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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
11


on 27 October 2011
Top quality cyberpunk that superbly captures the sights, sounds and smells of India and Nepal. I've been to some of the places where these stories are set and this book creates a stunningly believable future for these places. Like all good future science fiction, it's actually about now; this very week I've read news reports about nanobots and about the gender imbalance in India because of selective abortion of girls. The writer clearly has a finger on the pulse of developments in Sub Continental culture and technology. His characters are believable and very human. The book I'd read just before this one, The Devish House, was also from this author and I thought it was the best science fiction I'd encountered in years. This one is arguably better!
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on 22 May 2009
The blurb on the back of Cyberabad days describes it as a sequel to the excellent River of Gods, so I was slightly taken aback to discover a selection of short stories. This soon changed as I became immersed, once again, in Ian McDonald's stunning India of the mid-21st century.
This is not so much a sequel as a companion piece to River of Gods which provides extra background detail to many of the themes explored in Rver of Gods.
I would heartily recommend this read to anyone who enjoyed River of Gods,River of Gods or even as a prequel to set the scene for what is to come in the novel.
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on 4 February 2016
Such good writing - each story drawer you in. I am reading it after reading River Of Gods and the stories are in the same near future India as that.
Real in depth India with a hint of cyber is a magical combination.
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on 30 September 2009
I am puzzled that some SF-loving folk just don't seem to get Ian McDonald. That's their loss.

River of Gods was an out-and-out masterpiece. As an adjunct to that, this series of splintered visions of future India is an essential purchase.

I have lived for many years in Asia, and McDonalds' research and depth of undestanding of this culture constantly amazes.
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on 12 April 2010
I enjoyed the short stories accumulated here some of which have also featured elsewhere such as in Gardner Dozois collections and assorted magazines. The tales each portray a different facet forming the edifice of McDonalds Cyber-India and come together to bring his world to life. The book arrives at an earth shattering culmination in the final, freshly written story 'Vishnu at the Cat Circus'. Cyberabad Days, supplement to River of Gods (you don't have to read RoG first), comes equipped with a variety of post-humans and advanced technologies which are delivered to the reader with a unique writing style - yes there are terms and phrases you wouldn't usually come across. However if you are after a unique sci-fi orientated view of a possible future india and all the wonders this entails then purchase now! If you are looking for a guide to India you are in the wrong place although do feel reassured that Ian McDonald has researched the culture of India and implemented this knowledge - along with a Sci-Fi geared imagination - into Cyberabad Days!

The technology is massively advanced and it is an UNlikely outcome for India [INSERT SPOILER of massive pillars of light breaking from the ground as humans become pure thought] but it's certainly an exciting one!

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There are also some Japanese influences here; the kids in one story enjoy japanime and so forth.
Oh yes and there's a cyberpunk kid called Godspeed! after Godspeed You! Black Emperor (The film or the band; I don't mind which, a cool reference either way).
If you liked Cyberabad Days check out the short story 'The Tear'. It's amazing and you'll find it at the end of The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 22 (Mammoth Books)
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on 25 November 2009
Superb collection of stories, set in the same future India as River of Gods: now a disintegrating, technological superpower, India is still struggling with its traditions, its over-population and its dependency on water in an increasingly dry world.

Sanjeev and Robotwallah

Young Sanjeev works hard for his father's pizza business, but what obsesses him are the robotwallahs who remotely pilot warrior droids, playing killing games for real. Sanjeev becomes their pizza boy and later graduates to their unpaid domestic wallah, much to his delight. But his adolescent dreams of reflected glory are shattered, as he learns how the adult world really works.

Kyle meets the river

Kyle lives in a gated foreign community, his father an American construction boss. His friend Salim is a Muslim who uses the latest in direct-brain interface gadgets to take Kyle secretly to a shared virtual game world they are building. A simple trip to the river Ganges with Salim washes away assumptions about traditional and modern values.

The dust assassin

A very traditional tale of two feuding families is given a modern twist. The Jodras and the Azads run competing water companies. The Jodra heir, Padmini, is told that she is a special weapon in this war, but has no idea how. One night the Azads attack and wipe out everyone at Jodra, except Padmini who escapes with the aid of a loyal neuter-gender retainer. Coached by the retainer and his accomplished neuter friends, Padmini re-enters society and then comes to the attention of Salim, heir to the Azads...

An eligible boy

Men outnumber women four to one, because of choice of sex for babies. Jasbir is one of a horde of very eligible bachelors, who compete with each other at arranged mass dating sessions (shadis). His friend Sujay (who works in IT and stays out of dating) suggests he uses a personal adviser AI, whose speciality is romance, having been created as a scriptwriter for 'Town and Country', the most popular soap opera. A fitting courtship ensues.

The little goddess

A girl is chosen to be a goddess, according to ancient tradition, However she breaks her vows and falls in with Ashok, an AI developer, and becomes a mule for him, smuggling illegal AIs in a protein chip in her head, Yet fate strikes again and she becomes a very modern kind of goddess.

The djinn's wife

A djinn is a spirit that can bewitch mortals. The story is told to us in the manner of a folk tale, as it is a modern day equivalent. Esha Rathore is a celebrity from the slums of Delhi, famous for her dancing. She falls in love with a dashing diplomat, A.J.Rao, who is a level 2.9 AI, human in all but body. Unfortunately, the Hamilton Acts are passed, forced by a reactionary USA, which outlaw high-level AIs. What then for the marriage?

Vishnu at the cat circus

By far the most far-ranging tale in the collection and the one to read as it sets all the others (and even the companion novel, River of Gods) in context. The narrator, Vishnu, is a Brahmin, who was been genetically engineered by his ambitious parents for both super-genius intelligence, and long-life combined with half-speed maturation. He tells of his very long youth, a meteoric rise, and then a swift descent to running a cat circus, as a family feud spills over into a world changing technological advance. Despite all the darkness in the story, it ends with a potential of rebirth, just like classical Indian stories. ( )
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on 20 March 2010
I read Brasyl and River of Gods, although I clearly preferred the second work. Cyberabad Days has a couple of bits that either fed or were derived from River of Gods. The linked short story theme worked very well. The tales were enjoyable and had a sort of magic to them. Even if the magic was grounded in technology. The book reminded me of O'Henry because the narrators felt like India's future underclass recounting some of the narrative. I think the language was internationalised to make it accessible.

Is it a credible vision of India's future? Possibly. The heated debate whether English should remain a national language show the divisions across a vast sub-continent. Southern states feel it gives them a voice which would be denied if one of the mainstream northern tongues were dominant. Escalate this into disputes over water rights and a vast dam project and Cyberabad Days may not be far from the truth.

I loved the concept of AIs becoming the soap stars who enthral a continent and whose virtual romances fuel celebrity gossip magazines. I delighted in the idea that the AI's were almost Djinns. But for me the protagonists felt human. Perhaps the Indianess or otherwise is a red herring. I think what counts is the excellent quality of the stories.
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on 1 July 2010
A great collection of SF short stories, set in an exotic but very recognizable India, a few years hence. The technology is imaginative and well-thought out, the characters have an enchanted quality reminiscent of the 1001 Arabian Nights. Highly recommended. I hope to read much more by this writer in the future!
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on 1 August 2010
Excellent stories, I just wish they could have been filled out more, perhaps into a full book like River of Gods.
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on 29 August 2015
Excellent contents, just slightly disappointed that this second hand book was ex-library and not stated as such
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