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 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 Audrian has been made an offer he can't refuse.The 200-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.
Wry, savage, and unignorable, When Gravity Fails was hailed as a classic by Effinger's fellow SF writers on its original publication in 1987, and the sequence of Marid Audrian novels it begins were the culmination of his career.
"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)
"Ingenious, layered, sophisticated, and consistently bloodcurdling, When Gravity Fails kept me awake long after I had finished reading it." (Spider Robinson)
"[Y]ou 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!" (Harlan Ellison)
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This is one of the most absorbing books I have read combining innovation with new takes on old ideas and this sci-fi particularly thrives in the religious middle eastern setting.
It is hard to pin this one down. There are echoes of 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (BladeRunner)?'; echoes of Asimov's Robots and many non-fantasy works. It is about an imperfect man forced to carry out someone else's mission.
Marid Audran. Totally bought into the emotion and the balance between his old life and the pressure to reform.
Hard to say, I was particularly struck by the fact that many people think the worst of the hero no matter how well intentioned.
Thoroughly enjoyed this and the sequel for the performance, the storytelling and the sense of a credible new world.