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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
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.
Great summer-hammock reading.
Reading this book makes you feel like a total badass, and it's full of visceral detail. And, unlike many writers, Morgan doesn't shy away from including sex where sex should be included. It's refreshing.
This book does include graphic violence, some sex, and some torture. That said, it's well-done -- just enough to make you squirm, but not enough to give you nightmares -- and I'm usually too squeamish to watch most movies.
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.
The story itself was very good and drew me in. It was not a casual read; I recognized early on I needed to pay attention :) Character development is an interesting thing in a world where some can attain near-immortality (by sleeving into a new body) and one must adjust to and is influenced by sleeving into the body of another (ex: a non-smoker 'inheriting' the urges and habits once sleeved into the body of a smoker). I look forward to reading the second book!