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[[ download Prime ]] When Gravity FailsAuthor George Alec Effinger –

A strange mixture of elements that I ve seen in earlier science fiction When Gravity Fails reminded me A LOT of Spider Robinson s Mindkiller Want to speak fluent German Clip a German module into the jack in your head, and there it is in your brain, waiting for you to use it Want to be someone cooler that you regularly are There are personality modules available just pop one in and you too can be James Bond or a psychopathic serial killer Want to go without sleep, hunger, or thirst This too can be arranged, though you ll pay for it later.Marid Audran, the main character, is also a charismatic criminal, harking back to the days of the Gray Mouser Lieber or Slippery Jim diGriz Harrison But he has the drug habits that you ll find in Philip K Dick s fiction Plus, he s a non observant Muslim, making observations on his society reminiscent of Frank Herbert s Dune series, but in a world that blends Dune and Neuromancer.Surprisingly, there are an awful lot of transgender people in WGF Lots of women who used to be men although why they would make that change in a society where it seems that women can only hustle in bars or be prostitutes, I m not sure Even those who maintain their genetic gender go in for body modifications, changing their appearances drastically.Add to this odd community a killer who is eliminating friends and associates of Marid, and we also have a murder mystery element There s a lot going on in this novel and it was engaging to read, but I just didn t connect with the ending Book 220 in my Science Fiction Fantasy reading project. When Gravity Fails was pretty good, without ever quite achieving greatness I enjoyed it, but the pieces never entirely came together and swept me away It was, however, part of my ongoing project to read all the Hugo nominees for novels It s going to take a while Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook Okay, I read this because it was a cyberpunk book and I needed it to complete my Pop Sugar 2018 Reading Challenge I left this category towards the end because I hate this genre however this was tremendously good It is set in a future Moslem city in which everyone is Moslem, although not all are practising In the Budayeen area of the city, criminals prowl the streets and drugs, prostitution and murder are rampant Our hero is a minor thug and druggie who unlike the majority of the city s denizens does not partake of the moddies or daddys that everyone else indulges in Moddies change your personality completely by plugging into your brain and daddys do things like enable you to speak a foreign language All this sounds terrible, but believe me this is a fun, whiz bang thriller Effinger knows what he s doing and delivers a great story with an anti hero who grows on you and a lot of scurrilous characters who don t and a real, crummy, miserable, hot as hell world to contain them.The only reason I wouldn t give this a better rating is because this world is a misogynistic world in which the gals are there for sex or serving drinks only and most of the women in it are actually men who have been surgically modified This was written in the 1980s, but it is still not as dated as a lot of sci fi is from earlier eras. Dirty, gritty, morally ambiguous cyberpunk with a bit of a biopunk feel, too, but than anything, this was a solid detective fiction Was it satisfying to see the one man who d never let himself get modded fall down the dark hole for the sake of either saving his girl or getting revenge or, just possibly, stopping a horrible killer Hell yeah.This came out back in 87 and it was nominated for the hugo for good reason It s very detailed, full of great cultural stuff, and the concept of personality modding and its execution here, with both the good and the really dark side included, was really great.I mean, where else can you get a thoroughly Muslim town and a half Muslim half French main character in the future to casually accept the fact that men and women can change genders whenever they want fairly cheaply How about taking a ride along a personality path as a great hero or a great villain Heck, someone here had modded themselves to be James Bond and even bought the snazzy suits to go along with his head mod It s a lifestyle choice.Our MC had a pathological fear of all that crazy shit, and if his life wasn t going all crazy with his crazy disappeared chick, he d never have found himself diving into the really deep end and losing everything he ever thought he valued Once you go down the road of the detective, it s very hard to ever come back Sometimes it s your choice, and sometimes the choices are just made for you.Truly, this is a great noir cyberpunk. As King of this Text Box, my first action is to proclaim this review s title to be When the Back Cover of When Gravity Fails Fails.So here s what s on the back cover In a decadent world of cheap pleasures and easy death, Marid Audran has kept his independence the hard way Still, like everything else in the Budayeen, he s available for a price.For a new kind of killer roams the streets of the Arab ghetto, a madman whose bootlegged personality cartridges range from a sinister James Bond to a sadistic disemboweler named Khan And Marid Audran has been made an offer he can t refuse.The two hundred year old godfather of the Budayeen s underworld has enlisted Marid as his instrument of vengeance But first Marid must undergo the most sophisticated of surgical implants before he dares to confront a killer who carries the power of every psychopath since the beginning of time.WHAAAT Every psychopath since the beginning of time Awesome So this is a kickass detective vs killer noir, with a tough, morally grey badass as a protagonist And this idea of personalities as software on like Nintendo cartridges Genius Like like like like what if maybe possibly Marid and this killer get into a high stakes paper rock scissors game where they boot in different personalities to take advantage of the other s currently slotted personality Like, hey Marid boots in Sherlock Holmes So killer boots in Professor Moriarty And then Marid turns up the heat by booting in Hannibal Lecter But then the killer tries to turn him by booting in, like, fucking Cleopatra And won t this all serve as a wonderful pretext for some sci fi style philosophical explorations of identity Yeah, this is gonna be BadAss, with a B and an A so capital that I had to add this extra clause despite already capitalizing them in the first place.LOL NOPE I ve taken the liberty of rewriting the back cover to better reflect the reality of When Gravity Fails In a decadent world of fluid gender and body image, where literally every male turned female is a prostitute, Marid Audran is a loser with no real relationships, no real morals, no real toughness, who spends the majority of his time and ours drug binging and sitting around in strip clubs, making banal comments about the artificiality of paid intimacy for it is not until page 163 over half way through the book that Marid Audran is enlisted as the godfather s instrument of vengeance and undergoes the most sophisticated of surgical implants, after which he promptly fails to use them and avoids confronting the killer who most certainly does not possess the power of every psychopath since the beginning of time.There, much better Well Much realistic, anyway.Where s the book promised on the back cover I want to read that one This is a noir cyberpunk with a fresh setting, in a Muslim country at 22nd century I found the characters could be better in personality, to grab reader s sympathy , and the plot story could use conflicts at early chapters.Now the fun part I love the world building of this story It is a unique approach in English science fiction for SF published at 1988 , but at the same time I feel the Muslim setting in the novel is rather familiar with my life, unlike if I read a life of characters at a colony on Mars I found some dark humors in this story are lighten the story a bit Maybe because I live in a nation with majority Muslim people so I see some of the Muslim setting as hilarious, bravely said jokes view spoiler Reading the two Arab characters bargaining intensely, I can t help smiling because it is so true in real life And how the protagonist changing his activity hours on the fasting month is true also this technique has been done by real people, especially who doesn t have productivity life from 9 to 5 And some characters are using Insha Allah words with attitudes that not so resigned faithful, but like to blame Allah for the bad things happen in life, is not so fictitious hide spoiler I ve had this on a list of Sci Fi books to read for quite a while, a list passed on to me by one of my favourite Profs, but it took a group read thanks, Kim to finally make me pick up the old, water stained copy that s been sitting on my shelf I imagine I knew what to expect once upon a time, but that time was long gone and When Gravity Fails was full of fun cyberpunky surprises I loved the easy, full acceptance of the transgendered in the contained culture of the Budayeen, especially the acceptance of it by our protagonist, Mar d Audran His acceptance made it seem normal, barely worth mentioning, and I loved the comfort this engendered sorry couldn t control myself there Moreover, I thought George Alec Effinger offered one of the best visions of cyberpunk body alterations that I have ever read Daddies designed to boost one s skills mostly for language, but for all sorts of other physical and mental skills mods to give you other personalities and experiences, and plenty of plastic surgery to reassign one s gender, reshape one s look, reinvent oneself None of it went too far All of it made sense to me At the nuts and bolts level, the story was a readable one despite its familiarity A gritty, noirish, underground mystery where the hard loner who moves teflon coated through the dirty streets is sucked into a murder investigation to protect himself and the place and people he loves We ve seen it a squillion times before and it rarely tires me I liked it just fine and was all set to give When Gravity Fails three stars Don t get me wrong, it was better than okay for most of the read, but it never compelled me to pick it up and read voraciously to the last page It was mostly just a comfortable read the kind I d pick up when my brain needs a rest.But then Audran found his killers, and When Gravity Falls did things with Audran freshly modified despite years of remaining free of augmentations that I didn t expect What he becomes, beyond his control or not, is a tale changer, and the way those around him react is precisely as it should be Sometimes bad endings can take something I love and make me hate it it s nice to know that great endings can take something mediocre and make me love it too. Brilliant story, great concept, intriguing characters I really enjoyed this one It s dark, edgy, and depicts a life lived hand to mouth in a rough neighbourhood where life is cheap and drugs and booze take the edge off An unlikely hero, and a cast of characters that come and go the way you d expect in a world of easy loyalties, you d be surprised how much you come to care for the people living on the Street The tech is interesting and makes you wonder what choices you d make given the option I can t recommend it highly enough. Cross posted at Outlaw Reviews and at Shelf InflictedIn the 22nd century, the fiercely independent Mar d Audran is living in a dangerous middle eastern city in the Budayeen It is a rich, fascinating and diverse world where people can easily have their brains wired for moddies , plastic cartridges with different personality types, from fictional characters to celebrities, that are inserted directly into the skull and daddies , smaller add ons that are inserted next to the moddies to enhance certain skills, like the ability to converse in other languages, and to depress certain physical and mental functions, like hunger, thirst or fear Mar d, son of a Frenchman and an Algerian prostitute, is proud of the fact that his brain is not wired, but instead relies on drugs and alcohol to alter his mood The story begins in Chiriga s nightclub, where Mar d is supposed to meet a client from Reconstructed Russia, a Mr Bogatyrev, who is looking for his son who was missing for three years After Mar d receives a packet of money, holotapes, and a complete dossier of his son, a woman screams, a modified James Bond is waving a pistol, Mar d investigates and then returns to his table to find his client took a bullet in the chest The shooting becomes a police matter until Mar d s acquaintances start dying off, one by one Despite his distrust of the police, he is forced to work with them and then forced by Friedlander Bey, the city s Godfather to undergo modification in order to easily find the murderer This was a fun, gritty, and thought provoking science fiction story with lots of great ideas about personality modification, knowledge enhancement and ease of changing genders that could be a very real possibility in our future Some international intrigue caused the story to drag a little and the mystery to fall flat I loved Mar d s independence and honesty, though I fear that now he is under Friedlander Bey s control the things I like about him will change dramatically in the next book I also loved the relationship between Mar d and Yasmin, his fully modified girlfriend who was not born a girl and can t manage to be on time for anything, even after paying a 50 fine to the owner of the nightclub where she works when she is just a minute late I just wished the author used the same loving care in writing a satisfying conclusion as he did in creating this fascinating world. In A Decadent World Of Cheap Pleasures And Easy Death, Marid Audrian Has Kept His Independence The Hard Way Still, Like Everything Else In The Budayeen, He S Available For A PriceFor A New Kind Of Killer Roams The Streets Of The Arab Ghetto, A Madman Whose Bootlegged Personality Cartridges Range From A Sinister James Bond To A Sadistic Disemboweler Named Khan And Marid Audrian Has Been Made An Offer He Can T RefuseThe Year Old Godfather Of The Budayeen S Underworld Has Enlisted Marid As His Instrument Of Vengeance But First Marid Must Undergo The Most Sophisticated Of Surgical Implants Before He Dares To Confront A Killer Who Carries The Power Of Every Psychopath Since The Beginning Of TimeWry, Savage, And Unignorable, When Gravity Fails Was Hailed As A Classic By Effinger S Fellow SF Writers On Its Original Publication In , And The Sequence Of Marid Audrian Novels It Begins Were The Culmination Of His Career