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Kathe Koja

The Cipher Fan Art Contest

We are excited to announce THE CIPHER FAN ART CONTEST. Artists of any skill level are welcome to enter their 2-D “The Cipher” inspired fan art in the contest. Kathe Koja will choose three winners from the submissions and each will receive a stunning custom “The Cipher” necklace designed by Sofia Ajram, along with a $20 Gift card, and a custom bookplate signed by the author. Entries must be received via the “enter contest” form by September 4, 2020 at 11:59 pm (ET) to be eligible. See Complete Rules at the bottom of this page.

And the winners are:

Contest Results Video (with all of the stunning entries!)

The prizes

Each winner will receive a stunning “The Cipher” necklace designed by

Sofia Ajram
Founder, Jewelry Designer
Sofia Zakia |

The Entries



1.  CONTEST DESCRIPTION: THE CIPHER FAN ART CONTEST begins on July 9, 2020 12:00 AM (ET) and ends on September 4, 2020 at 11:59 PM (ET) (the \”Contest Period\”).

The sponsor of this Contest is MEERKAT PRESS (“Sponsor”). By participating in the Contest, each Entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the Contest. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Contest. Sponsor may be reached by email at INFO@MEERKATPRESS.COM during the Contest Period.


a) Art must be 2-dimensional and submitted as a high resolution JPEG or PNG file by September 4, 2020 at 11:59 pm (ET) via the contest form. Late submissions will not be accepted or considered.
b) Artwork is limited to 2-dimensional works that are inspired by the novel THE CIPHER by Kathe Koja.
c) The sponsor MEERKAT PRESS and author KATHE KOJA may post submissions on their respective social media feeds (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) and reserve the right to do so without first notifying the artist. All artists will be credited and all posts tagged with #TheCipherFanArt. Contestants should include their social media handles in their submission if they wish to be tagged. Contestants are also encouraged to use the hashtag #TheCipherFanArt if they post on their own social media.
d) Artists will retain copyright of their work. MEERKAT PRESS and Kathe Koja will have the right to display submissions on their respective websites and social media in perpetuity.

3.  ELIGIBILITY: Open to anyone who is at least 18 years of age (the \”Entrant\”). Sponsor, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, retailers, sales representatives, advertising and promotion agencies and each of their respective officers, directors and employees (the \”Promotion Entities\”), are ineligible to enter the Contest or win a prize. Household Members and Immediate Family Members of such individuals are also not eligible to enter or win. “Household Members” shall mean those people who share the same residence at least three months a year. “Immediate Family Members” shall mean parents, step-parents, legal guardians, children, step-children, siblings, step-siblings, or spouses. This Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited or restricted by law


Three (3) Grand Prize Winners will each receive a $20 Giftccard, a custom The Cipher Necklace designed by Sofia, a custom Bookplate signed by Kathe Koja = Value=$260

Gift cards and gift certificates are subject to the terms and conditions of the issuer. Prizes cannot be transferred, redeemed for cash or substituted by winner. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to award a substitute prize of equal or greater value if a prize described in these Official Rules is unavailable or cannot be awarded, in whole or in part, for any reason. The ARV of the prize represents Sponsor’s good faith determination. That determination is final and binding and cannot be appealed. If the actual value of the prize turns out to be less than the stated ARV, the difference will not be awarded in cash. Sponsor makes no representation or warranty concerning the appearance, safety or performance of any prize awarded. Restrictions, conditions, and limitations may apply. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prize items.

All federal, state and/or local taxes, fees, and surcharges are the sole responsibility of the prize winner. Failure to comply with the Official Rules will result in forfeiture of the prize.

5. Enter the Contest during the Contest Period which begins on July 9, 2020 12:00 AM Eastern and ends on September 4, 2020 at 12:00 AM Eastern

Automated or robotic Entries submitted by individuals or organizations will be disqualified. Internet entry must be made by the Entrant. Any attempt by Entrant to obtain more than the stated number of Entries by using multiple/different email addresses, identities, registrations, logins or any other methods, including, but not limited to, commercial contest/sweepstakes subscription notification and/or entering services, will void Entrant’s Entries and that Entrant may be disqualified. Final eligibility for the award of any prize is subject to eligibility verification as set forth below. All Entries must be posted by the end of the Contest Period in order to participate. Sponsor’s database clock will be the official timekeeper for this Sweepstakes.

6. JUDGING / SELECTION OF WINNERS: The Contest will be judged by the author, Kathe Koja and three winners selected from among all eligible Entries received throughout the Contest Period. The judging will be completed within 7 days after the Contest Period. Judges decisions are final.

7. WINNER NOTIFICATION & ANNOUNCEMENT: Winners will be announced on the MEERKAT PRESS website and notified by email at the email address provided in the Entry Information approximately 7 days after the random drawing.Winners must accept a prize by email as directed by Sponsor within 15 days of notification. Sponsor is not responsible for any delay or failure to receive notification for any reason, including inactive email account(s), technical difficulties associated therewith, or Winner’s failure to adequately monitor any email account.

Any winner notification not responded to or returned as undeliverable may result in prize forfeiture. The Winners may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and release of liability, and a Publicity Release (collectively \”the Prize Claim Documents\”). No substitution or transfer of a prize is permitted except by Sponsor.

8. PRIVACY: Any personal information supplied by you will be subject to the privacy policy of the Sponsor posted at

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Kathe Koja

Paula Guran Reviews Velocities by Kathe Koja for Locus Magazine

Paula Guran at Locus Magazine reviewed Kathe Koja’s Velocities in the November issue of the magazine. Locus magazine is definitely worth checking out if you aren’t already subscribed.

The stories are exquisitely written … An excellent assemblage by a virtuoso writer.

Velocities: Stories

Velocities: Stories

Dark, disturbing, heartfelt, and utterly addictive!

From the award-winning author of The Cipher and Buddha Boy, comes Velocities: Stories, Kathe Koja's second electrifying collection of short fiction. Thirteen stories, two never before published, all flying at the speed of strange.

More info →
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Dark Factory

Meerkat Press to publish Kathe Koja’s Immersive Fiction Novel, Dark Factory in 2022

Meerkat Press is excited to announce the acquisition of Kathe Koja’s immersive fiction, DARK FACTORY, from Christopher Schelling of Selective Artists, for publication in 2022, a novel that uses words, images, and sound to ask Where does the story end, and reality begin?

Dark Factory is a state-of-the-art club where reality is customizable: just scroll down the menu, and change your world. Ari Regon is the club’s floor manager, a wild card who makes things happen, Max Caspar is a stubborn and talented DIY artist. And they’re both chasing the same thing: the ultimate experience, a vision of true reality.

Kathe Koja writes novels and short fiction, and creates and produces immersive fiction performances, both solo and with a rotating ensemble of artists. Her work crosses and combines genres, and her books have won awards, been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance. She is based in Detroit and thinks globally.

Meerkat Press is an independent press committed to publishing irresistible, unforgettable prose and poetry. Their books range from literary to genre fiction, with quality the common denominator. They have won or been finalists for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Aurealis Award, the Australian Shadows Award, the Ditmar Award, the Norma K. Hemming Award, the Ladies of Horror Fiction Award, the Foreword Indies Award, the IPPY Award, and the Benjamin Franklin Award.

Selectric Artists is an agency for literary and talent management, founded and run by Christopher Schelling in 2011. Selectric’s client list spans a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including New York Times bestselling memoirist Augusten Burroughs (Lust & Wonder), YA novelists Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park) and Cinda Williams Chima (Flamecaster) and musicians like New York-based pop-rock duo, the Skivvies.

Excerpt from DARK FACTORY

“Ari! Hey Ari, how’s it going?”

“Hey,” his nod to the skinny DJ on the bench opposite Jonas’s office, blue glass walls half-covered with overlapping Dark Factory posters, the effect is like peering into a paper aquarium. “It’s going good. Tight.”

“I just got in from Chromefest, I played some crazy-great shit,” the DJ digging into his bag, a dangle of fake gold giveaway charms, too many stickers, TOOT SWEET, U DONT REDLINE U DONT HEADLINE, pulling out a mix stick. “Got a minute?”

“Got a meeting,” with a shrug, a smile, his public smile—

but inside the office no Jonas, only his spoor: smudged steel water bottle and empty NooJuice cans, Causabon trainers new in the box, a white dinner jacket hung on the back of the hulking recliner, and between the piles on the blue glass table that is Jonas’s desk two burner phones, both vibrating like wind-up toys: Ari takes up one, then the other, neither are numbers he knows. Also on the desk is a flat delivery box stacked with t-shirts, new streamlined design, and “Y makes the logo move,” Jonas at the door, slamming the door, Jonas wearing last summer’s t-shirt, black and sleeveless beneath a clear plastic wrap jacket; with his thick hair sheared at the sides he looks like a brand-new cleaning brush, Ari hides a smile. “Lee thinks it’s too subtle. What do you think?”

“Not if it moves,” an answer and a parry, Jonas likes to test everyone, Ari most of all. “Chockablock thinks of everything.”

“And overcharges for everything too. Wear it around, see what people say,” and as Ari drapes a shirt around his neck, “I know it’s your day off, but I need you in the box tonight.”

“Just me?”

“You and whoever else I stick in there. Be good, or it’ll be Lee.”

“I don’t have a problem with Lee.”

“That’s not what she says.”

“Then that’s her problem.”

“True . . . Got a smoke? Darcy’s after me to quit,” Ari offering one of the black blunts he gets from the boys in the clubs, Jonas rooting in the desk’s mess for an ashtray and “Jesus,” Jonas’s shrug half-annoyed, “Lee said that some woman gave birth on the floor last night? To an actual baby? What a mess.”

Ari laughs—“The Factory’s first natural-born citizen”—and after a moment Jonas laughs too: “Your brain, Ari, your fucking brain,” pulling out his real phone, a quick dictating bark, “Lee, find those baby people, give the baby free admission for life, make a big deal out of it—”

—as Ari exits in a puff of smoke and a flutter of posters, past the still-waiting DJ, two runners toting scent canisters like oversized silver bullets, another runner wrangling a wobbly rack of boxed NooJuice, provided to the production in exchange for placement, another of Ari’s ideas that Jonas approves, Jonas drinks half a dozen cans of that swill a day. Lee drinks it too, though Ari knows she hates it; sometimes he catches Lee studying him when she thinks no one can see.

In the performers’ lounge he slips on the new t-shirt—a little loose across the chest, he likes his shirts tighter—smooths back his hair, then heads for the black-and-white NOT AN EXIT sign over the loading dock doors: a delivery van rolling out, another just backing in as he sidesteps between them and out into the street, Neuberg Street, his streets. A teenager, the first time, he came here to drink cheap lager and fuck and dance to loud music with boys, he still fucks and dances but Jonas has taught him something about wine, so he drinks that instead now, chilled and white, it pairs nicely with the blunts . . . Sixteen then and wide open, new to the scene, new to joy: his look changed, his slang, even his walk, more swagger, more aware of his body as he roamed past the schnapps bars and phone stores and ancient brick alleys, the corner charging station shaped like a top hat where the boys hung out, flirting and sparring in the noise of sidewalk speakers and the whirring purr of the trains, the muezzin’s call floating over avenues of beech and linden trees, the black-washed façades of the remodeled industrial flats, the cafés hot with espresso and frothing oat milk, the clubs’ 4AM aroma of lager and latex and Club-Mate, dancing panting bodies, moisturizer and tobacco and tears . . . And now he lives in one of those expensive industrial flats, he has everything he wants in this world, almost everything.

The October sky is overcast as a tarnished mirror, heat still radiating from the pavement; he stops at a Kaffee Kart for an iced espresso and “Your shirt’s cool,” says the freckled barista, as Ari records her reaction for Jonas’S eventual benefit. “Dark Factory, it’s like life if life was perfect, I’d go every weekend if I could. You go a lot?”

“I go every night. I work there.”

“You work at Dark Factory? Oh cool! What do you do?”

And Ari smiles, because there is no name for what he does, what he is, what Jonas needs most, what Lee for all her stats and apps and 24/7 devotion can never be: the bridge between the Factory and the world, a native of both because “I’m the ambassador,” he says, and lifts his cup to toast—the barista, the Factory, his job, himself—as a sudden gust of steam surrounds him, like a saint’s silver halo, or a personal storm.

Kathe Koja

Kathe Koja writes novels and short fiction, and creates and produces immersive fiction performances, both solo and with a rotating ensemble of artists. Her work crosses and combines genres, and her books have won awards, been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance. She is based in Detroit and thinks globally. She can be found at

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Kathe Koja

NB Magazine gives 5 Stars To The Cipher by Kathe Koja

NB Magazine, our favorite UK Review outlet, gives Kathe Koja’s THE CIPHER 5 big stars. We loved this thoughtful review and hope you’ll take a moment to read it in full.

I found this a dark, deeply disturbing, weird beyond imagining and, above all, genuinely terrifying story. For me its real power lies more in its all too convincing psychological integrity than in any of its specific depictions of gory horror – although there are plenty of those along the way.

Linda Hepworth, THE CIPHER

The Cipher

The Cipher

On Sale Now!

Winner of the Bram Stoker Award and Locus Awards, finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award, and named one of's "Top 10 Debut Science Fiction Novels That Took the World By Storm." With a new afterword by Maryse Meijer, author of Heartbreaker and Rag.

"Black. Pure black and the sense of pulsation, especially when you look at it too closely, the sense of something not living but alive." When a strange hole materializes in a storage room, would-be poet Nicholas and his feral lover Nakota allow their curiosity to lead them into the depths of terror. "Wouldn't it be wild to go down there?" says Nakota. Nicholas says, "We're not." But no one is in control, and their experiments lead to obsession, violence, and a very final transformation for everyone who gets too close to the Funhole.

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About the Book

Press & Endorsements

  • Josh Malerman, NYT-best-selling author of Bird Box and Malorie – “The Cipher is a stone-cold landmark of the genre. Written by a sphinx, a gift, the rarest of talents. And like the works of M.R. James, Shirley Jackson, Poe, and Stephen King, horror isn’t the same, in all its current height and depth, without it. Be prepared: this book will change you.”
  • Daniel Kraus, NYT-bestselling author – “Audacious, acerbic, grotesque, ravishing, stifling, sensual, iconic – there will never be another novel like this one.
  • Will Errickson, Too Much Horror Fiction – “When I first read THE CIPHER in 1991, I hardly knew what to make of it. But I knew one thing for sure: horror fiction had never seen anything like Kathe Koja’s obsessive and impressionistic prose and ruthlessly dire worldview before. After years of reading mainstream Eighties horror paperbacks about normal people’s lives upended by the usual supernatural monstrosities, I was primed and ready for this new voice. Koja’s fearless depiction of bickering 20-something art failures stumbling upon an actual nothing and then watching with detached fascination as their squalid lives disintegrate around it was the darkest kind of revelation for me. I haven’t stopped thinking about THE CIPHER in the 30 years since, and my numerous reads of it always yield fresh new horrors from its reflective deeps. I practically began my blog, Too Much Horror Fiction, so I could write seriously about it. Over those years its reputation has only grown, and today I am delighted to see that THE CIPHER is once again in the hands—pun fully, deeply intended—of a new generation of horror fans eager, as ever, to peer into the abyss… and whatever lies beyond.”
  • Publishers Weekly – “This powerful first novel is as thought-provoking as it is horrifying.”
  • Locus Magazine – “So visceral and so right.”
  • Booklist – “This entry into the body-horror canon carries with it the kind of fatalism horror readers prize—it’s going to end badly, for sure, but just how badly?”
Genre: Horror
Tags: allbooks, available, awards, Meerkat Press, New Releases, Speculative Fiction
ASIN: 1946154334
ISBN: 9780440207825
About the Author
Kathe Koja

Kathe Koja writes novels and short fiction, and creates and produces immersive fiction performances, both solo and with a rotating ensemble of artists. Her work crosses and combines genres, and her books have won awards, been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance. She is based in Detroit and thinks globally. She can be found at

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