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Market Forces Paperback – March 1, 2005

3.6 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Richard Morgan, the award-winning author of Altered Carbon and Broken Angels, strikes out into new territory with Market Forces, leaving behind the farflung battlegrounds of Takeshi Kovacs for the not-so-distant future of corporate Earth. Here, Morgan extrapolates a world where commodities trading reaches a brutal pitch and the outcomes of banana republic uprisings are the new market. Now, on the road to success, the brokers of the new economy compete for status and promotions via road rage on the freeways of new London.

Morgan's conflicted protagonist, Chris Faulkner, is a comer known for one spectacular kill that shot him to the top of mid-range global capital firm. He parlays his reputation and skills as a driver into a job in the emerging field of "Conflict Investment" at the world's hottest and hardest firm. Soon he finds himself running with the big dogs and rises to the top of a brutal realm, but his ascent is quickly threatened by vicious senior partners, gold-digging suitors, fame, fair-weather friends, and his own nagging conscience.

Market Forces is at once an anti-globalization treatise and anime fantasy meets The Road Warrior. Morgan employs the graphic-novel imagery of his two previous novels to create a disturbingly brutal picture of slash-and-burn capitalism run amok. There are times when Faulker's moral quandries seem hollow in the face of his actions but this isn't Crime and Punishment. Enjoy the ride and "come back with blood on your wheels or don't come back at all." --Jeremy Pugh

Amazon.com Exclusive Content

A Winning Translation: An Exclusive Essay by Richard Morgan

His novels may paint a bleak picture of the future, but Richard Morgan has a great attitude toward language, and one word in particular. Read his Amazon.com exclusive essay and find out why he'll never consider himself, or anyone else, anything worse than an occasional non-winner.

From Publishers Weekly

Morgan's brutal, provocative third novel (after Altered Carbon and Broken Angels) charts the moral re-education of executive Chris Faulkner, who joins notoriously successful Shorn Associates, which specializes in "conflict investment" - financing totalitarian regimes, as well as guerrilla movements, in developing countries that are never allowed to develop. Taking his theme from such well-known critics of Western capitalism as Noam Chomsky, Susan George and Michael Moore (all listed as sources), the author presents a bleak near-future that includes continuing job loss through NAFTA, the undermining of national economies like that of China and the creation of a permanent underclass. Faulkner and other company hotshots compete in highly dangerous, often fatal car races, which reflect the ruthlessness of their corporate careers. Faulkner's auto-mechanic wife, Carla, strives to humanize him, but he will have to kill a lot of people with his car, guns and, in the penultimate bloodbath, a baseball bat before seeing the error of his ways. While some may be put off by the graphic violence and the heavy-handed polemics, most readers will find Morgan's economic extrapolation convincing and compelling.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345457749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345457745
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #700,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
100 pages into this 464 page bug killer I was ready to slam it. This book doesn't even deserve one star, I thought. How did I get from there to matching the highest rating I've given a book thus far? I finished it.

The premise is an eye catcher: corporations rule the world, funding, starting and stopping wars based on economic prospects only, and the way you work your way up in the corporation is by performance and road raging. Yup. It's Mad Max meets Wall Street. When I read the back cover, I laughed out loud, and I knew I had to read it.

The book starts out.... feh. It's crude. Too crude, especially in the graphic soft core sex descriptions, foul language and violence. And if you're too offended by the first few pages, it only gets worse. It's simplistic. The characters are typical and predictable, the movement of the book, in spite of the crudeness, is rather dull. The world the book paints is typical of so many bleak future books. Class disparity, no ethics, ultra violent.

But then, much earlier than the Joseph Heller book, something happened.

Morgan has used the first part of the book to build up the characters, (unfortunately through long drawn out dialogue, though one wonders if the effect would have been as strong without it) to make a basis for the development he's about to write. The protagonist, Chris Faulkner, is a gem of character development. Young and up and coming in the beginning. An idealist thrown in among sharks, yet determined to succeed on his own terms. His wife, his new best friend, his father in law....all very real.

The book suddenly becomes very very good. The interpersonal conflicts become idealistic battles and I found myself choosing sides rather quickly as the story moves on.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before Richard K. Morgan's provocative third novel even begins, he dedicates it to "all those, globally, whose lives have been wrecked or snuffed out by the Great Neoliberal Dream and Slash-and-Brun Globalization". He also makes sure the reader knows he drew inspiration from left-wing extremists like Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and Michael Moore. The reader, upon encountering this, could be forgiven for slipping the book quietly back on the shelf with a slight shake of the head. But that would be a mistake.

Despite the ideological chest-thumping, "Market Forces" is not just a wisp of a story wrapped around a shrill anti-capitalist polemic. It's actually a rollicking good read that doesn't get swamped by the author's ideological crusade, except perhaps near the end. But more on that later.

The setting is deliciously twisted. Fifty years from now, the world is run by a handful of financial houses that deal in "conflict investment" -- giving financial assistance to tinpot dictators in exchange for a cut of the country's GDP if they stay in power. Executives vie for promotion or contract tenders by staging highway duels in armored cars. It's a bizzare mixture -- "Liar's Poker" meets "Mad Max" -- but Morgan deftly pulls it off.

Morgan's first novel proved that he is adept at drawing imperfect characters, and here he serves up a whole cast of scummy anti-heros and scummier villians. Chris Faulkner fought his way up from the slums and is a new hotshot executive. His wife, Carla, is a mechanic who keeps his sedan in prime dueling condition. Her father is an idealistic outcast whose socialist views are a constant source of tension in the family.
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Format: Paperback
Richard K. Morgan's third novel was published in the U.K. about a year before it was available in the U.S. I awaited it eagerly. Oh, I was a bit worried because it's not a Takeshi Kovacs novel -- but it turns out that I needn't have been concerned.

The backdrop of this comparatively near-future tale owes a lot (as Morgan himself tells us in his Acknowledgements) to _Mad Max_ and _Rollerball_. In fact the tone of the whole thing is rather like a screenplay or a graphic novel (and it's probably not a coincidence that Morgan has also written a series of Black Widow comics for Marvel). But hoo-boy, it's a good 'un.

Yuppie road warrior ('Blaaaaade runner -- coyote's after you . . . ') Chris Faulkner is the hero(?) this time out. He's just recently joined the Conflict Investments division of Shorn Associates, see . . .

But enough. You can read the other reviews and the Amazon summary if you want to know more. Better yet, you can read the book.

Other reviewers are correct: this one may take you a bit longer to get into than Morgan's previous two books. But keep going; it's worth the wait. (Actually I didn't find the first portion hard to get through, but I can understand why some readers might, especially after Morgan's first two constant slam-bang page-turners.) It's got the trademark Morgan oomph, as well as his wicked sense of humor; for example, Morgan's own _Altered Carbon_ makes an uncredited cameo appearance near the end. (And a paradoxical one if this is, as it appears to be, Takeshi Kovacs's own universe. Or isn't Shorn Associates a corporate ancestor of Shorn Biotech? [Later note: Morgan says it's not; he just likes to reuse the name 'Shorn'.])

Although it's fiction, it's got a bit of an agenda: a short bibliography lists works by e.g.
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