'cybersex gone wrong, horribly wrong' is an odd tale of internet cybersex that is creepy and weird and strange and yet I found myself really enjoying it. It is written as an online dialogue between two consenting partners, and that makes it feel that little bit more
real. Like I said, odd, and yet well done.
Now we come to my very favourite story in the book 'don't panic'. It's a wonderfully written and built extension of Orwell's 1984. Replace the name of the president he used and you could well be talking something that could happen literally any day now. It is eerie and too damn real for comfort.
'for auction one soul, slightly used' admits it follows the trope used on The Simpsons TV show, but the realities of selling a soul to someone else are something I had never considered before, and it is written as quite the depressing tale. Nicely done.
The next tale in the series I am so enamoured with is next: 'immortally wounded 04 (victim number nine)'. It continues the tale of Shaolin, but adds something interesting how does an immortal keep herself occupied? Well, in this case, it's by seeking vengeance. Not for her, necessarily, but it is gruesome and bloody all the same.
The next tale is definitely an adult one 'technowhore'. It is a strange tale, almost cyberpunk in tone. It struck me for being one of the few short stories I have read that details how the cybernetic devices and the organic people merge and not always properly. There is a word for the mental feelings that come with this sort of operation, which I can't remember, but this tale shows it. There is a distinct feeling of depression over the story. Nicely written.
The next story 'a love like ours will never die' features a different set of recurring characters, but it is a disturbing and deeply worrying story. And yet it still had me enthralled. I know stories like this are a hard sell in today's marketplace, but kudos to Coker for having the guts to put it out there. Not for the squeamish, I am afraid.
The final tale I am going to discuss is 'dance of the mad bastards'. This almost reads like a sociology essay. But the descriptors are so perfect, you can imagine the scene. What the three watched try to do is deplorable, but they do not succeed. Is this a glorification of what they are doing? It does not feel like it; it just makes them seem like sad, disgusting examples of humanity. But the descriptions in this piece nice.
And there you have it. This book, like I said, is not for everyone. The content can be quite confronting and is also very adult a lot of the time. You will need to enter this book with an open mind and be fully prepared to understand what it is you are going to be reading.
Not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it.