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

"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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jake Williams on 09-22-07

Altered Carbon

Sex, violence and drugs become a strange brew in this futuristic novel with the premise that what we are can be contained in a small device implanted into any body. The hero, Takashi Kovacs, is a detective (of sorts). His neural systems are enhanced.
When people die in this future, except for Catholics, they can be brought back in another body if their device (called a stack) is not destroyed. Catholics do not have stacks.
So Kovacs, who is disliked by almost everyone in the novel, is called by a rich man, who believes his suicide was murder.
With more plot twists than a tub full of snakes, the story unfolds complete with some of the nastiest villans around.
If you like plenty of violence and strange machinations, read this novel. The writing is colorful and interesting and the plot moves along wihtout undue burdening by explantion of the science, politics and culutres involved.
The ending has a twisted nobility that I found appealing.
This is not high art, but it is darn good listening.

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37 of 37 people found this review helpful

By PF on 07-13-07

Future Marlowe Noir

Brilliantly imagined, carefully worked out, and intensely detailed, Morgan's somewhat Philip-Marlowe-ish future is gripping. His core premise is that death has been (mostly) conquered; most deaths can be undone by re-"sleeving" the dead person's consciousness, or "stack," in a different body. He's worked through a consistent vision of how much (and how little) that alters society, conduct, and people -- exactly the sort of exercise good sci-fi does best. If you like Sam Spade and thoughtful SF, you'll like Altered Carbon.

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24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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