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4.3 out of 5 stars
Dervish is Digital
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 November 2011
Pat Cadigan has written a novel where cyberpunk and police noir meet. It is a perfect match. Cyberpunk has always been a genre peopled by low-lives and infused with a sense of lawlessness. The boundaries of "noir" become limitless in a on-line world where virtually anything is possible (or is that anything is virtually possible).

Officer Konstantin works in and underfunded, understaffed Artificial Reality division. In a manner reminiscent of the classic Red Dwarf episode "Back to reality" she spends her frustrated days in a sensory body suit which gives her access to the computer created world where she fights against crime which may not even be crime in the real world. Her main playground is a virtual Hong Kong, a mass of illegal gambling, cyber-perversion and illicit arms dealing. She is approached by a fashion designer Susannah Ell, who claims that her ex-husband Hastings Dervish has moved into the digital realm and is stalking her on-line. In her pursuit of Dervish Konstantin is helped and hindered by drug dealing cops, Japanese law enforcers and various partners and ex partners.

Cadigan, as her entries in the Mirror-shades and Re-wired anthologies show, has always been one of the more intriguing of the cyberpunk authors. This novel is absolutely bursting with ideas and speculative concepts such as the immediate corruption of new technologies to all possible varieties of vice, the development of super rich gated communities beyond the reach of the nation state, and an exploration of the actual nature of crime in a virtual world. Also her description of an almost hallucinogenic on-line world, which is both anarchistic and fully controlled by commercial interests is highly convincing.

So, the book's strengths are the description of, and an exploration of the issues raised by, an online world, its weakness is the plot. The plot is pretty flimsy and the denouement unsatisfying.

So this is an enjoyable work, but not the greatest story ever told.
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VINE VOICEon 22 April 2007
This is a direct sequel to Cadigan's 'Tea From An Empty Cup', and once again features Police Officer Konstantin investigating a bizarre crime in artificial (ie: virtual) reality, this time involving claims of brainwashing around a casino and a woman who claims to be being stalked by her ex-husband who has swapped places with an aritificial intelligence.

As with 'Tea From An Empty Cup' this is a short but intense science fiction novel, though perhaps a slightly more fluid read as Cadigan dispenses with the split narrative of before to concentrate on building up her main characters for what is now obviously intended to be an open-ended series. It must be admitted that the inconclusive ending - full of hints and insinuations but nothing concrete - isn't hugely satisfying, but then again it's entirely in keeping with the ongoing theme of the impossibility of knowing what is real and what isn't in an artificial world. A disorientating but enjoyable read.
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on 9 June 2001
I have to admit to having spent hours hunting down Cadigan titles (back in the days before Amazon existed)... Dervish is Digital follows on from Tea From An Empty Cup and is based around the same main character.
There is a dissonance to Cadigan's prose that comes, I think, from refusing to give her readers what they want - simplicity and straight forward story lines. This makes it difficult for the reader but is also one of Cadigan's strengths. Her books often just end, refusing the easy option of neatness, and while not quite so marked as in TFAEC, Dervish is Digital does this.
I loved this book but then I loved TFAEC and Chief Officer Konstantin is a character I want to see more off and sooner rather than later. Here's to the next one!
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