Altered CarbonPosted: 2011/11/08
Morgan, Richard. Altered Carbon. New York: Random House Digital, Inc., 2003.
I think this is the first book I have read that is considered cyberpunk.
In a world where you can pay off a cab driver with the swipe of your thumb, have psychosurgery to get over trauma, and go to places like Mi’s Wharfwhore Warehouse lives former UN Envoy, Takeshi Lev Kovacs. It is a world that centers on a multi-planetary society hundreds of years into the future. Earth is just one location where the plot takes place. In this futuristic environment human souls and personalities can be digitally stored and reloaded into new bodies after bodily death. The only group to not benefit from this cyber-eternity are Catholics. Since they believe in souls going to either Heaven or Hell after death they wouldn’t have anything to pass onto a new body.
To say that the plot is complicated is an understatement. Laurens Bancroft has seemingly committed suicide. All evidence points to this except Bancroft himself doesn’t believe it. He has a new body and limited memory and thinks he has been murdered. He has hired Takeshi Kovacs to solve his mystery.
This passage sums up the entire story: “You’re a lucky man, Kovacs…One hundred and eighty light years from home, wearing another man’s body on a six-week rental agreement. Freighted in to do a job that the local police wouldn’t touch with a riot prod” (p 45).
Something true, even in this world: “The human body is capable of quite remarkable regeneration if stored correctly” (p 243).
My favorite line in the whole book: “I thought I might die, but I hadn’t expected to be bored to death” (p 1,145).
Most profound sentence: “For a moment something ached in my, something so deep-rooted that I knew to tear it out would be to undo the essence of what held me together” (p 1,410).
This time, reading an e-book was a little more frustrating. There were a few spelling and punctuation mistakes and absolutely no copyright information whatsoever.
Author Fact: Morgan is crazy young, born in 1965.
Book Trivia: Altered Carbon won the Philip K. Dick award for best novel in 2003.
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Plots for Plotzing” (p 183).