Fiction Reviews

Dervish is Digital

(2001) Pat Cadigan, Pan, £5.99, pbk, 230pp, ISBN 0-330-39107-0

Artificial Reality cop, Doré Konstantin, now head of the new TechnoCrime Unit answers a complaint from Susannah Ell who claims that her ex-husband Hastings Dervish is stalking her in AR. She also claims that Dervish has gone digital, exchanging places with an AI. Konstantin also stumbles across Goku Mura from the Japanese East/West Precinct, but can't actually discover what he is investigating. Will Goku be a help or a hindrance, and will Konstantin ever get the hang of AR before the much more experienced Dervish manages to kill her…?

Konstantin first appeared in Tea from an Empty Cup (1998), though this is the better book. Cadigan, probably the last of the cyberpunks, has enormous fun with puns and in-jokes, but the plots are a bit thin. Still, she manages to mirror the current concerns over e-crime, where the criminals and hackers seem to be several steps ahead of the law, while taking full advantage of the surreal situations inherent in AR. On the whole this is not Cadigan's best work, but the brief little escapades are quite fun for the well-informed reader.

Tony Chester

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