Book Review: Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Sandman Slim (Richard Kadrey, 2009) – After eleven years in Hell, James Stark plans his return to Earth for revenge and absolution.

Verdict

Ever wish Hellblazer‘s run went on a little longer? You may want to add Sandman Slim to your reading list.

4/5

Review

Beware the monster who kills monsters, be wary of Sandman Slim. After eleven years of torture in Hell, James Stark has hardened his heart for vengeance. Now, the magician is reborn out of hell fire, almost bullet-proof with a knack for snarky comebacks.

Imagine John Constantine and his flair for the dark arts. Leave his usual British quips aside, and thrown in some American colloquialisms. Make sure his cigarettes, black humour, and massive ego stay intact. There, you have yourself a picture of Stark, a familiar but worthy anti-hero ready to unleash his rage back on Earth.

Continue reading “Book Review: Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey”

Blood Moon Rising

It has healed pretty well, hasn’t it? Right here, below my blind eye. You can still see that white scar, even if it’s fading little by little each day. Of course, I wish I didn’t have this to begin with. Seeing it every morning in the mirror doesn’t exactly bring back good memories, does it?

And now, we are back here again. All this time served, yet you just wouldn’t let it be. Going on and on about that Tuesday night. Wouldn’t you like to know what truly happened? Does it not say on my file you have there? Had you not read about it, when my ruined face was plastered all over the front page news?

Cold, irrefutable facts, condemning the heartless man who has no love for his own child. My side of things means nothing, when the world has already decided that they know everything about me. Inhuman. Sadistic. Psychotic. And they are right too. What sort of father kills his own son anyway?

All these time spent cuffed before you. And I still don’t know what I can tell you to make you understand, Doctor. If you really want to know, first, tell me. Do you believe in… the impossible? I don’t mean to be cryptic. But I have a feeling that my honesty may erode what little trust we have between us.

Hell, you already think I’m insane, don’t you?

Continue reading “Blood Moon Rising”

Review: Shimmer Lake (2017)

Shimmer Lake (dir. Oren Uziel, 2017) – Local sheriff Zeke Sikes investigates a bank heist gone wrong, where a trio of small town criminals that includes his own brother appears to have skipped town.

Verdict

A gratifying black comedy that comes up short on the characters front.

3/5

Review

Touted as an inventive crime thriller told in reverse, Shimmer Lake may risk misleading hopes for a complex mystery noir à la Memento. But the Netflix original could be better off finding a kin in pulp magazines. Expectations are defied in other ways, where the cast of comedians holds off laugh-out-loud humour, in exchange for subtle black comedy.

The genre works well for this severe story that unfolds in a gritty small town. Andy Sikes (Rainn Wilson) is the man of the hour, on the run after a bank heist gone wrong. Leaving a trail of dead bodies behind, the local sheriff and his very own brother Zeke (Benjamin Walker) has taken the lead in the manhunt.

Continue reading “Review: Shimmer Lake (2017)”

How the World Ended

This is the story of how the world, as we know it, comes to an end. There are no foreboding clouds, no grey skies. The morning sky basks in the sun’s glow as though lit on fire, even if the breeze feels cold on my skin.

After days of wandering, I stop by what was once the sea, savouring rare serenity and solitude. Not all things have changed. Ashes still remain on the desert sand where I stand. The air is heavy with poison. But how the world ends, echoes how it begins.

The Armageddon was never a singular incident. It was a gradual erosion. The Earth’s destruction came with ample warning, dismissed by the arrogance of Man. The era of mankind had always been destined for expiration, that was what my Creator believed. My existence is rooted in his dejection, seen as he wrapped my steel body in synthetic skin.

“You are our Answer,” he named me. “The next evolution of Man.”

I considered the grand idea, but knew within that I could not accept it. An Answer I am not. I know only of the things I learn, even this doubt within me. I am a mirror of my Creator. My words and beliefs only echo his.

Continue reading “How the World Ended”

Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman (dir. Patty Jenkins, 2017) – When a pilot crashes on Paradise Island, young Diana learns of the conflict beyond her Amazonian world and decides to leave home for a war to end all wars.

Verdict

Taking a breather from the sullen skirmishes of the budding Justice League, Wonder Woman brings hope in her faith for humanity and to the DC Extended Universe.

4/5

Review 

There are very few things I can say about Wonder Woman that has not already been said. It is empowering, tons of fun, and everything an epic adventure should feel like. But how can anyone not rave on about the first superheroine film that has risen above this male-dominated genre?

It is perfect timing too. Post-Nolan, the DCEU has gotten onto an uneven restart. The dour monotony that Zack Snyder has imposed on the new era, has long been clamouring for a new voice. This challenge falls into the steady hands of Patty Jenkins, who has previously steered Monster to tremendous acclaim, and is about the same for the Amazonian warrior.

Jenkins’ involvement is in itself a cause for celebration. Historically, there are hardly any female filmmakers in comic book adaptations. Lexi Alexander is the only one who comes to mind, with her nine-year-old Punisher: War Zone. What better joy than to watch a woman take on the task of introducing the iconic Princess of Themyscira?

Continue reading “Review: Wonder Woman (2017)”

A Ghost Story

They’re coming for me. I can feel the mad sirens howl, sending a steady pulse through the floorboards. I am hopeful for peace, though I am not sure if that is what freedom will bring me.

They’re closing in now. It has taken them long enough to get here. So long that my father’s cabin has started to smell of nothing but rot.

A month and two days. That’s thirty-three days I had spent in aching isolation. Winds have turned into voices in time, whispering my sins that linger in the stale air. Tonight is the night these whispers will find a keen ear. Now that they are here, it is time for my tell-all. My mea culpa, if you will. Secrets are all I have left to give.

My confessions must begin on the night I first saw Karla. She was a beautiful girl, who had just moved into the neighbouring apartment, three weeks before we “met”. Every night, she would return from work at six, and walk her Collie at the park at seven sharp. I had been watching and waiting, till I had learnt and adopted her evening routine.

Continue reading “A Ghost Story”