I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan.
One of the great things about science fiction is how it can absorb other genres and yet remain undeniably recognizable. Altered Carbon is hard sf with a shot of noir and a chaser of the old ultra-violence. It’s a detective story, hung on the idea that in this particular future, personalities are downloadable, and the wealthy can live virtually forever, backing copies of themselves into younger, better bodies. So, how can you be murdered? And what if you really want to kill your two-timing but inconveniently immortal husband? You can tell these characters lives are cheap and desperate, because they all smoke. The style of writing is not so much cinematographic as video game graphic, with numerous and vivid fight scenes. But in among the smoking and fighting are some interesting questions if we are not our physical selves, who are we? The plot is convoluted, the dames are shady, and the hero is a killer in a borrowed body. If you like your fiction hard boiled, this one is for you. The book is Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan. I’m Kim Alexander on Take Five, on XM 155.