It isn’t a secret that I think that Ian McDonald’s River of Gods is a brilliant book. Imagine walking through the streets of crowded India in the Blade Runner universe and you’ve started to understand the setting of River of Gods. As I’ve said earlier, the author doesn’t immerse you, he drowns you. It is hard to describe how fucking awesome this guy’s ability to paint a picture with words is (though if I could write like McDonald does, it might be possible to do so). The difference between this guy and other SF writers is the difference between watching Blade Runner on video cassette and then watching it in HD (and if you haven’t watched the remastered HD Blade Runner, do yourself a favor!). Both show a picture. One of those pictures is a lot clearer.
Cyberabad Days is a set of short stories/novellas (one of which won a Hugo) set in the India of River of Gods. Most of the stories are set around the same time (2047) as when River of Gods takes place, so these stories work almost as an addendum or companion piece to the original rather than as a sequel. Sort of the way that the books Diamond Dogs/Turquiose Days or Galactic North sit within Alastair Reynold’s Revalation Space universe. Each of the stories leaves you wanting more. Each of the stories looks at the world of 2047 India through a different prism (the way that each of the character perspectives in River of Gods did).
Although this collection of short stories stands alone, you are better of having read River of Gods first. Given how awesome River of Gods is, that isn’t a particularly onerous requirement.