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Altered Carbonby Richard K. Morgan
This debut novel effortlessly blends the techno-fetish of William Gibson, the hardboiled detective narrative of Dashiell Hammett and the rapid-fire heroic bloodshed of the films of John Woo. If you enjoy such cyberpunk classics as Snow Crash and Neuromancer, Altered Carbon deserves a space on your reading list.
Synopses & Reviews
In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person's consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or "sleeve") making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.
Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats "existence" as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning. . . .
"Morgan's debut novel, the first in a series, combines noir mystery with ultra-high tech science to create a complex sf thriller. Featuring a hard-nosed antihero with his own sense of personal honor and ethics, this is highly recommended for sf collections."—Library Journal
"For readers who enjoy their heroes nihilistic and their action raw, Altered Carbon is the must-read book of the year. This is post-millennial storytelling of the highest order: one that raises the bar for future cyberpunk writers." Gerry Donaghy, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
"This fast-paced, densely textured, impressive first novel is an intriguing hybrid of William Gibson's Neuromancer and Norman Spinrad's Deus X....Morgan's 25th-century Earth is convincing, while the questions he poses about how much Self is tied to body chemistry and how the rich believe themselves above the law are especially timely." Publishers Weekly
"The way ahead is quickly littered with...enough juicy future-detail to make any veteran SF scribe jealous. The body count is high, the gadgetry pure genius, the sex scenes deliriously overwrought, and the worn cynicism thoroughly distasteful: a welcome return to cyberpunk's badass roots." Kirkus Reviews
"This seamless marriage of hardcore cyberpunk and hard-boiled detective tale is an astonishing first novel." London Times
"An exciting SF/crime hybrid, with an intricate (but always plausible) plot, a powerful noir atmosphere, and enough explosive action to satisfy the most die-hard thriller fan." SF Site
"Altered Carbon plays out like a film in your head. The landscape and vision are gritty and vivid, recalling Blade Runner." USA Today
"This far-future hard-boiled detective story is a lovely virtual-reality romp distinguished by a conspiracy whose strands have the potential to generate several successful sequels, which is just what its publicity promises." Regina Schroeder, Booklist
"An exhilarating and glossy adventure....What makes Altered Carbon a winner is the quality of Morgan?s prose. For every piece of John Woo action there is a stunning piece of reflective description, a compelling sense of place, and abundant 24-karat witticisms." SFX Magazine
"Morgan's debut novel, the first in a series, combines noir mystery with ultra-high tech science to create a complex sf thriller. Featuring a hard-nosed antihero with his own sense of personal honor and ethics, this is highly recommended for sf collections." Library Journal
"If you've ever wondered what kind of science fiction Raymond Chandler might have written for a futuristic Philip Marlowe, check out Altered Carbon....[T]he pleasures to be gleaned from such entertainments hardly depend on the exercise of ratiocination. It's been said that not even Chandler could untwist all the kinks in the plot of The Big Sleep." Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review
"An astonishing piece of work....A wonderful SF idea....Altered Carbon hits the floor running and then starts to accelerate. Intriguing and inventive in equal proportions and refuses to let go until the last page." Peter Hamilton
A stunning debut sci-fi/noir thriller reminiscent of Blade Runner — and the beginning of a new series featuring a one-of-a-kind anti-hero: ex-UN envoy Takeshi Kovaks.
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