On Altered Carbon

Posted by Jack on 2017-12-26 at 18:00
Tagged: books , scifi
TitleAltered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs, #1)
AuthorRichard K. Morgan

There are the bones of a good story here. Morgan's key technology (the ability to transfer your consciousness into another body - a "sleeve") is really cool and he did a good job showing us a society that's different but also very similar to our own. The book is written in a classically hard-boiled style, and like a lot of that Chandler/Hammett source material tends to be simultaneously terse and abstract, and when the book is working, it's great.

Unfortunately, there's more than a few places in this book that threw me off when reading them. Confusing or half-working metaphors, characters from 200 pages back that are re-introduced without sufficient callbacks (like, say, having a name). In my opinion this books is about 100 pages too long and would have been well served by another run through an editor. I also want to note that there's a couple of graphic sex scenes and while I appreciate the fact that Morgan included a bit of eroticism, the sexiest part of hard boiled stories / film noir is the sizzling energy between the main character and his femme fatale. In this respect, as well as a lot of the others, the book falls victim to telling and not showing and it sort of comes off cheap.

Lastly, I held off on judgment of this book until I completed it, in case the end really tied it together. Instead the ending was way too predictable with virtually everyone getting exactly what was coming to them.