- Author: Richard Morgan
- File Size: 882 KB
- Print Length: 546 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz; UK ed. edition (December 9, 2008)
- Publication Date: December 9, 2008
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
MAJOR NEW NETFLIX SERIES FEB 2018
This must-read story is a confident, action-and-violence packed thriller, and future classic noir SF novel from a multi-award-winning author.
Four hundred years from now mankind is strung out across a region of interstellar space inherited from an ancient civilization discovered on Mars. The colonies are linked together by the occasional sublight colony ship voyages and hyperspatial data-casting. Human consciousness is digitally freighted between the stars and downloaded into bodies as a matter of course.
But some things never change. So when ex-envoy, now-convict Takeshi Kovacs has his consciousness and skills downloaded into the body of a nicotine-addicted ex-thug and presented with a catch-22 offer, he really shouldn¿t be surprised. Contracted by a billionaire to discover who murdered his last body, Kovacs is drawn into a terrifying conspiracy that stretches across known space and to the very top of society.
For a first-time SF writer to be so surely in command of narrative and technology, so brilliant at world-building, so able to write such readable and enjoyable SF adventure, is simply extraordinary.
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.
In a society in which death has been rendered practically obsolete, suicide and murder take on different significances. After a particularly brutal offing, former UN envoy Takeshi Kovacs finds himself “resleeved”–that is, his consciousness has been put in a new body–and hired as a private investigator by Laurens Bancroft, one of twenty-fifth-century society’s old rich in Bay City (formerly San Francisco). Bancroft claims he was murdered, but the police say it was a suicide.
After Kovacs gets hit at his hotel within hours of being resleeved, he sees the possibility that Bancroft was, in fact, murdered, and that someone wants to keep it very hush-hush. As he investigates, he uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy with ties to the most unsavory characters in his generally unsavory military and criminal past. This far-future hard-boiled detective story is a lovely virtual-reality romp distinguished by a conspiracy whose strands have the potential to generate several successful sequels, which is just what its publicity promises.
Wow, I was not expecting the book to be this good when I bought it. I typically have lower standards for books on Kindle Daily Deals due to the some of the offerings I see and the lower prices, but this book was amazing sci-fi/noir mystery. The writing was great and the whole story flowed very well to an exciting conclusion. This is a pretty long book in a very good way, I couldn’t believe how much the author managed to fit in. The sci-fi concepts behind the book were also very interesting, had never read about concepts like this before. Definitely seems like a very realistic dystopian future in some ways and really makes you appreciate something as simple as human mortality.
Background: I typically buy my Kindle books as part of the Kindle Daily Deals and plan them for airplane reading or times when I am away from home and cannot do more exciting or responsible tasks. This means that my standards are not too high and I am looking for books in the beach read category under the fantasy/sci-fi genres. I try to rate fairly on the star scale and personally consider anything 3 stars and up to be fine.
I half read & half listened to this novel because of time constraints (and the excellent deal kindle offered for the Audible content via whispernet). It’s an excellently crafted piece of fiction that, while staying within the noir cyberpunk style of the first two novels, answers many lingering questions about Takeshi Kovacs and the mythology of his universe. The writing is superb and the story is top notch.
However, I’d suggest that you read this novel and not listen to it via Audible. First of all, it’s a different actor reading & a different director than used for the first two novels, which is in itself a little bit disconcerting. You can get past it, if it’s done right, but they didn’t do a good job.
The actor, director and production team clearly never read the first two novels on the series and no one bothered to do some cursory research on simple things like name & location pronunciations. For instance, the actor pronounced the title character’s name wrong (Takashi Kovacs’ last name is pronounced “kovatch” which is pointed out by the protagonist in the first chapters of Altered Carbon and throughout the first two novels) and so the actor and production team never bothered to do a shred of research on the characters of the series.
Secondly, they used a very annoying device to indicate flashbacks & memories. Instead of articulating a reference to a memory or flashback, they employed a ridiculous type of echoing sound. That is, all memories and flashbacks (and there are many throughout the novel) are recorded as if muffled. Or to try and describe a real world example, these parts of the story sounded like when your local newscast anchor loses his mic and you hear him in echo off of background audio, video as if from a distance & in a chamber. It’s horrible and really annoying. Read this one & skip the Audible.