I am looking for the title of a cyberpunk novel from the early 90's. The cover of my copy was red with a silver circular saw disk logo.

The story revolved around three characters; a female cat burglar and her two male roommates, a skinny welded-metal artist and a good-looking gigolo. They live in a warehouse in a future-city slum.

The cat burglar is approached by a 'feely-tv' representative to be their latest 'feely-tv' program - her life will be broadcast to their subscribers for the contracted period. People normally have anything from dumb reality TV stuff to witnessing staged murder happen to them under such contracts, but the pay is very high, so she agrees. She thinks that she can predict what will happen; it is agreed the broadcast will begin in a few days, the tv people will possibly even kill her artist friend, but she decides she can live with that if she takes the money and she leaves town with the gigolo.

Before she can adjust to the probable time frame in which the program will start, she is contracted to steal a piece of technology, and thinks she can probably do this before her feely-tv gig starts.
Things go badly wrong; she botches the heist and is chased, returns to her place to find the gigolo dead by the hand of her recent theft victim, and goes on the run with her artist friend. Eventually things get so bad she has to involve her burglary mentor, an almost legendary figure known as "the Shark", who has never been seen in person and no-one still alive knows what he truly looks like, as he never fully drops his camouflage technology to allow himself to be seen.

The book ends after a confrontation on a roof where the Shark sacrifices his reputation to save the cat burglar's life, as he considers her his adopted daughter. He drops his cloaking completely, revealing a man so old he makes extensive use of implants merely to stay alive. However, this leaves his fearsome and shadowy reputation in tatters - he's just an old man. Everyone is shocked and the entire confrontation stops. It is of course revealed that the cat burglar was being recorded for feely-tv broadcast from right after her contract signing. She is paid for both her theft and TV contracts and she and the artist leave the city for good.

Any leads appreciated!

  • I suggest you include a bit more information in the title, to make it less generic. This will likely attract more viewers. I'd do it myself, but I'm unsure. Maybe adding "cyberpunk with reality TV" somewhere in the title?
    – Andres F.
    May 9, 2015 at 13:15
  • Thanks for the tip!
    – Erasmus
    Dec 9, 2020 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


This is "Crashcourse" by Wilhelmina Baird.

This review review suggests that there's a female burglar, a TV show that allows the viewer to experience the protagonist's emotions and a staged murder/snuff film gone wrong...

In this book Wilhelmina Baird uses a pungent, noirish written style you'll either love or hate - once I settled into it I loved her tough, witty dialogue and the edgy, sinister world her charactors inhabit. This is the first of her books I have read, and on the strength of it I'll certainly be looking out for more. The plot revolves around the efforts of three main charactors - Cass, Mokey and Dosh - to survive in a crumbling future city in which they are part of a disregarded underclass. They need to earn enough money to get offworld before Dosh gets killed by one of his more sadistic clients, but with current occupations such as theif, artist and whore, finances are none too regular.

Cue a mysterious offer of money and stardom - a part for each of them in a film which will earn enough money to escape the brutal drudgery of earth - but will they survive the shoot? In these apocalyptic times, life is cheap and actors often meet grisly ends in productions where the viewer gets to experience the emotions of the victims and the premium is on ultraviolence. And there are no scripts. And no one tells you when the shooting begins... Packed full of feral and awesomely physically augmented badguys, plus some similarly equipped, equally amoral goodguys, the plot takes a headlong dash into an underworld where one false call can be lethal, and horribly so. The charactors are raw and engaging, the technology superb and the nous, bravery and chutzpah of the heroine will make you want to stand up and cheer. Add in the subplot of the three protagonists faltering relationship, an exploration of voyeurism and what it means to be seen/not seen, and you have a paranoid stew of charactors who are either fruitlessly looking over their shoulders, unaware of being watched, or are themselves invisible.

  • That's the book. It's part of a very nice trilogy. Aug 19, 2018 at 20:06

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