Review: Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan and why you should just watch the Netflix show unless you have a paper route

by Banned Library in ,

The house was at the top of a small hill, would be a nothing hike in the daylight but seemed mysterious in the dark. I made my way up, folded and plastic-wrapped newspaper in hand, slipping on the ice. As I prepared to throw the paper on the porch and get the hell out of that creepy ass driveway, I saw antlers gleaming in the moonlight to my right. Kinda wished I had an extra body.

    Altered Carbon features a world where everybody can have an extra body if they have the money. Science fiction nonsense aside, people are saved on a little disc and that disc can go from body to body. Through this way, folks can live infinitum. Our hero, Takeshi, is hired by a long-lived super rich person to solve the rich guy's murder. Takeshi has the hyper-killer skills from army training to get the job done right.

    Recently adapted by Netflix into a mini-series, Altered Carbon's cyberpunk hyper-stylized world mixes the Blade Runner noir dystopia with a splashy violence reminiscent of 70s and 80s schlock action movies of Walter Hill. What works on the screen fails in the source material, though, as the series better realizes the concepts. The book hints at bigger mindful concepts but uses almost a juvenile fascination with torturing its characters and winking with a knowing "see how we used our sci-fi for torture?"

    At the top of the hill in the middle of the night, delivering newspapers with an audiobook in my ears and staring down a deer by moonlight, Altered Carbon was a pretty good read. For anyone else, however, check out the series on Netflix.