Flights of Fantasy

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan

Altered Carbon - Richard MorganCategory: Science Fiction

This is the first book I have read that has been recommended to me by one of you lovely people who read my reviews (thanks weenie )

This is high tech sci-fi meets gritty old detective story. On one side you have a future in which a persons memories and personality are stored in a chip in their spine, the contents of which can be downloaded from their body (sleeve) and stored on a computer. This consciousness can then live in a virtual world, or it can be re-sleeved in their own body or any other currently vacant body.

On the other side you have Takeshi Kovaks, a criminal turned special-ops turned criminal, currently serving an electronic jail term. His time in prison storage on Harlan’s World is cut short when he is extracted, transmitted to Earth and re-sleeved. There he finds himself forced into the employ of Mr Bancroft, a rich ‘Meth’, who wants Kovaks to investigate a murder, the murder of Mr Bancroft.

Restored into a clone sleeve from a backup copy of his consciousness, he now has no memory of the 24 hours prior to his death, but he is convinced that the police conclusion of suicide is wrong and that in reality someone murdered him, and he wants Kovaks to find the killer.

This story is well written and full of rich descriptions and characters, and the contract between the high and low tech and the rich and the poor lifestyles can be startling at times, and yet are ultimately what make to book such a fascinating read.

I would warn potential readers that it does contain some quite graphic scenes of violence, so if that sort of thing bothers you then avoid it, otherwise read it, it’s worth it.

Rating 6/10


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