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Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs Novels) Paperback – March 4, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The flip side of this is that dying is only a temporary thing-unless your stack has been somehow destroyed and there's no backup, then you're subject to "RD" (real death). And if you've got enough money to get into cloning and data storage, one can live a virtually endless and seamless life. It's one of these "Meths" (after Methuselah, just one example of the excellent creation of slang in the book), who has Takeshi remanded and "needlecast" (digitally freighted) from offworld to investigate his alleged suicide in Bay City (aka San Francisco). Takeshi had been in prison, having been captured as a mercenary in a vibrantly kinetic prologue.
The meth, Bancroft, is one of the future elite, weaving elaborate corporate and political webs with others of his kind. Apparently he committed suicide a few weeks ago, but he's convinced it was murder.Read more ›
It's enough of a treat that Richard Morgan can _write_. The author bio indicates that he taught English as a second language for some fourteen years; he can teach a thing or two to us native speakers as well. His narrative and his dialogue are clean, crisp, and focused, with that sense of heightened reality you get from really good fiction; there's not a word out of place, and there's none of the mannered artificiality of e.g. Frank Herbert's _Dune_.
But it's even better than good writing. Morgan has applied his craft to a brand of fiction that one of the cover blurbs describes as a cross between hard-core cyberpunk and hard-boiled detective fiction. That's an odd description of the genre and makes it sound newer than it is, but it's true that there hasn't been a lot of SF detective fiction. And Morgan's contribution advances the ball considerably.
If you're at all familiar with the genre, you're already thinking of Larry Niven's ARM stories (and maybe, though less aptly, of Asimov's _The Caves of Steel_ and _The Naked Sun_). Well, Morgan's world does owe something to Niven's, but he's got very much his own spin. His main character (Takeshi Kovacs), though arguably more Mike Hammer than Hiro Protagonist despite the snowcrashy backdrop, will remind longtime fen of the wisecracking tough-guy heroes that have populated SF since at least the days of Keith Laumer (not to mention Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat). But he's not just a carbon copy (even an altered one).Read more ›
This is a world where no one dies for good, where bodies are cloned and personalities held in cortical "stacks" sleeved into them. A rich man "died" by apparent suicide, and when revived calls in a renowned offworld criminal to investigate. What Takeshi Kovacs finds are unhelpful cops, people and gangs out to hurt or kill him, bewildering events, lies everywhere, and dead bodies showing up around every corner. Every ally is a potential enemy, with the exception of the hotel he stays in.
After being chased, shot at, beaten, burned, tortured, and nearly killed many times, he slowly realizes that behind it all is another of the ancient power players of the world, one with whom he has an old history. Only then Kovacs tries to get the upper hand, methodically manipulating events to a final showdown.
The perspective is gritty, hardened, and not a little bitter. Kovacs is an antihero more than willing to take whatever measures he feels are necessary, including killing - permanently. He is a seasoned Envoy, a long-time criminal (though just how is hazy), and has been through many bodies and many worlds. No one is particularly likable, but many are somehow sympathetic. The combination of hard crime thriller with many unique SF elements - Science Fiction, and San Fransisco - works well. The author has done a great job here.
There are deeper ideas floating around. What is death?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the greatest novels ever written. It's that simple, yet I have trouble picking which aspect of storytelling to give due praise first. Read morePublished 7 hours ago by David D Phelps
The second time I have read it, and I am still fascinated by this world. I will keep coming back for more.Published 2 days ago by Anton Bouwer
I have long been a fan if hard, gritty, in your face cyberpunk science fiction and this book is just that. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Kyber Allen Hawke
This is a really good 'hard' science fiction book. I'm looking forward to starting the next in the seriesPublished 2 days ago by Albert Keenan
I downloaded this book after reading an iO9 article saying it was being made into a series for the BBC. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Christine
Twenty or more words are req. Ibreally dont like this requirement, I dont have anything else to say about itPublished 5 days ago by Kindle Customer
A who/how dunnit in a future with a well-rounded set of assumptions about where our technology has taken us to. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Simon F. Dickinson
In the first place, I finished the book, which is something to report since I don't normally read this kind of thing. Read morePublished 11 days ago by SSB