Fiction Reviews


(1998) Richard Calder, Orbit, 5.99, pbk, 627pp, ISBN 1-85723-533-9

I can't say I enjoyed this book as much as Calder's 'Dead Things trilogy', despite the fact that it shares much in common with that universe. However, Cythera does exhibit the same lyricism of prose, good humour (if somewhat black), and intelligence as its predecessors.

The heroes (?) are a human male and his CGI girlfriend, who can occasionally penetrate our reality via The Wound. Together they hatch a plan to upload their intelligences to nano-construction units in the asteroid belt to build "new flesh" for them, and by so doing escape the oppression of the Censors and the Stepfathers. A complex (but ultimately unsatisfying) plot then unfolds, engaging all the usual Calder tropes from the sex industry displayed in the previous books, and involving a transsexual with her own agenda...

The book only really falls down at the end, which gives the impression of being bolted on quickly at the last minute, leaving you a bit shocked that it's all over. This will not put me off of reading Calder's next offering, but I think I will look forward to it with less anticipation than I did this one.

Tony Chester

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