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Budayeen Nights Hardcover – September 1, 2003

4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of the founders of cyberpunk, Effinger (1947-2002) led a pain-filled life, but one would never know of his suffering from the tales in this brilliant collection, full as they are of antic humor and atmospheric inventiveness. All nine selections-seven stories, the first portion of an uncompleted novel and a story fragment-are set in his marvelously realized, imaginary Muslim city of Budayeen (inspired by New Orleans's seedy French Quarter), also the setting for three novels (When Gravity Fails, etc.). Mared Audran, the chief protagonist in these stories, like everyone else in the 22nd century, wears brain-implant plugs, enabling him to snap in and experience "moddies," for pleasure or otherwise. The former is supplied by Honey Pilar, sex goddess of "Slow, Slow Burn," whose super-provocative moddies are shared, with or without partners, by millions. In "Mared Throws a Party," the projected opening of Word of Night, a fourth Budayeen novel, Mared is disconcerted when his adoptive grandfather, the powerful Friedlander Bey, announces he's giving him the unwelcome gift of a new set of implants. In "King of the Cyber Rifles," these implants are used for war purposes. Technology tends to play a smaller role in Effinger's finest shorter works, such as Nebula and Hugo winner "Schrodinger's Kitten," a story of multiple worlds, and "The City on the Sand," set in the Budayeen but flavored with European weltschmerz. Days before his death, Effinger began the final story, "The Plastic Pasha," barely an excerpt, but pungent and alive.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

These marvelous stories, insightfully introduced by Effinger's third wife, novelist Barbara Hambly, blend cyberpunk, quantum mechanics, and Islam. Their setting is the Budayeen, a walled-off collection of pungent clubs, coffeehouses, personality shops, family homes, and marginally responsive police stations in an unnamed, near-future Islamic city--the backdrop, too, of Effinger's novels When Gravity Fails (1987), A Fire in the Sun (1989), and The Exile Kiss (1991). Strongly resembling New Orleans' French Quarter, the Budayeen is ideal for Effinger's anti-hero, Marid, an unreliable, probably drug-addicted policeman who owes his position to the district's wealthy, powerful patron, the appropriately named Papa. The stories conjure a culture of "invisibles," ranging from the girl in "Schrodinger's Kitten," who foresees a flood of potential futures based on an attack in a dusty alley, to the stripper in "Marid and the Trail of Blood," who is convinced a vampire is loose on the streets. By turns comic and stern, sexy and serene, Effinger's world will appeal to both fans of cyberpunk and fans of Maureen McHugh's cultural sf. Roberta Johnson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Golden Gryphon Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930846193
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930846197
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,969,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What isn't obvious about the Publishers Weekly review of BUDAYEEN NIGHTS posted above is that this was a *starred* review! Not only is it rare for a sf/fantasy collection even to be reviewed in PW, but to receive a starred review is . . . well, kudos to Golden Gryphon for publishing this long-awaited collection from George Alec Effinger. In fact, anything from GAE is long-awaited! According to the story notes, George contributed directly to the compilation of this collection, it's just sad that he wasn't with us long enough to see its publication, his first book in like ten years.
Here's what critic/reviewer/editor/author Claude Lalumière had to say about BUDAYEEN NIGHTS on the Locus Online website ([...]) in his feature article on the Best of 2003:
"The book that wowed me more than any other in 2003 is BUDAYEEN NIGHTS (Golden Gryphon) by the late George Alec Effinger. BUDAYEEN NIGHTS serves as a beautifully evocative postscript to Effinger's trio of Budayeen novels (WHEN GRAVITY FAILS, etc.). The stories featuring the novels' protagonist, Marîd Audran, are the most effective, but the whole book is wondrously sensuous, seductive, witty, and thrilling. Effinger's creation, the Muslim underworld of the Budayeen, is one of my favourite settings in SF, and revisiting it for this final outing was a moving experience."
And I quoted Claude because I agree -- this book is wondrous, seductive, witty, thought-provoking -- just what one would expect from the writings of George Alec Effinger. If you're a fan of GAE, of the Budayeen novels, this book will not disappoint.
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This book brings together all the short stories set in Effinger's wonderful "Budayeen"---a sort of French Quarter of New Orleans, set in a nameless Arabic city of the twenty-second century. The stories are, as is usual in a short-story collection, rather uneven in quality, but Effinger just about couldn't write dull or bad---I just liked some better than others. With introductions to the stories by his longtime friend Barbara Hambly, this book belongs in any Effinger fan's collection. Among other things, it's got the only fragment we're ever going to get of the projected new Marid novel _Word of Night._
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Format: Hardcover
I have to disagree with Brian Starrett's comments below about BUDAYEEN NIGHTS. Brian is disappointed because this book wasn't the fourth Budayeen novel that he so eagerly desires. What it is, is a collection of short stories, all of which take place in, and involve characters from, the Budayeen.

According to the story notes (which precede each story, and were written by Effinger's ex-wife, author Barbara Hambly), one story, "Marîd Changes His Mind," is actually the first two chapters of the planned fourth Budayeen novel, but unfortunately this is all Effinger ever wrote of that book before his death. Also, according to the story notes, the story entitled "The World As We Know It" actually takes place after the proposed FIFTH Budayeen novel. In this story, Marîd is in hiding from Friedlander Bey's enemies, the same enemies who caused Bey's untimely demise. So there is some consistency between the stories, and, of course, you'll see a lot of the same characters from the novels in these stories as well.

The story that leads off the collection, "Schrödinger's Kitten," won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Japanese Seiun Award (Japan's equivalent of the Hugo Award), all for best short story of the year. Not too shabby . . . And a couple other stories were nominated for these same awards. So you will certainly be entertained with the quality of the writing in this collection.

Please don't let Mr. Starrett's disappointment in not finding the non-existent fourth Budayeen novel dissuade you from reading and experiencing these wonderful tales of the Budayeen.
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I remember when I first read Effinger's "When Gravity Fails" way back in my college days, lo, these many years ago. I actually had to put the book down and excitedly tell my roommate about this awesome concept in the book--portable phones that you could carry around with you! Yeah, like I said, it was MANY years ago.

Effinger's Budayeen novels were notable not only for such prescience, but as early works in the emerging cyberpunk scene, and for their unusual setting in a nameless Islamic city with a melange of North African and Middle Eastern cultures. Unusual as well was the protagonist--Marid Audran, a no-good street punk in a time when SF literature wasn't overly encumbered with shiftless criminals as heroes. I was always somewhat aggrieved that Effinger only wrote three books in this promising series, but it wasn't until I picked up this present volume that I was aware that he suffered from major health problems that hampered his output, and that he had plans for a fourth and fifth volume.

Reading the stories collected here is therefore somewhat bittersweet. It's great to revisit the setting and see the fragmentary works that continue the adventures of Marid or that explore elsewhere in his world. But it's at the same time sad to see what could have been and now will never be.

The introductions by Barbara Hambly also offer important insights and background, and a pretty unbiased view of the author and his struggles.

Highly recommended for any Effinger fan or collector of pioneering cyberpunk works. His voice will be missed.
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