Catgut: Anthology

A poorly paid neurosurgeon facing bankruptcy agrees to use forbidden technology in Rage, a journalist probes too deep into the workings of an Artificial Intelligence staffed aged care facility in Pity, a plague menaces the human race in Terror. Trans consciousness transfer experiments to cure addition in Despair, Remorse explores the tenuous relationship between the past and present, and Love follows clone technology to its inevitable end. Six stories with a twist in the tale, stitched together by a lost material, CATGUT.

Acoustic Elegance Review

freelancer | LAS VEGAS, NV


This is a truly eye opening and engaging work of fiction.


Even though each of the six stories included in this Anthology are separate and unrelated, the backdrops in which each story unfolds are all technologically similar. The tales take place in a world where robots, AI and humans coexist seamlessly. All of the protagonists in this Anthology are humans, but robots and AI occupy equally important roles throughout. As a matter of fact, there are many scenes in this collection where the robots “steal the scene” from their human counterparts. It’s dark, it’s a bit terrifying, but as a thought experiment, this work is consistently well told and thought provoking. This is science fiction for our cell phone generation. This is a truly eye opening and engaging work of fiction. Even though each of the six stories included in this Anthology are separate and unrelated, the backdrops in which each story unfolds are all technologically similar. The tales take place in a world where robots, AI and humans coexist seamlessly. All of the protagonists in this Anthology are humans, but robots and AI occupy equally important roles throughout. As a matter of fact, there are many scenes in this collection where the robots “steal the scene” from their human counterparts. It’s dark, it’s a bit terrifying, but as a thought experiment, this work is consistently well told and thought provoking. 

This is science fiction for our cell phone generation. As the title suggests, the author uses six different human emotions to spins stories about characters in extreme circumstances. Either by their own actions or inaction, we join each of the protagonists in these stories right at the moment of their personal departures from normality. Characters from all walks of life are confronted by the realities of their shared digital destiny. Biological implants are standard operating procedure. Humans are expected to live well into their 100s. Food and water are incredibly valuable and scarce commodities. Cities have populations of over tens of millions of inhabitants, and therefore have to be meticulously managed and controlled, mostly by AI. I’m a fan of science fiction, and I love this Anthology. The writing is sharp and precise (the author is a medical doctor). The dialogue is authentic and pithy. It would be easy to overwrite any one of these stories, but the author does not indulge himself in this manner. There are no weak links; each of the 6 stories hold their own weight and tell their own stories magnificently. 


From start to finish, this collection maintains the highest level of creative integrity and consistency. This book is a superb achievement and a joy to read.


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Kirkus Independent Reviews


A subtle and meaningful collection about humankind under stress.

A clear concern for humanity, reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s dystopian fiction, appears throughout all of Falconer’s stories.


Dystopian futures reveal the universality of primal human emotions in this SF story collection.

Each story in this anthology focuses on people grappling with the consequences of intense emotions. Highlights include “Terror,” in which a father and son living in a subterranean city win a lottery to join a group of citizens headed aboveground to prepare Earth for repopulation. According to their leaders, “the Terror,” defined as having “sharpened pointed” teeth and “catlike” eyes, live on the surface. As part of their pre-ascent orientation, the citizens view frightening images from the past. The leaders manipulate them through the use of special effects (“thunder rolled around the room, so that the very benches they sat on trembled”) so that they’ll uncritically accept the mission. In “Despair,” Skazi, a gambling addict and prisoner, awakens in corporate psychiatric facility Trans-Con, which rehabilitates mentally ill persons by shifting “the consciousness of patients…to primates and returning it back.” It turns out that participation in the program is mandatory, and noncompliance of any kind results in enslavement and exile to another planet for life. A clear concern for humanity, reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s dystopian fiction, appears throughout all of Falconer’s stories here; their characters start out as victims of their unique situations, as one might expect, but they’re also at the mercy of their own individual flaws, as well. As if to accent the theme of humanity, the stories all distinctively open with the protagonist encountering a specific smell, such as “garlic,” “perfumed floral air,” “roasting coffee beans, “freshly cut grass,” or “sweat, linen, plastic.” Moreover, they all struggle against greater societies where humanity—as a group and as a state of existence—has been diminished, giving the tales an unmistakable feeling of profundity.


A subtle and meaningful collection about humankind under stress.


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