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Recommended Reading by Professionals…with Richard Kadrey

In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

Today’s recommendations are by Richard Kadrey. He is the author of dozens of stories, plus ten novels, including Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha from Hell, Devil Said Bang, Kill City Blues, Metrophage and Butcher Bird. His Wired magazine cover story, Carbon Copy, was made into one of the worst movies of 2001. It starred Bridget Fonda. Sorry, Bridget.

He has been immortalized as an action figure. “Kadray [sic]: The Invincible Wizard” was a villain in an episode of the Blackstar animated TV series.

Kadrey created and wrote the Vertigo comics mini-series ACCELERATE, which was illustrated by the Pander Brothers. He plans to do more comic work in the near future.

He has written and spoken about art, culture and technology for Wired, The San Francisco Chronicle, Discovery Online, The Site, SXSW and Wired For Sex on the G4 cable network.

Richard has no qualifications for anything he does.

Here are three unusual fantasies that will take you to dark, funny, and wonderfully strange worlds you’ve probably never seen before.

  • The Brothers Cabal by Jonathan L. HowardHoward has been chronicling the life and career of necromancer Johannes Cabal through novels and short stories for years now, and if you haven’t read them, you’re missing out on something special. Johannes is a bastard in the great British tradition of bastards who could be extremely annoying if they weren’t so interesting and often, despite their best intentions, funny. The Brothers Cabal opens with the resurrection Johannes’s brother Horst, an extremely reluctant vampire. After dying in a previous book, Horst is revived by a mysterious group that wants him to create a vampire horde to help them amass an invincible army of supernatural horrors. Horst is far from pleased, so he goes to the only ally he can, brother Johannes. Together, they take on the mysterious group with a combination of magic, violence, and witty repartee. Start with the first book in the series, Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer, and work up to The Brothers Cabal. If you like your modern fantasy spiced with wild characters, humor, and great writing, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie HumanWelcome to the world of South African fantasy. Human’s wild tale is based in Cape Town, where 16-year old Baxter Zevcenko’s girlfriend is kidnapped and Baxter finds himself dragged into a surreal world of supernatural bounty hunters, glowing men, the so-called “Queen of the Nightwalkers” and renegade weapons chemists. The South African setting gives the book a refreshingly different visual and cultural language to work with. It’s also very funny and very dark. Apocalypse Now Now deserves a much bigger audience.
  • Damned (and Doomed) by Chuck PalahniukWhile he’s best known for Fight Club, author Chuck Palahniuk has jumped into fantasy with two books chronicling Madison Spencer and her time in and out of Hell. Damned, the first book in the series, is a twisted reimagining of The Breakfast Club after they’ve been cast into the abyss. With her friends, Madison deals with her former life on Earth, the awful and, often, banal evils of Hell, and the Devil himself in a wicked satire of modern America and religion. Doomed continues Madison’s story after she is cast into Purgatory, only to discover that she’s become inspiration for a new Earthly religion based on certain gaseous bodily emissions and profanity. Palahniuk’s swipe at the modern world in this book isn’t quite as strong as the first, but it’s still well worth reading.

Stay tuned for the next post where we get reading recommendations from editor Sarah Knight!

About Kristin Centorcelli (842 Articles)
Kristin Centorcelli is the Associate Editor at SF Signal, proprietor of My Bookish Ways, a reviewer for Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, and has also written for Crime Fiction Lover, Criminal Element, and Mystery Scene Magazine. She has been reviewing books since late 2010, in an effort to get through a rather immense personal library, while also discussing it with whoever will willingly sit still (and some that won’t).
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