The Cipher is a novel by Kathe Koja. Finished on: 20.12.2020 [I won this book in a LibraryThing Early Reviewer give-away.]
Plot: In a small storage room in Nicholas’ building, there is a hole in the floor. But it’s not just a hole, it’s apparently endless and might be alive. Nicholas’ on-again-off-again girlfriend Nakota is obsessed with what they call the funhole, dragging Nicholas to the storage room any chance she gets to just look at the hole. Nicholas doesn’t understand her fascination, he would rather forget the hole’s existence. But he can’t say no to her, not even when she hatches a plan to dangle a video camera into the hole and film what’s there. The longer they spend time with the hole, the more they change.
The Cipher was difficult for me. I loved the concept and the body horror elements were utterly visceral, but I often struggled with the prose and the story. I wish I could have loved it more.
Overall, the anthology is very good. Of course, as in any anthology, there were stories I liked better than others but the quality of all of them was very high. Datlow as well as Windling provide introductions and there’s an appendix of recommended reading, which is pretty awesome. If you like fairy tale retellings, fantasy/SciFi and a little bit of horror, you will love this book.