Red Spider, White Web Hardcover – Mar 1990
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From the Back Cover
[Misha's] importance and distinctiveness are beginning to be noticed, there's beginning to be some kind of rip-tide here that will soon become a wave of recognition for a book that the world is beginning to catch up to... We weren't ready before. We'd better be ready about now. Because it's the 21st century any minute now, and that means that Misha's time has come. In more ways than one." -- John Shirley, from his intro to new edition
"We belong to an age where apocalypse is our daily bread, coffee's black, and we know we're part of the abyss. RED SPIDER WHITE WEB is right on target in conveying that understanding. It splinters in the mind...the underworld of the century's imaginings." -- Brian Aldiss, from his foreword
"RED SPIDER WHITE WEB is startingly visual...Its pages reveal a series of starkly painted images that go to work on your mind like the pictures on a tarot deck." -- James P. Blaylock, from his afterword
"Misha's RED SPIDER WHITE WEB is, quite simply, everything cyberpunk should have been but wasn't... The book is bleak, intense, and more accurate in its critique of contemporary U.S. culture's cruelty and ignorance than any book I have ever read." -- Dr. Elyce Helford, Editor/Author, ENTERPISE ZONES --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Misha and her husband Michael raise and farm with Norwegian Fjord Draft Horses in Cove, Oregon. She was formerly the editor of NEW PATHWAYS magazine. She has published two collections of short stories with Wordcraft of Oregon, KE-QUA-HAWK-AS and PRAYERS OF STEEL. Misha's short piece, "Tsuki Mangetsu," won the 1989 Prix D'Italia Award. RED SPIDER WHITE WEB, published by Morrigan Publications in England, won the 1990 ReaderCon Award and was a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Misha is currently working on her new novel, YELLOWJACKET. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Misha's novel, first published in 1990, takes on a cyberpunk environment from the viewpoint the disenfranchised, eschewing the high-tech gadgetry usually a part of the genre.
It's set in Dek Tek, a crime-ridden diseased suburb of the posh and exclusive city Mickey-San. Deadly gases permeate the air, forcing the residents to don masks. Brutal gangs of teenagers from Mickey-san, called the Pinks, prowl the streets of Ded Tek, looking for victims to bash or rape. Renegade groups of Zombies, practitioners of a Santeria hybrid religion also hunt for people for their ritual cannibalism. The novel follows a group of artists who try to eke out a living in this toxic environment. The main character is the tough-as-nails holographic artist Kumo. She is devoted to the purity of her art to a fault. She makes unfortunate enemies with Dori and Motler, who intend to sell-out and become corporate artists for Mickey-san. Her friends are the mostly spineless Jujube and the hermaphroditic David, who don't want to sell out, but spend most of their time avoiding both the cops and the criminals; in short, they are tied up in the business of survival. Finally, there is Tommy, a Warhol-like figure who plays on both sides of the coin-he's both an underground artist and a beloved icon of Mickey-san. He's even gained god status among a fascistic Christian sect. Looming over them all is a new horrifying development: a mysterious serial killer is eviscerating all of the artists in Dek Tek, one by one.
Misha's writing is rich and parodic. Her action sequences are highly visual and move swiftly. A particularly wonderful scene involves a description of the candyland-like corporate Mickey-san, where control underlies the soulless beauty of the city. She alternates a strong, straightforward prose style with stream-of-conscious poetic sections that are in the point of view of the artist-killer.
"She is dancing, a beautiful orchid in ballet pink, her frills gray with grime, droplets of dew run down her face, the missing track lights leave her elegant dance for lonely shadows...I am wrapping her white neck with the throat of a dying swan, and she is still, waiting to dance, to dance again as I am lifting her, her leap of silence into clouds from years of molting feathers from a broken lawn flamingo once again a silent pink swan."
The writing is a wonderful mix of fragility and violence, kind of a cross between Janet Frame and William S. Burroughs. The density of the writing, and Misha's interior monologues can be confusing. The characters frequently speak in untranslated Japanese and there are unexplained terms. But Red Spider, White Web is none the less, a compelling read. The novel's theme-about integrity in the face of harsh situations-comes through.