Luckily, his "enhanced" life also seems to be a charmed one. A new chance at freedom beckons, courtesy of the government. All Marsalis has to do is use his superior skills to bring in another fugitive. But this one is no common criminal. He's another Thirteen, one who's already shanghaied a space shuttle, butchered its crew, and left a trail of bodies in his wake on a bloody cross-country spree. And like his pursuer, he was bred to fight to the death. Still, there's no question Marsalis will take the job. Though it will draw him deep into violence, treachery, corruption, and painful confrontation with himself, anything is better than remaining a prisoner. The real question is: can he remain sane and alive long enough to succeed?
©2007 Richard K. Morgan; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"Stellar." (Publishers Weekly)
Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? I recently listened to "Augustus" while wandering through the Roman Forum. I'm on my third set of "Sleep-Phones". I've been addicted to audible since 2004... I think my friends are starting to suspect I have a problem ;)
This is an offshoot of the Takeshi Kovacs Series, using the same universe, with a different main character; a "13". A man genetically engineered from the ground up to enhance dominant, Alpha-Male, Traits, with no dilution. Pure "used future" awesomeness!!!
As Morgan states in this interesting dystopian book, "From the discomfort of truth there is only one refuge and that is ignorance. I do not need to be comfortable, and I will not take refuge. I demand to know." I really admire and like this original quote, but alas, blind, partial, Truth-i-Ness Rules in this dystopia! A la Dave Barry, I am not making this up...Morgan relates that the American Heartland and the dastardly South have seceded from the US, the area is renamed 'Jesusland' and is populated solely by sub-IQ "F***ing barbarians" , "Christians", "racists", "Arian cultists", "evil preachers", "weak, quiet women" who love beatings by "brutish, unemployable, manly-men". Fortunately, the "intelligent" progressive "good" people in New York and Los Angeles save the planet and form areas where no Jesusland barbarians can object and even kids get to see all the corporate ads which ALL show full action clips of all variations of the sex act to sell goods...even projected in the sky. Wow! What a place! Still, the reader shoulders on and ignores the truth-i-ness stuff because it is a very good and powerful dystopian story and the author can spell. Later, the reader may start laughing after HUNDREDS, yes hundreds, of nasty mentions of Jesusland and its people...especially the dastardly southerners, who, can you imagine, believe in state's rights. Geesh! Eventually, Morgan runs out of nasty adjectives so he repeats a bunch; for instance the "F" word precedes 'Jesusland' about 70 times. For those who are happy about the Jesusland stuff, read it and it will give you many new adjectives which describe how to hate, and a good story. For those who might not like the hate part, I'd read it anyway because the hate-spew is not sly or sneaky, it ends up funny-ish, sledgehammer hate think. If you can ignore it and see it for what it is, there is a good story hidden between the spew. * = The future name for F***Book. I did make that up.
A very entertaining picture of a pronounced dystopian future. The backstory is a rich tapestry of interesting pieces of information: vintage Morgan. A troubling aspect of Mr. Morgan???s works is that he seems to lack the vision to give his stories any satisfying meaning. They are elaborate, highly detailed ??? brilliantly detailed! ??? tapistries that ultimately have no particular point. After a fascinating and extremely violent romp from Mars to The Rim Countries and Jesusland, ???Thirteen??? peters out with an ending reminiscent of ???Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid???. This is unsatisfying because Mr. Morgan???s creative genius deserves more. His works to date are strongly based on a philosophy of scientific realism: All biology is portrayed in electro-chemical-mechanical detail. All living things are deterministic. No Steve Talbot here! As in ???Altered Carbon,??? where the ???Catholics??? are portrayed as unscientific, dogma-ridden simpletons for their belief that a digitized personality lacked a soul and therefore ???sleeved??? humans were basically zombies, here the residents of Jesusland are portrayed with unremitting disapproval. In Mr. Morgan???s works to date, religious impulses and ideas are universally repellant and destructive. The lives of his non-religious characters, though, are hardly attractive; more ???Clockwork Orange??? than desirable. Still, the rich detail of the story is worth your time.
My only complaint about this book, and about Morgan's writing in general is that the plot often seems to stumble around aimlessly through the second act of the book. Of course once all is revealed towards the end the aimlessness picks up meaning, but it sure would be nice if the plot was a bit less muddy.
The positives on the other hand are huge. Morgan builds an incredibly deep, realistic, and thought out world that the reader gets slowly submerged into. Exploring this world and it's consequences is really the greatest pleasure of the book. Morgan achieves what only the few great sci-fi authors do, he finds the perfect balance between entertaining the reader and presenting the reader with some very interesting ideas and questions that will make them look at the world, and themselves through different eyes.
While I think the book could have been a little better, it stands head and shoulders above so many others out there that I give it 5 stars.
The narration is great, switching flawlessly between accents, the characters really develop their own voices. Totally worth a listen. Unless you're from "Jesus-Land", you might not be able to handle it.
A well written book is a gem.
I am a screaming bleeding heart liberal. Tattoo on me a hammer an sickle and the red star. Socialist health care? Bring it on. So now you know where I'm coming from, OK?. Yeah for Obama, and The New Deal, I'm as left as they get. So here's my take on 'Thirteen".
Too much politics. I agree with everything Morgan says; an uninformed/mislead proletariat that votes against it's own self interest in favor of a self serving elite is the way of all major societies in history. Including our own today. But don't hit me over the head with in every paragraph. OK, OK, I get; it we're stupid. I agree, but can we move on with the story?
Also, the 'future speak' got old. I lost patience waiting for explanations of odd phrases and words that everyone supposedly finds second nature in the 'Thirteen' world. A little too exclusionary and distracting.
Reduce the density of the political screed, and clarify the futuristic language - this would have been a lot tighter and more interesting read for me.
The narrator Simon Vance: outstanding.
If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.
I've now read all 5 of Morgan's novels and this is nearly as good as Altered Carbon, my favorite. Like the others, it's very violent and the hero is basically a sociopathic killer, but you sympathize with him all the same. It's great cyberpunk, this time set in the year 2110 or so.
The British reader does a good job, tho' some of his American accents sound too disdainful for my ear.
If you like Morgan's previous books then you will like this one. The plot is not as engaging as any of his previous works. It serves as the filler between present day and Market Forces and the trilogy. Don't listen to the people who wrote about the book being hard on religion. It's science fiction and is just presenting a possible view of the future. It's not hard to imagine why the Southern United States could be called Jesus Land...
I have listened to most of Richard K. Morgan's stories from Audible.com, and looked forward to this one with some doubt after reading the reviews. I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very good story. If you enjoyed his Kovaks books, you'll like this one as well. Same tortured grayish protagonist. Same complicated twisting story. It is violent, dark, a little dirty. Not as bad as some of the reviews I have read suggest, though. Great cyberpunk-SciFi fiction. I can't wait for the next one.
This is one of my favorite authors, and I have read all of his books. It's true if you don't like "dirty words" or think the name JesusLand is offensive, don't buy this book. And if you think that sex is the work of the devil, or if your just to stupid to follow someone thinking ahead of his time, go read something else.
However, if you want to read one of the brightest stars in the sci-fi field read Altered Carbon, 13, or any of the other books Mr. Morgan has written. He fleshes out his characters with such clarity that their actions seem natural and logical. Mr. Morgan main characters all have a strong inner strength, counting on themselves, not looking for help or forgiveness from the government, society, God or anyone else.
I guess when it comes down to it that is why I like his books so much, they are fast paced, intelligent, thought provoking, smart, great characters, and it has some of the best sex parts I have read. Authors like Mr. Morgan are the reason to read, he is thought provoking, even though you might not agree with him but I can promise you this book is great fun, and that is the real reason to read it.
I gave it four stars only because it is not quite as good as Altered Carbon, but then only a few have been.
This book is much like a pre-history to market forces or his other books (awaken Furies). An intresting main character and a good story. If you like his other books, I think you will like this one as well.
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