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Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan
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Thirteen (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Richard K. Morgan

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1,228376,481 (3.81)97
Member:matociquala
Title:Thirteen
Authors:Richard K. Morgan
Info:Del Rey (2007), Hardcover
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Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan (2007)

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English (35)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book almost as much as I enjoyed the Takeshi Kovacs novels. I have to say, though, it is overly long and would have benefited from better editing. Still, I recommend it to anyone looking for a good sci-fi novel, particularly if you like dystopias.
  keithostertag | Aug 31, 2014 |
Black Man is set 100 years in the future. And, yes, there are a bunch of sci-fi technological elements that are crucial to the story. But more important than the 100-year-hence technology is the vision of the future social structures and political reality which makes this a really interesting story.
The story revolves around a man who is different, seen by some as a useful weapon, seen by most others as a monster who should be locked up or dead. This man is dragged into the case of solving a number of murders which seem to have been committed by "one of his own".
The story moves from there, and while I don't think it's the kind of story you won't be able to put down, it is certainly a book you always want to pick back up and continue reading.
The book turns out to be more than "just" a story. It goes from being story-driven to being almost purely character-driven. This works very well. Yes, the reader has become invested enough in the characters to care about them, but that's the easy part. The impressive part is that the reader has become sufficiently immersed in the world and the society around the story to appreciate situations and actions that can only be justified by, often very subtle, elements of the social politics which are part of the story.
Of course, as the title would suggest, the book also deals with a form of racism, but not in the way one might expect. Engineered genetics are a reality in this book, and this shifts the premise of the discussion to a level which I think very few people would and should feel comfortable with. Few things in this book are clear cut, and this makes both the characters and the setting feel more believable.
All in all, it is wonderfully difficult to pin down what this book is actually about. On its surface it could be seen simply as a sci-fi thriller. However, parts of the book also work well as a "what if?" philosophical discussion, using a future setting to discuss a number of complicated questions. At its best the book becomes thoughtful social commentary on a hypothetical society where a number of issues that exist today are amplified.
I took issue with a few things in this book. Quite often it comes dangerously close to being corny and overdone. Most of the time it succeeds in not crossing the line, which makes for a very entertaining and fast-paced read. However, at one point it crosses the line into corny and overdone so thoroughly and completely that it becomes silly, and just feels weird and out of place.
Overall I think this is a great book, and I'm not generally a sci-fi fan. This is a book with a story and characters that I think would hold their own in any universe. In some places it is a little rough around the edges for my taste, but I'm sure this is part of the appeal for genre fans. ( )
  clq | Jul 29, 2014 |
Did I miss something? I listened to the first 5 chapters of this book twice, yes twice, and I still don't know anything about the main character, who it is, what the hell is going on, or nothing. Maybe it is me or I had a sleepy day and wasn't listening, but I thought this book sucked! I turned it off long before the end. ZERO Stars. ( )
  Punchout | Jun 10, 2013 |
A beautifully written, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching novel about a future in which what we think of as essential, innate human traits have been commodified - sexuality, masculinity, leadership, love, loyalty. The world-building is breathtaking. The protagonist is powerful, brave, brilliant, damaged and ultimately tragic. I think Black Man works on every level; lovers of the speculation of science fiction, the thrills of crime fiction and the craft of literary fiction should all find their respective itches scratched. It's known and appreciated within the SF community, but deserves to be far more widely read. ( )
  Scriptopus | Apr 13, 2013 |
Morgan has again packed some sharp observations about society and politics into an action-packed mystery. Interestingly, this is the second novel I have read recently whose plot turns, at least in part, on the use of genetic engineering to bring back a subspecies of homo sapiens. The other is "Blindsight" by Peter Watts. In Watts book, genetic engineers have recreated the subspecies that gave rise to the vampire legends; Morgan posits a kind of feral human suppressed when hunter-gatherer societies settled down to agricultural and hierarchies, later revived as a kind of super-ninja, but shunned even while the powers-that-be find them useful. An interesting and thoughtful thriller. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard K. Morganprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Gleaming steel, gleaming steel...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345485254, Hardcover)

The future isn’t what it used to be since Richard K. Morgan arrived on the scene. He unleashed Takeshi Kovacs–private eye, soldier of fortune, and all-purpose antihero–into the body-swapping, hard-boiled, urban jungle of tomorrow in Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies, winning the Philip K. Dick Award in the process. In Market Forces, he launched corporate gladiator Chris Faulkner into the brave new business of war-for-profit. Now, in Thirteen, Morgan radically reshapes and recharges science fiction yet again, with a new and unforgettable hero in Carl Marsalis: hybrid, hired gun, and a man without a country . . . or a planet.

Marsalis is one of a new breed. Literally. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government to embody the naked aggression and primal survival skills that centuries of civilization have erased from humankind, Thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. The project was scuttled, however, when a fearful public branded the supersoldiers dangerous mutants, dooming the Thirteens to forced exile on Earth’s distant, desolate Mars colony. But Marsalis found a way to slip back–and into a lucrative living as a bounty hunter and hit man before a police sting landed him in prison–a fate worse than Mars, and much more dangerous.

Luckily, his “enhanced” life also seems to be a charmed one. A new chance at freedom beckons, courtesy of the government. All Marsalis has to do is use his superior skills to bring in another fugitive. But this one is no common criminal. He’s another Thirteen–one who’s already shanghaied a space shuttle, butchered its crew, and left a trail of bodies in his wake on a bloody cross-country spree. And like his pursuer, he was bred to fight to the death. Still, there’s no question Marsalis will take the job. Though it will draw him deep into violence, treachery, corruption, and painful confrontation with himself, anything is better than remaining a prisoner. The real question is: can he remain sane–and alive–long enough to succeed?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:01 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"In Thirteen, Richard Morgan reshapes and recharges science fiction, with a new hero in Carl Marsalis: hybrid, hired gun, and a man without a country ... or a planet." "Marsalis is one of a new breed. Literally. Genetically engineered by the U.S. government to embody the naked aggression and primal survival skills that centuries of civilization have erased from humankind, thirteens were intended to be the ultimate military fighting force. The project was scuttled, however, when a fearful public condemned the supersoldiers as dangerous mutants, dooming the thirteens to forced exile on Earth's distant, desolate Mars colony. But Marsalis found a way to slip back - and into a lucrative living as a bounty hunter and hit man. That was before a police sting landed him in prison - a fate worse than Mars, and much more dangerous." "Lucky for him, his "enhanced" life also seems to be a charmed one. A new chance at freedom beckons, courtesy of the government. All Marsalis has to do is use his superior skills to bring in a fugitive. But Marsalis's prey is no common criminal. He's another thirteen - one who's already shanghaied a space shuttle, butchered its crew, and left a trail of bodies in his wake on a bloody cross-country spree. And like his pursuer, he was bred to fight to the death. Still, there's no question that Marsalis will take the job. Though it will draw him deep into violence, treachery, corruption, and painful confrontation with himself, anything is better than remaining a prisoner. The real question is: Can he remain sane - and alive - long enough to succeed?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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