Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan


Altered CarbonTitle: Altered Carbon
Author: Richard Morgan
Series: Takeshi Kovacs #1
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Crime, CyberpunkScience fiction
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Gollancz
Year: 2002
5th sentence, 74th page: Yeah, and look where that stupid bitch ended up.

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It’s the twenty-fifth century, and advances in technology have redefined life itself. A person’s consciousness can now be stored in the brain and downloaded into a new body (or ‘sleeve’), reducing death to a minor blip on a screen. Onetime U.N. Envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Resleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco), 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.


I really liked this. And I think that if I re-read it while I was more in the mood for this type of book, I would think that it was phenomenal. The premise is amazing, the message is intense and the action is continuous. But, after over a month of slowly reading through this, it’s just not quite intensely intrigued me. Again, just because I wasn’t in the mood for it.

This is an incredibly intense, fast-paced story that is a conspiracy wrapped in a conspiracy. Alongside trying to figure out who’s the “bad guy” whose behind everything, there’s also a lot of playing catch up in this world. The world building in this cyberpunk story is amazing, and the complexity of it means that half the time I was trying to follow the story, and the other half of the time I was trying to figure out more about the world that Morgan has built.

I could spend all day tweezing apart the themes and messages throughout Altered Carbon. But what I like most is that life is precious, and not to be wasted. It might not be exactly what the author was originally intended, but I found that the idea of shells and murder and mayhem simply highlighted the fact that life is something to be revered and treasured, not something that can be traded away lightly. Even if there is just another shell around the corner…

 <- Woken Furies Review Broken Angels Review ->
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7 thoughts on “Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

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