Fans of the movie Blade Runner and/or the writings of Philip K Dick will love Richard K Morgan's science fiction/noir crime thriller Altered Carbon. Set in the 25th Century, human consciousness can be digitized and downloaded into different bodies (called sleeves). Takeshi Kovacs is an ex-soldier of the UN Envoy, a highly trained military corps used in interstellar warfare.
After being killed as a criminal on Harland planet, Kovacs' consciousness is transferred to Earth and downloaded into the body of a former police detective in Bay City (San Francisco). In order to avoid imprisonment, Kovacs must solve an attempted murder of a powerful business tycoon. Kovacs is pulled into the underworld where he runs into old enemies and unravels a global conspiracy.
Intricate plot, fast pace, plausible technology, noir anti-hero, richly imagined future world. Altered Carbon is on my shortlist for best ever science fiction novel.
In the twenty-fifth 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 one hundred eighty 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. . . .
About the Author
Richard K. Morgan is the acclaimed author of The Cold Commands, The Steel Remains, Thirteen, Woken Furies, Market Forces, Broken Angels, and Altered Carbon, a New York Times Notable Book that also won the Philip K. Dick Award in 2003. The movie rights to Altered Carbon were optioned by Joel Silver and Warner Bros on publication, and a film version is currently in development with Mythology Entertainment. Market Forces was also optioned to Warner Bros, before it was even published, and it won the John W. Campbell Award in 2005. Thirteen won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2007 and is currently under movie option to Straight Up films. The Steel Remains won the Gaylactic Spectrum Award in 2010, and its sequel, The Cold Commands, appeared in both Kirkus Reviews' and NPR's Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Books of the Year lists. Morgan is a fluent Spanish speaker and has lived and worked in Madrid, Istanbul, Ankara, and London, as well as having traveled extensively in the Americas, Africa, and Australia. He now lives in Scotland with his wife, Virginia, and son, Daniel.
“This seamless marriage of hardcore cyberpunk and hard-boiled detective tale is an astonishing first novel.” —London Times
“AN ASTONISHING PIECE OF WORK . . . A wonderful SF idea . . . Altered Carbon hits the floor running and then starts to accelerate. Intriguing and inventive in equal proportions and refuses to let go until the last page.” —PETER HAMILTON
“AN EXCITING SF/CRIME HYBRID, with an intricate (but always plausible) plot, a powerful noir atmosphere, and enough explosive action to satisfy the most die-hard thriller fan.” —SF Site
“AN EXHILARATING AND GLOSSY ADVENTURE . . . What makes Altered Carbon a winner is the quality of Morgan’s prose. For every piece of John Woo action there is a stunning piece of reflective description, a compelling sense of place, and abundant 24-karat witticisms.” —SFX Magazine