I have been thirsty for other worlds lately and trying desperately to not hate some genre fiction.
First I want to talk about the Sandman Slim Series by Richard Kadrey. So outside of the fact that I just love the character Sandman Slim and these books are populated with low lifes, drunks and assholes as opposed to pure sweet magical folk is great.
BUT after reading (I’m up to the fourth book I think?) the last one I read I have some things I have got to say.
Now during the first book when he introduced a woman of color as a speaking/thinking character I was, let’s say skeptical. Frankly I figured this character would be dead/maimed/used as a prop and that I’d just have to deal with it.
I got to the second book, there she was.
She is written like a real whole human being with thoughts and feelings that don’t revolve around some derivative Mammy or Jezebel stereotype. Her beauty is mentioned. Her heart is mentioned. She is important to the fucking story.
Coming on the heels of trying to read ASOIAF and raging out for five books straight. And then another fantasy series where anything within shouting distance of black was just pure evil.
The erasure of the POC on a couple of shows I had wanted to watch, the Whiteness of horror and everything else I have been desperate. Y’all I just want my goddamn escapism maybe with a smidge less Whiteness.
And then Mr Kadrey.
Is it the most? Naw. Still a lot of white people but the difference between this and say that magical negro nonsense both King and Straub do, this is a whole character. Whole. Not a caricature of mashed up tropes, an entire being.
I want more because he does it well. We know I’m a greedy reader.
This series is fulfilling an important role in my reading menu. Sometimes, as conscious as I am of everything in the fucking world that sucks. I just want to read something that makes me happy.
Mr. Kadrey’s work makes me happy.
Now I would advise those who can’t seem to figure out how to make a Non white person be a real person in their work check it out.
There is also that gritty, grimy quality to this series that really satisfies a particular need I have.
Now recently I on a whim got a copy of Jhereg by Steven Brust which is the first of a series.
Someone who knows my taste for crime and noir and suspense and shit recommended the series to me. I am just about done with the first book and it has yet to just scream WHITENESS WHITENESS WHITENESS WHITENESS at me in the language or mythology so far.
I will remain skeptical for another book or so but for now something I am very into is that I don’t have to really reach to picture some of these characters as non white people. There is actually room in the prose for me to see myself in that world and that’s great because I love the world so far.
Intrigue, murder, spying and shit.
While the world is just terrifying to me right now on a level I can barely put into words, having some bit of escapism that doesn’t cause me pain or bug me to the point I can’t stand it is really valuable.
I can’t tell y’all how nice it was a few weeks ago to be finishing the second in the Sandman Slim series on a day where four of my social media inboxes were full of racialized hate and threats of one sort or another. And I spent the day watching people shit on my work because they don’t like me personally. It was rough. I felt pretty terrible and then I had a world I could go to and escape for the hour and a half it took me to get home.
That is why I’m such a lover of books and why I find it so hard to deal with the Whiteness of everything sometimes.
I feel like the couple of hours a day I can escape while things are changing and happening for me is so important and finding stuff that doesn’t boot me out of that has become vital.
So hats off sirs.