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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.
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
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It is really sad to read the posthumous book of a great author, especially if, as in this case, it is a collection of works mostly unfinished, and that will never be... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Anakina
There are some good stories in here, but I wasn't over-awed. 3.5 Stars. After reading this I'd say to stick with the Budayeen Novels.Published 13 months ago by J. Glove
When I say that this book left me wanting more, what I mean is that I really only bought this book so I could read the portion of what was going to be the 4th novel in the Budayeen... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Matt
Just be grateful that there are more Budayeen stories, and not resentful that there are so few. I was not particularly interested in an Arab setting for a world of the future; I... Read morePublished on July 22, 2013 by Scarlett
This book is the final piece in the Marîd Audran/Budayeen series. A collection of stories, both published and unpublished, included fragments of books that were never finished. Read morePublished on January 10, 2013 by Kim Lomman
George Alec Effinger's BUDAYEEN NIGHTS comes from one of the founders of the 'cyberpunk' movement and provides a collection of nine writings - seven stories, the first part of an... Read morePublished on October 9, 2008 by Midwest Book Review