Our story opens with the hero and his girlfriend being killed-which leads to them being sentenced to digital storage for a hundred years. In this brave world of the future death is a little less permanent than it is now. Unless someone burns your stack-then you get the Real Death.
Altered Carbon is filled with future slang and it does a pretty good job of sliding in a ton of backstory about the many elite groups that have a hand in ruling the universe. The main gimmick is the digital downloading of consciousness upon death and how a rich person can buy a new Sleeve, while a poor person will have his sleeve-body-sold out from under them,
The core of the story is a simple closed room mystery where our hero has to go about the routine business of following clues, interviewing suspects, and collecting evidence. Along the way, he also gets involved with crime lords, whore houses, and the morals of artificial intelligences and immortal humans called Meths-after Methuselah.
I liked Altered Carbon a lot. My only real complaint is that the red herring was good enough to be the actual solution-and made the actual solution seem a little pointless once it was disclosed. It was a lot easier to believe that the Meth cared about his own well being more than he cared about anyone else’s.
I listened to the audiobook version of Altered Carbon and the reader did a pretty good job. There was one funny bit, he gave the rich old man Mr Burns’ voice. Not that I had any problem imaging Mr Burns being a Meth, but he never struck me as the sex addict type.
Altered Carbon, like most modern sci fi/adventure books, was filled with profanity and sex-and had a good deal of physical and psychological torture as well. Like James Bond and Jason Bourne, our hero Takeshi Kovacs is a master of countless mortal combat skills and women can’t help but fall into his arms.
I really liked author Richard K Morgan’s Thirteen, another book about an augmented mass killer busy fighting The Man. I’m looking forward to reading the other Takeshi Kovacs books.