Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Literary Fun Time 2

You should go re-read the last paragraph of LFT 1, cause, man, that is a great transition.

The rest of Richard Morgan books all take place 500 years ish in the future. The revolutionary technology is Digital Human Storage. Everyone gets a computer about the size of a cigarette butt implanted at the base of the skull, which records your thoughts, your experiences, memories, in short, your consciousness. Death isn't permanent, as long as your computer, or stack, is retrievable. All this means that bodies are seen more casually and called sleeves. Cloning, gene splicing, and cybernetics are all pretty common as well as AI, virtual reality and synthetic sleeves. The main character is named Takeshi Kovacs, and he is one bad mutha shutyomouf.. I'm just talkin bout Tak.

Resleeving is a somewhat traumatic. Imagine waking up in a tank of weird fluids in a body which was not your own, seeing a new face in the mirror, that sort of thing. What makes Kovacs special is his training as an Envoy, the baddest Special Forces military types in the known universe. At the start of the first book, Altered Carbon, Kovacs has left his military career behind him, and has turned to crime to pay the bills. Dead by the fifth page, he is resleeved by the sixth and tossed into the ill-fitting job as a P.I. One of the coolest things about AC is that it takes place right here in San Francisco, and a key location is just a few blocks from this very school.

The story is almost foolishly complicated, but it comes together nicely at the end. Morgan deals with a lot of the issues that would arise from ubiquitous DHS. Kovacs crosses paths with an assassin who is double sleeved (DH copied and put into a second sleeve). In the world of AC, crimes are punished by confiscation of your sleeve and having your DHC put into storage. When you come out, they give you whatever body they have lying around. The only sensation of passed time is when you come out of storage and whoever is there to meet you is older than the were when you went in. Or it might be so long that a cousin or grandkid comes out to meet you. Heavy stuff. Kovacs also meets a younger version of himself, and illegal copy sleeved into the best combat bioware available. That's a hell of a sequence.

If I lived in that world, I would have younger copies of myself lying around, just so I could get their opinion on stuff. I wonder what me at fifteen would say to me now? or me at ten? That would be nuts. I cant even fathom that conversation.

Unless something comes up, I'll probably talk(type,write) about the sequel to AC, called Broken Angels, which I enjoyed a hell of a lot more than AC.


Blogger Steve Portigal said...

I loved Altered Carbon - I had that same experience you were describing with Pullman - not being able to put it down - that doesn't happen often with me. I guess I'll have to check out the sequels.

I get most of my books used from amazon - I can't spend $15 very easily on a book.

11:58 AM  

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