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Budayeen Nights

George Alec Effinger

A dark and gritty trip into the imagination of one of science fiction's most gifted authors, this collection presents all nine tales of the Budayeen gathered together in one archival-quality volume, available for the first time in more than 20 years.

Here is Budayeen: a grity fusion of Bogart's Casablanca, new orleans' notoriously seedy French Quarter, and a futuristic Muslim city, all welded together and serving as the perfect backdrop for Marid, a drug-addled policeman and anti-hero of world-class proportion.

This is a collection to get lost in, from the city's sorid underbelly to the glamorous excesses of the "sex moddy" industry, from the tall ancient mosque towers to the strong-voiced muezzin calling the faithful to morning devotions, the Budayeen leaps to sudden life, making claims to its own reality as only the best science fiction can.

The following stories are included in this collection:

Schrödinger's Kitten


George Alec Effinger

Hugo, Nebula and Sturgeon Award winning novelette.

Jehan nervously awaits the dawn in a dark alley, watching for the boy she knows will assault her, unsure if she will use the dagger in her sleeve... this decision will determine which of the many futures from her visions will come to pass. Life on the streets as a defiled woman... beheading in the public square... or assistant to the German physicist who buys her life from the executioner's sword.

The story originally appeared in Omni, September 1988. It can also be found in the anthologies:

The story is also included in the collection Budayeen Nights (2008).

The City on the Sand


George Alec Effinger

Hugo Award nominated novelette. The story originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1973. It is included in the collection Budayeen Nights (2003).

Marîd Changes His Mind

Budayeen: Marîd Audran

George Alec Effinger

Nebula Award nominated novella. Effinger was also nominated for the Hugo but withdrew the story from consideration. It was originally published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, May 1989. The story is included in Budayeen Nights (2008).

When Gravity Fails

Budayeen: Marîd Audran: Book 1

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, he's available... 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 can't refuse.

The 200-year-old "godfather" of the Budayeen'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.

A Fire in the Sun

Budayeen: Marîd Audran: Book 2

George Alec Effinger

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 independence.

Now 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 options.

It'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...

The Exile Kiss

Budayeen: Marîd Audran: Book 3

George Alec Effinger

Marîd Audran has risen from hustling on the streets of the decadent Budayeen ghetto to being the right-hand man of one of the Maghreb’s most feared men. As an enforcer for the powerful Friedlander Bey, Marîd is just beginning to enjoy his newfound wealth and privilege, when he and Bey are betrayed by a rival and accused of murder.

Sentenced to exile and abandoned to die in the vast Arabian desert, Marîd and Bey must somehow survive the searing sands and make their way back to the now-hostile Budayeen-and, then, take their vengeance.

By turns thrilling and philosophical, The Exile Kiss is the culmination of one of the great works of modern SF.