Altered Carbon

  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/thebigcr/public_html/scifidorks/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/thebigcr/public_html/scifidorks/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/thebigcr/public_html/scifidorks/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/thebigcr/public_html/scifidorks/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/thebigcr/public_html/scifidorks/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/thebigcr/public_html/scifidorks/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/thebigcr/public_html/scifidorks/includes/file.inc on line 646.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/thebigcr/public_html/scifidorks/includes/file.inc on line 646.
alteredcarbon.jpg

Richard Morgan

GENRES:
Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk, Crime

SUMMARY:
In the 26th century, humans have developed the technology to digitalise consciousness, thereby ensuring immortality... at least for those with enough money and power to buy it.

Takeshi Kovacs is an ex-Envoy, a former member of an elite group of special agents trained to use their mind and any resources available to achieve whatever their assignments require. After a botched job in which he is brutally killed, Kovacs wakes up in a new body across the galaxy on Earth. He is introduced to Laurens Bancroft, a mysterious and wealthy man who has hired Kovacs to investigate his recent suicide, in which Bancroft apparently took his own life before he was transferred to another body. Bancroft is convinced he was actually murdered, but does not have access to the memories 24 hours preceding his death. Complicating the situation are Bancroft's seductive wife Miriam and police lieutenant Kirstin Ortega, with whom Kovacs seems to have a history.

In order to keep his consciousness out of an indefinite period of storage, Kovacs must solve the case and unravel the complex threads that surround the rich and powerful on Earth.

RESPONSE:
Don't let my feeble attempt at a detailed plot summary turn you off, Altered Carbon is a great read. The prose is fast-paced and blunt, actually quite graphic in some fight and sex scenes. The plot is full of twists and turns like any good crime novel, but the gradual introduction of characters and storylines makes the complexities relatively easy to follow. The characters are not exactly likeable, but they sure are interesting.

Kovacs is one of the best action anti-heroes I've ever come across. As per the usual anti-hero criteria, he often bends and breaks the rules but almost always ends up doing the right thing- and the few times Kovacs doesn't do the right thing, it's damn entertaining reading that not only advances the story but allows Morgan to explore some rather profound concepts about morality and human nature.

Like its cyberpunk predecessor Neuromancer, Altered Carbon abruptly thrusts the reader into a futuristic world with amazing technology. Very little is explained, and readers are left to decipher words like needlecast, stacks, and sleeves mostly on their own. No big deal. Unlike Neuromancer, which rarely defined its techno-slang, Altered Carbon provides enough clues for the reader to figure it out. And if you're really dense, the author eventually does get around to providing full explanations.

Like any good sci-fi novel, Altered Carbon uses its technology to explore humanity. In this particular case, it is the dark underbelly of human desires that Morgan explores... what exactly would people get up to if they were essentially immortal? The answer is not pretty, but it does make a great novel.

POINT BLANK: Hard hitting sci-fi at its best... one of my new favourites.