George Alec Effinger
Before I took on the quixotic quest of helping Robert Anton Wilson become better known as a writer, my literary crusade on the Internet was on behalf of George Alec Effinger (1947-2002), who mostly wrote science fiction. I've always though Effinger was an underrated writer who deserved to become better-known. It needs updating, but my tribute site honoring Effinger is still up.
I bring this up because I learned yesterday that nine of Effinger's books are available free, for now, as Kindle ebooks: A Thousand Deaths, Dirty Tricks, What Entropy Means to Me, Irrational Numbers, Budayeen Nights, Live! From Planet Earth, Those Gentle Voices: A Promethean Romance of the Spaceways, Felicia and The Nick of Time. This is no doubt for a limited time. (I know this because a woman named Eleanor Forman was kind enough to take time to email me. I follow news about ebooks going on sale or being made available for free, but I haven't seen anything about this anywhere.)
This is a good opportunity to find out what I, and more famous connoisseurs such as Neil Gaiman, see in Effinger's writing. I have read every one of the books available for free, so here are capsule reviews:
A Thousand Deaths, a collection of tales about science fiction writer Sandor Courane. Notable because it includes the novel The Wolves of Memory, my favorite Effinger novel and the author's personal favorite.
Dirty Tricks, a good collection of stories. Effinger was a fine story writer.
What Entropy Means to Me, Effinger's first novel, but a Nebula Award finalist. Precociously good.
Irrational Numbers, another solid short story collection.
Budayeen Nights, a collection of stories sharing the same setting as the Marid Audran novels, Effinger's most popular works. Includes the story "Schroedinger's Kitten," which won the Hugo and Nebula awards.
Live! From Planet Earth, a posthumous collection which has some of Effinger's best known stories. Featuring pieces about Effinger from various writers, including Neil Gaiman, Mike Resnick and Michael Bishop.
Those Gentle Voices: A Promethean Romance of the Spaceways, a charming short novel, not usually considered a major work.
Felicia, mainstream novel about a hurricane hitting the Louisiana coast. Pretty good book.
The Nick of Time, charming time travel novel. There's a sequel, The Bird of Time. I really liked both books.
The Science Fiction Encyclopedia does a pretty good job of explaining Effinger's work. And you can read my old FAQ, which needs updating.
My bibliographer for my Effinger website was Richard Newsome; I've lost touch with Richard, does anyone have any information?
Effinger by the way was from Cleveland, where three of my favorite writers are from: Effinger, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison. All were gone by the time I finally moved to the Cleveland area.
UPDATE: I've added links for the titles. Also, Effinger's literary executor, Barbara Hambly, has made her own Search the Seven Hills: The Quirinal Affair free for Kindle. It's as good a historical mystery as you'd want to read.