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Altered Carbon: A Takeshi Kovacs Novel…
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Altered Carbon: A Takeshi Kovacs Novel (Takeshi Kovacs Novels) (original 2002; edition 2006)

by Richard K. Morgan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,7931481,398 (4)1 / 181
Member:blakslaks
Title:Altered Carbon: A Takeshi Kovacs Novel (Takeshi Kovacs Novels)
Authors:Richard K. Morgan
Info:Del Rey (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (2002)

Recently added byNightCourtLibrary, Erina39, Mocate, ackck, ScottBreyfogle, private library, MRN, Powerschnute
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English (142)  German (1)  Romanian (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (147)
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
“If they want you, sooner or later they’ll scoop you up off the globe, like specks of interesting dust off a Martian artefact. Cross the gulf between the stars, and they’ll come after you. Go into centuries of storage, and they’ll be there waiting for you, clone-new, when you re-sleeve. They are what we once dreamed of as gods, mythical agents of destiny, as inescapable as Death, that poor old peasant labourer, bent over his scythe, no longer is. Poor Death, no match for the mighty altered carbon technologies of data storage and retrieval arrayed against him. Once we lived in terror of his arrival. Now we flirt outrageously with his sombre dignity, and beings like these won’t even let him in the tradesman’s entrance.”

In “Altered Carbon” by Richard K. Morgan

Cyberpunk, a historic sub-genre that was out of date by the time most people had started using Windows, cool! That said, Gibson was better than ever with the near future Blue Ant trilogy, and Stephenson is off doing whatever caught his attention, before hopefully returning with some more Shaftoes and Waterhice, I mean houses. That said, Gibson's “The Peripheral” offered some fascinating directions, but were too interesting for that hoary old sub-genre title. I've always thought of the Altered Carbon books as SF pulp really and the TV version just confirms it for me. When discussing Gibson and PKD I view their work as literature because they're tackling big issues and are using sci-fi as the frame. Altered Carbon doesn't really have any big issues and is more concerned with telling a rollicking adventure. Shame really. I'm a bit more stocked for Duncan Jones' 'Mute' which I think may well be more in-tune with William Gibson's motifs.

One example of something interesting here is how the moral economics of violence changes when bodies can be considered disposable and replaceable. In Kovac's world bodies are only truly disposable for a hyper wealthy elite, but still murder effectively becomes a property crime and torture can not involve irreversible physical damage for instance. The flip side of this is that the reader has a different awareness of what its like to live in an irreplaceable body; it reinforces disgust at physical violence. So on the level of ideas this is not boring at all, and while Morgan isn't the greatest stylist he is at worst competent and at best rather good at keeping things rattling along. Of course you can assert that authors X and Y kind of did the same thing, but within the limits of genre fiction it is an interesting area to explore and there's no harm in exploring it.

Having said that, if I’m bored by something, that doesn't make it boring by definition. And my personal reaction is not in itself interesting or informative. It's just one more opinion, and we don't seem to be running short on opinions. There's one factor that it's really hard to ignore. Kovacs is supposed to be the ultimate super-soldier, able to needlecast halfway across the universe and immediately blend in to any situation using his "total absorb" skills. A near-perfect chameleon, so the books have us believe. So why the hell does he blunder around like a total meathead, getting into random scraps with strangers and pissing everyone off like a moody teenager ?

Rickard K. Morgan's writing - but much of what he's written (with Kovacs anyway) is based on concepts that have been around for quite a while. He definitely puts a nice spin on them - but I really don't think that he matches William Gibson for innovation or exploration of new concepts. I mean we're talking about the man who coined the phrase 'cyberspace' - in 1979! (I think - too sleepy to go start searching...so am sorry if that year is wrong) However, I haven't read anything by Mr Morgan except for his Kovacs novels, so I am open to being proven wrong. I'll look up some of the titles mentioned among the comments on this review. But I believe (based on what I have read of Morgan's) that there are a number of writers who have been turning out similar stuff that is equally as well-crafted, if not better in some ways. (Neal Asher is the first to spring to mind...but there are a number of others, both contemporary and also not so). ( )
1 vote antao | Aug 31, 2018 |
In an earlier age, he would have been a shaman; here, the centuries of technology had made him more. An electronic demon, a malignant spirit that dwelled in altered carbon and emerged only to possess flesh and wreak havoc.
He would have made a fine Envoy.


A former soldier finds himself re-sleeved in a new body on a distant planet, summoned by a billionaire to find out who murdered him as the police have declared it a suicide.

This book is bursting to the brim with plot and ideas, with the altered carbon of the title referring to the new bodies that contain the downloaded consciousness and may have very little in common with the original body unless you are rich enough to keep a supply of cloned bodies in storage.

Pull on the new flesh like borrowed gloves
And burn your fingers once again.


A fantastic book? I will definitely be reading the other books in this series. ( )
1 vote isabelx | Aug 30, 2018 |
Wow. Been some time since I was really and truly impressed with a book.
Thank you. ( )
  Eternal.Optimist | Aug 22, 2018 |
Bit hard to get into as I'd watch the Netflix series first. Kept expecting the training flashbacks for one and the 'religious' aspect just wasn't in the book. Once I'd let that all go it made for a better read and a slightly confusing P.I. novel. ( )
  libgirl69 | Aug 10, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
In this rousing first novel, Morgan reimagines Chandler's "Big Sleep" as 25th-century noir, with a Philip Marlowe-esque protagonist trying to avoid "real death" in a world where serial resurrection is a privilege of the rich and ruthless.
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard K. Morganprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chong, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempen, BernhardÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is for my father and mother: JOHN for his iron endurance and unflagging generosity of spirit in the face of adversity & MARGARET for the white hot rage that dwells in compassion and a refusal to turn away.
First words
Two hours before dawn, I sat in the peeling kitchen and smoked one of Sarah's cigarettes , listening to the maelstrom and waiting (Prologue).
Coming back from the dead can be rough (Chapter One).
Quotations
Pull on the new flesh like borrowed gloves
And burn your fingers once again.
An electronic demon, a malignant spirit that dwelled in altered carbon and emerged only to possess flesh and wreak havoc.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345457692, Mass Market Paperback)

In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.

Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats “existence” as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning. . . .


From the Trade Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:52 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In the 25th century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself - a person's consciousness can be easily downloaded into a new body, making death nearly obsolete. Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly brutal. Resleeved into a new body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco), Kovacs is thrown into a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that buys and sells human existence. As a warrior-for-hire, he is called to help a far-flung planet's government put down a bloody revolution. But when a rogue pilot and a sleazy corporate fat cat offer him a lucrative role in a treacherous treasure hunt, he's only too happy to go AWOL with a band of resurrected soldiers of fortune. All that stands between them and the ancient alien spacecraft they mean to salvage are a massacred city bathed in deadly radiation, unleashed nanotechnology with a million ways to kill, and whatever surprises the highly advanced Martian race may have in store.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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