Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

When Gravity Fails 2005 cover When Gravity Fails (1987)
1988 Hugo Award nominee
1988 Nebula Award nominee

2005 Orb trade paperback
284 pages
cover art by Craig Mullens (left)

1988 Bantam Spectra paperback
276 pages
cover art by Jim Burns (right)
When Gravity Fails 1988 cover

From the back cover of the 2005 trade paperback (nearly the same as 1988 paperback blurb):
       In a decadent world of cheap pleasures and easy death, MarÓd Audran has kept his independence and his identity the hard way.  Still, like everything else in the Budayeen, he is available...for a price.
       For a new kind of killer roams the streets of the decadent Arabic ghetto, a madman whose bootlegged personality cartridges range from a sinister James Bond to a sadistic disemboweler named Khan.  And MarÓd Audan has been made an offer he can't refuse.
       The two-hundred-year-old "godfather" of the Budayeen's underworld has enlisted MarÓd as his instrument of vengeance.  But first MarÓd must undergo the most sophisticated of surgical implants before he dares to confront a killer with the powers of every psychopath since the beginning of time...

From the front flap of the hardcover (cover shown below):
       ...Set in a decadent Arabic ghetto, When Gravity Fails is a novel of murder, sex-change, drugs, and corruption, and of one man's struggle for survival and independence.
       MarÓd Audran is big, tough, and lives by his wits without selling more of himself than he chooses in the Budayeen, that quarter of the city where pleasure is cheap and independence, rare.  He has never had to carry a gun.  He enjoys his recreational drugs, but rejects the varieties of pleasure offered by the surgical implants that make it possible to take on vicariously the personality cartridge of another, a hero, a lover, an artist, whatever one might choose.  Aside from the commonplace excitements of sex, drugs, and alcohol, advanced surgery is the road to pleasure for most of the inhabitants of the Budayeen.
      But now MarÓd is in trouble.  A string of brutal and senseless murders enmesh him in a web of violence that brings him to the attention of Friedlander Bey, the centenarian godfather of crime in the Budayeen.  Offered a position as Bey's agent, an offer that cannot be rejected, requiring the most sophisticated surgical implants, MarÓd is made capable of battle with a strange and powerful killer, whom he must defeat or die trying.

Read for group discussion on May 10, 2006

When Gravity Fails 1987 1st edition another book cover:
When Gravity Fails 

1987 Arbor House hardcover
1st edition
290 pages
cover art by Michael Hinge (left)

How we each rated these books
Dan 8 Amy 8 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 8 Barb -
Aaron 7 Cynthia -
Jackie - Ron 8
Christine - Deb -
Mike 8 Stephanie 6

George Alec Effinger (1947-2002) was a US author of science fiction and fantasy.  He lived for many years in New Orleans.

1989 Hugo Award for Best Novelette "SchrŲdinger's Kitten"
1989 Nebula Award for Best Novelette "SchrŲdinger's Kitten"

MarÓd Audran novels
-- When Gravity Fails (1987), a Hugo award and Nebula award nominee
-- A Fire in the Sun (1989), a Hugo award nominee
-- The Exile Kiss (1991)

-- What Entropy Means to Me (1972), his first novel, a Nebula nominee
-- Relatives (fixup, 1973)
-- Nightmare Blue (1975, with Gardner Dozois)
-- Those Gentle Voices (1976)
-- Felicia (1976), non-genre
-- Death in Florence (1978, also titled Utopia 3 (1980))
-- Heroics (1979)
-- The Wolves of Memory (1981)
-- The Nick of Time (1985), Sf time travel
-- The Bird of Time (1986), sequel to The Nick of Time
-- Shadow Money (1988), non-genre mystery novel

Short fiction collections
-- Mixed Feelings (1974)
-- Irrational Numbers (1976)
-- Dirty Tricks (1978)
-- Idle Pleasures (1983), sports related stories
-- The Old Funny Stuff (1989)
-- Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson (1993)
-- Budayeen Nights (2003)
-- Live! from Planet Earth (2005)

Other stuff
-- The Zork Chronicles (1990)
-- The Red Tape War (1991, with Jack L. Chalker and Mike Resnick)

Aaron's review of Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson on Fantastic Reviews
George Alec Effinger - Wikipedia
Steven Silver's Reviews - George Alec Effinger: When Gravity Fails
Green Man Review: George Alec Effinger, When Gravity Fails
SF Signal: REVIEW: When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger

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This page was last updated September 30, 2010