I Evoke Brow V: Browbeaten

Today's installment: Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan.

Wow. Excellent book. My first try at this author and I was thoroughly impressed. It's a classic and complex murder mystery but I was more taken with the author's presentation of the future society. Morgan "cheats" with regard to the rules of classic SF convention by including technologies like faster-then-light travel and digitized consciousness without any explanation of technologies involved. Usually I like a little more Science with my Fiction, but if it's well done, as it is in this case, I don't mind taking the futuristic technologies at face value. In fact, half of the fun in reading this novel comes in infering all the events that have led to the current society. Morgan liberally sprinkles the text breadcrumbs leading back into the history of the world he creates. It was a little baffling at times keeping track of the large number of ancillary characters, but that may be a consequence of either the vast number of brain cells I've killed since in the past few years or my current habit of juggling three or four books and magazines at a time.

By the end of the book, I found it hard to care much (or indeed follow) about the resolution of the murder mystery. At first I thought of this as a weakness, but in thinking about it more, I realize that the narrative evolves into a resolution for the twisted psyche of the protagonist [Kovacs] (go STaC major, go!)–even he doesn't overly care about the murder anymore, he's more interested in redemption by way of…well, I won't give it away, in case someone other than my mom or girlfriend actually reads this blog. Anyway, I realize that the diminished importance of the mystery may be intentional on the part of Morgan, and I was no less eager to reach the last sentence.

I'm really taken with Morgan, and pleased to have another hardcore/cyberpunk SF writer to pursue. The Kovacs of Altered Carbon is, quite frankly, a scary badass, and it's exilhirating to ride along with the first-person storytelling. The gunplay is immersive and it even has a few well-written and mature sex scenes. 9/10, with a point taken off for its scientific liberties and because the mystery aspect was a little too complicated.
Listening to: moe.–Tin Cans and Car Tires–Letter Home. Gotta love the violin intro to Plane Crash (the previous track). Everyone gives me a blank look when I compare jambands to classical music, but I think there's something to it. Trey attempt at it was pretty up and down, and the Pink Floyd example is godawful, but a great album could be made making classical versions of jamband tracks. And yes, I know the Disco Biscuits have played with this idea in the reverse sense, and I love it.

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