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Richard K. Morgan (1) (1965–)

Author of Altered Carbon

For other authors named Richard K. Morgan, see the disambiguation page.

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About the Author

Image credit: Roberta F.


Works by Richard K. Morgan

Altered Carbon (2002) 6,899 copies
Broken Angels (2003) 3,136 copies
Woken Furies (2005) 2,602 copies
Thirteen (2007) 1,729 copies
The Steel Remains (2008) — Author — 1,691 copies
Market Forces (2004) 1,438 copies
The Cold Commands (2011) 670 copies
Thin Air (2018) 387 copies
The Dark Defiles (2014) 378 copies
Black Widow: Homecoming (2005) — Author — 117 copies
Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her (2006) — Author — 75 copies
Crysis (2012) 17 copies
The SF collection (2013) 13 copies
Black Widow: Welcome to the Game (2020) — Author — 6 copies
Gone Machine (2021) 2 copies

Associated Works

Fantasy-Faction Anthology (2015) — Contributor — 14 copies
Grimdark Magazine #2 (2014) — Contributor — 10 copies
Grimdark Magazine #24 (2020) — Contributor — 1 copy


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Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Morgan, Richard K.
Legal name
Morgan, Richard Kingsley
Other names
Morgan, Richard
Country (for map)
England, UK
London, England, UK
Places of residence
Hethersett, Norfolk, England, UK
Madrid, Spain
Istanbul, Turkey
Ankara, Turkey
London, England, UK
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Cambridge University (Queens' College|History)
English teacher
Short biography
Richard Kingsley Morgan, (born 24 September 1965) is a British science fiction and fantasy author.

Morgan's books are generally set in a post-extropianist dystopian world. Morgan described his "takeaway" of one of his books as:

"Society is, always has been and always will be a structure for the exploitation and oppression of the majority through systems of political force dictated by an élite, enforced by thugs, uniformed or not, and upheld by a wilful ignorance and stupidity on the part of the majority whom the system oppresses."

He was born in Norfolk, and brought up in the village of Hethersett, near Norwich, and had a semi-rural upbringing. Morgan attended private school and later studied modern languages and history at Queens' College, Cambridge. After graduating he started teaching English in order to travel the world. After 14 years and a post at the University of Strathclyde, his first novel was published and he became a full-time writer. He lived in Glasgow until 2015, when he moved to Saxlingham Nethergate with his wife Virginia and their son Daniel.
Literary career

In 2002, Morgan's first novel Altered Carbon was published, combining elements of "cyberpunk" and hardboiled detective fiction and featuring the antihero Takeshi Kovacs. In 2003 the U.S. edition of Altered Carbon received the Philip K. Dick Award and the film rights were sold for a reported figure of $1,000,000 to film producer Joel Silver, enabling Morgan to become a full-time writer. The film rights were later acquired by Laeta Kalogridis, but production was trapped in development hell for a decade, eventually gaining release in 2018 as a Netflix series.



Altered Carbon in Science Fiction Fans (April 2011)


Well this book took its time getting published. I am truly envy of people that have read this in 2021 because I have been chasing this book for last two years only to have it planned for end of 2020, then pushed to Q1 2021, then November 2021 then early 2022 and finally, finally it is here.

First graphic novel from Altered Carbon universe was interesting but art was .... lets say weird at least to me. And it was disconcerting.

Here art is much much better. Overall story is for all means and purposes chapter 1, overture for more goody graphic novels to come in the future.

We follow Takeshi Kovacs as he finds himself targeted by police and then incarcerated into max security prison in unknown parts of space (equivalent of modern day black site). In order to make him more vulnerable Takeshi is resleeved in the body of old junkie. Why is this all happening is unknown to Takeshi. As time goes by he leanrs that somebody is asking about Envoy unit (Takeshi's former outfit) for reasons unknown. Only thing known is that unit was last seen executing virus containment operation on planet called Ito. With this single lead Takeshi manages to find who is actually trying to catch him but this will open another can of worms that will push Takeshi to do what he loves the most - go in with extreme prejudice.

From that point on Takeshi is good old himself, proof why Envoys are not supposed to roam the universe unsupervised. As the title says story is about the constant resleeving and (for all means and purposes) immortality (and effects of this on human psyche and behavior). But while some would expect only benefits coming out from this, Takeshi and his opposition show that everything can be used to create Hell on Earth. And here are some very disturbing elements on how to do this.

But as I said, ending of the book shows this is chapter 1 of (possibly larger) story arc. This was little a bit of a let down for me but OK, it is what it is. Even with this minus, book is still sold 4 stars for me.

Highly recommended. I hope new volume will come at least in next 12 months and not 4-5 years :)
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Zare | Jan 23, 2024 |
I have to admit I truly enjoy Richard K Morgan's SF novels - stories that have action elements, lots of it, but always have background story - often having political connotations and glimpses into very believable future - as a main component. That was the case with Takeshi Kovac's novels and Thin Air (that is set in the same universe as this novel).

In this one accent is on biological design of human beings (unlike more cyber-improvements of Takeshi Kovacs's universe) and scientific and moral qualms about performing these actions.

Background of the story is following - during a rather turbulent era all world powers worked on genetically enhanced soldiers - so called variant thirteen (hence the name of the novel) to carry out covert and high risk military operations. Due to the widespread use of these genetical modifications world community led by UN decides to bring genetic manipulation technology under more strict observation (to prevent further genetic manipulations and abuse). Soon these highly successful combat teams were declared as unwanted on Earth and were given option to move to Mars (colonials always need hardened veterans) or move to reservations that are kept under constant control with threat of overwhelming firepower to prevent variant thirteens from exiting them.

And this is where our main protagonist - Carl Marsalis - comes into play. Variant thirteen himself he is now working as bounty hunter on Earth hunting those variant thirteens that are wandering the new Earth governments without permits. Until very serious crime takes place in Martian freighter that crashes on Earth. This incident will start bringing lots of very dark secrets to surface, bodies will start piling up and Carl's unique insight into violent behavior will make him invaluable to solve the series of murders.

Carl is a man that would not be out of place as mercenary or soldier in Warhammer universe, especially Age of Strife of Unification Wars period. As a matter of fact all variants would fit in just nicely. Sharp minded, bred for resilience, independence and ability to follow their orders through no matter what they are the ultimate weapon that can be used as a scalpel or as a broad-sword depending on the needs.

But they are just that - weapon. And as soon as politicians were faced with consequences of creating them in the first place they were discarded.

Only thing that I was annoyed with is the constant talk how rise of civilization made a more timid society. This reminds me of the theory of the peaceful savage. Rise of civilization did not create more peace in the world - I mean only check last 100 years, WW1, WW2, Balkan wars (pre-WW1 and in 1990s), Middle East wars, numerous conflicts in Africa, Middle East and Central and South America and in later days more visible conflicts in Central Asia (and lets not forget the Great Game period eh) etc etc. War just became more industrialized and huger in scope - no longer are wars waged to protect the city or country but to establish control of the various markets and economy directly or even through proxies. As a matter of fact modern warfare became more deadly and unfortunately less under control of the public - because public decided that all the conflicts in the world are not of interest to them (until they get drafted but then it is usually late).

Also society did not become feminized during the civilization development but in majority became indifferent because it is much easier to act like foreign policy is of no interest to anyone instead of taking active role in political life of the country. And if people are living good off corruption and nepotism and if no caskets come back from remote frontiers why change anything - right? And also if you live in good conditions why should you worry about somebody in remote parts of the world? There is no point in it. Indifference of the majority is the main driving force for lots of events in the world today.

So to say people became timid or domesticated is in my opinion wishful thinking. Violence is part of the nature and control of goods, resources and territory will always be driving force for it among the humans. And as long the society in general is indifferent and not willing to call out things their governments are doing it will just continue on.

And the societies opinion on variant thirteens - nothing strange. Just try going against public opinion today and you will see what I mean. Vilifying others and black/white approach (no more grey areas no discussions) have become so common today that voices of the moderates get drowned in shrieks of the banshees and intolerant.

Characters in the book and their interactions - from field operatives to gray-suite chiefs of various organizations and services- are given in great details. I especially liked how Carl constantly tries to keep his appearance as a thug even though deep inside he is suffering even more than those around him. Loss of one of the main characters was followed through just wonderfully and with deep emotions.

Highly recommended to all fans of the SF in general and in particular hard-core no-nosense action heroes and cyberpunk-noir-detective stories.
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Zare | 59 other reviews | Jan 23, 2024 |
Very interesting graphical novel set in Takeshi Kovacs' universe.

Story wise this is standard Takeshi :) Put to jail because of disorderly behavior Takeshi gets called to get information from only murder witness (maybe better said only person found in vicinity of murder location).

From here story just explodes. We follow Kovacs getting more and more involved (and finally getting sponsor to execute his private vengeance) in fighting through government/protectorate conspiracy, shadowy special operation teams, genocide aftermath and very advanced AI that just wants Kovacs out of the way.

On the art side it is a little bit mixed case here. Some parts are OK but some parts look like exaggerated putty constructions (you know bulgy cheekbones, head shape weird depending on perspective etc). So anatomy-wise sometimes you will see weird things depending on the perspective and body position. Artist's style might put some people off but I have no problem with it. I think it captures the characters and story itself very fine indeed and those few weird panels did not ruin anything for me.

Recommended to all fans of Takeshi Kovac, cyberpunk, noir and SF in general.
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Zare | 3 other reviews | Jan 23, 2024 |
This was book I truly did not want to end. Although author makes his heroes rather gung-ho and ready to devastate the opposition in standard me-cyborg-un-destructable manner (I mean you havea guy that has bloody artillery weapon on his body :)) this book also presents views on many things from treating vengeance and ones own life to how to approach the revolutionaries in time when nobody actually dies and every victory is temporary [until next load into the new body].

After events in book #2 Kovacs is back to his homeworld, Harlan's World. There he is hit by a very personal loss and this puts him on rampage in unique non-surgical Envoy approach to blood feud.

Accidentally he comes across the team of hi-tech mercenaries and tries to find refuge with them until situation normalizes. But [as is case with Takeshi in general] nothing winds down and he finds himself progressively in more and more problems until final showdown where his attempt to make peace with himself fails due to the over-zealous action of his team.

After age of carnage and destruction, after hundred of years serving as human cruise missile Kovacs is tired of everything especially when shades from his murky past arise again. Shades that he knows, knows the aftermath of their actions and is sickened by will of people to go the same path of blood and betrayal over and over again. He sees good people around him getting ready to follow ideals from the past back into social revolution against aristocratic Families, same revolution that made parts of Harlan's World wastelands patrolled by intelligent war machines.

But then maybe in that past might lie his true purpose in life.

Ending is little bit open-ended and I truly hope there will be more books in the series at some point in time.

Very good novel, lots of action and twists. Recommended to all of the fans of the Takeshi Kovacs and far future cyberpunk stories.
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Zare | 52 other reviews | Jan 23, 2024 |



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