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Altered Carbon Audiobook

Altered Carbon

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Hardwire William Gibson into Dashiell Hammett and you get the unique universe that has earned Richard K. Morgan a legion of Audible fans. Todd McLaren wisely taps into the noir undercurrent for his narration - moving the action forward at a steady clip, letting the characterizations do the work, and treating high concepts like "sleeving" (downloading your personality into a new body) with a dead-pan legitimacy that makes them feel all the more real. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

In the 25th 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 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.

Altered Carbon is the first Takeshi Kovacs novel. Don't miss the sequels Broken Angels and Woken Furies.

©2003 Richard K. Morgan; (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (4804 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elle (AKA PlantCrone) in the great NorthWest OREGON 05-06-12

    ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It goes on and on and on and on and on and on and"

    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.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SugarCanKill Hopedale, MA, United States 03-07-12
    SugarCanKill Hopedale, MA, United States 03-07-12 Member Since 2015

    Eclectic taste in audio books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Perfect blend of SF and noir detective story"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 12-24-11
    Mark 12-24-11

    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.

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    "Good Solid 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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy 11-22-11
    Jimmy 11-22-11
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    "Cyberpunk noir gritty sexy fun for your ears!"

    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...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    F. Shifreen New York, NY United States 11-22-11
    F. Shifreen New York, NY United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2015

    Transendit

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "started out well - sci-fi noir than plummetted"

    I was hopeful that this was a better science fiction title. I have
    not been happy. I listen to many titles and genres, but
    the science fiction is particularly bad here at Audible.
    I suppose it reflects the poor quality in the genre.
    The writing holds up well until the hero, who is like
    a cyber-equipped sleuth, whose is brought to
    Earth to solve a crimeHuman . Bodies are rented- called
    sleeves, and the hero is using a rented body.
    When the detective Kovach sleeps with
    the wife of the billionaire whose suicide
    he is investigating I lost interest It seemed
    unprofessional , presumptuous and kind of ruined
    it for me

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wesley AUSTIN, TX, United States 11-19-11
    Wesley AUSTIN, TX, United States 11-19-11 Member Since 2012

    I love hard core sci-fi, supernatural and fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Future Tense Sci-Fi Meets Hard Boiled Killer"

    This is a solid first outing for Morgan and he doesn't ruin the whole singularity / tech immortals genre. He is late to the game though.

    Morgan covers a lot of the same ground as other authors. He does offer a few minor twists on how society has handling this transition. Altered Carbon is in essence, a story about a retired special forces operative who is in the wrong place at the wrong time. It has a hint of Noir in it and the story is fairly well constructed. As a detective story goes, it doesn't disappoint. It is rare these days that I don't know the who, what, when, where and why by the middle of these kinds of stories. Morgan kept enough threads running without losing focus to make it an interesting read.

    I wasn't a fan of the sex in the book, a bit too much detail and porn quality to it. It may have shock value for some but I didn't think it added anything to the story as a whole. The relationships did. The interaction between the characters wasn't crazy complex or extremely deep but they did lend a since of humanity to the book.

    If you haven't read anything from Alastair Reynolds and LOVE Sci-fi and a good whodunit this is will be in your top list of books to recommend to others.

    If you have read Reynolds and came to Morgan for the same, you won't be as happy. Chasm City is probably one of the best outings in this genre and is the benchmark as far as I'm concerned.

    Todd McLaren is a top performer. Not just for his ability to bring the characters to life but for the homework he does BEFORE stepping into the studio. No sound effects, no over the top Rambo style performance just s solid reading that brings the book alive.

    There are a few narrators that I will listen to even if I've never heard of the book and it is outside my normal venues just because they are that good. Todd is on that list.

    Was it worth the money and time? You bet! It was a good roller coaster ride even if it was a bit bumpy in some spots.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara W. Kilbourne 11-15-11 Member Since 2011
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    "A Substantial Literary Work"

    Good science fiction is good literature, and this book fits that criterion. The reader glides without difficulty into the fictitious space, without any excessively self-conscious reason not to suspend disbelief. The themes of life, death, and their meanings, within a different context--not our own, then unfold. But the echoes reach back to us, especially in this era of a rapidly aging population.
    What can I say? I liked it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Bronx, NY, United States 10-04-11
    Deborah Bronx, NY, United States 10-04-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Sloppy Editing"

    When I started to listen to this book my air conditioner was on and I found the book interesting. Then the weather changed and off went the air conditioner, and when I continued to listen to the book, that's when I noticed it. Very sloppy audio editing. When the narrator speaks I can hear ambient noise. When he stops for a pause after a sentence, the ambient noise is gone. So it is constantly switching from hearing the ambient noise to silence in the background which makes it very hard for me to flow with the book. It's distracting. So - I'll wait till next summer comes and the AC goes back on, to continue this book, and then after that I may change the rating. Narrator is good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DeeAnna Sacramento, CA, United States 09-26-11
    DeeAnna Sacramento, CA, United States 09-26-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Will Make a Better Movie"

    I could not get into this book at all! It is one of those rare instances when I really think a movie will be better than the book (it's supposedly optioned for a movie). It was hard to grasp the concepts, it was all sooooo futuristic that I really couldn't connect.......
    Also, while this genre does tend to be very sexual for some reason, it was too much.... gratuitous, and I'm not real prudish about that sort of thing......Just not a book I care for. But I will see the movie, I think the story is pretty alright.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    squaredancer 09-23-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I do not recommend this book"

    I have been a member of audible.com for about 2 years and this is the first book that I did not enjoy at all. The story draged on and on and was hard to follow. This is not good SiFi

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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