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Cyberabad Days (India 2047 #2)

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  762 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Ian McDonald's River of Gods called "a masterpiece" by Asimov's Science Fiction and praised by the Washington Post as "a major achievement from a writer who is becoming one of the best SF novelists of our time" painted a vivid picture of a near future India, 100 years after independence. It revolutionized SF for a new generation by taking a perspective that was not Europea ...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published 2009 by Gollancz
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Jason Pettus
Sep 03, 2009 Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

As I've mentioned here several times before, there are many of us science-fiction fans who believe that the industry has entered a whole new "age" in the last ten years, one major enough to be compared to the four eras that came before it (to be specific, the historic "Golden Age" of the 1930s and '4
In his two full-length novels, Brasyl and River of Gods, Ian McDonald has sculpted universes so amazingly rich and detailed that readers couldn't help being caught up in these tales of worlds on the cusp of new evolutionary leaps and societal upheaval. For days after finishing both of his prior books I would awaken from dreams set in the far-flung locale of a future India on the eve of its Centenary or the porous membranes between variant realities in the Rio of tomorrow. It was with great antic ...more
Tim Hicks
Nov 03, 2014 Tim Hicks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Master craftsman at work.
This is every bit as good as the magnificent River of Gods.

Like Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance and Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy, this book takes you to India and lifts you right out of where you are. Like them, it's written so seamlessly that the author never gets in your way. You're watching through a perfectly clean window.

But McDonald's India has robot soldiers and servants, wearable links to AIs, etc. right alongside the saddhus and ragged beggars and social rul
Rebecca Tayles
Jul 29, 2011 Rebecca Tayles rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rebecca by: Jay
Shelves: favourites, sci-fi
A fascinating collection of short stories from Ian McDonald, set in and around the India from his novel 'River of Gods'. Some stories tie in to the novel, others merely skirt around it, but all share the same vibrancy and rich detail, creating a bizarre mix of rustic mother India and hi-tech cyber-Bharat.

My favourite of the stories is probably The Djinn's Wife, though An Eligible Boy and Sanjeev and the Robotwallah are both close contenders. I think it's because of how nice the slice of life pi
Feb 11, 2012 William rated it really liked it
I thought Ian McDonald's "River of Gods" was a superb SF novel when I read it a few years ago so I was curious to see whether this collection of short stories set in the same mid-21st Century India setting would be as good.

I would say McDonald's writing is just as good at it is in his recent novels and he has a great ability to pack in a lot of excellent world-building and characterisation into a relatively small number of words. His vision of an India caught between tradition and advanced techn
Dec 07, 2009 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Believers in the American Century that was
Recommended to Alan by: Paul J. McAuley, Brasyl, and River of Gods
As in Robert Heinlein's justly-famed opening to The Door into Summer, "The door dilated," Ian McDonald packs a megaton of worldbuilding into a one-word package, with the appearance of the neologism "robotwallah" in the title of the lead story of this collection.

But that's the kind of thing that McDonald is good at... solid future worldbuilding, evoked with pyrotechnic prose but centered on characters with emotional depth and resonance. He even handles with grace the quixotic task of taking on th
These short stories do a lot to flesh out the universe first introduced in River of Gods. McDonald's near future India boasts one and a half billion people, twelve semi-independent nations, and nine million gods - encompassing both the Hindu pantheon and teeming clouds of post-humans and aieis. I'd already read "Sanjeev and Robotwallah" in what seems like every sci-fi collection published in the last couple of years, and had enjoyed getting a small second taste of what was going on in India of 2 ...more
May 07, 2009 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of short stories set in the same brilliantly realised future India as River of Gods. I'd already read "The Little Goddess", "The Djinn's Wife" and "Sanjeev and Robotwallah" in other collections and loved them, although I felt the third was weaker than the other two.
My favourite of the stories was "Vishnu and the Cat Circus", which provides an excellent timeline for the other stories and for River of Gods, as well as providing a lot of background information, including a lot
William Cunningham
A follow up to the excellent novel River of Gods, you don't have to have read that to read this. This is a collection of short stories set in the same imagined future India, but it really works on a much higher level than that. The stories are all different. All about different characters from different strata of society. They are not related, each story stands alone. But read together in this order they convey a meta-narrative of acceleration that is surprisingly thrilling and feels, when you'v ...more
Mar 02, 2015 Chazzbot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The stories in this collection combine dystopian elements of the near-future (including massive water shortages, anxiety regarding artificial intelligence, and the confusion caused by the widespread use of personal avatars) with a meticulous portrait of a fragmented India, in a way that makes the potential "alien-ness" of Indian culture for the Western reader seem comforting in comparison to the massive social and personal changes initiated by technology.

What elevates McDonald's stories (and, i
Graham Crawford
a mixed bag - some very good stories, a couple very badly written. Alas, the last tale, (and the only one directly related to the characters in ""River of Gods""), is one of the weakest stories in the book. The action seems like it was quickly tacked onto a separate narrative - perhaps pushed on the book by the publishers looking to justify the term ""sequel"". This is in no way a sequel. It is a collection of stories set in the same universe as "River of Gods"
Fred P
Feb 15, 2016 Fred P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ian McDonald crafts a multicultural tale about a future India. Drones and mechanized war give way to a new peace where artificial intelligences mimic humans, and ai-merged humans upload to a higher plane of being, opening portals into another dimension. This is an ambitious novel, and in some ways it bites off more than it can chew. The characters are not as dimensional as in other McDonald novels, and the plot is not as action-driven. What we do get is a vision of a hyper-accelerated future whe ...more
Characters: 4/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 4/5
Resonance: 2/5

"Every fairytale must have a wedding."

Thus says the narrator in "The Djinn's Wife," my favorite of these seven short stories. So our author obliges and provides a wedding. He would do this over and over again, rely on an anticipated convention or narrative structure (as well as providing a wedding) in which to situate the story. These conventions were, to me at least, exotic in that they relied on Indian culture, history, and frameworks, h
OKAY , so I read for the Chicago book group some years ago and enjoyed it a lot . A few things , how much manga did MacDonald read before writing this because there are a lot of mecha like stories in this ? India breaking up because a major political trend there is increasing unity not less? I was told MacDonald lived in India for some time during the writing should that count for anything ? I might appreciate it more now if I was to reread , WHATEVER ! The copy I read was from the Palatine Libr ...more
This was a great collection of stories set in the same future India as the Author's River of Gods, which I also really liked. My personal favorite was "The Little Goddess" which was about a schizophrenic Nepalese girl that is exiled to India after injuring herself and thereby disqualifying herself from being a goddess. To survive in India, she has to become a very unique smuggler. I don't want to say anymore for fear of spoiling a creative, well-told story.

I think McDonald's strong point is cre
Oct 20, 2012 Klytia rated it really liked it
Se non fosse che in India ci sono già stata (un viaggio breve ma mi è bastato) le descrizioni di Ian McDonald farebbero venire voglia di prendere il primo aereo e partire per Varanasi.
"Vision by vision the Ganga revealed itself to Kyle: next he become aware of the buildings; the guesthouses and hotels and havelis shouldering up to the steps, the ridiculous pink water towers, the many domes of the mosque and the golde spires of the temples and little temple down at the river leaning into the sit;
Jose Solis
Oct 07, 2013 Jose Solis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantástica colección de relatos con los que Ian McDonald regresa al universo de su novela River of Gods. Con estos relatos se complementa este fascinante universo de la India en las próximas décadas, en donde las inteligencias artificiales (llamadas Aeais) han venido a poner de cabeza y al mismo tiempo a darle nueva vida al complejo sistema social, religioso, político y cultural del país.

Vale mucho la pena. Uno de los relatos "Vishnu en el circo de los gatos" es el que mas se relaciona con la no
Dec 30, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up because I've been looking for not just a new sci fi book but a new sci fi author with multiple works I could dig in to. Author Ian McDonald seemed like a good candidate but I didn't think I was ready to commit to River of Gods which has been described as "sprawling" and clocks in at 485 pages.

This collection of stories or novelettes was a fun introduction to McDonald's cyberpunk world set just 35 years in the future in India. The stories at the beginning of the book were s
Chris Peters
If you haven't read RIVER OF GODS, read that one before CYBERABAD DAYS--everything will make a lot more sense.

McDonald doesn't explain anything--you get all sorts of Indian words, slang, ideas, locations... but no idea what they mean at first. You have to figure it out through context. Which for a while makes for a more engaging read, but ends up being very tedious. Plus, these stories all sort of follow RIVER OF GODS, but you don't get all of the info, so it's easy to get lost. I read GODS yea
This collection of short stories set the tone for Ian McDonald great work River of Gods, as they chronologically show the events that shape his view of the future India, with an emphasis in the AIs that direct that future. Although they were written after the main work, they really clarify and explain some of the complex vision that McDonald has woven on the future India.

As usual in a collection of stories the quality varies, from the normal to the very good. My personal favorite was "The Little
Bookmarks Magazine
Jun 01, 2009 Bookmarks Magazine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: july-aug-2009

Ian McDonald's chops as a storyteller and visionary have become apparent over two decades of cutting-edge SFóin short stories, novels, and the trickier novellas and novelettes that have often formed the springboard for longer works. The stories in Cyberabad Days showcase those skills, distilling the author's extrapolation of the present into a cyberpunk, dystopian future that is still fundamentally human despite the increasing dominance of technology in "a world that manages to be convincingly,

Nicholas Whyte
Dec 23, 2009 Nicholas Whyte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, xj, 2014, 1405[return][return]Collection of short stories set in the same near-future, cyberpunk, sexy, religious, politically fragmented India as River of Gods. Three of these stories were also Hugo nominees (indeed one, "The Djinn's Wife", won both Hugo and BSFA Award). I got a lot more out of reading them together, with the setting reinforced by each story in sequence. Of those I had not previously read, I think I most liked "An Eligible Boy", a story of a genetica ...more
Feb 04, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A great collection - McDonald's future India comes across really well in short form.

There are few authors able to so fully “transport” me to their imagined worlds as McDonald.

Here he takes several regular SF tropes (AIs, information singularity and genetic engineering) and examines them via their impact on the lives of people not directly involved in bringing them about.

This makes his stories accessible and emotionally engaging.

In many cases a lot of the technical extrapolation and big idea stu
Jul 06, 2009 Ryun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A couple of years back, Ian McDonald wrote RIVER OF GODS, a triumph of speculation and characterization set amid the India of 2047. It endures along the decade’s high-water mark, but as big as the book was, the world McDonald created was so rich and layered that you always knew that a myriad of stories remained to be told.

And told they were, trickling out in periodicals and anthologies since the novel’s publication and winning awards along the way. CYBERABAD DAYS is the culmination of the saga b
Gautam Patel
Feb 09, 2012 Gautam Patel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
For anyone who read McDonald's River of Gods, this collection of long short stories is a delight. We're back in a dystopian, fractured India again, a land Balkanized into nation-states warring over water and artificial intelligences (aeais), societies fissured between the very ancient and the very new, mythologies crashing into technology. There are the Krishna Cops and the nutes (yts) and, wonderfully, super aeais which are distributed entities -- they can appear simultaneously on multiple tivi ...more
Ketan Shah
"The future is already here – it's just unevenly distributed." This quopte from William Gibson perfectly sums up Cyberabad,a set of short stories set in Future india. Ian Macdonald perfectl;y captures the rhythms of India and presents us with a future that incredibly high tech but still uniquely Indian. A future where software designers create Artificial Intelligences based on soap opera characters to guide potential suitors through the complex process of attracting a choice bride. A world where ...more
As I noted in my thoughts on River of Gods, I started reading these two books simultaneously. I eventually quit, because I was learning things from Cyberabad Days that were interfering with the exposition in River of Gods. Good thing I quit when I did, or I would have completely spoiled the ending of RoG. So my recommendation to you is, read River first and then, if you like it, read this book. All in all, I would say that I enjoyed "The Djinn's Wife" the best of all the stories in this collecti ...more
A collection of stories set in Mcdonald’s future India, which he used for his excellent novel River of Gods. These stories are told with the realpolitik science fiction of John Brunner, the magical realist tone of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the widescreen imagination of Iain M. Banks. The fairy tales “Dust Assassin” and “Little Goddess” and the dark novella (original to the collection) “Vishnu at the Cat Circus” are the main prizes here. Some of the short pieces are sketches (though the world i ...more
David Trowbridge
Absolutely wonderful.

Like River of Gods, I'm very glad I read this after having visited India. All of these stories are great, but the one I liked the best is easily "The Djinn's Wife". If Scherezade lived in 2050, this is the story she would tell.
Jul 21, 2009 martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to martha by: Kelly
Shelves: 2009
Scifi short stories set in a near-future India populated by artificial intelligences, political upheaval, genetically modified children, Nepalese child goddesses etc etc etc. I really loved the fusion of the cultural and technological and I hope this is the direction scifi's moving in. The descriptions can be kind of overwhelming at times, especially the street scenes, a welter of unfamiliar things, but I can see how that might be intentional. (Or maybe I just wanted more paragraph breaks.) My f ...more
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Ian Neil McDonald was born in 1960 in Manchester, England, to an Irish mother and a Scottish father. He moved with his family to Northern Ireland in 1965. He used to live in a house built in the back garden of C. S. Lewis’s childhood home but has since moved to central Belfast, where he now lives, exploring interests like cats, contemplative religion, bonsai, bicycles, and comic-book collecting. H ...more
More about Ian McDonald...

Other Books in the Series

India 2047 (2 books)
  • River of Gods (India 2047, #1)

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