Four hundred years from now mankind is strung out across a region of interstellar space inherited from an ancient civilization discovered on Mars. The colonies are linked together by the occasional sublight colony ship voyages and hyperspatial data-casting. Human consciousness is digitally freighted between the stars and downloaded into bodies as a matter of course.
But some things never change. So when ex-envoy, now-convict Takeshi Kovacs has his consciousness and skills downloaded into the body of a nicotine-addicted ex-thug and presented with a catch-22 offer, he really shouldn't be surprised. Contracted by a billionaire to discover who murdered his last body, Kovacs is drawn into a terrifying conspiracy that stretches across known space and to the very top of society. Read by Todd McLaren.
©2003 Richard K Morgan (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc
I don't know whether it was misreading or some typos in the original source material, but the narrator says "yazuka" once, before saying the correct "yakuza" later in the book. Near the end he also says "casual link" where only "causal link" would make sense in the context. I found these mistakes distracting from an otherwise compelling story and voice performance.
The premise and scifi are engaging and entertaining. The blurring between reality, virtual reality and the potential for the human soul to be converted into software is exactly the reason why I am a scifi fan. But this book is too long. Long passages that added little to the story. By the end I did not care how it resolved I struggled to finish. Performance of the actor is very compelling. They capture the tone and voice of each character.
Punchline - good story in need of an editor
Action packed throughout
The overall concept is a fascinating one, - I won't offer any spoilers here, but has an interrsting take on inter-stellar travel and how to get around issues of time dilation
I bought the book when it first came out, following a good recommendation in SFX magazine, and its one heck of a read - on audio, its equally as entertaining
Very difficult to focus in on one scene when the entire book is so packed full or action and activity. One scene which I found unpleasant featured torture (if you're squeamish about eyes, watch out in the final two chapters , but it fit very well into the storyline
Well worth reading or listening to
Constantly introduced ideas about the future that are both believable and possible, I loved it!
Almost a steampunk version of l Ron Hubbard, with a touch of Brandon Sanderson!
An almost laconic laid back narration, that fits the almost reminiscence style of writing
Death is no longer final
"An excellent read"
It was such a relief to come across this book after weeks of listening to boring books and even more boring performers. The narration is excellent. Each character is well and properly portrayed. Todd is awesome. I would recommend it to all scifi fans
Yes loved the book
All characters were good
He suits the book perfectly
Can u please but the rest of the books up for sale they are on your amaracan site please why not the uk site.
"Recommend, but requires perseverance"
It's a long book, entirely told from the perspective of the protagonist. The story is well structured with plenty of twists and turns that keeps you guessing until the very end.
"One of the few books I keep coming back to"
I've been rereading Altered Carbon since it first came out and I still find it fresh and interesting. Whilst the later books really don't live up to the promise of the first, if you just accept the story and go with it, Altered Carbon is a fantastic book.
The narration is exactly right (noir but not backwards looking) and the story has enough depth to keep you interested.
Well worth a credit!
"Hardboiled SF, not bad."
If you're going to show your influences so brazenly, they'd better be good. The strongest influence here is probably Neuromancer, which isn't a bad place to start. Altered Carbon isn't quite that good, but it is certainly enjoyable. You've got a murder mystery, a reluctant protagonist, and future-tech galore. Not bad at all.
The main character is a bit of a superman. His special training and augmentations mane him kind of invincible, so you're never really concerned for him. However, the worst part is probably a very cringe worthy sex scene early in the story. It did make me laugh, but I don't think it was meant to. Aside from a few other minor niggles, it is a decent little story, set in a very well-developed world.
The reader was ok, but the female voices were a bit weak and breathy. Not bad enough to put you off though.
Bought the next one already the story is good the reading is ok
Richard Morgan is a great writer
"Altered Carbon review."
Awesome scifi novel. Morgan has created a believable yet colourfully imaginative futuristic world in this novel, the idea of Sleeves and having stacks of lives is scarily realistic to what we may have in the centuries to come.
Brutal and fast paced in places to keep any action fan entertained and the crime-mystery element keeps you on your toes, anticipating the next chapters.
Not to mention the depth of the characters he illustrates throughout the novel, especially in Kovacs, the protagonist, whose dry humour keeps the story on a good level.
"As cyberpunk thrillers go, it ain't bad..."
"If they ask how I died tell them: Still angry."
As the above quote may suggest Altered Carbon is an angry book. A very angry book. We follow Takeshi Kovacs (pronounced Kovach - he's very particular about that) as he attempts to solve the mystery of who killed Laurens Bancroft. The case is further complicated by the fact that Laurens is the prime suspect. And also that Laurens hired him.
At this point a little explaining is probably required. Altered Carbon is a novel with heavy 'cyberpunk' themes - it is set on Earth a few hundred years into the future. In this time technology has advanced greatly; humans can now be 'digitised', a process which allows the sum total of their personal experiences to be stored on a brain chip ('cortical stack'), which can be downloaded into new bodies (or 'sleeves') as and when this is required. Sadly, in spite of these great technological advances society itself has degraded to a mildly dystopic anarcho-capitalist state. Put simply, Richard Morgan's future Earth provides wondrous new opportunities, so long as you are capable of paying.
One of the issues I had with Altered Carbon was that the world building seemed a little inconsistent. Although great bounds had been made in some areas, this sense of progress couldn't be seen across the board. This is perhaps a little unfair, as the book was written in 2002, but reading it now (in 2015) some of the technology in it actually feels a little dated. It seemed at times that the author had put so much effort into focusing on one particular set of technologies, that he had failed to fully consider what general advances would also have been.
This applied not only to the technology on show, but also to certain aspects of human life. One notable example is that a great deal was made in the book about Takeshi's smoking habit! Whilst this in itself is not a make or break feature of the book, it does represent a (very minor) example of the imbalance of the vision presented in the story. When compared with the obvious effort that went into considering impact that digitisation could have on human life, it was disappointing that other areas were neglected. At times it felt like the story was guilty of not dreaming bigger in terms of the World it was trying to paint for you.
As for the story itself, it is a solid whodunit that rattles along at a consistently brisk pace. It is at its best during its more base moments. Sex and violence are abundant, and are described in all their visceral glory. To the authors credit this is generally portrayed honestly, and does not always shine a flattering light upon our hero. Kovacs is intent on doing his job and makes it clear that he doesn't care about anyone who gets in his way.
...Except sometimes he does. For our hero is a conflicted soul. Or perhaps just an inconsistent character. Either way, the book covers just about as much soul-searching as it does body-rending. It's up to the reader how much they take away from these moments - but personally I didn't feel that they represented the strongest parts of this book.
In short: Altered Carbon isn't a bad yarn, and although it hits some genuine highs it does struggle to maintain these levels throughout. A worthy listen, but probably only if you're an existing fan of cyberpunk or detective fiction.
(A brief note on the performance: Todd McLaren does a wonderful job of portraying Takeshi, and a solid job elsewhere. There are a number of odd pauses in the recording, which break the flow of the narrative. These often appear when one character interrupts another, and it would have been nice if these could have been tidied up a little in editing. This is only a small gripe, however.)
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