cover image Terminal Cafe

Terminal Cafe

Ian McDonald. Bantam Books, $19 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-553-37416-2

Definitions of life and death become blurred when technology makes it possible to ``resurrect'' the dead. ``Resurrected'' bodies are far superior to flesh and blood but, ironically, the act of dying changes one's status to legally dead. In legal limbo, the ``dead'' dwell in Necrovilles and must pay for the cost of their revival with years of service to the living. McDonald (The Broken Land) portrays this macabre future with a whirlwind of imagery and emotion that immediately pulls the reader in and won't let go until the last page. McDonald, who won the Philip K. Dick Award for King of Morning, Queen of Day, reveals the workings of his bizarre society through the exploits of five friends as they search for the meaning of life in the Necroville at Los Angeles on the Night of the Dead. Sorting through five points of view requires some patience, but it is well rewarded. In the best science fiction tradition, McDonald provokes reexamination of current societal standards through the prism of another time and place. (Nov.)