NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW AN EXCITING SERIES FROM NETFLIX • The shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning in this “tour de force of genre-bending, a brilliantly realized exercise in science fiction.”—The New York Times Book Review
In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.
Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats “existence” as something that can be bought and sold.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Blending the hard-nosed grit of vintage pulp detective novels with a cyberpunk vision of a technologically advanced, morally ambiguous 26th century, Altered Carbon made a huge splash in the sci-fi world. Protagonist Takeshi Kovacs, an interstellar guerrilla warrior-turned-private investigator, is as fascinating as Richard K. Morgan's dystopian vision of downloadable humanity. Packed full of savage violence and scintillating tech-noir speculation, Morgan’s novel evokes thrilling movies like Blade Runner and Total Recall. Like the TV series it inspired, Morgan’s debut is easy to get into but hard to shake.
This fast-paced, densely textured, impressive first novel is an intriguing hybrid of William Gibson's Neuromancer and Norman Spinrad's Deus X. In the 25th century, it's difficult to die a final death. Humans are issued a cortical stack, implanted into their bodies, into which consciousness is "digitized" and from which unless the stack is hopelessly damaged their consciousness can be downloaded ("resleeved") with its memory intact, into a new body. While the Vatican is trying to make resleeving (at least of Catholics) illegal, centuries-old aristocrat Laurens Bancroft brings Takeshi Kovacs (an Envoy, a specially trained soldier used to being resleeved and trained to soak up clues from new environments) to Earth, where Kovacs is resleeved into a cop's body to investigate Bancroft's first mysterious, stack-damaging death. To solve the case, Kovacs must destroy his former Envoy enemies; outwit Bancroft's seductive, wily wife; dabble in United Nations politics; trust an AI that projects itself in the form of Jimi Hendrix; and deal with his growing physical and emotional attachment to Kristin Ortega, the police lieutenant who used to love the body he's been given. Kovacs rockets from the seediest hellholes on Earth, through virtual reality torture, into several gory firefights, and on to some exotic sexual escapades. Morgan's 25th-century Earth is convincing, while the questions he poses about how much Self is tied to body chemistry and how the rich believe themselves above the law are especially timely.
100 Words or Less
This is a well-written hard-boiled (and a bit retro, in style) detective novel, which happens to be set in the year 2400 or so. I really enjoyed the way Morgan immerses us into the culture, with references that we don’t get, but at the same time still understand. Great plot. Interesting characters. However, one caveat. I’m no prude, but the use of the “c-word” was a shock. Every time I ran across it (maybe 10 times, I guess) I was a bit stunned. For those who are offended by explicit sex scenes and that type of vulgarity, skip this.
Well worth the read!
Definitely one of the most well crafted sci-fi universes I’ve been exposed to. Can’t wait to move on to the next two books!
author is a TERF
Apple, I want my money back