Book of the Moment : Altered Carbon

I enjoy reading, especially Science Fiction books. The last few books that I've read are "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman" by Richard Feynman, and "Timeline" by Michael Crichton. For my birthday, Jenn's parents got me "Altered Carbon" by Richard K Morgan. The story revolves around a former military operative who, after leaving the military, became involved in some seedier busines. He grew up as a thug in a gang, and after military service became something of a gun for hire. The story is set far into the future, in a time when humans have colonized several planets, including some outside of our solar system. Also, a technology has been developed for storing the essence of a person. The technology is referred to as a cortical stack, which is an implant at the base of the spine. The stack records all of the essence of the person, including memories and experiences. If a person were to die, the stack could be extracted and inserted into a new body, referred to as a sleeve. New bodies could either be from people sent to jail, and thus removed from their sleeve, clones of the original person, or synthetic bodies that were compatible with the stack. In this way, people could almost live forever by transferring from one sleeve to the next. Travel was made simple by simple transferring the data from a stack to the destination, rather than the entire body.

As the story unfolds, we learn that Mr. Kovacs, the protaganist of the book, has been hired by a very powerful person to investigate his own suicide. Mr. Bancroft evidently killed himself, but he had copies of his stack, and clones of his body, and was easily brought back to life. He is concerned that it was not really a suicide, but instead an elaborate hit on him. It aggravates him, and he has hired Mr. Kovacs to find the truth.

I've really enjoyed the story so far. I'm one chapter from the end, and I think this last chapter is just a wrap up or prologue. The story involves police corruption, power hungry politicians, the rich elite. It also touches on some interesting issues that would arise, should such technology would ever become available. I highly recommend it to anyone that has a penchant for Sci-Fi.


Jade Mason