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Cyberabad Days Hardcover – January 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Gollancz; 1st Ed. edition (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575084073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575084070
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,151,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

She's killed off, too, because of her choices.
A. D. MacFarlane
This was a great collection of stories set in the same future India as McDonald's River of Gods, which I also really liked.
A. Tady
The field is very lucky to have Ian McDonald working in it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By ArtefaxDan on February 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ian McDonald is one of science fiction's finest working writers, and his latest short story collection Cyberabad Days, is the kind of book that showcases exactly what science fiction is for.

Cyberabad Days returns to McDonald's India of 2047, a balkanized state that we toured in his 2006 novel River of Gods, which was nominated for the best novel Hugo Award. The India of River of Gods has fractured into a handful of warring nations, wracked by water-shortage and poverty, rising on rogue technology, compassion, and the synthesis of the modern and the ancient.

In Cyberabad Days, seven stories (one a Hugo winner, another a Hugo nominee) McDonald performs the quintessential science fictional magic trick: imagining massive technological change and making it intensely personal by telling the stories of real, vividly realized people who leap off the page and into our minds. And he does this with a deft prose that is half-poetic, conjuring up the rhythms and taste and smells of his places and people, so that you are really, truly transported into these unimaginably weird worlds. McDonald's India research is prodigious, but it's nothing to the fabulous future he imagines arising from today's reality.

All seven of these stories are standouts, but if I had to pick only three to put in a time-capsule for the ages, they'd be:

1. The Djinn's Wife: this Hugo-winning novelette is a heartbreaking account of a love affair between a minor celebrity and a weakly godlike artificial intelligence. The special problems of love with an "aeai" (AI) are incredibly, thoroughly imagined here, as are the possible glories.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Randy Stafford VINE VOICE on May 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
While it's set in the same future India as McDonald's vivid River of Gods, a world of old and new gods, soap operas, water wars, mech wars, gender imbalance, and new genders, it is in no way necessary to read that novel first. I read three of these seven stories before I read the novel, and they were satisfactory on their own. However, I do think the one story original to this collection, the concluding novella "Vishnu at the Cat Circus", will have added pleasures if you've read the novel.

Each story concentrates on one or more aspects of McDonald's India, and they mostly take place at various times before the novel's events.

"Sanjeev and the Robotwallah" covers the War of Separation when India breaks up into several countries from the nation we know. It's about a brief time in a man's life when, as a Japanese anima obsessed youth, he teleoperated the robots of that war. It's a type of war that may be physically safer, but the boys find, like many a veteran of the past, that society may not have much more use for them after the peace.

"Kyle Meets the River", while a decent story, is the weakest of the book. I think that's because its plot owes too much to the recent Iraqi War and the story's initial appearance in the themed Forbidden Planets anthology. India is viewed from the perspective of an American boy, his parents living in the Cantonment, a diplomatic compound of Westerners helping to build the newly independent nation of Bharat.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles S. Kneipp on May 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed "River of Gods", but "Cyberabad Days" generated very little empathy for the characters for me. The main characters were mostly shallowly-drawn and I couldn't really give a damn what happened to them. I'm not a professional reviewer, or even an English Major, but there is a big difference between RoG and CD in terms of my involvement with the characters. Sure it's comparing a novel with mostly short stories, but the author's obvious talents didn't transfer over to the characters, in my opinion.
I give the author high marks for his depiction of a future India and the medical and informational advances. He is original and talented. Just make me care about the characters.
This review is anomalous, given the higher stars awarded by others. In this regard, my prior reads were Bacigalupi's "Pump Six" and "The Windup Girl". In both these books the characters (all of them) grabbed me like a treble hook in a catfish
and kept me involved to the last page. So the bar was left pretty high when I got to RoG and CD. RoG comfortably cleared the bar, but CD caught the bar in the face.
Sorry, fans. Maybe his next in this arc will be better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul H on April 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After many visits, I've come to the conclusion that India is impossible to describe - it has to be experienced. Ian McDonald has managed to project a future India and at the same time capture much of the unique texture of the country. Kudos are due for delivering a feel for India today. Projecting a future India without loosing the feel for the country is truly impressive.

Here's the problem: there are really only four themes around which each of these stories are written, and each story includes all of the themes. By the middle of the book, the wonderful creativity seems to turn into a varied retelling of the same basic vision. By the end of the book the constant retelling just grinds along.

It's worth a read just for the uniqueness of the non-Western approach to science fiction, but you could read any two of the stories in the collection and not miss the rest.
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