A Fire in the Sun is the second novel I’ve read by George Alec Effinger. When I finished the previous in the trilogy, When Gravity Fails, I immediately headed back to the bookstore I found it at and bought the next two. It’s not just that they’re good sf detective novels, it’s the setting of the Budayeen in this nameless city in a balkanized world that’s just so damned compelling. I love these kinds of created places. I guess all fiction is imagination, but I love the imagining that goes on in making these kinds of worlds.
In this novel Marid Audran is a cop, sort of. He’s been wired up with personality modifications he can slide in and out according to his needs and is still popping as many pills as he can get his hands on, and since the last novel that number has increased, because he’s also in the employ of the City’s crime boss, Friedlander Bey, who may be centuries old, no one’s exactly sure. It’s very noir but with personality enhancements instead of slugs of whisky. And the Americans you see are peripheral at best. This is a future where nations don’t really mean a lot. It’s a grimy future that still feels very possible, which is hard to say about a lot of near-future/cyberpunk work from the late 1980s.
I’m making another conscious effort not to read the third book in the series right away. It’s good to have something to look forward to, bookwise.
When Gravity Fails, by George Alec Effinger was so fucking good. It’s cyberpunk set in an unnamed city on the edge of a desert where everyone speaks different forms of Arabic. Nations have fractured and people switch genders a lot. The story is a classic noir type thing about a drug-addicted guy working for the local crime lord to solve a bunch of killings by someone who’s wearing the personality of James Bond. And another who’s Genghis Khan. It’s gritty and great.
Effinger wrote this in the 80s but it feels completely contemporary like anything from Ian McDonald. I like these SF books that aren’t set in the West. This was my first but he’s got a couple more books in the series. It’s too bad Effinger is dead and not writing anything more.