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Budayeen Nights by George Alec Effinger

Budayeen Nights (original 2003; edition 2003)

by George Alec Effinger

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150279,725 (3.79)7
Title:Budayeen Nights
Authors:George Alec Effinger
Info:Urbana, Ill.: Golden Gryphon, 2003.
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction, collection, short stories, first edition, Marîd Audran

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Budayeen Nights by George Alec Effinger (2003)



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This book is the final piece in the Marîd Audran/Budayeen series. A collection of stories, both published and unpublished, included fragments of books that were never finished. Effingers' last wife, [a:Barbara Hambly|10333|Barbara Hambly|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1251133270p2/10333.jpg], wrote the forward as well as an introduction to each of the stories.

Schrödingers Kitten
The first story is completely unlike the Budayeen novels. Indeed the Budayeen is barely mentioned and a lot of it takes place in pre-world war 2 Germany. As such it is also in a completely different time to Auran. This isn't sci-fi or cyberpunk but more philosophy via physics about the uncertainty and endless possibities of the future. Jumping forward and back between various possibilities it's a little confusing but an interesting start to the book.

Marîd Changes His Mind
This was an odd inclusion. It's the first 6 chapters of the second Marîd Audran book and I wouldn't expect people who hadn't read that to be reading this. As I only just recently read that book I will skip over it this time.

Slow, Slow Burn
In the world of moddies and daddies one name stands out above any other. The most desired, the most adored, the most experienced - Honey Pílar. The star of the top-selling "erotica" moddies Pílars' name is on every street and every shelf but who she really is has never been explored til now. In her mid-forties and on her fourth marriage she is like Howard Hughes, rich beyond all belief but eccentric and rarely does she leave her home. Her husband Kit is growing tired of this dumb, dull woman whose only good point is her body and what she does with it and this isn't the paradise marriage others think it should be. But there seems to be something more. Is Pílar really as stupid as she seems? What is with the cryptic recording? Is the world growing tired of Honey Pílar? I feel there is a lot more to explore and it's a shame Effinger died before he got that chance.

Marîd and the Trail of Blood
So far my favourite story of this book. It reminds me of the first book. Audran is on the trail of a killer who seems to be a vampire. There is only one way to fight a vampire - by using a moddy of vampire hunter Van Helsing. I love the way the moddies alter actions and thoughts without (most of the time) stopping their own thoughts from being part of it. I wish this was explored more rather than being a minor part of the overall series. Also featuring one of my favourite characters, Bill the Taxi Driver, this is a taste of where I was hoping the series was going.

King of the Cyber Rifles
This story is set in an unnamed Persian mountain pass and tells the take of a soldier, Jân Muhammad, whose job is to live alone in his bunker and defend the pass using technology linked to moddies and daddies. It's interesting to look at a perspective of the technology that's not pleasure based but military. Apart from that though there isn't a lot of substance to it. It feels like an introductory chapter as all it does is introduce a main character and a setting then just stops.

Marîd Throws a Party
Effinger unfortunately died before he could write the fourth Audran book, Word of Night. But he did write the first couple chapters. It's frustrating in a way as he was setting up some good events. Audran and Bey's pilgrimage to Mecca, Marîd's revenge on Fuad and what gets me most, the introduction of a technology upgrade. The neural net introduced in the second book was coming back and going into Marîd's head. It would have been a return to what made the first book so great. That mix of old-school world and religion with futuristic technology. Such a shame we'll never know what Effinger had in store. I'm sure it would have been a great book.

The World as We Know It
Originally the Audran books were meant to be a 5 book series. That was cut short early but Effinger always had in mind where it was going. This short story is set after the fifth book. We don't know what happened to Marîd in the intervening time but it appears he has lost a great deal. Now working as a PI under an assumed name he's an ageing man in a changed world. Moddies and daddies are considered ancient technology and the new thing is CR - consensual reality. When a local company has issues they can't make public who else could they turn to. I think I like this story the least out of this book. It's disjointed and feels very incomplete as if whole paragraphs or more are missing. It doesn't make a great deal of sense and feels like it was included just so they could publish everything Effinger wrote about the Budayeen.

The City on the Sand
A sad, philosophical, semi-autobiographical tale of a writer/poet in exile spending his days and nights drinking in the Budayeen. Modelled on Effinger the write Ernst Weinraub came to the Budayeen for an unknown reason with hints that he was escaping some drama in his past. He spends his time drinking at scratching out meaningless writing on napkins and scrap paper hoping for some recognition or acknowledgment of his "superior" intellect. Occasionally others come by the café in inhabits - the proprietor; the leader of the Jaish (local militia) trying to persuade Weinraub to spy for them; Sandor Courane, protagonist of other Effiger stories and another representation of himself; and Kebap the possibly imaginary street urchin who is far wiser than his years. It was an OK but I found it a bit boring and was glad when it was finished.

The Plastic Pasha
The final piece of this books is a fragment of a story Effinger started in the weeks before his death. Barely a chapter in length the only thing you can get out of it is it not set in the Budayeen and seemed to be about politics. Any more than that I cannot say as it ends abruptly. Honestly I can't see why it was included. I know it was the last thing he wrote but it was extremely unfinished and probably would have been better left out.

So what are my final thoughts on this book. Firstly I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't read the rest of the Budayeen books. Secondly I'm not sure it needed to be released, or at least not as it was. A collection of his stories that have previously been released, sure. But the unfinished fragments, those I'm not so sure about. I don't understand the need to publish everything an author ever wrote. If I died I wouldn't want anything I hadn't finished and been satisfied with to be published. Yes it shows where Effinger was planning on taken the Budayeen series but he died over ten years after he wrote [b:The Exile Kiss|358990|The Exile Kiss|George Alec Effinger|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1312020161s/358990.jpg|349113]. Maybe he didn't finish the fourth book because he wasn't happy with it, or just wanted to write something else. So here we get the scrap he left behind that he may never have wanted to be seen.

There were some good parts but overall it was a sad book of pieces and fragments that tell of potential lost. ( )
  Shirezu | Mar 31, 2013 |
I had been hoping for more novels in Effinger's Budayeen series, but he died in 2002, leaving the fourth novel unfinished. The first two chapters of that novel are included here, and it would have been a great one! It seems Effinger was going to have Marid Audran and Friedlander Bey travel to Mecca! A description of the hajj in the 22nd century - all the more reason to mourn the author's passing.

The other stories included here shed a little more light on Marid's story - especially "The World As We Know It," which has a middle-aged Marid working on a cyberpunk mystery. The story leaves a lot to be desired, but the insight into Marid's character after Friedlander Bey loses power in the city is enough to satisfy Effinger fans. ( )
  scootm | Jul 31, 2008 |
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Effinger's original dialouge really blows me away. The hard-boiled action crackles with language inspired by the noble Qur'an and the poetry of Omar Khayyam. The meticulous research of every detail Muslim culture weaves seamlessly with fully realized portraits from the mean streets. Tough-as-nails corrupt cops and transgender hookers conduct their business with all the formalized flourishes of Arabic ettiqute. Like Turkish coffee, it fills the atmosphere with a rich complexity and leaves you more than a little wired.
added by PhoenixTerran | editio9, Chris Hsiang (Feb 27, 2009)
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These nine tales are set in Budayeen, the walled city in the sand, a city of dark shadows and even darker inhabitants, where a Raymond Chandleresque vision has been created--hardboiled, noir, futuristic--but with a twist. The sights, smells, and denizens of Budayeen are brought to life--from the city's sordid, decadent underbelly to the glamorous excesses of the sex industry.… (more)

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