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Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

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Book Information  
AuthorRichard Morgan
TitleAltered Carbon
GenreScience Fiction
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Ciprian Niculescu 
(Sep 02, 2011)

I start reading "Altered Carbon" and start asking myself why am I reading it.

The story starts as dull as it gets. You got your very basic muscle detective story. Nothing imaginative. You have your bad ass, once special forces, guy. Not so long ago criminal, assassin, now turned detective. Hired for a mystery job. The employer seems to be holding back. "Look, I want you to investigate, I am not telling you what."

The wording is not bad, though. Still, it is about the only quality.

The writing goes very movie like. It seems very much written to be turned into movie. Which actually makes it worse, since now it is even more cliché stuff.

At some point some chick, the wife of the employer actually, offers herself to the muscle detective. Just so he drops investigation. Now that's mighty original stuff, I have only read and seen it about one hundred times before.

Some sex stuff, the detective genre fashion. The sex stuff is dull.

As the plot develops, the central character turns more and more into your every movie hero: the terrible bad ass assassin that will not hurt a fly and go to any lengths to protect the innocents. He is quite impressed with himself and featuring no contemplative or elaborate traits. Very much a comic Batman.

The characters are schematic, without life, ambitions, orientations. Hardly humans. No drives.

The universe imagined while full of detail is still flat, not really imaginative. The prose is hardly sci-fi at all, the detective story is all there is to it.

The plot is sort of missing. Cannot tell where it is going, but equally cannot care. It is static, the next frame the hero is sure to punch once again some out of luck (poor, poor) bad guy.

Still, despite the lack of a real story, the writing is catching. Catching enough to turn one more page.

To read that some sort of romance develops between the hero and some female character. The bad guys, chasing our hero, get hold of her and only release her in exchange of the same hero. The hero gives himself to his death. That is, he knows they'll kill him. The reader will know otherwise.

And how is the hero going to die? What would be the lamest cliché, even by comic standards? He will fight in arena, in an arranged, uneven match against a bigger, better, meaner contender. Have I mentioned the hero is softened up before the match?

Submitted by rodney powell 
(Jan 08, 2008)

Richard Morgan got a hit on his hands with this stunning sf noir thriller set in the 25th century where real death is only a memory to a select few! Technology exists in this future society where a person's consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack and download into another body(sleeve). Ex Un envoy Takeshi Kovacs is killed in a firefight with the authorities and he finds himself in another body on Earth in Bay City which use to be San Francisco. He is hired or threatened by the rich Laurens Bancroft to find out who had him to kill himself! Morgan's sf thriller has it all: scenes of brutal violence as Kovacs uncovers a rather sinister conspiracy that will rock this future society to it's core. Morgan's vision of the future where human life is bought and sold and where death loses it's sting to select few who can afford it.

Another thing I love about this novel is wonderful characters both good and evil who inhabit this world: Takeshi Kovacs: a man who finds his conscience as he battles his corrupt enemies. Kristin Ortega: the cop who has ties to Kovacs that makes her distrust him at first. Laurens Bancroft: centuries year old man who's hires Kovacs to find out who tried to kill him. Miriam Bancroft: Laurens wife who has some dark secrets of her own as she tries to seduce and stop Kovacs.

I love the gritty feel of this book with it's scenes of future eroticism and gory violence and it's theme of in the future technology changes but human nature doesn't!

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