Richard Calder

Richard Calder - novels

St Martin's Press, US, 1998

Little, Brown, UK, 1998

Little, Brown, UK, 1998; St Martin's Press, US, 1998

'Industry has conquered the world's last natural wilderness, bringing rampant consumerism to the southernmost continent. There's karaoke in Antarctica; in Thailand, the vaguely superhuman leaders of the Army of Revolutionary Flesh are plotting to overthrow The Censors; in England, an abused child dreams of being abducted by aliens … This is the story of 21st century outlaws Zane Weary and Dahlia Chan. Zane is a fugitive from the authoritarian capitalism of "Empire De Luxe". Dahlia is a mesmerizing chanteuse, an "anorexic harlot", and a former kung fu killer of manga and animι. The besotted Zane is her number one fanboy but Dahlia is a construct of light from the fibreoptic VR, Earth2. She escaped via The Wound, a leaky interface between virtual and real worlds. Zane becomes "both exile and pilgrim" in his obsessive search for the mythical land of Cythera … Calder's SF is often frenetic, yet highly articulate and agreeably stylish. He brings much post-cyberpunk pizzazz to the man/machine theme and its sexual equations … Cythera's narrative is busy, fascinatingly complex and crackles with discharges of multicultural fancy …'

'A girl, a gun, a luxury car and a boy on the run from patricide: we're in Calderland again. Like its predecessors, Cythera, Richard Calder's fourth novel, is an hallucinatory rush through decimated landscapes dense with allusion to 20th-century popular culture, thorny, confrontational, and compelling … The landscapes are realized with a vivid and dense lyricism; the characters' dialogues are wry, tough and edgy; it is truculent, obsessive, and possessed by a fierce and restless intelligence … Read it because it promises to be one of the best sf novels of this year …'

'The author of Dead Things succeeds again in blurring the borders of perception through his exhilarating, imagistic prose, reminiscent of the landmark writings of William Burroughs and Samuel Delaney.'
Library Journal

'Elegantly and powerfully written.'
Norman Spinrad, Asimov's

'Let us imagine an alternate history for SF. An elderly and respected Edgar Allen Poe becomes editor of a magazine called Arabesque Stories, circa 1875. From his pulpit, he promotes a new kind of tale called "Symbolist Fiction," modelled on his own crepuscular work. A host of brilliant writers from many countries - Machen, Beardsley, Apollinaire, Huysmans, Hodgson, Bierce - flock to his banner. Over the next few decades, Poe's brand of SF, now represented by dozens of magazines, becomes the dominant mode of the fantastic, incorporating scientific speculation as well as more Gothic material. (There are schisms and feuds, of course, over this latter development.) Clark Ashton Smith, Ben Hecht, Fritz Lieber, and numerous others push the genre forward in the twenties, thirties, and forties of our century. By the time the 1990s roll around, nearly 120 years of Symbolist Fiction have culminated in one writer. And his name is Richard Calder.

'Postulating this imaginary tradition seems the most natural way to get a handle on what Calder is doing in his newest novel, Cythera. While Calder expertly uses speculative elements in our familiar SF way, his primary concerns are the mannerist depictions of rarefied emotional states verging on the otherwordly …'
Paul Di Filippo, Asimov's

'Cythera boasts Richard Calder's usual beautiful writing, bizarre speculation and wickedly perceptive observations …'