The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

These fourteen stories, all but one of which were previously published in various magazines and anthologies, can be classified into several groups. Those in the “cyberpunk trilogy”—“Rock On,” “Pretty Boy Crossover,” and “Angel”—all had some bearing on Pat Cadigan’s successful novel Synners (1989). In “Rock On,” a middle-aged female Synthesizer (“Sinner”) is trapped in a café by punks and made to work for them. She makes them successful but destroys them as effectively as an addictive drug. In “Pretty Boy Crossover,” a sixteen-year-old Pretty Boy rejects club immortality by following his hero, Bobby, into being encoded as data. In “Angel,” an alien exiled for refusing to breed passes on his talent for bending wills to a woman he accidentally kills.

Other stories concern vampires. “My Brother’s Keeper” concerns a vampiric invasion of a town with a high proportion of drug addicts. The invasion spreads with such ferocity that the female central character has to keep moving to escape the vampires. In “The Power and the Passion” (original publication in this collection), the author deals with the use by authorities of a psychopathic killer as a weapon against vampires. Closely related to these stories is “It Was the Heat,” in which a young woman at a business conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, is seduced by a heat demon.

Other stories concern brain linkage and telepathy. In “Two,”...

(The entire section is 470 words.)