Altered Carbon (GOLLANCZ S.F.)

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9780575081123: Altered Carbon (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
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Four hundred years from now mankind is strung out across a region of interstellar space inherited from an ancient civilization discovered on Mars. The colonies are linked together by the occasional sublight colony ship voyages and hyperspatial data-casting. Human consciousness is digitally freighted between the stars and downloaded into bodies as a matter of course.

But some things never change. So when ex-envoy, now-convict Takeshi Kovacs has his consciousness and skills downloaded into the body of a nicotine-addicted ex-thug and presented with a catch-22 offer, he really shouldn¿t be surprised. Contracted by a billionaire to discover who murdered his last body, Kovacs is drawn into a terrifying conspiracy that stretches across known space and to the very top of society.

For a first-time SF writer to be so surely in command of narrative and technology, so brilliant at world-building, so able to write such readable and enjoyable SF adventure, is simply extraordinary.

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Review:

Richard Morgan's debut SF thriller Altered Carbon isn't for the faint-hearted. Its noir private-eye investigation races through extreme violence, hideously imaginative torture and many high-tech firefights.

In 2411, death is not forever. Afterward, they can read your personality from an implanted "cortical stack" and upload you into a new body--at a price. Hero Kovacs has worn many bodies on different worlds as a former member of the UN Envoy Corps, programmed killers to a man. Now the incredibly rich Bancroft brings him to Earth to investigate a killing... of Bancroft himself, restored from his digital backup and rejecting the police theory of suicide.

Half the vice-lords of 25th-century San Francisco are soon chasing Kovacs with futuristic surveillance, drugs and weaponry. Virtual-reality interrogation means they can torture you to death, and then start again. There's a bleak slave trade in rented or confiscated bodies--and Kovacs finds his current borrowed face is all too well known to both police and underworld.

Ultraviolent set-pieces follow, sprinkled with philosophical asides such as this reflection on a stungun: "It was the single forgiving phrase in the syntax of weaponry I had strapped around me. The rest were unequivocal sentences of death."

There are some James-Bondian implausibilities, such as Kovacs's final confrontation with the villain he's sworn to kill: rather than shooting and leaving fast, he discusses the plot for 10 pages until... but that would be telling. This is high-tension SF action, hard to put down--though squeamish readers may shut their eyes rather frequently. --David Langford

Review:

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
"

-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


"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

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780345457684: Altered Carbon: 1 (Takeshi Kovacs)

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Publisher: Del Rey, 2003
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