The Cipherby Kathe Koja
Bram Stoker Award winner 1991, Philip K. Dick Award nominee 1991.
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.
Rate this book
Kathe Koja (born 1960) is an American writer. She was initially known for her intense speculative fiction for adults, but over the past few years has turned to writing young adult novels.
Koja is also a prolific author of short stories, including many in collaboration with Barry N. Malzberg. Most of her short fiction remains uncollected. Koja's novels and short stories frequently concern characters who have been in some way marginalized by society, often focusing on the transcendence and/or disintegration which proceeds this social isolation (as in The Cipher, Bad Brain, "Teratisms," The Blue Mirror, etc.). Koja won the Bram Stoker Award and the Locus Award for her first novel The Cipher, and a Deathrealm Award for Strange Angels. Her prose has been described as "stunning".