- Series: Takeshi Kovacs (Book 1)
- Paperback: 375 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (March 4, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345457684
- ISBN-13: 978-0345457684
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,009 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs) Paperback – March 4, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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When someone asks me for a book recommendation, I do not recommend this book or series if the person is underage, or if the person likes fairies and fluffy dragons, or if the person has never read at least some of the Classic Science Fictions works.
When someone asks me for a book recommendation, and I think that person is smart enough and tough enough to read hardcore blindingly brilliant Science Fiction, I will recommend this book and series with the caveat: "You will either get totally sucked in and miss days of your life, OR you will run screaming.
Your mileage may vary.
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.
Of course, that is only if you want an amazingly well-constructed SF work done as futuristic detective "noir" - it's got the plot, the thoughtful working out of how the particular tech referenced by the title affects society, a tough and resourceful protagonist, good/bad male/female cops/perps/vics - you name it.
Finally, it passes a crucial test for me - it holds up quite well over multiple re-reads. Along with the other two books in the "Takeshi Kovacs" series ("Broken Angels" and "Woken Furies"), the author has carved out a universe that is great fun to experience - time and again.
I thought that the world building is really exceptional here. The whole system and the workings of society are very well thought out. The writing and also the twists and turns in the story elevate this book among the great classics, at least for me. It instantly became one of my all-time-favorites.
So I'm planning to read the rest of the series for sure.
I recommend this to sci-fi fans and detective story enthusiasts alike. Also, I recommend this to everyone :D
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.