Oct 28, 2009

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

Altered Carbon

I really dig the hardboiled sf/mystery style (Lethem also does this really well). After Halting State, all the violence and action that Morgan packs into his work was especially welcome. It's not great literature, but it's a fun ride.

I have this massive fear of being trapped. Trapped underground in a tight cave. Trapped under the ice (not that I have ever seen a really frozen lake or pond - I'm a Florida boy). Trapped in my own body, mind alive but unable to move (China Miéville's books tap into some of that, especially some of the punishments in the Bas-Lag novels). So Morgan's vision of mind being kept "on the stacks", frozen in time or manipulated by anyone who can afford the technology, really gave me the heebie jeebies.

Not to mention all the brutality in Altered Carbon. Now, this isn't packed full of detailed violence like Chung Kuo, by David Wingrove, but he does linger on some pretty fucked up torture a time or two. I don't have a problem with that. It fuels the rage behind the story, and who among us isn't a little fascinated by blood and gore?

All in all, a dark, flowing cyberpunk adventure. I thought I knew the answer to the whodunit early on but turned out to be wrong - a good thing, indeed. I look forward to reading more in the series.


JRSM said...

The sequels are probably superior, as well as more violently nasty.

Also, a recently read dystopia you might enjoy: Peter Watts' 'Starfish'. He even makes the book available as a PDF (but it has been properly published, by Orb). See http://www.rifters.com/real/shorts.htm

I came to him via his most recent, 'Blindsight', which, while sort of dystopian, is basically just fucking awesome.

downtown guy said...

Thanks! I trust your suggestions, I'll add it to the list.

Doc said...

I have this one on the shelf. Time to read it, I guess. One thing I really love about cyberpunk novels is the tech fantasies. I read a book some time ago called Noir, by K. W. Jeter (I think that's right). Anyway, it was an okay story (plot-wise), but the ideas in it blew me away. Communicable tattoos, dead people reanimated to work off the debt they accumulated in life, etc.