Dirty Work? In a manner of speaking, perhaps, but certainly not along the lines of de Sade or Henry Miller.
"Dirty" maybe because within this remarkable volume of short stories (a follow-up to her award-winning collection Patterns) author Pat Cadigan unflinchingly explores the implications of technology on modern and near-future societies, humorously challenges our perceptions of reality, and chillingly strips away our civilized facades to confront the bestial nature of our souls.
With stories like "Home By the Sea," "Dispatches from the Revolution," "No Prisoners," "50 Ways to Improve Your Orgasm," and "Naming Names," Pat Cadigan exhibits an enviable ability to tackle a variety of themes, moods, and perspectives. And makes it all seem easy.
Featuring 18 stunning fictions (including the previously unpublished "Lost Girls" written especially for this book)-as well as intriguing author introduction to each story-Dirty Work is a thought provoking, often funny, never compromising collection by one of America's most gifted authors.
It doesn't get any better than this.
Cadigan's ( Patterns ) third collection of short stories shows once again her astonishing range, economy of language, perceptiveness, and uncommon emotional power. Here are tales that span Cadigan's career, including her second professional sale, ``Second Comings--Reasonable Rates,'' a biting look at a world where people can't let go of their departed loved ones, and ``Lost Girls,'' original to this book, in which Tinkerbell presents her view of gender politics in Never-Never Land. Cadigan is at home in various genres, producing an exemplary tale of murder in an alien embassy (``True Faces''), an hallucinatory trip into the wild fears of a new mother (`The Coming of the Doll'') and the totally uncategorizable, wonderfully weird ``Mother's Milt,'' which suggests a unique solution to the problem of repeat offenders. This collection features some of Cadigan's strongest work--``Dispatches from the Revolution,'' ``Naming Names,'' the eponymous ``Dirty Work,'' ``New Life for Old''--but it also reveals a troubling repetition of perspective. So many of her stories center on a woman (daughter, wife, mother) with a brutish, violent, boorish, unsympathetic or just plain dull man (husband, father, son, etc.) that, after a while, her themes become a bit monotonous. Cadigan's wit and sensitivity by and large overcome this minor flaw, however, and she continues to produce some of the best short stories in the science fiction field.