Beyond the Blue Moon

After catching up on Sandman Slim, I felt in the mood to revisit some Simon R. Green. Specifically, I felt like re-reading Beyond the Blue Moon, the final book in the Forest Kingdom arc. These books have been out quite a long time, but even so, I suppose I should just warn for spoilers if you haven’t read them yet.

Beyond the Blue Moon starts out in Haven with Guard Captains Hawk and Fisher who, along with all other Guardsmen, have been called in to quell a burgeoning riot on the docks. The human workers aren’t happy with the zombie scab labor. They really don’t want to hurt these people who are just trying to provide for their families the only way the can. Of course, it all goes to hell in a hand basket quite quickly.

Hawk and Fisher make it through the riot-cum-zombie massacre thought skill and sheer bloody mindedness but they pay a heavy emotional price for it. They didn’t kill anyone they knew but they didn’t want to kill anyone in this case. Most of the now dead were only trying to make a living. They’re feeling a bit depressed about their circumstances and wondering how to change it when they get an unwanted visitor.

Allen Chance is the official Questor for the Forest Kingdom and he has come to find Prince Rupert and Princess Julia, legends of the Dark Night, to figure out how who killed King Harald. Needless to say, they are less than pleased by this but they hear out the young man who is quite earnest. And he has a bloody great dog who talks. In the end, they decide that this is just the impetus they need to get the hell out of Haven. But they don’t go quietly. They raid the Guards stores and take out every criminal they could never lay hands on because they were too well connected through bribes and politics.

When they get back they find that the murder of Harald isn’t the only thing they have to deal with. There are all sorts of political factions vying for control of the court, most of whom want to Queen out of the way in one form or another. Plus something called the Inverted Cathedral has popped up-or in this case, down, hence the inverted. Hawk and Fisher have to figure out what the Inverted Cathedral is for, how to stop the Blue Moon from coming back and, if they have time, find a killer. Just another day in the life of Hawk and Fisher.

It is an excellent novel, an excellent series. A+. Read it!

Devil in the Dollhouse

Oh Richard Kadrey. Please keep writing Sandman Slim stories. I do adore them. 🙂 The Devil in the Dollhouse is a Sandman Slim short story. It focuses on Stark’s first few interactions in Hell as the new Lucifer. He’s trying to play all factions against the middle so that no one remembers that Stark was just a plain old human rather than a fallen angel like the rest of them.

One of his advisors (name is eluding me at the moment but I’m sure if you looked up demonology on the web, you’d come across it), convinces him that something needs to be done about what is essentially Hell’s out-house. And not in a bathroom sort of way. Well actually, it is that too come to think…Anyway, this area is supposed to hold demons and souls so bad they give other demons the heebie-jeebies.

Stark is good at kicking ass but he’s not very good at politicking or out thinking his opponents so he’s basically talked into this trek.  There are three rings of challenges to get through, each hard than the last but they weren’t really physical challenges so much as mental/emotional ones.

Turns out these challenges weren’t so much keeping demons out as keeping the uber-scary demons in. And rather than demons it is demon, singular. He claims to be the original Lucifer, the one who was the original cast out. Well, considering that there is a Sandman Slim full sized novel due out in a couple weeks, you can hazard a guess as to who wins this showdown.  😀 Anyway, loved the story because it whetted my appetite for more Sandman Slim. Read it. A