Altered CarbonAuthor: Richard Morgan
Featured in the March, 2003 magazine
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Four hundred years from now mankind is strung out across a region of interstellar space inherited from an ancient civilization discovered on Mars. Colonies are linked by an occasional sub-light colony ship and by hyperspatial datacasting; human consciousness is digitally freighted between the stars and downloaded into bodies as a matter of course. But some things never change... Mankind has spread throughout the galaxy and taken its religions and racial divisions out into the cold arena of space. While tensions exist and small dirty wars flare up every now and again, 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 thrown 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.
This is not for those who are looking for gently relaxing escapist fiction. However if you like the hardboiled noir of Raymond Chandler and the nifty and nasty technology of cyberpunk... you'll thoroughly enjoy this.
Review by: Jo Knowles
Category:Fiction Science Fiction