwing in hateful slurs. It dehumanizes and detracts from the value of the story itself.Stark's actions are to get revenge for the murder of his girlfriend Alice, and for imprisoning him in hell. We are treated to a few flashbacks of Alice alive but basically, she is just a disembodied heroine. With the exception of one female angel, women have absolutely now power in this story. Allegra who works at the video store which he takes over after beheading Kasabian the owner is quickly drawn into danger because of him. Though she actively chooses to enter into a relationship with him, she does so completely unaware of his complete history. He simply tells her that he is a magician and that she has no power. Of course, I am not surprised that he ends up saving her as a byproduct of saving the world.Read more