Friday, September 6, 2013

Things to do in Denver when you broke your hand...

... because you raged at Battlefield and beat on your controller, and now you can`t play games, so you need other stuff to do. Seriously, that crap happens to people.

So, yeah, this is another one of those posts where I will present you "books." Granted, they're mostly pretty cool books, but they all do require a certain amount of reading.

Don't be scared, now. It'll only hurt for a few hours... at first. Also, if "books" are too old-school, go and get them on your Kindle or Smartphone or Tablet. Yes. Books can be hip. Totally.

Alright, here we go:

The "Sandman-Slim" Series by Richard Kadrey

Richard Kadrey apparently wrote other stuff, too, but I don't know it. He also has his own Action Figure - make of that one what you will. The titular Hero of this series, Sandman Slim, is pretty much what you'd get if Harry Dresden was an outright lovable bastard. And Kadrey has had him take on Heaven, Hell, Zombies and everything in between that Los Angeles has to offer - and lots and lots of clothes - in by now 5 novels and a short-story (or maybe that'`s a "novella", who the hell knows?)

Eleven Years ago, James Stark, a fledgeling Magician (real, capital-M Magic, not that Party-for-Kids crap) is dragged into hell - still alive. It wasn't fun-times. Now, the girl he left behind in the world was murdered, and Stark has cut his way out of hell, hell-bent (Ha!) on continuing to cut his way through the people responsible for both the murder, and his eleven-year stint down-under.

That`s how the first book in the series, "Sandman Slim", starts. By the end of the first book, Stark has managed to kill some people, bitch-slap an angel, burn a pack of Neo-Nazi Skinheads and save the world. He also now lives with a severed talking head that walks around on a magical skateboard with legs. And things only get more fun from there.

Kadrey's writing is harsh, crude fun. It's smart, and (mostly) even makes an unexpected amount of sense. The "Sandman Slim" Universe is beautifully conceived, and continues to surprise with just how wonderfully, darkly funny it can be. Granted, the novels might seem a bit on the short side, but in those pages Shit Happens. Never a dull minute in super-natural LA.

"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman

If you don't know Neil Gaiman... well, then you don't know him. There's nothing bad about that, and you should not be mocked because of it. But know now, that Gaiman is Magic. Those that haven't read his books (like American Gods, Anansi Boys, Good Omens or Coraline) or his comics (DC Vertigo`s "Sandman" Series), might actually have seen his work without knowing: "Stardust", starring Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Claire Danes and Robert DeNiro, a simply magical (and totally dude-can-watch-this-and-brag-about-it) romantic comedy. And it does a pretty good job of capturing Gaiman's unrivaled imagination, as well as the humor and wit of Gaiman's novel. The book is better, though.

His new book, "The Ocean at the End of the Lane", is somewhere between "Stand by Me" and "The Chronicles of Narnia". If the first one means nothing to you, despite a young "Ensign Wesley Crusher", a still alive River Phoenix, Corey Feldman ('nuff said), and a fat and ugly kid called Jerry O'Connell, you might be too young to fully appreciate the magic of this particular book. It's not your fault, and it might not particularly hamper your enjoyment of a fantastic read. And yet, for "The Ocean at the End of Lane" to do its magic, your childhood should be gone long enough to give you a chance to miss it - even if you only admit that to yourself.

Because that is what "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" is: a bit of childhood - terrifying, tantalizing, woeful, wondrous childhood...

When a death in the family drags our narrator back to his childhood town, a seemingly random turn in the road takes him down memory lane - literally. And what he remembers is a tale that couldn't have been - and yet it was. A tale of a man that killed himself in his father's car, and awoke an evil out of this world. A tale of a girl, her mother and her grandmother, that might have been his only friends, and were so much more. A tale of magic and dreams and fear and hurt and sacrifice. And about an Ocean that fit into a pond...

This is not a fairy-tale for children. It`s a tale of children and fairies and monsters for those of us that still remember how it was when all of it could have been real. And yes, fine, this one actually is quite short. But it won't feel that way.

Now, go buy these books. They're more than worth it. And who knows, maybe it'll help you pick up girls, or something. Show your sensitive side, and all that...

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