Consider me a fan. Altered Carbon has won me over. Just the right mix of violence, sex, action and interesting ideas. Richard Morgan's world is interesting and enveloping. If you're a fan of cyberpunk or a fan of noir, you'll likely enjoy this.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. At times it was a little hard to follow as an audio book and should probably be actually read, but it does give the reader ample time to catch up on what they missed in the listning. Mostly it gets you to thinking. In a world where death is not usually permanent how would we as humans cope or would morals and civility break down. There is an undercurrent in the story that tries to explain this and the answer is a little unnerving. Man is after all only human and it shows.
As someone who mostly listens to books either at my noisy health club or during my commute on public transit to and from work, I'm especially attuned to the voice qualities of the narrator. Many Audibe narrators are superb. However, I found this narrator's voice very difficult to listen to, and annoying: He speaks in a monotone; his male characters all sound like smart-asses; and his female characters all speak in a breathy, "Talulah Bankhead" bass. Long stretches of the book were completely inaudible, and only slightly better when listened to in a quiet room. The book itself was relatively fun and engaging, but I'll be on the lookout for this narrator, and will avoid him.
This is a very good book, but it is NOT Isaac Asimov. It is extremely violent, intense, explicit and contains a lot of language and sex that may be offensive to some. However, it is creative, intelligent and fast-paced. I think the comparison to Sam Spade is the most accurate. I have enjoyed the book and the production and I look forward to the next two installments.
This is a riviting novel, a detective story set in the future a few centuries from now. It has the best qualities of both genres. Don't miss it! I added the authors othertwo titles immediately to my wish list when I finished this one.
I really liked the plot and sci-fi in this book, imaginative and brilliant. The only things I didn't like were the unnecessarily graphic violence; but it's a testament to the skill of the writer that the written words could conjure up images horrible enough to bother me; and they aren't the things that have stayed with me from this book, but rather the really ingenious ideas and concepts in it.
After reading all of the glowing reviews for this audiobook I was excited to listen to it, only to discover in the first few minutes that the narrator has an incredibly annoying lisp. It becomes less pronounced as the book proceeds because you get used to it, but I find this problematic. Moreover, there are some pretty blatant (i.e., audible) splices of audio tracks on this production.
The story is excellent and compelling but I thought listeners should be warned about the narration.
Science fiction has supplanted philosophy as the method by which new ideas are explored. Good science fiction takes a well rounded approach to a concept, forcing the reader to consider the different facet of an idea. Great science fiction takes the philosophical underpinnings one step further?it haunts you. Enter Altered Carbon. It is in this last and greatest category that this masterwork falls. Several other readers have drawn favorable comparisons between this author and William Gibson. I agree with their conclusions except this author writes with greater clarity and a punchier plot line. This author presents a gritty, future forward, cyber punk world where consciousness is supplanted by computer chip implants and the corporeal reality is expendable. The result is a staggering and thoughtful consideration of the nature of a human being: is the essence of who we are our bodies or our minds? To answer that question, the author drafts interesting characters representing conflicted points of view and spills them out with all their faults and foibles. The dialogues are masterfully crafted and sharp. I couldn't put this down. It ranks among the very best sci-fi I've ever read. I don't write the last sentence lightly. If you like a gritty, get down and stay down murder mystery tempered with big hits of sex, violence, and bottles of testosterone, then this is the book for you.
Some reviewers have deemed this book as good as Stephenson, Gibson, or Dick. I have to disagree. If anything, this is Gibson-lite or Stephenson-lite. Personally, I got a lot more out of Snowcrash and The Diamond Age, those were deeper stories for me, with much more involved plots, and were remarkably well-narrated books. In comparison, Altered Carbon was like a Saturday matinee in the cyberpunk genre. Well, a NC-17 type matinee. As for the sex, sure there is some, so if you are offended by a few graphic descriptions, then steer clear. But it all fits in with the story which contains a number of "adult" situations, both in terms of violence and sex. Afterall, this is a gritty detective story of man on the edge of society (albeit 25th century society), hanging out in the not-so-nice parts of town, with the not-so-nice people. So, in that context, the graphic elements worked. The book was a fun read, but not a ground-breaking sci-fi cyberpunk-revived experience. It had VR, AIs, interplanetary travel, blood, guns, sex, some romance, andriods, spaceships, hovercars, exotic drugs, jacking in, etc...-- it was a cornecopia of cyberpunk themes, but nothing radically new. The mystery was cleanly answered in the end, most loose ends all tied up, perhaps a little too neatly. The narrator was fine, his style worked for me, he "sounded" right for a detective-beating-the-street story. For me, it was worth the credit, but then again, I had already read Snowcrash...so if you have one credit and can spend it here, or spend it on Stephenson/Gibson, well sorry Morgan, my money is on the other guys. But after that, when you are looking for a little something between the next Stephenson, well check this out.
This is just another sleazy detective novel. It might be fiction, but it's not science fiction. If you like trashy novels, this is the book for you. I am sorry I wasted a book credit on it.