Reviews 1

Dead Girls, HarperCollins, UK, 1992; St Martin's Press, US, 1995;  Dead Girls, Dead Boys, Dead Things
(trade paperback omnibus) St Martin's Griffen, US, 1998


Dead Girls features in Locus Online's retrospective 'Best of 1992' list, compiled by Claude Lalumière, and in Science Fiction the 101 Best Novels 1985-2010  by Damien Broderick and Paul Di Filippo.


'Richard Calder bids fair to make off with Bester's mantle of charmed literary omnipotence.' Washington Post


'Packed with fascinating speculation on tomorrow's economics and technology, European romanticism and quantum reality, Dead Girls is a stunning achievement. A terrific first novel and a great start to a trilogy that should enthrall.' Starlog


'A clarity of vision at once unique and disturbing. Fans of cutting-edge sf will enjoy this taut, provocative debut.' Library Journal


'The impossible environment which Calder attempts to describe draws on Lewis Carroll's looking-glass world as well as William Gibson's cyberspace to model its features, and manages to forge the difficult connection between science fiction and English romantic gothic which only Michael Moorcock has really pulled off in the past. Get it today.' I-D


'Dead Girls is, quite simply, dead good.' Interzone


'What Calder can really do is write jewelled and flashing prose, like J.G. Ballard on speed.' Vector


'A really quite astonishing high-wire dance of ultimate technological vampires and reductio ad absurdum of the war between the sexes, not to mention racism and bigotry and other human follies.' Analog


'In our contemporary world of twelve-year-old killers and sixteen-year-old supermodels (who work in a field where burnout hits by age twenty), it takes little extrapolative power to forecast a future even more skewed toward the commodification of youth and beauty, sex and death. But to tease from such bare extrapolations their most outrageous implications, then to embody the theory in believable characters moving through an ultra-tangible world seen through a scrim of gorgeous, supercharged prose the likes of which SF has seldom enjoyed - Ah, that takes the perverse genius of a Richard Calder. Calder's first novel was the astonishing Dead Girls. The sequel, Dead Boys, carries forward the tale with all of the wild-eyed obsessional hysteria of its predecessor.  With its high-calorie, mucilaginous mix of Egyptology and Jack the Ripper, Nabokov and Beardsley, flesh and metaphysics, Dead Boys croons like Nine Inch Nails covering nostalgic music-hall ballads.' Asimov's


'When the author manages to synthesize his disparate influences into seamlessly personal prose, the result is often an astonishing outburst of lyricism.  A future world as rich, dense and intricate as any in recent SF.'
The New York Review of Science Fiction


'Calder is a fine stylist, and the complex history and nanobiology he has created for his Dead novels is fascinating. The trilogy holds many rewards, cerebral and aesthetic.' Publishers Weekly


'Convincing and terrifying. Exotic and brutal.' Locus


'Impressively original. He is quite simply a remarkable writer.' Rob Latham, Necrofile


'Stunning. A wild trilogy' Science Fiction Age


'A literary head kick, pushing gender and bio-tech buttons as hard as something like Neuromancer pushed the romance of digital criminality.' Richard Kadrey, author of Metrophage and Kamikaze L'Amour




Cythera, Little, Brown, UK, 1998; St Martin's Press, US, 1998


'Calder's SF is often frenetic, yet highly articulate and agreeably stylish. He brings much post-cyberpunk pizzazz to the man/machine theme and its sexual equations. Cythera's narrative is busy, fascinatingly complex and crackles with discharges of multicultural fancy. ' Starburst


'Cythera boasts Richard Calder's usual beautiful writing, bizarre speculation and wickedly perceptive observations .' Starlog


'A girl, a gun, a luxury car and a boy on the run from patricide: we're in Calderland again. Like its predecessors, Cythera, Richard Calder's fourth novel, is an hallucinatory rush through decimated landscapes dense with allusion to 20th-century popular culture, thorny, confrontational, and compelling. The landscapes are realized with a vivid and dense lyricism; the characters' dialogues are wry, tough and edgy; it is truculent, obsessive, and possessed by a fierce and restless intelligence. Read it because it promises to be one of the best sf novels of this year.' Interzone


'The author of Dead Things succeeds again in blurring the borders of perception through his exhilarating, imagistic prose, reminiscent of the landmark writings of William Burroughs and Samuel Delaney.' Library Journal


'Elegantly and powerfully written.' Norman Spinrad, Asimov's


'Let us imagine an alternate history for SF. An elderly and respected Edgar Allen Poe becomes editor of a magazine called Arabesque Stories, circa 1875. From his pulpit, he promotes a new kind of tale called "Symbolist Fiction," modelled on his own crepuscular work. A host of brilliant writers from many countries - Machen, Beardsley, Apollinaire, Huysmans, Hodgson, Bierce - flock to his banner. Over the next few decades, Poe's brand of SF, now represented by dozens of magazines, becomes the dominant mode of the fantastic, incorporating scientific speculation as well as more Gothic material. (There are schisms and feuds, of course, over this latter development.) Clark Ashton Smith, Ben Hecht, Fritz Lieber, and numerous others push the genre forward in the twenties, thirties, and forties of our century. By the time the 1990s roll around, nearly 120 years of Symbolist Fiction have culminated in one writer. And his name is Richard Calder.


'Postulating this imaginary tradition seems the most natural way to get a handle on what Calder is doing in his newest novel, Cythera. While Calder expertly uses speculative elements in our familiar SF way, his primary concerns are the mannerist depictions of rarefied emotional states verging on the otherwordly.' Paul Di Filippo, Asimov's




Frenzetta, Little, Brown, UK, 1998; Four Walls Eight Windows, US, 2002


'For those seeking originality of vision, this is a winner.' Science Fiction Chronicle


'There's an individual vision here, which'll certainly appeal to those with a taste for cyberpunk and wild sexual attitudes.' SFX


'Frenzetta is set in a fictional universe unlike anything Calder - or for that matter anyone else - has given us before. Here we have a richly baroque and decadent future Earth mutated into a complexity and strangeness that I could not begin to describe here, but which Calder renders admirably, fully, and deeply, in a prose style richly powerful but well under control.' Asimov's



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