Richard K. Morgan. Altered Carbon (2002) 404 pp.
Publisher’s description: “In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has
spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N.
While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology
have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive
procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at
the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or ‘sleeve’)
making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen. Ex-U.N. envoy
Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly
painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved
into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated
Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching
conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats
‘existence’ as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell
that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning …” An old-fashioned 25th century
hardboiled detective story.