Kathe Koja The Cipher

ISBN 13: 9780440207825

The Cipher

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9780440207825: The Cipher

A hole of living black... A promise of revelation... A journey into the eye of darkness... THE CIPHER: Nicholas is a would-be poet and video-clerk with a weeping hole in his hand--weeping not blood, but a plasma of tears... "IT WANTS ME, NAKOTA. IT WANTS ME." It began with Nakota and her crooked grin. She had to see the dark hole in the storage room down the hall. She had to make love to Nicholas beside it, and stare into its secretive, promising depths. Then Nakota began her experiments: First, she put an insect into the hole. Then a mouse... "REACH IN, NICHOLAS. REACH IN..." Now from down the hall, the black hole calls out to Nicholas every day and every night. And he will go to it. Because it has already seared his flesh, infected his soul, and started him on a journey of obsession--through its soothing, blank darkness into the blinding core of terror...

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From Booklist:

Winner of both a Bram Stoker Award and a Locus Award in 1991, Koja’s debut has yet to lose one iota of impact. It’s a marvel of bleak economy: Nicholas, going nowhere in his video-store-clerk job, discovers a foot-wide black vortex in an old storage room of his apartment building. His caustic sometime-lover, Nakota, christens it “the Funhole” and begins inserting experimental items: a jar of insects (they combine and mutate), a live mouse (it is ripped apart), a human hand from the morgue (it reanimates), and, finally, a video camera, which records a self-eviscerating figure of awe-inspiring dreadfulness—Koja only teases its description. Nakota becomes obsessed with the Funhole (a place of “blood and sex and revelation”) and is driven mad when it is Nicholas, not her, whose flesh becomes gloriously infected. The grungy, sweaty two-person drama, delivered in Nicholas’ vulgar ramble, widens to include additional viewers of the videotape who become fast new acolytes. Seemingly influenced equally by Clive Barker, David Cronenberg, and a particularly distasteful nightmare, this entry into the body-horror canon carries with it the kind of fatalism horror readers prize—it’s going to end badly, for sure, but just how badly? Currently available in an e-book version from multiple sources, this is well worth rediscovering, if you’ve got the guts. --Daniel Kraus

From Publishers Weekly:

Down-and-out Nicholas and his friend Nakota one day discover a black hole in the floor of an abandoned storage room in his apartment building, which they quickly christen the "Funhole." The two set out to see what happens when they drop various items into the hole, whetting its appetite with insects, a mouse and a human hand, which all come back violently rearranged. Next, they lower a camcorder into the hole to record the action within. The videotape they retrieve is spellbinding, but there's a catch: what Nicholas sees is different from everyone else's vision. To Nakota the hole means change, because whatever is dropped into the Funhole emerges transformed-- if it ever emerges. Mesmerized by the Funhole, she claims that Nicholas is the only one who can make things happen around it. For Nicholas himself, the hole is a phenomenon that forces him to face his miserable, aimless life. Koja has created credible characters who are desperate for both entertainment and salvation. Inaugurating Dell's new Abyss Books series, this powerful first novel is as thought-provoking as it is horrifying.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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