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Cyber Circus [Kindle Edition]

Kim Lakin-Smith
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
Kindle Price: £3.12 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Hellequin, last of the HawkEye military elite, is desperate to escape the legacy of Soul Food, the miraculous plant food that leeched the soil, destroyed his family, and instigated a bloody civil war. For a man awaiting the inevitable madness brought on by his enforced biomorph implant, there’s only one choice. Run away with the circus…

Drifting above a poisoned landscape, Cyber Circus and her exotic acrobats and bioengineered freaks bring a welcome splash of colour into folk’s drab lives. None more so than escaped courtesan turned-dancer Desirous Nim. When Nim’s freedom and her very life are threatened, Hellequin is forced to fight again. But, even united, will the weird troupe and their strange skills be enough to save Nim and keep their home aloft? That’s assuming, of course, that Zan City’s Blood Worms, mute stowaways, or the swarms don’t manage to bring them down first…

Welcome to the greatest show on Sore Earth!

The book also features: “Black Sunday” – a free-standing but associated novelette.
A tale of desperation, incorporating drought, science, giant burrowing machines, rural magic, racial tension and sensuality in the 1930s Kansas dustbowl.

“Kim Lakin-Smith is not just the real thing she has a real way with words. Cyber Circus is as honestly brutal a twisted cybernetic love story as anything I've read. She makes mixing emotion with action and world building look effortless.” – Jon Courtenay Grimwood

“Cyber Circus is surely beyond any previous perverse riff on a carnival set in an alternate surreality. Just beware the hallucinatory dementing seductions of Kim Lakin-Smith´s inventions. An astonishing piece of work.” – Ian Watson

“Exotic characters, roaming a Dust Bowl ambience of 30s America, surrounded by the pervading aroma of stomped grass and burning lamp oil bring a rich atmosphere to this unique and quirky tale.” – Storm Constantine

“Kim Lakin-Smith's dark, lyrical prose flows towards the poetic, making you sigh with pleasure.” – Graham Joyce

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Review

In a far future when biological plague has scoured the land and Earth is now named Sore Earth, mankind scratches an existence in scattered, failing townships... Lakin-Smith's command of language, dense and graphic, brings this heart-warming story to vibrant life. Great fun. --The Guardian

From start to finish, the reader is inescapably bound in the characters' struggles, both the petty and the epic. Cyber Circus tragically and brilliantly captures the spirit of the true underdog - not the boy that wants to be king, but the puppet that wants to be a boy. --Pornokitsch

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 406 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: NewCon Press (6 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005TLPD6G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #387,246 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Kim Lakin-Smith is the author of Tourniquet; Tales from the Renegade City (Immanion Press: 2007) and Cyber Circus (Newcon Press: 2011). Her fantasy and science fiction short stories have appeared in Black Static, Interzone, Celebration, Myth-Understandings, Further Conflicts, Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse, and other magazines and anthologies. Kim is a regular guest speaker at writing workshops and conventions.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, Sexy & Spirited 8 Oct. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Kim Lakin-Smith's Cyber Circus follows the adventures - and misadventures - of the titular circus. A group of performers in a flying dieselpunk machine bound from one post-apocalyptic town to another, barely eking out a living. The setting is a dust-choked, war-torn version of the United States, with only a few hollow reminders of our own reality.

Cyber Circus is the latest of the 2011 books that investigate the idea of exceptionalism using genre fiction. Al Ewing's Gods of Manhattan is a contemporary steampunk look at pulp heroes. Mark Charan Newton's The Book of Transformations explores the failure inherent in the very concept of "superheroism". Cyber Circus belongs in their number - a darkly poetic examination of what it means to be something other than human.

The key difference between Cyber Circus and the other two is that it explores not superheroism but subhumanism. The book is packed with a wild cast of characters, all of whom have been lessened in some way; physically or mentally, they've had something taken from them or been altered into something deplorably specialised. The genre-typical fantasy tale explores the idea of identity by following a character's search for their own pre-determined greatness. Cyber Circus is the reverse - a quest for acceptance, as undertaken by a true group of misfits.

Three of the primary misfits are Nim, Pig Heart and Hellequin. Nim and Pig Heart have both been biologically changed. Even in the bizarre post-apocalyptic world of Cyber Circus, they're rarities, thus their presence as part of the travelling crew. Nim has been embedded with a sort of circuitry, giving her the ability to project her own bio-luminescence. She's foxy and she glows; a one-woman act that never fails to bring the house down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roll Up, Roll Up 3 Feb. 2012
Format:Paperback
Last year I read Tourniquet and thoroughly enjoyed the author's iconoclastic take on a neo-gothic future Nottingham. Based on that experience, I made a promise to myself that I would definitely read Kim Lakin-Smith's next novel when it was published. I'm embarrassed to say that due to other commitments I have been denied that chance up until now.

The Cyber Circus is constantly travelling, scratching out a living wherever and whenever they can. Hot on their heels is the pimp D'Angelus. He's determined to reclaim what he sees as his property, Desirous Nim. In addition to that he is also lusting after Rust, the wolf girl. His growing obsession forces the circus to keep on moving as they try to avoid the mercenaries that D'Angelus has hired to track them down.

One of my favourite things about this novel is the wonderful characterisation. As you read, it becomes evident that Lakin-Smith has taken care to give each of her creations their own fully developed backstory. There are just so many great characters to discover and enjoy. Though Hellequin and Nim take centre stage, I have to admit I developed a bit of a fondness for the chief pitchman, Pig Heart, and a group of children known as The Scuttlers. I can see Hellequin becoming a fan favourite though, as he takes it on himself to protect the Circus and most specifically, Nim. There are some brilliant moments where he cracks heads and causes no end of grief for his enemies.

Reading Cyber Circus feels like a steampunk mash-up of two, sadly short lived but excellent, genre television shows - Firefly and Carnivale. Lakin-Smith has effortlessly captured the detail of the lives of the carnival folk (carnies).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Let The Circus Run Away With You... 3 Dec. 2014
Format:Paperback
The Cyber Circus is coming to town, and it's not like any circus you've seen before, a great floating sentient dirigible populated with freaks and broken humans, clinging to the fringes of their ruined society as much as they cling to the soft skirts of the circus that protects and houses them. Cyber Circus rides high above Sore Earth, a barren dustbowl crawling with pimps, hustlers, locusts, Zen Monks, cyborgs and Blood Worms, who will cut you up and rewire you for a fistful of cash.

Hellequin, on the run from his own past and the future inevitable madness caused by his cybernetic implants, finds shelter within the walls of Cyber Circus when he saves the resident neonized burlesque dancer, Nim, from being kidnapped by her former pimp, D'Angelo. But D'Angelo doesn't give up easily, and what results is a chase across the skies and down into the belly of the ruined landscape of Sore Earth, where the circus and her crew must fight for their lives and pitch all their varied resources against an implacable enemy.

Every character who rides with the Circus, from Rust the Wolf Girl to her pig-hearted lover to the wonderful Asenath who collects the heads of her fallen enemies, is fully fleshed out with intriguing back stories that are gradually revealed over the course of this short novel. It seems hard to credit that so much plot is packed into such a slim volume, especially as Lakin-Smith also manages to tell us a lot about the history of the desolate Sore Earth and the races (species?) that inhabit it. It's incredibly economical story telling, and while not a word is wasted the writing is so intricate, so intriguing, that the power of her words alone is enough to draw the reader in.
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