eBook Kathe Koja î î The Cipher Kindle æ

Nicholas is a would be poet and video store clerk with a weeping hole in his hand weeping not blood but a plasma of tearsIt 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 mouseNow 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


10 thoughts on “The Cipher

  1. says:

    THE CIPHER I don't even know what to sayI've only recently joined the church of Koja It may not be as big as some Stephen King's say but there are joys to be found in smaller congregationsThis is the story of Nakota and Nicholas who one day found a black hole named it the funhole and changed their lives forever They stuck different things into the hole getting uncomfortable yet? including bugs a mouse and then a hand What happened to these items when they were thrust inside? You'll have to read this to find outI absolutely adore Ms Koja's prose and Joshua Saxon the narrator brought it home with flare This must not have been an easy performance due to the style of the aforementioned prose especially in the second half of the book because it's a stream of consciousness narrative His voicing was phenomenalI'm a bit irritated with myself because the few clips I made of the audio that highlighted the prose apparently did not save There were short staccato like descriptions thatstabbed at my heart Beautiful honest and evocative words that my brain immediately transferred to a visual like a direct injection For instance the flat was full of drizzly day 7 words that draw a perfect scene Brief staccato BAM there's the picture full and complete I could go on and on about this prose but I'll leave it at what I've written Kathe Koja's writing probably isn't for everyone; the reviews seem pretty split on Goodreads For me however I feel like I have been missing out out an author that is perfect for my dark and black heart I'm on a mission to read everything she's written I'm a Koja missionary baby My highest recommendationYou can get your Kindle copy here I received the audio book from Audiobook Boom and the narrator in exchange for my honest feedback This is it


  2. says:

    Man I hate reviewing books when it's a premise you love and writing you love but the story itself leaves much to be desired I have wanted to read this book for years and when Edelweiss had a copy of a new edition available I jumped at the chance to FINALLY read this and it pains me to say I was disappointed As I said Koja can write What a wordsmith I wish I could put words to paper as elouently as she does but sadly that was not enough to save this story for me Let's get to the premise Nicholas and his on again off again girlfriend Nakota find a portal to another dimension in the utility closet of his apartment building They begin to put things in the Funhole only to have them returned different As is the case when Nicholas decides to put his hand in From here this story began to remind me of the movie Groundhog Day and not in the Bill Murray belly laugh kind of way but in the every page is the same fucking thing kind of way Nicholas' stream of conscience descent into madness got seriously tedious and just downright confusing At one point Nicholas is making a phone call with his phone balanced on his hip? I try to conjure this image and I just can't How is it even possible? Is he a contortionist? This book is a cult classic so don't take my word for this Take a looky loo at the Funhole yourself and tell me what you see 3 stars Thank you to Edelweiss and Meerkat Press for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review


  3. says:

    Kathe Koja is an artist who writes like no one else I've ever read As I sometimes do I read this for the writing than the story which isn't a criticism at all but rather a compliment to the writing Koja conjures words and phrases that are at turns poetic and grotesue Her feel for language is truly impressive And of course The Funhole is a fascinating concept I'd heard about the novel for years and am glad I read it Recommended


  4. says:

    But what did it all mean?If you don't like reading books where that's the uestion you're left with after turning the final page this might not be the thing for youThis book is like a Rorschach splatter and I'm not telling you what I think it all meant to me I'd be embarrassed I think to expand on the matter with anyone other than a close friendIt's dark It's nasty The only good people in this story are on the periphery If you like body horror If you like art house films that shove the camera into the mess of humanity then you'll likely enjoy the ever loving shit out of this bookNegatives? I think it would have worked better as a novella And the OCR transition to eBook wasn't uality checked as well as it could have been There were some twisted fits of textual weirdness here and there throughout


  5. says:

    The BasicsNicholas and Nakota have found a hole in the storage room of Nicholas’s apartment building It’s far from normal holds some mysterious power and compels them to play with fire again and again Unluckily for Nicholas Nakota is just the sort of person that could become entirely obsessed with the “Funhole” as they’ve dubbed it And he’s just the sort of guy who could become a pawn in a very complicated and existential gameMy ThoughtsHorror is rarely poetry A lot of authors who try to be scary don’t see a need to do it beautifully but Kathe Koja obviously does Moreover they often don’t even reach scary but Kathe Koja does that too This book is physical and metaphysical in its terror It invites you in sits you down and proceeds to tear off layer after layer of safety until you feel as exposed as Nicholas does And she keeps going until she determinedly finds something that will unnerve and she willThis book doesn’t have likeable characters really Even the likeable ones are clearly flawed The situation escalates in ways that reek of human nature and even with this cosmic horror staring you in the face it winds up feeling depressingly real because it expresses a great deal about the worst in people Everything from the mundane things thoughtless people do that are irritating and insulting all the way up to mob mentality None of this is a criticism as these are some of the novel’s greatest strengths shedding light on dark places and forcing you to lookThe poetry of Koja’s words is really astounding I don’t think I’ve ever read prose uite like this It’s half fever dream half free verse poem It reads like a nightmare to the point that I struggled to write “The Basics” That’s not to say it’s incomprehensible It doesn’t suffer from that at all Nor does it feel pretentious like other works that aspire to such heights might It is one of the best horror novels I’ve ever read dancing hand in hand with Kafka and giving the finger to convention and banality It’s making me use words that cost at least ten dollars and shouldn’t that be recommendation enough?Final Rating55 Stars


  6. says:

    Truly one of my favorite horror novels of all time I was fortunate enough to buy it around the time it came out when I was hungry for horror fiction far removed from the bestseller likes of King Saul Koontz etc And with THE CIPHER I got it Koja's clipped unpolished impressionistic prose evokes avant garde icons like William S Burroughs or JG Ballard and sets a jittery jagged tone of bleakness and rot I sort of identified with the insular characters and their existential plight what can I say I was a kid and the horror of the funhole itself THE CIPHER is original and fearless in a way paperback horror often isn't The early '90s was an exciting time for the genre and this was the perfect title to kick of the adventurous ambitious Abyss line from Dell Books I've read it 3 times over the intervening 20 years and dug it each time Track down a copy if you're looking for weird challenging uniue horror that owes nothing to the boring bestsellers of its dayyou can read my longer review here


  7. says:

    Was the darkness always there? Was all it needed to infiltrate a lack of determination to keep it out?Another huge disappointment and my second one star reading adventure in my last three books Haven't had good luck lately it seems Briefly The Cipher tells the story of Nicholas and Nakota who discover a mysterious black holeportal in the utility closet of Nicholas' apartment building The book involves Nicholas' deterioration after he puts his hand into the hole and ends up with a black hole of his own on his right hand this may seem like a spoiler but it's really not the hand with a hole in it is literally on the front cover of the bookThis book isn't too common and is therefore somewhat scarce in physical form so I read the ebook version the editing of which is absolutely dreadful It's the worst I've ever seen There are all the usual mistakes that result from poor editing the wrong word used somewhere a misspelled word here and there an occasional missing word etc That being said there are also a plethora of far obvious and baffling mistakes like periods in the middle of words eg some instead of some the number 1 instead of the letter i in words random periods after a word in the middle of a sentence as if the sentence is ending One word even had a character in itThese editing blunders are freuent and at times actually interrupted the flow of the novel That aside the story isn't great either Nothing very interesting ever happens which is somewhat impossible to believe given the great premise of the book The character Nakota is absolutely horrible; she is a terrible person that you come to hate very strongly and it's hard not to DNF this book any time she is even mentioned which is often The atmosphere of the book is also pretty off putting; everything is dirty and decaying the characters live in their own filth they act like obsessive oblivious morons all the time they abuse drugs and alcohol they don't bathe for days etc It's grossAnywaydisappointing Great premise nothing Next


  8. says:

    This year THE CIPHER is getting reissued by Meerkat Press which is how one of these classic horror titles I've heard about for ages but haven't been able to find finally made it into my hands Somehow I was under the mistaken impression that I'd already read Koja but I hadn't and it was clear to me right away when I started reading that I hadn't encountered anything like this beforeTo be talking about Horror and to say I've never see anything like this before is a big deal And it's an extra surprise given the novel's original publication date of 1991 and how much it is referred to as a seminal work But I guess some things are hard to replicate and this book may just be one of them The premise is that Nicholas and his sort of girlfriend Nakota find a weird sort of black hole in a storage closet of his apartment building It isn't clear where it goes or what it does but it definitely goes somewhere and it definitely does something and none of it is of this world They call it the FunholeThis book is profoundly unsettling and dark It has not a single moment of lightness in it It took me days to read because it was hard for me to take it than a little at a time after a while I would get this feeling It wasn't despair or fear it was almost numbness that feeling that can set in where you have already had the shock and now you just have to ride out the wave of it and there are moments where it seems like you will always feel this way and nothing will ever change Which is certainly not the feeling you would expect to get I realized after a while that this is basically a plotless book Maybe some would disagree with me because yes there are things that happen What occurs at the end is different than what occurs at the beginning And yet it is really just looping back around over and over again Exploring the Funhole being horrified by the Funhole leaving the Funhole and then inviting some new person to see repeat The pitch of it builds but after about a third of the way through the book we move into a sort of purgatoryThis book is heavy heavy heavy on body horror It really is the book euivalent of staring into a truly terrifying void It is so good at what it does so singular but by the end I was desperate to be done with it It had taken its own strange toll on me and I was happy to get back into the light of day Which is probably about as big a compliment as you can give a book like this


  9. says:

    I found this a little bit difficult to read though I made fairly fast progress with it anyway I think it's because the punctuation is a bit odd almost like a stream of consciousness in places I found the initial idea and characterisations great; grotesue thoroughly unlikeable people yet complex and believableHowever I felt the story never really went anywhere By the end I was left disappointed and wanting so much


  10. says:

    We're and by we I mean me Richard and Matt are taking a deep spoiler filled dive into the Funhole in our latest episode of Staring Into The Abyss As my review below inidicates this was a pretty polarizing read for some of us LOL You can listen to our episode on your favorite podcatcher or stream it now at published over 30 years ago The Cipher was the debut title in the DellAbyss horror line and earned Kathe Koja a Bram Stoker Award for Best Debut Novel as well as a Locus Award and has been routinely mentioned on various lists as one of the best horror novels ever written Out of print since the DellAbyss line collapsed in the late 90s available only as an ebook The Cipher finally returns in paperback thanks to Meerkat Press publisher of Koja's recent short story collection Velocity this September The premise is as simple as it is odd Nicholas and his sometimes lover Nakota discover a black hole in his apartment building's storage room There's no rhyme or reason to its existence and the whys and hows of its being remain unexplored Over the course of the book's 260 pages the two become increasingly obsessed with the void Nakota has named strangely the Funhole Although neither are scientists he's a video store clerk she's a bartender they conduct their own brand of experiments on the Funhole lowering a jar of bugs inside a detached hand from their morgue attendant buddy and then a video camera in search for information The Funhole changes things and in turn Nicholas and Nakota begin to change as wellThe Cipher is a dense dark grungy complex read and it's definitely not for everybody It certainly wasn't for me I have to admit The Cipher is a slog to read through the race through its pages less a marathon sprint and a challenge of plodding endurance and a single minded determination simply to finish just so you can say you competed Koja's writing style is very stream of conscious narrated via Nicholas's first person perspective He drones on for incredibly long stretches of time in paragraph after paragraph of oddly constructed jumbled punctuation be damned run on sentences His thoughts are a challenge to tackle and Koja really makes you work at understanding his ideas and concepts as he circuitously guides you through one weird moment after the next A poet when he's drunk we get glimmers of his literary stylings through his speeches and Koja turns some rather marvelous phrases like a good morning is still a good morning even if it leads to apocalypse at night Throughout The Cipher there's a strong focus on art and artists Koja herself an artist who creates immersive performances attempts to apply a similar aesthetic over the course of this work For better or worse when reading The Cipher you exist within it breathing the same dank stale air as its characters Koja masterfully creates a certain dark mood and leaves you to wallow in it Our characters are wannabe poets sculptors mask makers and their various hangers on from the local gallery where Nicolas and Nakota go to score free wine The story itself has a particular art house flavor feeling very much like an edgy film student's art project reveling in pretentiousness and the weird in eual measure with its indie 'Fight Club meets The Fly' aesthetic and yes I'm aware The Cipher predates Fight Club by a few years; just go with it huh? By the halfway mark though it all just feels much too bloated overly long and repetitious as each successive chapter becomes little than a retelling of the same simple premises over and over and over Whatever forward momentum and intrigue The Cipher possessed in its opening chapters and there is uite a lot of both to be fair dissolves into formulaic rinse and repeat storytelling as Nicholas and Nakota their obsessions over the Funhole placing them in opposition to one another bicker and fight and grow increasingly deranged and they continues their own experiments with the perfect black holeIt's a real shame novellas weren't as en vogue in 1991 as they are today because The Cipher could have made for one hell of a powerful novella or even a long short story There's a lot of richness to these characters moods and the core ideas here As a full length book though it's grows increasingly plodding Koja is forced to not just recycle but beat the ever loving shit out of the dead horse that are her singular ideas and scenarios surrounding the Funhole over and over and over to hit a novel length word count This too is a shame because there's a lot of excellent metaphors and examinations of depression toxic relationships and unreuited love that could have been better served by being distilled down to their essences rather than bludgeoning us over the head with the same premises chapter after chapter after chapter What was once thoughtful and engaging in The Cipher ultimately turns boring and annoyingly repetitious not just stalling the narrative but grinding it to a damn halt until you're forced to wonder exhausted with this book and its characters just how much longer Koja's going to drag things out when and if anything is ever going to finally happen and when the hell is it all going to finally be over?