NB Magazine, our favorite UK Review outlet, gives Kathe Koja’s THE CIPHER 5 big stars. We loved this thoughtful review and hope you’ll take a moment to read it in full.
I found this a dark, deeply disturbing, weird beyond imagining and, above all, genuinely terrifying story. For me its real power lies more in its all too convincing psychological integrity than in any of its specific depictions of gory horror – although there are plenty of those along the way.Linda Hepworth, THE CIPHER
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Winner of the Bram Stoker Award and Locus Awards, finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award, and named one of io9.com's "Top 10 Debut Science Fiction Novels That Took the World By Storm." With a new afterword by Maryse Meijer, author of Heartbreaker and Rag.
"Black. Pure black and the sense of pulsation, especially when you look at it too closely, the sense of something not living but alive." When a strange hole materializes in a storage room, would-be poet Nicholas and his feral lover Nakota allow their curiosity to lead them into the depths of terror. "Wouldn't it be wild to go down there?" says Nakota. Nicholas says, "We're not." But no one is in control, and their experiments lead to obsession, violence, and a very final transformation for everyone who gets too close to the Funhole.
Press & Endorsements
- Josh Malerman, NYT-best-selling author of Bird Box and Malorie – “The Cipher is a stone-cold landmark of the genre. Written by a sphinx, a gift, the rarest of talents. And like the works of M.R. James, Shirley Jackson, Poe, and Stephen King, horror isn’t the same, in all its current height and depth, without it. Be prepared: this book will change you.”
- Daniel Kraus, NYT-bestselling author – “Audacious, acerbic, grotesque, ravishing, stifling, sensual, iconic – there will never be another novel like this one.
- Will Errickson, Too Much Horror Fiction – “When I first read THE CIPHER in 1991, I hardly knew what to make of it. But I knew one thing for sure: horror fiction had never seen anything like Kathe Koja’s obsessive and impressionistic prose and ruthlessly dire worldview before. After years of reading mainstream Eighties horror paperbacks about normal people’s lives upended by the usual supernatural monstrosities, I was primed and ready for this new voice. Koja’s fearless depiction of bickering 20-something art failures stumbling upon an actual nothing and then watching with detached fascination as their squalid lives disintegrate around it was the darkest kind of revelation for me. I haven’t stopped thinking about THE CIPHER in the 30 years since, and my numerous reads of it always yield fresh new horrors from its reflective deeps. I practically began my blog, Too Much Horror Fiction, so I could write seriously about it. Over those years its reputation has only grown, and today I am delighted to see that THE CIPHER is once again in the hands—pun fully, deeply intended—of a new generation of horror fans eager, as ever, to peer into the abyss… and whatever lies beyond.”
- Publishers Weekly – “This powerful first novel is as thought-provoking as it is horrifying.”
- Locus Magazine – “So visceral and so right.”
- Booklist – “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?”