SCI FICTION, Aug 17, 2005

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"Is There Life After Rehab?" by Pat Cadigan

In "Is There Life After Rehab?", cyberpunk maven Pat Cadigan gives us a modern, scientific take on vampirism in this strange blend of the natural and supernatural. Lil, a former vampire cured by medical science, wakes up in a bar next to a couple of people talking about oral sex, but what starts out as a strange tale of bar-hopping becomes an offer for Lil to regain her immortality. But does she want it, even if the price is right? Confronted by an angry mob of former vampires who need one more person in order to get the "cure" reversed, will Lil give into fear or follow her own heart?

This was quite a departure from what I’m used to seeing from Cadigan, but she does a good job with what, for some, has become a tired old theme: vampires. Even stories that take a scientific view of vampires have (almost) been done to death, but Cadigan stays away from scientific "explanation" and instead focuses on Lil’s character. The comparison of former vampires with patients in rehab gives the vampire theme an interesting, modern twist, and Cadigan clearly shows that she can do much more than gritty cyberpunk fiction. She treats her vamps—and former vamps—as living, likable characters instead of Gothic

clichés. If you’re sick of Anne Rice but are still fascinated by vampires, you’ll want to give "Is There Life After Rehab?" a read.