Ce livre réconciliera les amateurs de roman noir avec la science-fiction. Dans un style haletant, l'auteur nous embarque dans un monde futuriste qui ferait passer celui de Blade Runner pour une ballade à EuroDisney, sans passer par les attractions. A la fois flamboyant et noir, noir, noir...
En relisant l'Argent de Zola récemment, je me suis dit que cent ans de socialisme n'ont pas vraiment changé le monde. Exit Marx et ses idées saugrenues et vive le libéralisme pur et dur: agrandissons la fracture sociale pour aboutir à un univers où les riches ont le choix de se glisser dans les plus beaux corps pour assouvir leurs perversions et les pauvres rêvent de récupérer le leur... et vous aurez une petite idée de l'univers de Morgan. Inutile de chercher des états d'âme au héros, il a été programmé pour ne pas en avoir... à moins qu'on lui marche sur les pieds!
Je recommande chaudement ce livre, à déconseiller aux âmes sensibles, et invite les lecteurs à se plonger dans les deux séquelles: Broken Angels et Woken Furies.
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147 internautes sur 151 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Excellent Cyber Pulp Debut17 mars 2004
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Ever since I saw Blade Runner as a kid, I've been in love with the idea of blending science-fiction with crime, and this is a totally compelling mix of the two. Set about 500 years in the future, the story follows Takeshi Kovacs, a former space marine who has been "resleeved" to investigate a suicide on Earth. You see, in the future, one's mind or consciousness can be digitized and stored in "stacks" implanted in the base of your skull. If you commit a crime, your stack is removed and placed in storage for the duration of your sentence (usually decades or centuries), and then you are "resleeved" in a new body. Of course, resleeving costs, and for many people, a new body is like a new car or new house, with monthly payments to keep up lest your body get repossessed... The flip side of this is that dying is only a temporary thing-unless your stack has been somehow destroyed and there's no backup, then you're subject to "RD" (real death). And if you've got enough money to get into cloning and data storage, one can live a virtually endless and seamless life. It's one of these "Meths" (after Methuselah, just one example of the excellent creation of slang in the book), who has Takeshi remanded and "needlecast" (digitally freighted) from offworld to investigate his alleged suicide in Bay City (aka San Francisco). Takeshi had been in prison, having been captured as a mercenary in a vibrantly kinetic prologue. The meth, Bancroft, is one of the future elite, weaving elaborate corporate and political webs with others of his kind. Apparently he committed suicide a few weeks ago, but he's convinced it was murder. He's paid heftily to have Kovacs released and resleeved to investigate his death and what happened in the 48 hours leading up to it-48 hours that elapsed between his last stack backup and his temporary death. This is a great setup, as we have a reluctant protagonist grudgingly working on a case for a sinister Bancroft, quickly getting caught up with Bay City PD, Bancroft's hyper-sexy wife, and all kinds of foes. It's an extremely convoluted tale, with lots of double-crossing, plot twists, hidden agendas, sexual tension (and outright graphic sex), dry tough guy humor, and excellent action sequences. It's so jam-packed it almost gets overwhelming at times, and one wishes Morgan had been able to trim just a little bit here and there. However, he's built a very intriguing and nasty future earth, where-as one might well imagine-a lot of the technology gets channeled into the sex trade. This is great pulp fiction, with great characters, including my favorite: the AI Hendrix Hotel. It's a hotel that runs itself using artificial intelligence, making for a hilarious, yet plausible, character. This is a great genre-blending debut, let's hope the sequel (Broken Angels) is as good.
71 internautes sur 79 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Brilliantly realized31 août 2003
John S. Ryan
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is one of the best new SF novels I've read in the last ten years.
It's enough of a treat that Richard Morgan can _write_. The author bio indicates that he taught English as a second language for some fourteen years; he can teach a thing or two to us native speakers as well. His narrative and his dialogue are clean, crisp, and focused, with that sense of heightened reality you get from really good fiction; there's not a word out of place, and there's none of the mannered artificiality of e.g. Frank Herbert's _Dune_.
But it's even better than good writing. Morgan has applied his craft to a brand of fiction that one of the cover blurbs describes as a cross between hard-core cyberpunk and hard-boiled detective fiction. That's an odd description of the genre and makes it sound newer than it is, but it's true that there hasn't been a lot of SF detective fiction. And Morgan's contribution advances the ball considerably.
If you're at all familiar with the genre, you're already thinking of Larry Niven's ARM stories (and maybe, though less aptly, of Asimov's _The Caves of Steel_ and _The Naked Sun_). Well, Morgan's world does owe something to Niven's, but he's got very much his own spin. His main character (Takeshi Kovacs), though arguably more Mike Hammer than Hiro Protagonist despite the snowcrashy backdrop, will remind longtime fen of the wisecracking tough-guy heroes that have populated SF since at least the days of Keith Laumer (not to mention Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat). But he's not just a carbon copy (even an altered one).
And Morgan has found a very interesting way around a problem that has plagued detective fiction since its inception: when your narrative is written in the first person, how do you keep the reader from figuring out that the narrator doesn't get killed? Oh, you can do a Jim Thompson and have the character narrate his own death, but otherwise there aren't too many possibilities.
Morgan has discovered one. As you'll learn within the first few pages, Kovacs has _already_ died at least once, and there's nothing to keep him from dying again, perhaps repeatedly; for reasons that will be clear early on, his death wouldn't keep him from narrating the novel.
The plot is ingenious: it seems that one Laurens Bancroft has committed suicide, but Bancroft himself believes he was murdered and hires Our Hero to investigate. (Yes, you read that correctly; the alleged murder victim wants to know how he was killed.) Beyond that, I'm not going to tell you anything that might spoil your fun.
I _will_ tell you to keep your eyes peeled for a huge number of incredibly cool background details. Like Heinlein, Morgan drops you into the middle of the tale and introduces you to its world in the natural course of the narrative, rather than calling attention to it tourist-fashion. In the process he mentions lots of nifty things that could have been entire novels in their own right (and John W. Campbell would have loved every one of them) -- e.g. computer-automated hotels that upgraded to sentience and bought themselves out from under corporate ownership. Morgan's throwaway ideas are better than most SF writers' main plot points.
I'll also tell you that, as one or two other reviewers have pointed out, there's some fairly graphic sex in this novel -- not to mention some vivid and disturbing violence. It's extraordinarily well-written and I thought it was all quite tastefully handled. But if you haven't got the stomach for such stuff, be warned.
_Very_ highly recommended. If you've spent the last decade or two wondering where all the really good SF has gone, check this one out. It's already on my best-of-recent-SF shortlist, alongside some Alastair Reynolds, China Mieville, Neal Stephenson, and a very small handful of others.
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Technocrime17 août 2003
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Morgan writes one of the most stunning new SF books in some time, bringing us a noir thriller in an exotic yet frighteningly familiar future. The tone is firmly set not in the halls of Science Fiction, but in the legacy of 1930's hard-boiled crime fiction, full of plots, counterplots, seamy locales, seamier people, and above all, sex, violence, and death.
This is a world where no one dies for good, where bodies are cloned and personalities held in cortical "stacks" sleeved into them. A rich man "died" by apparent suicide, and when revived calls in a renowned offworld criminal to investigate. What Takeshi Kovacs finds are unhelpful cops, people and gangs out to hurt or kill him, bewildering events, lies everywhere, and dead bodies showing up around every corner. Every ally is a potential enemy, with the exception of the hotel he stays in.
After being chased, shot at, beaten, burned, tortured, and nearly killed many times, he slowly realizes that behind it all is another of the ancient power players of the world, one with whom he has an old history. Only then Kovacs tries to get the upper hand, methodically manipulating events to a final showdown.
The perspective is gritty, hardened, and not a little bitter. Kovacs is an antihero more than willing to take whatever measures he feels are necessary, including killing - permanently. He is a seasoned Envoy, a long-time criminal (though just how is hazy), and has been through many bodies and many worlds. No one is particularly likable, but many are somehow sympathetic. The combination of hard crime thriller with many unique SF elements - Science Fiction, and San Fransisco - works well. The author has done a great job here.
There are deeper ideas floating around. What is death? What would revival mean for religion, for law enforcement, and for life in general? How would the elite change? Every member of the upper-class is distasteful or downright evil, seeing people as pawns and playtoys; to the author they have no redeeming social value. The epilogue is a little trite, but that's made up for by all the psychadelic dream sequences, Kovacs' dead buddy Jimmy De Soto giving him advice from time to time.
An engrossing book, with a very satisfying ending leaving more than enough room for sequels. If you don't mind seeing the very worst of humanity, and rather gratuitous sex at times, I highly recommend.
34 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Outstanding Neo-Sci-Fi Noir27 mai 2003
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Altered Carbon was an amazing first novel for Richard Morgan. This guy has a future! The book is dark and slick. It defintely has a Blade Runner feel to it along with some Matrix and Maltese Falcon (or even China Town)like mystery thrown in for good measure. The hero (Kovaks)can handle himself in a fight (he is enhanced) but is quite witty at the same time. His one liners cracked me up. The technology of sleeving (down loading one's mind through science into another body) is also fascinating and scary. Overall this is a great summer beach book. If you are looking for a good detective novel set in a futuristic Gibson/Blade Runner like society with lots of action and phylosophy concerning the nature of the human soul get Altered Carbon!
22 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Intriguing Sci-Fi Cyber Novel15 mars 2004
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon is an excellent, intriguing novel that straddles multiple genres, and straddles them well. It's science fiction in that it takes place in the distant future when individual consciousness can be downloaded into a new body (or sleeve) should the need ever arise. There is plenty of space travel as the protagonist and narrator, Takeshi Kovacs travels from his world to what we know as earth. Altered Carbon is also a crime novel, as Kovacs has been hired to find the "murderer" of a centuries old wealthy man, who's consciousness was simply downloaded into a newly cloned sleeve. The story is well-written, compelling reading. Very enjoyable and imaginative.