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Altered Carbon Four hundred years from now mankind is strungout across a region of interstellar space inherited from an ancient civilizationdiscovered on Mars The colonies are linked together by the occasional sublight colony ship voyages and hyperspatial datacasting Human consciousness isdigitally freighted between the stars and downloaded into bodies as a matter of course But some things never change So when exenvoy, nowconvict Takeshi Kovacs has his consciousness and skills downloaded into the body of a nicotineaddicted exthug and presented with a catch offer, he really shouldn't be surprised Contracted by a billionaire to discover who murdered his last body, Kovacs is drawn into a terrifying conspiracy that stretches across known space and to the very top of society.

  • Paperback
  • 471 pages
  • Altered Carbon
  • Richard K. Morgan
  • English
  • 10 April 2019
  • 9780575081246

About the Author: Richard K. Morgan

See this thread for information Richard K Morgan sometimes credited as Richard Morgan is a science fiction and fantasy writer.

10 thoughts on “Altered Carbon

  1. Emily (Books with Emily Fox) Emily (Books with Emily Fox) says:

    I haven't DNFed a book in a while but I just can't seem to get into this one.

    I don't need to know that the character's penis is getting hard while staring at the boobs of the woman he's interviewing about the death of her husband (twice in 3 pages!).

    I don't need to know he's half-ass masturbating back in his hotel room.

    I don't need to know about the boobs of every female characters, especially if you're going to call them "elusive globes".

    I don't need a cringy sex scene and all of this before page 120. I just don't.

    This was sold to me as a great sci fi book with clones but it read like a bad porn written by a 15yo.
    Not for me.

    For more salt:

  2. Patrick Patrick says:

    Folks have been recommending I read Richard Morgan for years. But I've got a to-read stack longer than my arm, and my reading time is rather precious. It's a big risk to try a longish book by an author I've never read before.

    In a nutshell. I loved it. About halfway through the book I looked it up online and saw that it won a bunch of awards. It deserves them.

    I don't read as much Sci-fi as I used to, but I'm no newbie. The world is unique and fresh. Good characters. Interesting mystery.

    Yeah. Good stuff. I'll be reading his other books shortly.

  3. Kevin Kelsey Kevin Kelsey says:

    "I walked beside the woman I had killed last week and tried to hold up my end of a conversation about cats."

    A solid neo-noir cyberpunk detective story that plays out in a fascinating science fiction universe. If you’re a fan of the genre, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. It's pitch-black dark, brutally ultra-violent and fun as hell. I particularly loved the concept of “sleeving” and the method by which characters undergo interstellar travel. This is a cold, difficult reality in which Kovacs exists, and it feels lived-in, with a lot of backstory beneath the surface. I’m hoping that backstory is explored later in the series, because it’s seriously intriguing.

    The pacing feels a little slow around the 80% mark, but that could just be a symptom of how fast paced it is everywhere else. There's also a chapter near the end that feels almost entirely superfluous. Personally, I think the book would've been better without its inclusion. This book also contains the most unintentionally hilarious sex scene I’ve ever read. Ever. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you get to it. It’s.. interesting.

    The novel has a fairly complicated plot that comes together almost flawlessly in the end. I could see this being even better on the second read. I'll definitely be reading the rest of this series.

  4. Matthew Matthew says:

    Confusing books lead to bullet point reviews. It's the best way for me to gather my thoughts.

    3 to 3.5 stars

    I liked the book, but I didn't love it. I had been hoping to like it much more than I did. My wife and I are reading it at the same time with plans to follow it up with the Netflix show. After reading, I may not be rushing into watching it.

    - Very unique and creative. While it does have some shades of other dark/gritty sci-fi I have read or seen, the concepts were fresh and intriguing.
    - To expand on the last bullet point, there were scenes throughout the book that were very fascinating. The futuristic possibilities, technologies, devices, politics, etc. expanded upon by the author are pretty freaking cool.

    - Some may say that this is an intelligent novel that makes you think. For me, it was just a very confusing novel. Every time I thought I knew what happened, there would be some weird shift seemingly out of left field and I was lost again. Often I was not sure where they were or what they were doing. Then, as before I would start to think I knew what was happening and the shift would happen again. Maybe this is appropriate for a book where people keep switching bodies.
    - I was a theater major in college and had to take a class on naked vs nude in art. Naked being gratuitous and mainly for shock value and nude actually advancing the plot and increasing the artistic value. The sex and violence in this book are very heavy on the naked side. Not that I mind a little gore or some steamy hanky panky, but it was kind of extreme in this book and I am not sure it was truly needed for the plot.
    - Audiobook - this part is not really a complaint about the book, so I tried my hardest not to include it in my overall impression, but it is hard to separate. The audiobook was not great. The narrator was monotone and whispery. Half the time I could barely hear him. The other half of the time I wondered if he cared all that much. Definitely not at the top of my audiobook suggestions.

    - He compares getting your nose broken to biting into a stalk of celery. So there is that . . .

    Recommended for:
    - Fans of dark and gritty Sci-fi stories
    - People who must read the book before watching the series
    - Lovers of complex, twisty, out-there plots

    Avoid if:
    - You are confused easily
    - You don't care for gratuitous sex and violence

  5. April April says:

    Hearing that Netflix new series is based off this series made me want to read this even more. Only hope the show is as good as the book is.

  6. William Kalb William Kalb says:

    I hate this book. Hate, hate, hate it. I hate the characters, I hate the plot, I hate the cover, I hate the way it smells, and I hate the way it knocked over a lamp when I frisbeed it across the room in a fit of literary angst. It came to me highly recommended by a number of friends, good friends, caring, kind, and well-read friends who share with me a love of speculative fiction. We all love Snow Crash and Neuromancer and Babylon 5, and we all hate football and direct sunlight. We are all science or engineering majors, and therefore we spent our socially-awkward, bespectacled childhoods sitting in the back of French class, surreptitiously reading The Lord of the Rings under our desks while Monsieur Charpentier tried to teach us the subjunctive mood. What I'm trying to say is that yes, I have a certain amount of nerd cred, and come from a background well-suited to an appreciation of cyberpunk. So when I heard about Altered Carbon, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up.

    My main problem with this book can be summed up as everything.

    Seriously, everything. Every single aspect of this book conspired together to instill in me a strange mixture of despair, anger, and boredom. To call the characters one-dimensional would be an insult to the number line. The plot is convoluted and nonsensical. The protagonist, Takeshi Kovacs, is an Envoy, a sort of highly-trained, elite interstellar soldier, and one of the most blitheringly stupid morons I’ve had the displeasure of reading about. New technologies are condensed out of thin air to arbitrarily move the plot along. Every character to whom the reader is supposed to be sympathetic is either an unlikable asshole, an idiot, or both.

    Choose two: Incompetent, unlikable, cliché. Bam, you’ve described a character in Altered Carbon.

    And then there’s the violence. Now, I thoroughly enjoyed The Repossession Mambo (renamed Repo Men after the movie came out), a book so blood-soaked that it’s practically a biohazard. Somehow, Morgan has managed to craft a work of prose so exquisitely brutish that it made me uncomfortable. That’s actually kind of impressive. Good job.

    Morgan also seems to have a fascination with the word “enzyme.” It gets a little weird.

    At the end of the day, I ended up putting this book down six-sevenths of the way through because I found out there was a sequel, dashing my hopes that Kovacs would permanently die in a horrible way on the last page. By around the halfway point, I was literally reading Altered Carbon out of pure spite. I hate this book, I hate Richard Morgan, and I hate you. Not because you deserve it -- you are probably a perfectly fine human being, or a reasonable facsimile thereof -- but because any time I think about Altered Carbon I am unable to experience any emotion but unending, bitter, sobbing hatred. I read (most of) Altered Carbon and came out the other side a changed man, and not for the better. Please, for the love of all that you hold dear, don’t read this book. And if you do, don’t tell me that you enjoyed it or I might just vomit all over you and/or punch you in the solar plexus before you have a chance to say “postmodern.”

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to hug a cat and watch a Pixar movie. If that doesn’t cheer me up, I’ll probably be forced to check out every copy of Altered Carbon from a library, light them on fire, throw the ashes into a river, and listen to Smile Empty Soul songs until I can’t feel emotions anymore.

  7. carol. carol. says:

    A fun and fast-paced thrill ride, almost impossible for me to put down. Picture a hard-boiled noir, the solitary, weary worldly detective, blunted emotional skills, stepping on toes as he investigates. Merge that plot and character with innovative science fiction–digitized personalities that can be downloaded into new bodies with the right reasons or enough cash, and the result is eminently readable.


    Full review posted at:


  8. Dan Schwent Dan Schwent says:

    Takeshi Kovacs is killed on an another world and re-sleeved in Bay City in the body of a disgraced cop. His mission: find out who killed Laurens Bancroft, a Meth (short for Methusaleh) billionaire. Bancroft and is offering Kovacs his freedom as a reward. Only a lot of people don't want anyone to know why Bancroft killed himself. Can Kovacs get to the bottom of things before the demons in Bancroft's private life get him?

    I bought this for a buck and it languished on my shelf for a couple years. Was it worth a buck? Damn right it was!

    Kovacs' quest takes him through the seedy underworld of the Bay City sex trade, among other places. The supporting cast, namely Ortega, Miriam Bancroft, Kadmin, and Trepp, keep the plot going fairly smoothly. The action is fast and furious and the sci-fi elements enhance the mystery rather than being set pieces. The mystery itself has so many twists and turns that it was hard to keep track. I like when a mystery surprises me this much. Kovacs wouldn't be out of place in any number of crime novels. Bay City is a like a futuristic, and dirtier, San Francisco and is fairly well realized as a setting. It's hard to believe this was Morgan's first novel.

    "But, Dan?" you ask. "Why only a three? Why not a four or even a five?" Well, I liked this book but I sure wasn't in love with it. First, the sex scenes were unnecessary and, frankly, kind of repetitive. Let's just say 69 is a popular number in the future. Also, for what the book was, it seemed slow in the middle, like fifty to seventy pages could've have been lost without missing much. The plot zigged and zagged so much I'd nearly forgotten about the Bancrofts by the end. Other than that, I've got no complaints.

    If you like your sci-fi with an action bend and/or are a fan of crime novels, this should keep you occupied for a few hours.

  9. Lyn Lyn says:

    Gritty neo-noir, post-modern cyberpunk, sexual, violent and more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

    Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 introduction to BADASS Takeshi Kovacs was to literature as a triple bacon cheeseburger is to fine cuisine – a guilty but fun throat punch and kick to the groin.

    First of all Morgan’s world building is TASTY. Check this out: to get around faster than light travel or generational ship logistics consciousness can be downloaded to a chip and then uploaded to a waiting human shell, called a “sleeve”. And that’s just where the fun starts, a sleeve isn’t necessarily some grown for that purpose clone, this can be a criminal or victim whose consciousness has been stored and then the body is available for purchase. So you can hang out with your neighbor, friend or lover – except it’s not them, just the body walking around with someone else looking out through the old eyes. Morgan doesn’t let this scenario go unplumbed either.

    Built around a weird murder mystery – except the “victim” is trying to solve his own death – and you know what, I’m not even going to try and explain that, you just gotta read it – BUT I will say that the victim is a tool called a Meth, short for Methusaleh, meaning rich folks who can afford to live forever. Morgan doesn’t let this scenario go unplumbed either.

    Anyway, fun, fun, fun. Speculative fiction fans will want to don some latex gloves, grab a tetanus shot and curl up with this NASTY bit of make believe.


  10. Anne Anne says:

    I had no idea this was a book until someone here on Goodreads mentioned it to me.


    Now, they mentioned it because they were giving an example of a book that had an annoying amount of sex. And I can now attest after reading this one that, yes, I also could have done without all the juicy scenes.


    Honestly, this story just didn't work for me. I thought it was far too long, the plot was really convoluted, the characters were kind of wooden, and the sex scenes were unnecessary. <--not being a prude, they just didn't add anything but length to an already dense book.


    The gist is that in the future you are re-sleeved into new bodies of varying quality when you die thanks to a disk thing implanted in your neck that downloads your consciousness. Or if you can't afford to be re-sleeved, you get shelved until...well, until. It's a cool concept and Morgan did a good job exploring the ins and outs of how something like that would work. There's a religious faction that's against resleeving, the new dilemma of death vs real death, and (of course) lots of ways to porn it up with cheap sleeves.


    The ideas are very interesting. But. This thing just dragged on and on and on with a resolution that was just so incredibly unsatisfying.
    There are a few more books in this series, but I don't really think this is my cuppa, so I'll more than likely stop here.

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