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Review of Altered Carbon

Posted by phduffy on 2005-05-08 15:43:43
Altered Carbon is the debut novel from Richard Morgan. It's sort of a mystery/sf novel, set about 400 years in the future.

So, in a way there's two mysteries in this novel. There's the main mystery, and then there's figuring out the world that these people live in.

A basic overview of the plot is this: Takeshi Kovacs is an Envoy, sort of a super soldier. He's brought out of storage by Laurens Bankroft, a 300 year old billionaire. Bankroft wakes him up because he wants him to solve a murder: The murder of Laurens Bankroft

See, apparently Bankkroft killed himself about 2 months ago. Luckily he'd just made a backup of himself 2 days prior, but he has no memory of those two days, and he doesn't believe that he killed himself.

So, Kovacs is sent to earth, in a body that he's not used to, to solve this mystery.

Now, at this point, you might be wondering what the hell I'm talking about.
Well, in the future, upon birth, people are fitted with a 'stack' in the back of their neck. This stack keeps all your memories on file, so when you 'die', they can install it into a new body.

So, for example, if you're a criminal, your body is put in storage, and rich people can rent it or buy it. Then, when your sentence is up, you're released into a new body.

So, with all that said, this is a great book. It was apparently optioned by a film studio for $1,000,000, and that allowed him to quit his job and focus on writing.

This is a brutal book, with some hardcore violence, a bit of sex, and some weirdness. If you're not comfortable with sf I'm not sure that this is the book for you.... I'm familiar with the idea of downloading yourself, and of cyberpunk, and so they don't seem that strange. However, to a non fan that might be too much.

ANyways, I have to go set the table..