When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dirty, gritty, morally ambiguous cyberpunk with a bit of a biopunk feel, too, but more than anything, this was a solid detective fiction.
Was it satisfying to see the one man who'd never let himself get modded fall down the dark hole for the sake of either saving his girl or getting revenge or, just possibly, stopping a horrible killer? Hell yeah.
This came out back in '87 and it was nominated for the hugo for good reason. It's very detailed, full of great cultural stuff, and the concept of personality modding and its execution here, with both the good and the really dark side included, was really great.
I mean, where else can you get a thoroughly Muslim town and a half Muslim/half French main character in the future to casually accept the fact that men and women can change genders whenever they want fairly cheaply? How about taking a ride along a personality path as a great hero or a great villain? Heck, someone here had modded themselves to be James Bond and even bought the snazzy suits to go along with his head-mod. It's a lifestyle choice.
Our MC had a pathological fear of all that crazy shit, and if his life wasn't going all crazy with his crazy disappeared chick, he'd never have found himself diving into the really deep end and losing everything he ever thought he valued. Once you go down the road of the detective, it's very hard to ever come back. Sometimes it's your choice, and sometimes the choices are just made for you.
Truly, this is a great noir cyberpunk.
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