May 4, 2009

When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger

When Gravity Fails

And back to our regularly scheduled dystopian meandering. Sorry, folks - I'm reading, but I'm not always writing.

After working through some fairly dense/thoughtful novels recently, I was damn happy about the chance to just sit down and enjoy a good, solid sf paperback. This one was suggested fairly recently by a blog visitor, and I'm glad. It's sort of a Muslim-world, cyberpunk who-done-it. With lots of sex changes, which I approve of in my dystopian fiction. Or real life, honestly - whatever gets you through, I say.

It didn't break any new ground for me, but I liked the ground it trod. I'm sort of a sucker for that whole "independent small timer tries to navigate the underground world by his wits without losing his ass in the process" thing, so this was right up my alley. Since that's pretty much the plot. It was a quick read. Unlike Gibson or Womack, Effinger didn't bother to get bogged down in the coolness of the tech itself or how and why it works - it does, and the plot goes on.

I'll admit, part of the enjoyment to be found in reading dystopian (or apocalyptic) fiction is a certain bloodthirstiness. A taste for brutality or horrific happenings at a safe remove from ourselves. And Effinger deals that out handily. Female assassin-whores distorted with plastic surgery, personality-changing chips employed to up the suffering during murder, mutilation and degradation, it's here in spades. And I enjoyed every minute of it.

I'll be keeping an eye out for the other two in the Marîd Audran series, without a doubt.

final thought: Is there power in staying powerless?