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Black Man by Richard Morgan
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Black Man (edition 2007)

by Richard Morgan

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1,497498,392 (3.79)109
One hundred years from now, and against all the odds, Earth has found a new stability; the political order has reached some sort of balance, and the new colony on Mars is growing. But the fraught years of the 21st century have left an uneasy legacy ... Genetically engineered alpha males, designed to fight the century's wars have no wars to fight and are surplus to requirements. And a man bred and designed to fight is a dangerous man to have around in peacetime. Many of them have left for Mars but now one has come back and killed everyone else on the shuttle he returned in. Only one man, a genengineered ex-soldier himself, can hunt him down and so begins a frenetic man-hunt and a battle survival. And a search for the truth about what was really done with the world's last soldiers. BLACK MAN is an unstoppable SF thriller but it is also a novel about prejudice, about the ramifications of playing with our genetic blue-print. It is about our capacity for violence but more worrying, our capacity for deceit and corruption. This is another landmark of modern SF from one of its most exciting and commercial authors.… (more)
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Title:Black Man
Authors:Richard Morgan
Info:Gollancz (2007), Edition: paperback / softback, Paperback, 640 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Science Fiction

Work details

Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan

  1. 10
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (WildMaggie)
    WildMaggie: A thriller and a tragic romance--both authors explore the ethics of people created for specific purposes from the perspectives of those created individuals.
  2. 10
    Kiln People (The Kiln Books) by David Brin (grizzly.anderson)
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English (47)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Total testosterone read. Not that this is all bad, of course, because there's plenty going on in the story to try to buck the trend. Like the main character, an uber-alpha-male if there ever was one, thanks to his Thirteen status as an engineered lot designed to do all the things that a pansified world is now unable to do.

Of course, skip ahead a few years and everyone's regretting that decision, setting up all the thirteens for a witch-hunt, and what we have now is a noir fiction treat skipping back and forth between Mars and Earth.

I should mention I read Morgan's Thin Air before this one and it doesn't really matter which you start with. They're both in the same time-frame and setting set up, but different characters and plots (although both are quite noir).

I had a good time with this. It's longer than a usual mystery novel by a big stretch and we've got lots of twisty plots to unsnarl -- usually with a lot of ultraviolence -- and it is what it is. Sharp, snappy, full of overblown Jesusland ignorance, rich people getting away with nutty stuff, and police-ish procedural with a side order of romance. :) You know, NOIR. :)

I'm glad to have read this. It hit the spot. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Lots of characters and lots of action. Stay with it as it picks up speed as it rolls along. Delves into the prejudice surrounding genetically modified humans, but there is some bitterweet romance along with some great fight sequences. Morgan ties it all together and the end is satifsying, if not a little melancholy. ( )
  Kardaen | Apr 24, 2020 |
Wow, that was cheerful. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 21, 2020 |
Carl Marsalis is a variant thirteen, genetically engineered for aggressive, hypermasculine traits. His kind were meant to be super-soldiers, but now exist in a society that hates and fears them. Marsalis makes a living hunting down other thirteens, but he's about to be hired for something much more strange and complicated than usual.

I find myself with very mixed feelings about this one. I'm not sure how much of that is due to me picking it up at the wrong time and with the wrong impressions, though. It looked like it was going to be a fast-paced action thriller, the kind of thing that would be great for a sleep-deprived week of night shifts when my brain wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders. Well, there is definitely lots of action (and lots of violence and sex), but there are also lots of political and philosophical conversations, lots of complex world-building, and a surprisingly complicated plot.

Mind you, even taking into account the sluggishness of my brain at following some of the plot, I'm still not sure what I think about that plot. It's an interesting set-up, and it ends in an interesting place, but some of the twists along the way are a bit... much. And those long political and philosophical conversations do slow down the pace and kill the momentum quite a bit. As for the philosophy itself, well, I'm not really buying the whole concept of the thirteens and what they're supposed to represent about humanity. Not that Morgan doesn't do some interesting things with it, but interesting isn't exactly the same as convincing.

The world-building, though... That I loved. There's a truly impressive and gratifying amount of care and attention to detail in the way Morgan builds his future world. It's not so much in the big things, the technological advancements and geopolitical changes, although there is certainly enough of that. It's the little references to pop culture or history or current events, things that don't necessarily have anything at all do to with the plot but make the world feel lived-in and real. So much SF, including stuff that I otherwise really like, feels impoverished to me when it comes to that kind of detail, so it always delights and fascinates me to see it done really well. Even during times when I found myself just kind of wishing I could be done with this story already -- and it took me long enough to finish that I definitely did get to that point -- that alone made it feel worthwhile to me.

Rating: 3.5/5. Which might honestly be a bit high, but I just gotta respect that world building. ( )
  bragan | Apr 7, 2019 |
Boring, excessive dialogue and sex. Terribly plotted and no characters to speak of. Some cool science stuff but that's not really the point of cyberpunk. ( )
  Algybama | Feb 22, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard K. Morganprimary authorall editionscalculated
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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