Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

"My sleeve was  in his early forties, Protectorate standard, with a swimmer's build and what felt like some military custom-carved onto his nervous system."


This is one sexy, thrilling, chunk of sci-fi excellence. Talk about extreme makeover, inhabiting new bodies or 'sleeves', ex-military hard man Takeshi Kovacs goes from bad situation to worse and you'll be captivated every step of the way. Things are grim in the future, particularly with the rich potentially living forever through the use of clone sleeves and backups of their minds stored for safe keeping. Known as 'Meths', like Methuselah, these powerful types have an eternity before them, which may skew their world view somewhat.

Takeshi is pulled out of storage to discover the truth around the apparent suicide of a Meth, employed by the same Meth who has been downloaded to a new clone but is lacking crucial moments since the last back up. Herein begins our adventure, hold on tight, it is part noir, part action, part conspiracy and all kinds of awesome.

First published in 2002, this novel won the Phillip K Dick award for best novel in 2003. I was prompted to check it out by its appearance in a number of must read scifi lists. I'm obsessed with list completion, they certainly amp up my to-read pile, while also exposing me to gems such as this. 5 out of 5, smash and grab yourself a copy.

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