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Cyberabad Days

(India 2047 #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,055 ratings  ·  88 reviews
A collection of eight stories, "Cyberabad Days" is a triumphant return to the India of 2047 (the India of River of Gods ); a new, muscular superpower in an age of artificial intelligences, climate-change induced drought, strange new genders, and genetically improved children.

9 • America is Not the Only Planet (2009) essay by Paul McAuley
13 • Sanjeev and Robotwa
Paperback, 279 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Pyr (first published January 1st 2009)
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Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Would you like to visit 2047 and see the high-tech powerhouse that India could become? Ian McDonald’s Cyberabad Days will take you to the subcontinental future, from the hot, crowded streets of Varanasi to the cool mountain lakes of Kashmir, via a series of stories that are some of the best in Science Fiction.

McDonald has already shown us that he can blend SF and developing world culture in scintillating ways with Brasyl and River of Gods and he does so again to tremendous effect here, deliveri
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, short-stories, india
Read over a few months
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
...Cyberabad Days is not a light read. McDonald introduces a lot of technological concepts and deals with complex social issues. The setting will also not be familiar to many readers and McDonald stuffs is as many non English words, social, cultural and religious peculiarities and science fictional concepts as he can get away with. All of this put into relatively short works of fiction poses something of a challenge to the reader. It also makes Cyberabad Days an intense and immersive read. I tho ...more
Jason Pettus
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
(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
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
McDonald paints a fantastically rich picture of a fractured, near future India mired in political upheaval, with a generally bleak backdrop of poverty, resource exhaustion, environmental devastation, terrorism and war. The stories however are not generally tales of woe and desperation, but rather of the emergence of new, immersive technologies and their disruptive and transformative effects. Several follow children or young adults, essentially coming of age tales, paralleling their journey into ...more
Tim Hicks
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
India of 2047 is fractured into a dozen states, some in conflict with the others with water rights or their differing recognition of the legality of artificial intelligence, and trying to cope with how new technology is altering things. Genetically engineered children, remote piloted robot warriors, artificially intelligent soap opera characters (and the artificially intelligent actors who portray them) and more can be seen shaping the world in big ways and small, affecting the lives of individu ...more
Rebecca Tayles
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 13, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
William Cunningham
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you liked Ian McDonald's River of Gods, you'll love this collection of short stories set in his cyberpunk, near-future India universe. I liked this better than the novel-- the writing in each short was tight and incredibly focused, exploring everything from war to social castes to life after humanity's singularity. I can't praise this anthology enough, it's the best sci-fi I've read in some time. ...more
Graham Crawford
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
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" ...more
Ralph Palm
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
McDonald is amazing as always. He seamlessly blends the little 'eyekicks' required of the genre without tedious exposition or sacrificing his elegant and unaffected prose style. Most authors, even good ones, can score at best two out of three. McDonald hits the trifecta, over and over again.

My only recommendation would be to read RIVER OF GODS first, then this one, then all the rest you can get your hands on.
Sep 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Cyberabad Days is a good collection of short stories set in the same future India as River of Gods. The last story in particular follows some of the events of the novel and even goes beyond them. In fact, I'd say it surpasses it. While that does make for a strong and awesome short story, it sort of cheapen the value of the novel a bit. ...more
Jude Adamson
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book. The last three stories especially are masterpieces. I may have to read River of Gods again now. What a ride.
George Otte
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved The River God, which shares the same world (India, a century after independence), but these stories are somehow even more satisfying, perhaps because the separate stories allow a more variegated exploration of this richly imagined future than one story, however long, can make. And the India of this imagined future, with its different castes, ethnicities, religions, and gender choices (McDonald posits a third sex, and also the complications of adults inhabiting the bodies of children), al ...more
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-text
Been a few years since I read River of Gods but I found it quite easy to get back into MacDonalds 2047 India again. This short story collection continues to explore the issues and themes from the novel but in the shorter format I don’t think he manages to expand upon them or delve into anything new.
What it does do however is seems to dwell upon the clash between new and old a bit more, and see the effect these changes have upon traditional lifestyles and the poorer people of India.
The final st
Tanvir Muntasim
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great example of bringing together complex strands of technology and sociology, Ian does a fantastic job of delving deep into the psyche of Indian Sub-continent and astutely extrapolating how India might look like a few decades from now. He addresses all the cultural and economic trappings peculiar to this region, including, but not limited to- foeticide (and its alarming implications), religious bigotry, class system and the clash between the rigid culture and ever evoloving technology. It mi ...more
Anthony Hillman
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Taking a deeper dive into the future India of River of God, Cyberabad Days include seven stories that add even more impressive world-building to an already impressively realised setting. Want to know more about the Water Wars? Nutes? Brahmin? The smash hit soap opera Town and Country? How love and marriage works in a nation with four times as many men as women and a plethora of increasingly advanced AI? It's all here. And all stories are done in between 20 and 100 pages so you can read in short ...more
Baronne Samedi
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
These stories are set in a future Indian society split into various states, in war. The large amount of exotic words (for a non-Indian dialects speaker) and some novlang make reading more disorienting than the sci-fi aspects.

First stories lack of inventive sci-fi but the book was issued in 2009 and in our fast-pacing society, a lot of changes have already happened over the past years. It gets better further on.

Rob Beck
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely astonishing. I came away from each chapter feeling like I had walked along the ghats of the Ganges of a future India, amongst the ash and diya lamps and litter - I just don’t know how Ian MacDonald does it.

I was bothered about the fact that Cyberbad Days was a collection of short stories, and had put off reading it. I shouldn’t have and neither should you.
Oct 02, 2020 rated it liked it
A good selection of short stories that complement the great book River of gods. It provides multiple insights from different angles on the India of 2047 that the author used as a set for the initial novel.
Although definitely interesting, this book doesn’t provide the same depth as the novel.
It’s a useful addition. But probably not something you’d want to read on its own.
Philip Baumbach
This is a collection of short stories set in India of the future. The stories share the same technology but little else. I was expecting one continuous story. It was ok. I am surprised it has been given such a high rating.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
much better than River of Gods! There are much more nuances and depths and lyrics to the stories than in River of Gods. If you've read any of the Luna series you can also see the seeds that germinated in the author's mind that led to Luna. ...more
Walter Underwood
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a bit more than a collection of stories. The stories illuminate different parts and aspects of a longer history.

Do NOT read this before River of Gods, because it has huge spoilers for that work. And you really should read River of Gods.
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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

Other books in the series

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

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