Altered Carbon

  • Publisher: Gollancz (UK) / Del Rey (US)
  • Publication Date: 2002 (UK) / February 2006 (US)

Synopsis:

In the 26th century mankind has spread through the galaxy, taking its religions and racial divisions out into the cold arena of space. While tensions exist and small dirty wars flare up every now and then, the UN Protectorate maintains an iron grasp on the new worlds, aided by its very own elite shock-troops; the Envoy Corps.

Meanwhile, what religion cannot guarantee technology has already delivered; when your consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack and routinely downloaded into a new body even death has become little more than an inconvenience. As long as you can afford a new body…

Ex-UN Envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before; it was a hazard of the job, but his last death was particularly brutal. Needlecast across light years of space, re-sleeved into a body in San Francisco on Old Earth and throw into the centre of a conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that has forgotten how to value life, he soon realises that the shell that blew a hole in his chest on Harlan’s World was only the beginning of his problems…

Author’s Notes:

Fuelled by every crime noir novel I’d ever read, plus swabs of French and Japanese cinema, the work of William Gibson and M John Harrison, early Poul Anderson and Bob Shaw, and last but not least the colossal impact of Bladerunner, this was my take on future noir.

Fast forward to middle of the new millennium, and down where it counts, nothing has changed, because neither have we. Enter Takeshi Kovacs.