Altered Carbon

A Takeshi Kovacs Novel (Takeshi Kovacs Novels)

Mass Market Paperback, 544 pages

English language

Published Feb. 28, 2006 by Del Rey.

ISBN:
978-0-345-45769-1
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
64584649

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (150 reviews)

It's the twenty-fifth century, and advances in technology have redefined life itself. A person's consciousness can now be stored in the brain and downloaded into a new body (or "sleeve"), making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen. Onetime U.N. Envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Resleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco), 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.

20 editions

a landmark of cyberpunk genre

5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. An hard-boiled, engaging story which aligns with the themes and the style of its genre, but succeeds at the same time in creating something really unique. Language is simple, straight to the point; explicit at times, but under no circumstances vulgar. A Dense, intricate plot, a crescendo of suspense.

Review of 'Altered Carbon' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

After watching season 3 of the Netflix show I thought I should turn around and read the source material so I consumed them all. What I found was something far more substantial than the showrunners picked up on. The show is like someone read the novels, had a dream, then woke up and wrote down what they remembered of the dream--eg not much but a setting, sex, and explosions.

I enjoyed the world building here as it wasn't overly complicated and left us with a lot of questions regarding who we are if you take away the construct. That gives us ample room to play with the morality of life quite a bit more depending on whose subjective reality we're seeing it from.

This was perhaps the strongest book in the series. Lines are clear, people are not predictable but what you might expect, the crime and plays along the …

Review of 'Altered Carbon' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Mise à jour après une deuxième lecture :

C'est étrange comme on peut avoir un ressenti totalement différent sur le même livre à quelques mois d'intervalle. J'avais essayé de lire ce roman au début de l'année et j'avais renoncé après en avoir lu la moitié. Cette fois, j'ai été captivé par le récit dès le début et malgré une petite baisse d'intensité au milieu, j'ai tenu bon et j'ai pris dans cette deuxième lecture un plaisir que je n'avais pas connu la première fois. Comme quoi, il est parfois bon de laisse une seconde chance à un roman qui nous a déçu mais dont on perçoit un potentiel à côté duquel on est peut-être passé la première fois. C'est bien le cas ici, sans que je comprenne bien pourquoi. Sans doute une question d'état d'esprit au moment de la lecture.

Première critique après une première lecture :

Altered Carbon est …

Review of 'Altered Carbon' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This is quite a 'mind-bending' ride. The novel is very reminiscent of Noir Fiction, Hard-boiled detective thrillers with major additions of tech, dystopian society, military action, blood-lust, heated/ ampted romance, and piles of violence. This is not for the feint of heart. The hero is 'skilled', uncertain of his moral compass, sarcastic and tough. If you are looking for a good adventure read, this is worth the trip.

Review of 'Altered Carbon' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

"Inside, stained light from a window and a peculiar calm fell on me simultaneously."
The prose is a little muddy at times, so I'm a bit frustrated with how slow a read this is when I have to go over a lot of things twice (I can't use my reader! Woe!). The worldbuilding is great, the story is engaging, the hero is an unbearably smug Mary Sue. Heck, I'd be smug too, if I was some sort of super soldier spy consciousness travelling the universe and solving sexy mysteries. You'd best believe you'd be hearing about what my penis was getting up to while I had a casual conversation with someone. There's a lot of penis-describing. I can see why Netflix picked this up.

Finished book & show. Imagine my dismay when the bits of the show that made no sense weren’t explained or even present in the book. I …

Review of 'Altered Carbon' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I appreciate the world building but didn't fall quite in much in love with it as others did. While it's a solid piece of work for about 2/3 of the novel, I found the noir too predictable and the exploration of self in an age of downloading personalities was handled better in 1987's Vacuum Flowers (Michael Swanwick). At the last third, I was uncomfortable with the tonal change; it felt more like a Shadowrun game than the previous segments (or Neuromancer, if you prefer a book to an RPG).

Don't get me wrong; it's still a decent enough read and Richard K. Morgan is a solid writer. I just wished it had reached a little more. Then again, I'm a Neal Stephenson fan so I'm used to authors going -way- out there!

Review of 'Altered Carbon' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

One of the few cases where I come to a book after seeing a movie or TV show, and one of the seriously few cases where I like both pretty much equally, and am cool with how the overall divergence between the two got assembled.

Not my normal speed for writing style, but the world and character building were a hell of a lot of fun.

Review of 'Altered Carbon' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

A decent cyberpunk sci-fi type of story but the writing seems a bit clumsy at times. The character outlines are not bad, we're given lots of background about the main character but many things remain vague, like the Envoys. There are many secondary characters that sometimes are hard to follow, especially if one takes long to finish the book. The plot itself is convoluted enough but the pace of the story stalls at times, hence why it took me a month to finish reading it. Overall a decent book for its genre.

Review of 'Altered carbon' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

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 …

Review of 'Altered Carbon' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This was one of those "How have you not read this yet?" recommendations, and I'm glad for it, because this was excellent.


Lots of really good characters, an engrossing whodunit, and enough speculation of the costs of post-humanity to make me REALLY wish some of my friends had been reading this along with me.

Review of 'Altered Carbon' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Update Dec 2017: time to re-read this, Netflix has announced a series!

I enjoyed this quite a bit. It's reminiscent of Neuromancer in the use of jargon that you'll just have to find out yourself. Takeshi is an interesting character that was fun to follow around. And I learned: just because you can upload yourself into "a stack" and get a new "sleeve" when the old one wears out, doesn't mean death is eliminated. I find the "Envoy" conditioning interesting but sometimes a little too convenient as a plot device. Nevertheless the hero has to suffer quite a bit until the - by then - not so surprising resolution at the end. I am currently reading the sequel (completely different story about Takeshi) which is a good sign.

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Subjects

  • Science Fiction And Fantasy
  • Fiction
  • Fiction - Science Fiction
  • Science Fiction - High Tech
  • Fiction / Science Fiction / High Tech
  • Science Fiction

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