The best cyberpunk that nobody knows The drug and sex crazy Middle Eastern setting of the Buyadeen sets this apart from the usual chrome and black leather crowd, while the tech level is accurately like today, but a little bit different Book 2 of the Marid Audran trilogy follows our now neuro enhanced protagonist as responsibility is forced on him, as well as a deadly secret about his employer and the system of governance he controls I reread this when had a deal on the whole series This is a definite step down from When Gravity Fails I could remember that book vividly, but this one had a vague oh yeah, that s when that happens While the scenes are good, the over all plot just doesn t make sense There s some kind of covert war between the two major crime bosses of the city, but it turns out there s an overall alliance over a covert plan to share organs to favor underlings Marid is at the mercy of hardened kills and walks out a few too many times for me to believe it And as an underling in an organization and new moddy enthusiast, he s much less fun than the hustler of the first book Still, I m excited for to see how the series ends.
The next book in the Mar d Audran is a bit different from the first Mar d is no longer anyone s favourite person He s treated like scum by all his old friends for the horrific incident at the end of the last book as well as he s now Friedlander Bey s lieutenant.
Not so much a detective book this time Audran is now Papa s official liaison with the police force helping them when suitable He s also dealing with his past when he finds his mother for the first time since his youth And coming up against the only rival Papa has.
It s still a fairly dark book but lacks the punch of the first one There s nothing really new in the world although there is a mention of a new technology which may pop up later It was a good book but I was hoping for.
I remember thinking that the first book in the series was interesting, but never quite entirely satisfying Apparently either the second book is a lot better, or I was really cranky when I read the first volume That s certainly possible At any rate, I quite enjoyed this second venture into Marid Audran s world.
Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook The first book in this series had than enough character development for several books, as we watched the gradually dawning look of terror on hero Marid s face as he not only realized that all the independent he thought he possessed was nothing than a convenient illusion and got to watch as his world collapsed to a cushioned and pampered box both literal and metaphorical It was a chilling note to end on, so how do you craft an encore to that By taking it even further, of course With Marid now firmly under the thumb of benefactor possible relative ruthless underground overlord Friedlander Bey, known without a shred of affection by anyone as Papa , he finds himself installed as one of his top men, utterly part of the system and given all the money he could ever want But its a cage so gilded its likely to blind him he s miserable all the time about feeling compromised than a convention of double agents, all his friends hate his guts and Bey enjoys twisting the knife in the nicest possible fashion the kicker is when he forces Marid s best friend to sell her bar to him, then gives it to Marid to run just to remind Marid that he ll never have his old life back, no matter how he wants it Oh, and its only Monday.
The last book had a bit of a lackadaisical attitude to plotting at times but succeeded through sheer texture and giving us an exotically intriguing locale to explore With the shock of the new about being introduced to Effinger s world and the Budayeen worn off this could turn into a familiar romp, Just Another Day for Marid and his wacky cast of regulars But Effinger does his best to push Marid out of his comfort zone by essentially eliminating it entirely his alienation from his friends changes the whole character of what we thought we knew as once friendly places turn abruptly hostile on him, forcing him to hang out at Bey s house and figure out way to not do as he s told while looking like he s doing exactly as he s told.
A book where the hero holds zero cards in his favor and is doing his best to tread water until the vague hope of matters improving actually materializes is an interesting premise for a book and for the most part Marid s personality is what keeps this book going As before, the plot itself seems secondary, spending most of the beginning figuring out the status quo and then gaining a little steam when Papa decides that he needs a liaison in the police station and poor Marid fits the bill, sticking him with people that have hated him all along instead of starting recently like his friends These sections have a fun buddy cop feel as the Marid has very little feel for police work and his partner is one of about three honest men on the force.
But its only when something happens to his partner that the book finally kicks into gear as Marid investigates a thing called The Phoenix File and run afoul of Papa s main rival if anything, these parts go deeper than the first novel did by detailing the interconnected nature of the criminal underground and how these vicious old men stay in power Marid toys with messing up the network but its difficult when everyone is just trying to survive and stay under the radar, including him Its the nature of that survival that ultimately concerns the book and how far people are willing to go to maintain it, leading to one of those endings that might be heartbreaking if it didn t feel so inevitable.
It winds up being a setting you don t mind spending a lot of time in, partly due to how unique it is and partly due to the likability of Marid s narration, as the guy keeps looking for a break that steadfastly refuses to arrive As a person faced with only bad choices and who may not even be that qualified to figure out which is the worst one, he tries constantly to make the best of it but keeps being reminded by everyone else how easily he folded and so he tries to live up to their ideals despite none of them being much better than he is Its a book that takes the person who should be the main villain and makes them an almost necessary benevolent figure without ever letting you forget that they are not very nice Its a book that can feel light in presentation but delves deeply into questions of honor and religion, mostly presented by drug addicted hustler turned enforcer with a prostitute for a mom It shows Islam as the home of the sincere and the hypocrite and the questioning and in what might be the most quietly groundbreaking aspect of the series and something I forgot to mention the first time out casually counts several transgender people among its cast including the woman he s dating Its not full of the immediate pleasures of the first book but in its depiction of the intersection of power and religion in the world s underbelly it may be a satisfying read and yet another reason to hope that it becomes well known than it is.
Another excellent book by underrated talent George Alec Effinger Mr Effinger is an effortless storyteller He paints a wonderfully vivid picture of the people of the Budayeen and the lives they live not to mention the deaths they die Marid is a flawed hero but a very sympathetic one I am just very sad that I am coming up on Marid s final book Very sad indeed.
review of George Alec Effinger s A Fire in the Sun by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE July 3, 2018 Yet another writer I d never heard of I liked the cover art Got the bk cheap at my favorite local used bkstore Was reluctant to get it b c it s the 2nd bk in a series the store didn t have the 1st one Turned out the novel s setting is Africa That was a bit strangely coincidental b c I d recently read Evelyn Waugh s Black Mischief see my review here wch had an African setting, AND I read Mack Reynolds s Blackman s Burden Border, Breed Nor Birth wch ALSO had an African setting It seems that I m on a little Africa roll None of the authors, as far as I know, are African There re 14 bks of his listed inside That s a fair amt of bks for an author I d never heard of I want MORE George Alec Effinger s stories and novels have made his name significant in the science fiction field for nearly twenty years Wry and black and savage there s a knife behind every smile, is George R R Martin s characterization of Ellinger s fiction p 191 , yet, I d never heard of him Back to the beginning, there s an Oscar Wilde quote Children begin by loving their parents after a time they judge them rarely, if ever, do they forgive them That s attributed to Wilde s The Picture of Dorian Gray, a novel I enjoyed greatly 50 yrs or so ago This novel begins We d ridden for many days out the coast highway toward Mauretania, the part of Algeria where I d been born p 1 I ve used Mauretania as an example of a country that still practices slavery Slavery has been called deeply rooted in the structure of the northwestern African country of Mauritania, and closely tied to the ethnic composition of the country In 1905, an end of slavery in Mauritania was declared by the colonial French administration but the vastness of Mauritania mostly gave the law very little successes In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery, when a presidential decree abolished the practice However, no criminal laws were passed to enforce the ban In 2007, under international pressure , the government passed a law allowing slaveholders to be prosecuted Despite this, the number of slaves in the country has been estimated by Global Slavery Index to be 43,000 or 1.
058% of the population in 2015 and by the organization SOS Slavery to be up to 600,000 or 17% of the population Sociologist Kevin Bales and Global Slavery Index estimate that Mauritania has the highest proportion of people in slavery of any country in the world.
While other countries in the region have people in slavelike conditions , the situation in Mauritania is unusually severe , according to African history professor Bruce Hall The position of the government of Mauritania is that slavery is totally finished All people are free , and talk of it suggests manipulation by the West, an act of enmity toward Islam I certainly don t trust a government spokesperson but that doesn t mean that it s unreasonable to imagine that anti Islam forces wd maintain that slavery still exists in Mauretania in order to discredit them SO, let s see whether I can find any Islamic sources that criticize Mauritania for still practicing slavery, shall we Interview with Mauritanian human rights activist Biram Dah Abeid Time to end Arab racism Today in Mauritania, children are still being born into slavery Not only that, they will remain slaves for the rest of their lives It is the most prevalent and most extreme expression of Arab racism in North Africa, says human rights activist Biram Dah Abeid and it is time to consign it to the past By Claudia Mende Slavery has been officially banned in Mauritania for the past 36 years In 2007 a new law was introduced that allowed slave owners to be prosecuted What types of slavery still exist in the country in spite of thisBiram Dah Abeid Many babies born in Mauritania come into the world as the property of others According to the Global Slavery Index, up to 160,000 people in the country are currently living in conditions of slavery The black Africans Haratins are often the slaves of the country s Arab Berber elite, the white Moors, who make up about one third of the population The Haratins are bonded to the family of their master, have no right to education, no civil rights, earn no money and are often forced to do very hard work How is this tradition passed onDah Abeid Traditionally the slaves are not sold they are given away as children when the master s children marry and start their own families Females are the property of the masters from birth, they are expected to gratify his sexual desires and are not permitted to refuse his advances Alongside this traditional bondage, there are also some modern forms of slavery being practised What s the differenceDah Abeid This involves black Mauritanians and migrants from other African countries They are forced to do hard, poorly paid labour and are mistreated by their Arab Berber masters The men and children tend animals and the women are put to work as domestic servants under very harsh conditions The Mauritanian government claims that traditional slavery is rare and restricted to the remoter areas of the country.
Dah Abeid That simply isn t true The government wants to play the whole thing down Our organisation, the IRA Initiative pour la Resurgence du Mouvement Abolutioniste en Mauritanie has freed many people from slavery over the years We ve also encountered cases where Haratins were being kept as slaves in some of the upmarket neighbourhoods in Nouakchott, where the ruling elite live The person being interviewed is described as Biram Dah Abeid, himself the son of freed slaves, has long campaigned for the rights of the Haratins In 2013 he received the United Nations Human Rights Award for his commitment to their cause.
the article s from 2017 Nonetheless, let s continue w some critical reading research The publication that the article appeared in is described on Wikipedia thusly Qantara.
de Arabic qan arah, meaning bridge is an Internet portal in German, English, and Arabic, designed to promote intercultural dialogue between the Western and Islamic worlds The portal was founded on the initiative of the German Foreign Office, in reaction to the crisis ridden developments in relations to Islamic cultures in the wake of the shock of the September 11 attacks in the USA Online since March 2003, the platform is jointly run by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education bpb , Germany s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle DW , the Goethe Institut GI and the German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations ifa , and is funded by the foreign office The task of the joint dialogue project is to promote understanding between the various cultures, with the aim of combating ignorance and prejudice through knowledge The editorial team works to publish writing by Western and Islamic authors who seek open and respectful discussion of both commonalities and controversial subjects These have included diverse contributors, like the Egyptian literary scholar Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid, the German former diplomat and Muslim Murad Hofmann, the Islam theologian Halima Krausen, the conflict researcher Heiner Bielefeldt and the physicist Ernst Ulrich von Weizs cker SO, can it be trusted After all, it s the product of the German Foreign Office so, nah, it probably can t be completely trusted I decided to try searching in a prominent Arabic newspaper so I picked sharq Alawsat Asharq Alawsat is a premier pan Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously on four continents in 12 cities waddya know, I got this error message ForbiddenYou don t have permission to access on this server Interesting Who forbids it What about Al Jazeera Al Jazeera is an international news network headquartered in Doha, Qatar Initially launched as an Arabic news and satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages They have a reputation for being critical of The West I could access their website so I did a search got this Your search Mauretania slavery did not match any documents No pages were found containing Mauretania slavery OOPSIE I misspelled it I corrected the search to Maritania slavery , yep, waddaya know, there s plenty on that Thirteen anti slavery activists in Mauritania on trial for rebellion and use of violence told a court on Monday that they had been tortured during their detention, their lawyer said They were arrested last month after a protest in a Nouakchott slum community that was being forcibly relocated as the West African country prepared for an Arab League summit One by one, the 13 spoke out against the forms of torture they had been subjected to in custody , according to lawyer Brahim Ould Ebetty, representing the members of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement He added that the campaigners demanded that proceedings be brought against the torturers they have mentioned by name The 13 are accused of rebellion, use of violence, attack against public authority, armed assembly and membership of an unrecognised organisation, which carries a potential fine and a jail term of up to two years The Nouakchott slum was home to many so called Haratin a slave caste under a hereditary system of servitude whose members are forced to work without pay as cattle herders and domestic servants About 10 police officers were injured during the protest, according to local officials Hereditary systems of slavery still exist in Mauritania despite an official ban, where those belonging to slave castes are forced to work as cattle herders and domestic servants without pay SO, let s give a big WE HATE YR GUTS SHITBAGS to the Mauritanian ruling elites If John Brown, version 21st century, were to kill em all let Allah sort em out I wdn t exactly cry over it Interestingly, despite slaving being ostensibly illegal in Mauritania, I didn t find a single article about slave owners being arrested, only abolitionists Your search Mauritanian slavers arrested did not match any documents No pages were found containing Mauritanian slavers arrested Same deal for a search for Mauritanian Slave Owners Arrested That tells me that it s the same old shit, right The political activists get demonized while the old money criminals keep right on keepin on End of tangent Back home in the city, Saied thought it was beneath him to earn money He liked to sit in caf s with me and Mahmoud and Jacques, all day and all evening His little chicken, the American boy everybody called Abdul Hassan, went out with older men and brought home the rent money p 3 Note that Effinger has the young male prostitute be an American boy Is he trying to avoid offending Africans Not much point in denying the commonness of young male prostitutes in African countries Maybe I ve just read too much William S Burroughs but I ve always thought of Africa as a Mecca for such things A new trend of commercial sex tourism that targets young boys has emerged in the coastal town of Malindi It is alleged that boys from poor families are being lured into the trade by rich tourists Malindi Sub county deputy commissioner Joshua Nkanatha and Malindi police Boss Kiprono Lang at confirmed that the cases are rising in the resort town Speaking at HGM primary school during a Public Baraza Nkanatha said male prostitution was high in Malindi and contributed to increased cases of HIV and AIDS A survey we conducted shows that boys engaging in sexual activities with male tourists are buying pampers because they can no longer hold their stool, he said Lang at on his part urged the public to take responsibility and enlighten the youths about the health risks of engaging in the vice Then again, maybe it s the tourists who deserve most of the credit , eh I d call this Cyberpunk It has that gritty noir plot augmented by some futuristic touches They liked Saied He could make people like him whenever he wanted That talent was programmed into an add on chip snapped into his bad ass moddy With the right moddy and the right daddy chips, it didn t matter where you d been born or how you d been raised You could fit in with any sort of people, you could speak any language, you could handle yourself in any situation The information was fed directly into your short term memory You could literally become another person Ramses II or Buck Rogers in the 25th century, until you popped the moddy and the daddies out p 4 A few minutes later, I was back in the modshop on Fourth Street Twice in one day was enough of Laila to last anybody a year I overheard her discussing a moddie with a customer The man needed something to let him do armadontia That s the science of converting human teeth into high tech weapons p 232 It s too bad I missed the 1st bk but at least I got a little flashback taste from this one Once upon a time I d had to kill a few people, mostly in self defense More than one club owner had told me never to set foot in his bar again After that, a lot of my friends decided that they could do without my company pp 14 15 Effinger drops in a few literary references I have vodka gimlets, because that s what Philip Marlowe drinks in The Long Goodbye.
p 16 A line of American fiction occurred to me If you lose a son it s possible to get another but there s only one Maltese falcon p 285 So he likes Raymond Chandler Dashiell Hammett so do I He doesn t base the whole novel around these references, tho, I m somewhat relieved that he didn t I admit to having gotten somewhat burnt out on that type of writerly strategy w Jay Russell s Brown Harvest see my review here Diarrhea Harvest Wet Fart Jump ahead 188pp from page 15, thusly missing most of the plot How are you feeling, Mr Audran said Dr Yeniknani He came up next to my bed and smiled down at me His strong teeth looked very white against his swarthy skin and his big black mustache May I seit down Please, make youself comfortable, I said So are you here to tell me that the fire baked my brain, or is this just a friendly call Your reputation suggests that you don t have much brain left to bake, he said No, I just wanted to see how you were feeling, and if there s anything I can do for you p 193 Kachink If this were the present in the USA, that little friendly visit to the patient s bedside might pay the doctor a minimum of 500 for, essentially, doing nothing.
In my opinion, probably the best of the three Marid Audran books When Gravity Fails had a great setting in its debauched futuristic casbah, but it was slightly marred by the central plot A SERIAL KILLER WHO COPIES OTHER SERIAL KILLERS BRAINS WITH TECHNOLOGY Wow, never seen THAT in cyberpunk and the protagonist, who while engaging and very likable wasn t really that far removed from the standard cool disaffected outsider lead of most of these kinds of books, despite the Arabian highlights slapped on the template Marid s improved by the third book, The Exile Kiss, but the cool setting is shunted aside for an interminable number of pages in favor of a less interesting desert survival adventure that really drags that volume down.
So it s the second book, A Fire in the Sun that proves to be the high point of the series The underdog hero of the first book is forced into a position of authority and responsibility two, in fact, as both an important member of a cartel with power than most nations and as a member of the city police force , which forces him to adapt and mature in an interesting way as well as finally making him than just another cyberpunk rebel protagonist, but a lead character as distinct and interesting as the setting he inhabits.
The plotting improves too, as the crimelord character Friedlander Bey is revealed to be something rather sophisticated than a mere gangster the secret of his longevity is revealed to be much terrible than a standard technobabble handwave and a secret regarding a deeper relationship between Bey and Audran turns out to be much complicated and nuanced than the predictable twist teased near the start of the book.
Definitely the apex of the Budayeen trilogy, and highly recommended to fans of the genre.
0 stars Very good sequel to When Gravity Fails and Book 2 of the Budayeen Nights novels that take place in a near future world of the Middle East think Blade Runner in Saudi Arabia The book is a noir style SF detective fiction starring Mar d Audran, a once small time hustler that is now working for the most influential man in the city of major crime boss of city.
The most interesting SF element concept of the novels is the use by most of the population at least those who can afford it of computer software that can be inserted directly into the brain once it has been pre wired for it This comes in two main forms 1 daddies slang for add ons which is software chips that can provide a person unique skills like languages translation, accounting or even street fighting and 2 moddies slang for modules that contain whole new personalities that a person can assume either for pleasure e.
, a movies star or for work e.
, a famous detecitive for crime solving Overall, good writing, fast paced plot, good main character and interesting world building SF elements Recommended Nominee Hugo Award for Best NovelNominee Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Marid Audran Has Become Everything He Once Despised Not So Long Ago, He Was A Hustler In The Budayeen, An Arabian Ghetto In A Balkanized Future Earth Back Then, As Often As Not, He Didn T Have The Money To Buy Himself A Drink But He Had His IndependenceNow Marid Works For Friedlander Bey, Godfather Of The Budayeen, A Man Whose Power Stretches Across A Shattered, Crumbling World During The Day, Marid Is A Policeman And Bey S Personal Envoy To The Police His New Position Has Brought Him Money And Power Which He Would Abandon In A Moment If He Could Return To A Life Of Neither Owning Nor Being Owned Which, Unfortunately, Isn T One Of His OptionsIt S Also Not An Issue For Something Dark Is Afoot Something That Is Sending The City Into Chaos Helping A Child Mutilator To Avoid Arrest Sending A Killer To Murder Marid S Partner Murdering Prostitutes And Savaging Their Remains Signs Point To The Hand Of Abu Adil The One Man In The City Whose Power Rivals Friedlander Bey S Whatever Happens Next, It S Not Going To Be Good News For Marid Audran