The Cipher

Kathe Koja, Author
Kathe Koja, Author Dell Publishing Company $4.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-440-20782-5
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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. Inaugurating Dell's new Abyss Books series, this powerful first novel is as thought-provoking as it is horrifying. (Feb.)
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