Koja's novel THE CIPHER to be a film

Hooray! Kathe Koja's classic debut novel The Cipher has gone into development as a feature film, entitled "The Muse." No further details yet, but Cipher was one of those lavish, frightening, erotic novels that you never forget. This is stellar news.


  1. This is AWESOME NEWS!!!

    Her first novel melted my brain out of my ears. I was a huge fan of her early novels. BAD BRAINS, STRANGE ANGELS, and especially SKIN. Her short fiction too was unique. Her voice shattered bones when she first burst upon the scene.

    I’m definitely curious who is going to direct and star in this movie. It has the potential to be mind-blowing awesome – or to suck ass. Either way I’m looking forward to it.

  2. HOLY SHIT. YES! I’ve been a huge Koja fan until she stopped writing real books and started wasting her talents on kiddie-fodder. This is amazing news!

  3. Ooh, goody! Of all her pre-kid-lit horror novels, this is the one that’s stuck with me the longest.

    I do wonder (with cautious optimism) how they’re going to translate the cipher itself visually, as one of its central characteristics is its inability to be perceived and/or described by human eyes/words, in the great Lovecraftian tradition of the truly ineffable Other. I hope they don’t go overboard with CGI, and leave some things (as Koja does) to the imagination.

  4. That book was the first one I ever read that I didn’t finish: not because it was badly written but because it was too well written. Much too scary! I think it was especially scary to me because, at the time, I knew some people who’s personalities were way too close to those of the characters in this book. I was worried for weeks that one of them was going to find a naked singularity in a closet in their crappy (and also eerily accurately described) rooming houses and go the way of the characters.

  5. I swear I’ve seen a trailer for something like this. Kids in a shed…big black hole under a secret door…the kids tossing stuff into it. But I think they go into it though and it leads to an alternate world or some bizarre hell or something. Can’t remember where I saw it though.
    This book sounds like a trip. Have to check it out.

    1. I think you are thinking of ‘The Gate’
      Fun little movie. Kids find a hole in their backyard. Nasty mind bending demons and such come out of it.

  6. Love, loved this dark and seedy novel. It’s like Lovecraft meets “Will It Blend?”

  7. Can’t wait! I actually hope they end up with a small budget and a director with a little bit of self-restraint – that combination could keep it from sucking. Loved her since reading her short fiction in F&SF before the novels – even some of the shorts would be virtually unfilmable, hoping they find a way to pull this off.

  8. Oddly, there’s no sign of it on the IMDb, but good news nonetheless. Congrats, Kathe.

  9. Speaking as someone who has read way too many horror novels, this thing is in a league of its own. This was the only horror novel I ever read that made me question why the hell I like reading horror novels so much. I literally felt unclean after finishing it and have not cared to revisit it.

    There are no big scares and very little bloodletting. It just takes you to a very depressing and miserable little black hole. Naturally, this review will send some of you scrambling to read it. Much happy fun to you.

    It’s essentially unfilmable. Maybe Kiyoshi Kurosawa (director of “Pulse”) could pull it off.

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