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