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Thin Air

A Novel
Narrated by: Colin Mace
Length: 18 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (554 ratings)
Regular price: $38.50
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Publisher's Summary

An atmospheric tale of corruption and abduction set on Mars, from the author of the award-winning science fiction novel Altered Carbon, now an exciting new series from Netflix.  

Named one of the best books of the year by The Guardian.

Hakan Veil is an ex-corporate enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that’s made him a human killing machine. His former employers have abandoned him on a turbulent Mars where Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power amid a homegrown independence movement. But he’s had enough of the turbulent red planet, and all he wants is a ticket back home - which is just what he’s offered by the Earth Oversight organization, in exchange for being the bodyguard for an EO investigator. It’s a beyond-easy gig for a heavy hitter like Veil...until it isn’t.

When Veil’s charge starts looking into the mysterious disappearance of a lottery winner, it stirs up a hornet’s nest of intrigue and murder. And the deeper Veil is drawn into the game, the more long-buried secrets claw their way to the Martian surface. Now it’s the expert assassin poised against powerful enemies hell-bent on taking him down - by any means necessary. 

Praise for Thin Air:

“Kick-ass.... Mixed in with the thriller-esque action and cyberpunk backdrop is a hard-boiled noir story complete with a twisting and turning plot that keeps readers on their toes.” (Los Angeles Times

“Richard K. Morgan wants to destroy your Mars fantasies.... It’s a grim vision, but one that Morgan finds far more plausible than the cheerful visions of plucky Mars colonists common in sci-fi.” (Wired)

“A robotically enhanced Jack Reacher [in a] dazzlingly intricate game of political double- and triple-cross, spiced with tastily kinetic battle sequences.” (The Guardian)

“If you ever imagined that the core esthetics and themes of cyberpunk - lowlifes and high tech; corporate dominance; future noir; post-human evolution and cyborg adaptations; hardscrabble urban environments - were played out, Thin Air will set you straight, and kick your butt in the process.... Both kinematic and cinematic, [Thin Air is] limned by Morgan with balletic precision and smashmouth grace.” (Paul Di Filippo, Locus)

©2018 Richard K. Morgan (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Morgan really makes this version of Mars come to life.... As realistic and vibrant as anything I’ve read in the genre.” (Tor.com)

“Scintillating, imaginative.... This is science-fiction as neo-noir thriller, with gunfights, multiple shadowy agendas, and blood on the floor.” (Sci-fi and Fantasy Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Turns out there is life on Mars

With Thin Air, Richard K. Morgan returns to Mars, as it was depicted in 13 (Black Man), but some time later. When I first noticed a new narrator I was worried, but Colin Mace does a great job. Any fans of 13 (which I consider Morgan’s most important work) will enjoy this book, and notice themes that are familiar, but not rote. Morgan’s got a talent for vivid depiction of urban bleakness- and that’s on full display here. It’s a complex plot to put it mildly- but that’s one of the reasons Morgan’s books are great re-reads, or re-listens.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • Sandy Hook, CT, United States
  • 11-09-18

Brain Spinach Saves the Day!

The tendency to judge a book against its author's prior work is tempting. In this case, it's better just to forget Takeshi Kovacs and go with the flow. Thin Air is an enjoyable fast paced SF thriller. The characters are interesting enough to keep you going and the plot sort of makes sense.
In the contemporary Sci Fi world that will have to do. While Altered Carbon was a whole new direction, this book seems like paint by numbers in a lot of places. Superhuman fighter always kills everyone in the room, with a little help from spinach- wait, no, that was Popeye. Veil uses built in systems that seem prepared for any eventuality. Convenient, to say the least.
Thrown in here and there are gratuitous sex interludes that will thrill the 14 year old male reader, I guess, but seem to have no other reason to intrude. Things just sort of happen, and miraculous escapes just sort of show up on schedule.
Anyway, I still enjoyed it. There is an originality to the book that is way ahead of the stamp it out by formula writers that dominate Sci Fi- I'm looking at you, B.V. Larson. I'm not sure if Morgan will ever be as good as he was with Altered Carbon, but that is a high bar, and this book makes a valiant effort at it.
It's possible that every writer has a few good books in them, and the other ones are the price you pay to get to those books. I'm happy to do that, with the hope that Morgan is just getting a started.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Mars Reimagined

Not skipping a beat, Richard K. Morgan twists out another Gene Tweaked Battle Hardened Noir Space saga with enough A.I. assisted anti-Hero bloodshed bravado and semi-tasteful Raw Sex to match His other Interplanetary High-Techno wrenching Novel Triumps. Brother in Arms, Give Us More!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Just couldn't get into it

I loved the Morgan's Altered Carbon trilogy and I enjoyed Thirteen, but this one - I just couldn't get into it. I felt the same with his Market Forces as well - I simply had a herd time following the plot and wasn't very interested. Having said that, as always with Morgan, it's very well written and the style is wonderful.

The narrator was great. Excellent pacing and nice accents.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • JCB
  • Boston, ex-DC
  • 01-04-19

Morgan gets better and better!

I absolutely loved this. Cyberpunk noir and a slippery plot with a splatter (hah!) of grimdark.

Gory, conscious, postulating a plausible colonization outcome with no illusions about human nature and the agglomeration of capital, Thin Air will pull you in. I hope to hear more about the Overrider soon.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

God, what a writer.

Richard K Morgan hits all the right buttons. Noirish P.I. feel to this novel, even if the story is actually about a “washed up” ( read: not at all) military cradle to grave kresh born hard man with a bit of a late burgeoning conscience. Hard SF. Even a bit of romance, with a serious bit of eroticism. Made for at least one uncomfortable dog walk:). Bottom line- killer tale. Colin Mace does an excellent job as narrator. All around 5 star experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Battle Creek, MI, United States
  • 11-12-18

Kovacs fans will enjoy this

This was very much in the same vein as Morgan's Takashi Kovacs novels. Gritty and dark, some fairly graphic sex and violence seens but not so it overwhelms the story. Good characters and interesting tech. #Dark #Gritty #Action #SciFi Detective #Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kitsune
  • Tampa Bay Area, Florida
  • 11-23-18

The Porn Version of Kill Bill on Mars (but dull)

First the good: Narrator Colin Mace is excellent. He is able to capture various accents and sexes in his tone, and he mostly gets it right. He can shine even the juiciest turd, apparently, because I listened 3/4 of the way before I gave up. I kept getting ready to punch out and his depictions would draw me back in. If I was only reading this, I would've already tossed the book by the time I gave up on the Audible version.

Now the bad: The plot is somewhat weak. The women are stereotyped bad-ass b*tches and the men all are twisted in some way or another. Usually they're corrupt. Everyone is jaded, which becomes dull after a while. The story is about twice as long as it should be, interspersed by immensely graphic porn. Now I realize we live in a modern world, and apparently almost everyone watches porn these days. But historically genuine SciFi is cerebral, and this is far from that. It could have been. But the author seems to want to appeal to teenage boys rather than make a genuine attempt.

Now the author did seem to work very hard to create a separate world and it's pretty believable, I'll give him that...to a certain extent. But he got too wrapped up in the tawdry minutiae and it really spoiled the entire thing. It had so much promise, but I finally, sadly, put it away. I don't have the patience to wade through any more drawn out descriptions of the variety of sexual acts that the Herculean protagonist indulges in, I'm tired of the bloody gore, and I'm worn out waiting to find out what the actual plot is.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Gritty Mars noir sci-fi - Worth the read

Great book, featuring a noir-ish detective story. I'm a fan of this author and this book doesn't disappoint. The MC is an ex-"over-rider", a "hard man" tasked with riding along on space journeys in cold storage and only woken up if something goes wrong. When they wake up, their mission is to "save the ship" and they do with brutal efficiency and little regard for the safety of themselves of others.

In a lot of ways, Vail (the MC) has been in cold storage on Mars for the past 5 or so years when he's tasked with helping an Earth diplomat figure out the disappearance of a local who'd won a trip back to earth and then disappeared before he could take the trip. The results are explosive...

The action is tight, the noir tropes are on point and the story zips along at a great pace. Morgan's vision of Mars is super interesting and the details he highlights are sleek and edged in chrome. Everything we've come to expect from this master of the genre.

There was perhaps too much sex for me, but I still really enjoyed the novel. I never really enjoy explicit sex in audio books. I don't mind it, if the rest of the book is good, and the rest of this book is great. The sex isn't bad either, just not for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Pgood
  • New York, NY United States
  • 12-22-18

Great characters, fantastic narration, amazing atmosphere but...

....no story—or at most a very chunky, clunky attempt at a story—a shame because I do like Morgan as a writer, in general.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful