Altered carbon by Richard Morgan
pub. Gollancz SF
The blurb on the back ‘SF meets hard boiled detective’ holds up, it does what it says on the tin.
The milieu is pleasingly reminiscent of Bladerunner complete with dodgy street hawkers in a rainy city much depleted and at the end of its time. A drug dealer has an illusion box strapped to the shoulder for defence.
A one time military assassin now turned mercenary is called upon to prove a rich billionaire had not killed himself. This is a world where people do not die they get ‘re-sleeved’ into another body. The ultra-rich have clones. A microchip in the back of the neck contains the soul.
Criminals can be kept on ice ‘in the stacks’ for hundreds of years for punishment.
Kovacs our mercenary cuts a deep and bloody swathe across a Bay City of the 26th century uncovering plots and counterplots as the narrative hurtles along.
The weapons are fast and shiny, ultra-violent and the pace never lets up for nearly 500 pages. There is still times of tenderness and humour in this near end of days.