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When Gravity Fails Paperback – October 13, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; First Edition edition (October 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765313588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765313584
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Like a dive into the eye of a storm."
--The Washington Post Book World on When Gravity Fails

"Fast, cool, clever, beautifully written, absolutely authoritative. A kind of cyberpunk Raymond Chandler book with dashes of Roger Zelazny, Ian Fleming, and Scheherezade--but altogether original."
--Robert Silverberg on When Gravity Fails

"Ingenious, layered, sophisticated, and consistently bloodcurdling, When Gravity Fails kept me awake long after I had finished reading it.
--Spider Robinson

"Great entertainment...Places Effinger in the company of writers like Gibson."
--Fantasy Review on When Gravity Fails

"Superior science fiction . . . among the best I've come across."
--The Denver Post on When Gravity Fails

"A brilliantly written, knife-edged futuristic detective story . . . destined to be the year's most intense and emotionally involving SF work."
--Houston Post on When Gravity Fails

"Wry and black and savage... there's a knife behind every smile."
-- George R. R. Martin on When Gravity Fails

"Muscular, convincing, yet continuously surprising."
--Richard A. Lupoff on When Gravity Fails

"One of the best cyberpunk novels I've read . . . Effinger's prose is terse, direct, vivid and often laced with an enchanting sense of humor . . . this is only part of the book's delightful texture . . . gives you a real sense of what it's like to be an old-fashioned gumshoe in the seedy backreaches of a futuristic arab nation."
--The Providence Sunday Journal on When Gravity Fails

"Wry, inventive, nearly hallucinatory . . . a well-written, baroque riff on the time-honored themes of Raymond Chandler."
--Publisher's Weekly on When Gravity Fails

"This is the fourth or fifth time I've been asked to give a public comment on an Effinger book; and each time I've done it; and each time I've said you people are cheating yourselves if you don't forego food and rent to pick up on Effinger's work. Now, *this* time, will you for pete's sake listen to me and buy When Gravity Fails? It's as crazy as a spider on ice skates, plain old terrific; and if you don't pay attention I'll have to get tough with you! We have your childen and your dog. Buy, read and marvel...or else."
-- Harlan Ellison on When Gravity Fails


"Like a dive into the eye of a storm." (The Washington Post Book World)

"Fast, cool, clever, beautifully written, absolutely authoritative... absolutely original." (Robert Silverberg)

"Ingenious, layered, sophisticated, and consistently bloodcurdling, When Gravity Fails kept me awake long after I had finished reading it." (Spider Robinson)

"Great entertainment...Places Effinger in the company of writers like Gibson." (Fantasy Review)

"Superior science fiction . . . among the best I've come across." (The Denver Post)

"A brilliantly written, knife-edged futuristic detective story . . . destined to be the year's most intense and emotionally involving SF work." (Houston Post)

"Wry and black and savage... there's a knife behind every smile." (George R. R. Martin)

"Muscular, convincing, yet continuously surprising." (Richard A. Lupoff)

"One of the best cyberpunk novels I've read . . . terse, direct, vivid and often laced with an enchanting sense of humor" (The Providence Sunday Journal)

"Wry, inventive, nearly hallucinatory . . . a well-written, baroque riff on the time-honored themes of Raymond Chandler." (Publisher's Weekly)

"It's as crazy as a spider on ice skates, plain old terrific... Buy, read and marvel...or else." (Harlan Ellison)

About the Author

A winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, George Alec Effinger was the author of What Entropy Means to Me and Schrodinger's Kitten. He died in 2002.

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Customer Reviews

Truly a landmark Sci-Fi novel worthy of recognition and the status of being referred to as a classic.
Roarshak@aol.com
It was original, the setting was amazing, the characters were full of life and sprung from the page, it was well written.
D. Agle
This is at the heart of it, a great hard boiled crime novel set in a gritty, sci-fi futuristic world.
kalkooksoo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By J. Fuchs VINE VOICE on February 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
George Alec Effinger wrote three books about Marid Audran, a private investigator living in the Budayeen, the red light district of an unnamed Arab country in the 23rd century (but in actuality modeled on the French quarter in New Orleans, where Effinger lived). When Gravity Fails is the first of the three books, which introduce us to Marid, who was raised in Algeria by his mother, an Algerian prostitute, and who never knew his French father. Considered a barbarian north african by the Arabs in his city, Marid lives on the fringes among the drug dealers and users, and the strippers, protitutes, sex changes and outcasts that live just outside the law, working as a private detective when he can find a client. Marid prides himself on being unwired, that is, unlike most residents of the Budayeen, Marid has not adapted his brain to accept personality modules, or Moddies, or add-ons, better known as Daddies. Nor does Marid work or live under the largesse or protection of Friedlander Bey, better known as Papa, who controls most the business, legitimate or otherwise, in the Budayeen.
When a client is killed in front of Marid's eyes and Marid's acquaintances start dying horrible deaths, Marid is drawn into an uneasy alliance with both the police, whom he does not trust, and Papa, to whom he does not want to be beholden.
Effinger has created a world that is unlike most science fiction books, keeping the actual science light, and letting us believe that this is how the Arab world might be in the 23rd century, with not much changed except a bit of technology. Effinger offers both an interesting who and why-dunnit, while examining the issues of faith and identity.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Angus Macdonald on March 7, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Effinger has created what might at first seem an impossibility -- a cyberpunk, film noir murder mystery set in the Middle East. Where is the Budayeen? That's not important (although from references it seems to be near Egypt); what is important is the characters. The people, from Audran to Papa to Half-Hajj all fit in this world. You know what they look like, feel like, smell like, and if ever they act out of character you know something is wrong. This is a world of shadows and sand, one where there is trickery and deceit around every corner. The mullahs call you to prayer and people wire their brains to alter their personalities. Life is cheap, sex is cheaper, and everyone has to look out for himself. There is nothing heavy-handed in the way Effinger puts this together. He is stylish without being self-conscious. You will be drawn in and only want to read more about this world he has created. This is a fantastic book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bob Bonsall on May 20, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For my money, this is the definitive work of the cyberpunk genre. All the classic elements are there: just-beyond tomorrow technology, drugs, sex, and a casual disdain for human life. Style is far more important than substance, as eloquently expressed in the form of moddies, jackable personality recordings that make you whomever you want to be. Hard, objective truth is by turns an inconvenience or a victim to practicality and hypocrisy.
The two most engaging things about this novel are, in fact, the two things that should stand out in any novel: the characters and the setting. Most often in scifi these both take a back seat to technology. In "Gravity", the technology exists only to enhance the characters, as we see how they use (and abuse) its capabilities. Best of all, Effinger captures the film noir quality of cyberpunk with style and elegance. The good guys might win, but it is a pyrrhic victory.
If you're looking for the feel-good hit of the summer, take a pass on this one. If you want a novel with style, grit, and integrity (and not a little cynicism), this is an excellent choice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Todd O'Rourke on May 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Within the Budayeen, a world full of cheap pleasure and criminal mischief, we are introduced to the protagonist Marid Audran. Audran, a down and out detective that prides himself on being a traditionalist, makes his way through the seedy underworld of the Budayeen. When forced to adapt to the world around him, Audran becomes one of the many people he despises.

Meanwhile, Audran is given a new case where he must track down a murderer that uses augmented personality cartridges that allow the killer to assume the identity of everyone from James Bond to a sadistic murderer named Khan. These cartridges are personality modules that once plugged into the brain of the user, allows them to become someone else, either real or fictional. When Audran's friend goes missing, he becomes enraged and bound by vengeance to capture the kidnapper. As he soon finds out, the murderer and the kidnapper may have something or someone in common.

George Effinger is an author with immense talent. Within "When Gravity Fails", there are moments of description that are beautifully written, specifically when he describes the rough neighborhood that is the Budayeen. He skillfully gives descriptive scenes of violence that transcend being disgusting or unwarranted, a feat that many authors cannot replicate.

The best thing I could possibly say about this novel is that it is welcoming to be read time and time again. On subsequent readings, you will recognize subtle hints that lead to finding the killer before Audran can.

I give this novel five out of five stars.
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