The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Marîd Audran is a hustler and occasional detective in the Budayeen, the dangerous quarter of a future Muslim city. In his time, sex changes and other physical alterations are common. Many people get their brains “wired” for “moddies” and “daddies.” Moddies are recorded personalities that plug into the brain to submerge an individual’s actual personality, letting the person become a fictional character, for example. Daddies add specific knowledge, such as how to speak a foreign language. Marîd resists being surgically modified, though he does modify himself with drugs.

When Gravity Fails begins when Marîd’s client is murdered by someone wearing a James Bond moddy. Later, a former girlfriend of Marîd, Nikki, calls in a favor. She wants to quit working as a prostitute, which means that Marîd must talk to someone named Hassan, who directs such things for Friedlander Bey, the most powerful man in the city.

Marîd reaches a financial agreement with Hassan, but Nikki fails to pay for her freedom, and Marîd is held responsible. While looking for Nikki, Marîd finds one of her friends tortured and murdered. Another friend is soon shot, and then Nikki’s pimp is tortured and killed. Friedlander Bey, who is no easy man to refuse, asks Marîd to find the killer. He also wants Marîd to be wired for moddies and daddies. Marîd rejects surgery at first but then agrees after finding Nikki brutally murdered. He gets an experimental implant with two plugs...

(The entire section is 612 words.)