Today in the Stomp corner we have the author of the Sandman Slim series, Richard Kadrey.
Take it away Richard!
I’m supposed to write about how urban fantasy is better than paranormal romance. Well, who said that urban fantasy isn’t romantic? It all comes down to your definition of romance. In the Sandman Slim series James Stark, after saving his dead girlfriend’s soul from Hell, finds himself falling reluctantly into a kind of romance with the very much alive Candy. Candy isn’t human. She’s a Jade, one of the denizen’s of LA’s secret magic underground. Jades are a bit like vampires, but scarier. They don’t gulp your blood. Like spiders, they dissolve you from the inside and drink you like a cherry Coke. But Candy is on the wagon. She drinks a potion that keeps her predatory thirst under control. Still, she’s a killer and so is Stark and they’re okay with that.
A couple of killers in love has romance written all over it, even if it’s written in bullets and blood. Neither one is scared of the other. Each knows the worst things about the other. And no one else is ever going to be as interesting to them. Yeah, it’s not a romance with flowers and Hagen Dazs, but it’s still a romance. With knives and talons, razor-sharp teeth and the kind of magic that they never did in Oz. Hell magic. Gladiator magic. The kind of magic that blows up and burns.
Candy and Stark aren’t looking for redemption or a happy ending. They’re out to save each other, and if they save the world along the way, that’s okay too. In fact, it’s a very good thing. The world is where all their stuff is. And their friends.
The point I’m going for is this. Diamonds are shiny, but so is a nickel-plated Colt 1911 automatic. And some people make sweet, pretty, soft-focus love, while others break the furniture and crack the walls. Stark and Candy’s romance is a romance of the apocalypse. It’s Ragnarok with black latex roses. Candy and Stark fight to stop the world from ending because neither one of them knows if they have a soul. And if they can’t spend eternity together in Hell, what’s the point of dying?
Urban fantasy is plenty romantic, it’s just that when your characters walk down the line between life and bloody death 24/7, getting body armor on your anniversary says “I love you” a lot more than new shoes or a tie.
Richard Kadrey continues his acclaimed Sandman Slim series with this high-octane fifth adventure that takes Stark into a dark and dangerous mirrorworld of LA
James Stark, aka Sandman Slim, has managed to get out of Hell, renounce his title as the new Lucifer, and settle back into life in LA. But he’s not out of trouble yet. Somewhere along the way he misplaced the Qomrama Om Ya, a weapon from the banished older gods who are also searching for their lost power.
The hunt leads Stark to an abandoned shopping mall-a multi-story copy of LA-infested with Lurkers and wretched bottomfeeding Sub Rosa families, squatters who have formed tight tribes to guard their tiny patches of this fake LA. Somewhere in the kill zone of the former mall is a dead man with the answers Stark needs. All Stark has to do is find the dead man, get back out alive, and outrun some angry old gods-and a few killers-on his tail.
Other books in the series:
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