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The complete Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated cyberpunk trilogy by an author whose work is “wry and black and savage” (George R. R. Martin).

Praised as “a perfect example of how exciting the subgenre can and should be,” George Alec Effinger’s Budayeen Cycle is a towering and timeless science fiction achievement that continues to amaze, shock, and captivate readers (SF Signal).
 
When Gravity Fails: Set in a high-tech near future featuring an ascendant Muslim world and divided Western superpowers, this cult classic takes readers into a world with mind- or mood-altering drugs for any purpose, brains enhanced by electronic hardware, and surgically altered bodies. Street hustler Marîd Audran has always prided himself on his independence, free from commitments, connections, and even cybernetic modifications. But when a string of brutal murders lands him on the radar of Friedlander Bey, the most powerful and dangerous man in the decadent Arab ghetto, the Budayeen, Audran is forced to change his loner ways, or risk losing his life . . .
 
A Fire in the Sun: Once a small-time smuggler, Marîd Audran has, to his chagrin, moved up in the ranks of the criminal underworld to become a lieutenant in Friedlander Bey’s shadowy empire. Tasked with being Bey’s eyes and ears inside local law enforcement, Audran finds himself tracking yet another serial killer through the streets of the Budayeen. And the closer he gets to his target, the more embroiled he becomes in the deadly political machinations hidden behind the city’s façade.
 
The Exile Kiss: Marîd Audran is finally learning to appreciate the wealth and benefits that come from being on Friedlander Bey’s payroll when a powerful enemy does the unthinkable, and gets both Audran and Bey exiled from the Budayeen. Abandoned in the lifeless and lethal Arabian Desert, Audran and Bey have only one option: survive long enough to exact revenge on the man responsible.
Three slightly different versions of the same man inhabit three radically different versions of our world in this novel by a Nebula Award winner.

Ernest Weinraub, Ernst Weinraub, Ernst Weintraub—three slightly different versions of the same name, the same man. Each incarnation of Weintraub/Weinraub inhabits a different version of our world: Ernest Weinraub lives in a maddeningly overcrowded New York, a hellish near-future world where sanity and life are imperiled by a nightmare of pollution, overpopulation and manic power games played by the six despotic men who rule Earth; Ernst Weinraub is a poet and an intellectual who lives in a decadent world in which America has never been colonized, Europe and Asia are crumbling, and Africa has only one populated city, a world where drink, drugs and sex reduce human being to little more than animals and a man feels himself being sucked under with all the others; Ernst Weintraub, an idealistic revolutionary, lives in a world in which the Allies lost the First World War to “Jermany” and people are forced into a terror-ridden underground existence as tyranny rides roughshod over man and civilization.

The single factor uniting these startlingly different worlds is Weinraub/Weintraub. But even he is molded and distorted, it would appear, by the various environments and societies, and his problems seem entirely different in each of the three worlds. Yet, as the book progresses, both he and the reader learn that neither time nor place matters—every person must sooner or later make certain basic decisions.

Relatives is a novel about personality and about duty, chiefly one’s duty to the state. The Weinraub/Weintraub variations are carefully orchestrated so that each tells the same story while presenting vastly varying reasons for a single outcome. Once having experienced these three powerful visions of an individual’s interaction with society, one is compelled to consider, and reconsider, the foundations of moral and social responsibility. 
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