It 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 ...more
I'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 congregations.
This 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' ...more
As I said Koja can write. What a wordsmith. I wish I could put words to paper as eloquently as she does but sadly that was not enough to save this story for me.
Let's get to the premise - ...more
If you don't like reading books where that's the question you're left with after turning the final page, this might not be the thing for you.
This 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 friend.
It'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 th ...more
Nicholas 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 game.
Horror is rarely poetry. A lot of authors who try t ...more
There’s kind of this unofficial debate among readers concerning those who enjoy unlikable characters and those who need protagonists to be tolerable in order to invest in their story.
I like despicable, flawed people. I think protagonists should be as varied as the people we encounter in real life. I don’t need to like people in order to emotionally invest in their stories — sometimes, hating them is just as fun as loving them.
In Kathe Koja’s The Cipher, Nicholas and Nakota are pretty lo ...more
Originally published over 30 years ago, The Cipher was the debut title in the Dell/Abyss horror line and earned Kathe Koja a Bram Stoker Award f ...more
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 hole/portal 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 h ...more
To be talking about Horror and to say "I've never see anything like this before" is a big deal. And it's an extr ...more
However, I felt the story never really went anywhere. By the end I was left disappointed and wanting so much more. ...more
1991’s The Cipher, Kathe Koja’s debut release, is infamous amongst vintage horror readers for being hard to find in physical form for cheap. I scored a copy for just under forty bucks (a steal, really, for what was the debut production in the Abyss Paperback line). Was paying that much money worth the story I got?
I really don't want to give too much away, because I think it's always best to go into a book like this knowing as little as possible. I'll just say this...a pair of self destructive, slacker, ex-lovers find a vast, empty hole of nothingness in the basement of their skeazy apartment building. They are both inexplicably drawn to what they jokingly dub the "Funhole", but ultimately...well just imagine the darkest way a story like this could end. Then ma ...more
This is about Nicholas and Nakota who find a hole in a storage room in Nicholas's apartment building. When they lower things into the hole they come out transformed. Initial curiosity develops into full-blown obsession and the story becomes incredibly unsettling and psychologically horrific.
This is set in the 1990s and it feels very of its time but also still manages to feel ...more
Koja writes with a style that’s not quite like any other. The tone is gritty and dark and ripe with twisted metaphor. She employs sentence fragments and run on sentences like no other author can. She uses almost a stream of consciousness style that grows more and more erratic and confusing as the novel progresses. This in itself instills a level of disorientation in the reader, which mimics the feelings and internal conflict that Nicholas himself is going through. There were times when I...more
The Cipher is a horror novel, but also a novel of human frailty like Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, and also a mystery that reminded me strongly of Murakami's Dance Dance Dance. It's an unrelentingly bleak tale of what happens to two young semi-destitutes (Nicholas and Nakota) after ...more
‘Because I was after all just a small guy, just a little man; just big enough to fit morsel-like down the Funhole.’
‘Call me Lefty. Maybe I could just...’
‘Lassie come home.’
“When life gives you lemons, ...more
I first became aware of Kathe when I picked up her dark and lushious novel Under the Poppy, a book that still, to this day, remains one of my absolute favorite reading experiences.
I simply cannot wrap my head around the fact that The Cipher is her debut. From raunchy brothel with puppets to freaky black hole body horror, she continues to blow me away. I am just in awe of Kathe's range as a writer.
This book was so much ...more
I have finally face-planted at the bottom of the Funhole after years of being curious about this novel. I read Skin, but I did not find it quite as enjoyable because I found it harder to follow the story.
But The Cipher was such a fun and interesting story, unlike any other, completely in a genre of its own! I felt the growing sense of dread, and it slowly turned into a disgusting pit in my stomach that could not be coaxed.
I was thoroughly sickened, Yet I was still completely ob ...more
Nakota (Nicholas’ former girlfriend) finds a strange black hole on the floor of an old storage room in Nicholas’ apartment building one night after a drunken party. “Black. Not darkness, not the absence of light but living black. Maybe a foot in diameter, maybe a little more. Pure black and the ...more
I have a love/hate relationship with splatterpunk. I do like gore, but I don't like gore and grossouts just for the sake of being 'subversive'. Take Edward Lee for instance. I can take ...more
Needless to stay the first part of the book was great, and I found myself quite involved with it not wanting to put it down.
In saying that I was finding myself skimming towards the middle and end as it seemed to just repeat and drone on about the same things with no real progression. The ending was fine for me, it did leave things unanswered, but to be honest with the way ...more
|Literary Horror: Buddy Read for March 2020: Kathe Koja's The Cipher||32||30||Apr 26, 2020 05:33PM|
|What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Horror - A guy has a large spot on his hand that is evil. [s]||10||58||Sep 13, 2019 05:25PM|
|Coming back to print August 2020||1||6||Apr 22, 2019 06:09AM|
|Horror Aficionados : April 2013 Group Read: The Cipher *SPOILERS*||114||152||May 14, 2013 04:02PM|