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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books


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Author: Richard Calder
Publisher: Earthlight UK, 2000
Series: Lords of Soho

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Book Type: Novel
Genre: Science-Fiction
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Richard Calder's offbeat blend of SF, sexuality and surrealism began with his debut novel Dead Girls, Dead Boys, Dead Things. Malignos introduces a 53rd-century Earth where technology has lapsed thanks to invading, transforming "perversion" from outside our universe. New races have spun off from humanity, malignos in the traditional shapes of demons--horned, scaled, sometimes bat-winged, and mostly exiled to a vast, artificial underworld.

Antihero Richard Pike is a professional killer and insufferable snob who finds female malignos sexually irresistible, and has shacked up with Gala, one of the few who lives above ground. He loves her so much that he rents out her body and lives on the earnings. Then Gala's past catches up, and to rescue her from drug-induced mindlessness Pike faces a literal journey to the centre of the earth. The path descends through exotic wonders: a freak show of caged humans, flying swarms of hungry child malignos, awesome cities and seas, shadow-beings and chimeras, a descent through the maelstrom to a tropical Torrid Zone, semi-magical tricks with space and gravity whose secret is long lost--and at the core the city or world of Pandemonium, where all answers await.

Pike suffers considerably, usually through his own folly: pursuing sexily demonic girls leads him into traps, and he's repeatedly told (often comically, and sometimes by himself) what a bastard he is. He betters himself a little, though, and carries his underworld quest to an unexpected end. Calder's darkly poetic imagination and rich landscape-building make for enjoyable reading. --David Langford


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