on March 24, 2001
The price might seem steep for a paperback, but be glad you can get at least two of Effinger's three Marid Audran novels in some form (I notice A FIRE IN THE SUN is also listed here, but it seems the first one, WHEN GRAVITY FAILS, is still out of print).
It's genuinely obscene that these novels aren't still available in mass market editions. These are three of the most entertaining novels I've ever read -- and, yeah, I've read a bunch.
Effinger blends science fiction and the hard-boiled detective novel seamlessly and more effectively than anyone else who's attempted it, then sets the whole thing in one of the most interesting and unusual worlds you can imagine. We've seen the futures of Los Angeles and Tokyo more times than any of us can count -- but what about the future of the Middle East? The Budayeen, the sleazy setting of these novels, is a place you've never been before in any form, and it's a place you'll wish you could visit in real life -- even if you could end up with a knife in your back.
These are just great novels. The only thing more disappointing than the fact that Bantam Spectra let them slip out of print is the fact that Effinger stopped at three, when Marid Audran and his world were still so rich and intriguing.
One last thing, though: Don't call 'em cyberpunk. First off, they ain't -- and second, Effinger reportedly hates that.
on July 8, 1999
After reading the first two books at the age of 16 and 17, I waited and waited for The Exile Kiss to arrive on the shelves. The day I found it felt like the second/third coming of a saviour who perilously navigated me through the dangerous streets of the Budayeen, and then to the fascinationg Arabic world outside of the city. His seeming transformation from pill-popping, whore banging hell-cat to a more refined, cultured arabic gentleman had me somewhat dismayed, but I found that in all reality, Effinger was just showing MARID'S cunning and shrewdness in adapting to necessary environmental changes. When in Rome!!! We do find that you can take the Maghrebi out of the Budayeen, but you can't take the Budayeen out of the Maghrebi. The only element missing in this excellent third installment in the life of Marid Audran and Friedlander Bey is another 1000 pages. There was a tease about a fourth book called Retribution, which I have been anticipating with baited breath. So, the long of the short of it...Read all three books, When Gravity Fails, A Fire In the Sun, and The Exile Kiss, and you will be introduced the one of the most interesting and fascinating antagonist/protagonist in the literary world. Don't let the Sci-Fi setting disuade you from this adventure, I'm not a Sci-fi fan at all, but have become a adamant Audran/Effinger follower, as will you. Please harass Effinger to give us our fourth installment of this fantastic saga. GBA San Diego, CA
on December 21, 2001
In this sequel to When Gravity Fails and A Fire in the Sun finds Marid Audran and his patron Friedlander Bey, framed for murder and sentenced to exile in Rub al-Khali in the Arabian Desert. As in real life, the Rub al-Khali ("The Empty Quarter") is a vast, uninhabited sand sea, from which no one emerges alive. The bulk of the book takes place there, as they are rescued by a tribe of Bedouin and undergo deep self-examination. The change of setting makes for a nice difference from the previous two books, and there's a bit more character development as well. As is to be expected, the duo make it back to Cairo to unmask the person who set them up and exact vengeance (rather like Stevenson's Kidnapped). Things work out a little too easily for them upon their return, but on the whole, it's another solid entry in the series.
on March 27, 1999
I read this book back in the day, when it first came out... All I can say is, that, if you loved Gibson and Co., you need to add this book to your collection as well. A definate must read.