When Gravity Fails
by George Alec Effinger
In a decadent world of cheap pleasures and easy death, Marid Audrian has kept his independence the hardway. Still, like everything else in the Budayeen, heâ€™s availableâ€¦for a price.
For a new kind of killer roams the streets of the Arab ghetto, a madman whose bootlegged personality cartridges range from a sinister James Bond to a sadistic disemboweler named Khan. And Marid Audrian has been made an offer he canâ€™t refuse.
The 200-year-old â€œgodfatherâ€ of the Budayeenâ€™s underworld has enlisted Marid as his instrument of vengeance. But first Marid must undergo the most sophisticated of surgical implants before he dares to confront a killer who carries the power of every psychopath since the beginning of time.
Wry, savage, and unignorable, When Gravity Fails was hailed as a classic by Effingerâ€™s fellow SF writers on its original publication in 1987, and the sequence of â€œMarid Audrianâ€ novels it begins were the culmination of his career.