by Richard Morgan
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Darkmatters: H O M E
Stuart Carter over at http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ says “a first novel so exciting, so addictive and so bone-crunchingly in your face that it beggars the need for such virtual reality as it occasionally employs.” Unfortunately he’s not talking about Darkmatters but Altered Carbon and whilst he's obviously more impressed with AC than I was (or just trying to get a jacket quote in the next print run)- in the main I have to concur with his thoughts...
A friend leant me Altered Carbon after I’d mapped out the plot of Darkmatters for him – ‘it’s kind in the same area’ he said – and he’s right. If you like near future action thrillers with serious amounts of gunplay, hot women, robots and cool heroes then I’d urge you to check this out.
Quick plot overview from Wikipedia: “Kovacs is an Envoy - a member of a military unit formed to cope with the challenge of interstellar warfare. In the novel's universe, faster-than-light travel is only possible by transmitting the digitally stored mind via 'needlecast' across space into a new sleeve. Transmitting normal soldiers in this way will severely inhibit their effectiveness, since they will have to cope with finding themselves in a new body while fighting. To combat this, Envoy training emphasises the mental techniques necessary to survive in different bodies over physical strength (which is useless when the soldier is downloaded into a new body). The effectiveness of the Envoy Corps' mental training is such that Envoys are banned from holding governmental positions on most worlds.
Kovacs - who is killed in the novel's prologue and stored in digital form - is downloaded into a temporary sleeve formerly inhabited by Bay City policeman Elias Ryker and turned loose on the investigation. The plot unfolds through Kovacs's "hard-boiled" narrative. Kovacs eventually solves the mystery, but only after great personal suffering under which he is able to bear up only because of his Envoy training.”
Darkmatt Rating: öööö (future violent noir – detective thriller meets cyberpunk)
"Drew Barrymore - would make a good 'Ortega' - one of the love interests in AC"
You can probably pick up a copy of the book here: www.amazon.co.uk
Other books that I’ve reviewed that you might like if you enjoyed Altered Carbon:
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson