Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched 180 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.
©2003 Richard K. Morgan; (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.
"This far-future hard-boiled detective story is a lovely virtual-reality romp." (Booklist)
"Fast-paced, densely textured, impressive....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)
This story is what SF is supposed to be -- a novel central technology that spins out multiple effects on society and the individuals swiming in this new world.
The story opens with an action scene written for the movies and continues to have enough techno-pop action to keep the adrenelin part of the story moving. The central premise of essential immortality is explored from several characters viewpoints -- a cop, ex-military, everyday joe & jane, powerful industrialists, the religous devout. So if it is possible to transfer your essence from one body/sleeve to another, what genies are released. The author avoids demonizing the concept and his characters don't go into long introspective rants; you get to do that yourself based on your reading of the book.
My only complaint is that it took me more than a couple chapters to orient myself to this world and the characters in it -- there is complexity and then there is just being adrift.
The narration was good -- enough voice variation to differentiate the characters and good pacing (I'm getting tired of running stories at 1.5x to keep the actors from overacting).
The story is so unique and full of action and science fiction for adults. So refreshing.
I'm open to any book as long as it is true to itself.
The concepts and sci-fi aspects of this book were great. The ideas really made me think about the value of life when immortality is a possibility. This made me ask myself a lot of questions. However, I feel that the style of the author and the actual delivery was lacking compared to the premise, which left me disappointed as the potential for this book was much greater than its actual achievement.
Enjoy the adventure
A great action, thriller.
I like Richard Morgan’s views on good and bad times in our lives. Occasionally we receive a gift that most people say we do not deserve. Don’t agree, enjoy the gift. Also, when times are dark and there appears to be no way out, keep believing a solution will be found. Just hang on and “get to the next page”.
The story is basic detective crime noir with the minor twist that the "detective" in question has his mind implanted into someone else's body so he can investigate a crime. This is supposed to be the big hook of the tale; that the human mind is hackable and skills, knowledge and even people can be downloaded into the shell/body. This was the hook that made me want to read this book. However, this was also the problem I had with the book.
My problem was that if people can download/remove anything into any brain, then everything should be easily fixable. Emotions? Change them! Need combat skils? Download em! Entertainment, shopping, information, interrogation, torture, sex. All downloadable.
Speaking of sex, there are a few graphic sex scenes in this book. I don't mind so much, but some other readers might want to know about them in case they have issues with that kind of thing.
Back to the mina problem with the book i did have. The gimmick, or "the stack" as they call it. The stack is only used to introduce problems not solutions. At least not until towards the end of the of the book. Then the stack can be used to produce answers easily.
I like my crime novels a little more knowledge driven (where they set up the rules and you have to figure out the solution among those rules), not magic driven (where the rules are made up on the fly).
The narrator was decent enough. He laid on just the right amount of thick cheese for this kind of book but at times it was laid on a little too heavy and it was hard to take the lead character seriously. And his attempt to mimic female voices was kind of weak.
Overall the book was a 3 out of 5; it was okay but very forgettable.
I enjoyed reading this book and considering the idea that a "soul" can be transferred digitally to and from human bodies, almost like taking off an article of clothing. I would have given this book 3.5 stars if I could have. The only issues I had when reading this book most likely came because I read it as an audiobook. The book changes scenes and situations quicly. The recording did not easily differentiate these changes, so at times, when I was reading the book, I was confused as to where we were in the story. Todd McClaron's reqading was good, but the production really sucked. I'll read the other ataakeshi Covacs novels, mostly because I got a good deal when I bought them. If I had gotten this book at full price, I'd have to think about it before continuing. I hope production improves in the next two books because hearing the noise gate trip every sentence really was annoying. Where did they record this, in an industrial plant? These production issues seem to be par for the course the earlier int eh Audible library you go. Seems like Audible could strike a deal to remaster some titles? There are other books that are much worse than this one, don't get me wrong, but the issues with production and transition definitely detracted from my enjoyment of the story.
ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance
Seldom it is that I don't finish a book-even one as long as this. Downloaded in two 8 hour sections, I just couldn't make it thru much of the second section...for me the tediousness, the vast number of characters in different bodies, characters who are dramatically part of the story for a couple hours then dead-or part dead-or whatever they are.... who had been killed and revived in the rambling plot became difficult to follow.
It wasn't the sex and violence...I read the previews and got it that this is an adult novel with sex and graphic violence.
It wasn't the narrator-Todd McLaren did a good job holding my interest and actually had a great performance of the gratuitous sex and violence parts.
It wasn't the length-I listen to Stephen King, Tom Clancy and Diana Gabeldon, all who write gigantic fiction.
It was, quite simply, the plot that lost me. Tangled, twisted, I had to listen over to more than a few chapters because I got lost....
And I didn't like the protagonist. I get anti-heroes but this anti-hero is so self interested, so wearisome and monotonous that he became boring.
I know I'm in the minority here, so be it. Maybe I'll try it again some day-on a long airline flight perhaps..at least it will put me to sleep if nothing else.
Eclectic taste in audio books.
Takeshi Kovacs is my new favorite fictional character. Pulled out of cold storage and sent back to Earth from his home world, Kovacs must use his Envoy training and propensity for unflinching violence to discover the truth behind the death of a wealthy and highly connected tycoon.
Excellent narration, a memorable cast of characters, mind-boggling future science, and top-notch noir detective story-telling make this a must-listen. Highly recommended!
I mostly enjoy audio books while in the car. They are a great way to pass the time spent behind the wheel. 99 percent of my titles are SF.
This is good stuff. Great premise, sound reading, terrific cast of characters, solid story, satisfying ending and a promise of more. Gritty hard hitting action in a future that is enough fiction to be fun and scary at the same time. I enjoyed this listen and I am looking forward to the next two books in the series.
I took a leap with this trilogy and couldn't be more pleased with the first novel. RKM created a richly textured universe and an anti-hero that you can't help but love. Sure, there's a lot of ideas that are derivative of other SF - but the author is unapologetic about it and frankly, it makes it easier to swallow some of the concepts and just move forward with the story.
I'm also happy to have listened to, rather than read, this novel. Todd McLaren is a perfect narrator and he nails the gritty tongue-in-cheek tone.
If you like to escape into worlds of (early) William Gibson, aren't ashamed to admit that you loved The Matrix, you'll definitely enjoy yourself here. Its not groundbreaking SF, but you'll be having too much fun to care...
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