Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
The Twilight Zone: Upgrade & Sensuous Cindy
Pat Cadigan
Black Flame, 415 pages

The Twilight Zone: Upgrade & Sensuous Cindy
Pat Cadigan
Pat Cadigan's other novels include Mindplayers, Synners and Fools; and three major short story collections, Patterns, Home By The Sea, and Dirty Work.

Pat Cadigan Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Ultimate Cyberpunk
SF Site Review: Dervish Is Digital
SF Site Interview: Pat Cadigan
SF Site Review: Tea from an Empty Cup

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steve Lazarowitz

As a long time fan of the original television series, I'll reach for almost anything with the words Twilight Zone on it. This adaptation from the new Twilight Zone television series contains two stories. Never having seen the episodes, I can't say how closely they are to the original, though I suspect in the case of Upgrade, the first of the set, the author added quite a bit of internal monologue, a thing very difficult to do in a television show.

To generalize, I enjoyed Sensuous Cindy far more than Upgrade for a number of reasons.

The best thing about the original Twilight Zone is that it's a quick hit. You knew something was up by watching the teaser, before Rod Serling came in for his monologue. You didn't have to wait, because the stories depended upon easily identifiable stereotypes as characters. You knew immediately you were looking at a gangster, or a tired businessman or an absent-minded professor. Not having seen much of the new series, I couldn't really say how it compares, but I can say in the first story of this book, that was my major problem.

To read fifty pages of internal monologue to get to the speculative element might work for some books, but not the Twilight Zone. It didn't work for me.

Upgrade is about Annie Macintosh, a woman obsessed by perfection. She wanted, and subsequently purchased, the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood. That her family wasn't perfect was only too obvious to her, but at least she did for them what she could by providing the safety of a better neighborhood, and a better standard of living. This concept of perfection was mentioned so often, I was beginning to wonder if there was more to the story, which of course there was. It just took fifty pages to get to it.

The introduction to the story, which would be the Rod Serling monologue, suggests the story addresses why it can be a bad thing to get what you ask for. When the story doesn't address that point, it's disappointing. Frankly, I thought the ending of this story was ill-conceived, something I certainly wouldn't blame on the author. She was adapting an episode of a television series, after all.

The second story, to me, was everything the Twilight Zone was supposed to be about. A well-written, brilliant setup, followed by a rising tide that continued to build throughout, until the end, which made the whole story.

Sensuous Cindy is about a man named Ben, the senior photographic editor for Brash magazine, a men's magazine replete with naked women, cool ads and fascinating articles. Samantha is Ben's fiancée, who has talked him into going six months without sex before the wedding. This is particularly problematical, because they sleep in the same bed. More to the point, Ben's day job requires him to look at gorgeous naked women all day, every day. Not a huge problem for most men, unless you love your fiancée, and you're determined to remain faithful.

Enter Sensuous Cindy, a computer simulation of the perfect woman. It's a thing Ben would never have considered and still doesn't want to. It's too bad the program itself has other ideas.

It's hard to write a review when you're split right down the middle. I loved the second story, but didn't much care for the first.

If you like internal monologue, you might enjoy the first story a good deal more than I did, which would make this a book to look for. If you like Pat Cadigan, by all means consider adding this to your collection. If you're like me and love the Twilight Zone, you might want to give it a go, but if you're not familiar with the television series, or not a fan of it, my guess is this book may not be to your liking.

Copyright © 2004 Steve Lazarowitz

Steve Lazarowitz is a speculative fiction writer, an editor, a father, a husband, an animal lover and a heck of a nice guy (not necessarily in that order). Steve lives in Moonah, Tasmania with his family and four giant spiny leaf insects. You can check out his work at

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide Worldwide