George Alec Effinger was born 70 years ago

George Alec Effinger was born on January 10, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

George Alec Effinger originally wanted a career as a doctor and even managed to get a scholarship at Yale but was unable to complete his studies. He moved to New York, where he met the writer Damon Knight, who became for him a mentor who introduced him into the world of magazines, in particular science fiction ones.

The first story published by George Alec Effinger was “The Eight-Thirty to Nine Slot” in 1971 in the journal “Fantastic”. For some time he published short fiction, also using various pseudonyms. He published his first novel, “What Entropy Means to Me” in 1972, obtaining a nomination to the Nebula Awards. During the ’70s Effinger published several works, including some comic books, novels connected to the TV show “Planet of the Apes” and some thrillers.

The greatest successes came for George Alec Effinger in the ’80s, particularly the Marîd Audran series, with the protagonist who operates in the Budayeen, a district in a Middle Eastern city heavily inspired by the New Orleans French Quarter with plenty of transsexuals, transvestites and more. The stories also have strong cyberpunk influences with characters that have cybernetic implants of various kinds.

The Marîd Audran series consists of the novels “When Gravity Fails” (1987), “A Fire in the Sun” (1989) and “The Exile Kiss” (1991). George Alec Effinger had started writing a fourth novel but was unable to continue it and the first chapters were published posthumously in 2003 in the anthology “Budayeen Nights”. The 1990 video game “Circuit’s Edge” is based on this series.

In 1988, George Alec Effinger published the novelette “Schrödinger’s Kitten”, which won the Hugo, Nebula and Seiun Awards. During the ’80s, he published several stories of Maureen ‘Muffy’ Birnbaum where, mixing science fiction and fantasy, the protagonist can move between different fictional universes belonging to these two genres making parodies of them. The various stories were collected in 1993 in the anthology “Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson”.

Throughout his life George Alec Effinger suffered serious health problems that in the ’90s became too serious for him to continue with his work as a writer. The growth of medical costs led him at one point to his inability to pay for the cures. One of the gastric ulcers he suffered from caused an internal bleeding which caused his death on April 27, 2002.

George Alec Effinger’s health problems made his career as a writer relatively short. Nevertheless, he managed to offer several quality works on various themes as well as the memorable Marîd Audran series. For this reason he deserves to be remembered.

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