Monday, February 28, 2011

Broken Angels

by Richard K. Morgan

I read Richard K. Morgan's Philip K. Dick Award winning Altered Carbon for the Sci Fi Experience two years ago and enjoyed it. While this is the second book about Takeshi Kovacs it is very different from Altered Carbon. Altered Carbon was essentially a noir detective story that just happened to be set in the future. In Broken Angels you meet up with Takeshi Kovacs embroiled in a war on a distant planet, working as a mercenary for a giant corporation trying to lay claim to an ancient Martian artifact, in the middle of a war zone. While it was much more of an action/war adventure, I was very happy that it explored the implications of the advanced technology laid out in the first book.

In Kovac's world people have stacks embedded in their spinal column that contain their memories and personalities and as long as your stack is recovered when you die you can either be "re-sleeved" in another body or exist in virtual reality. Because your consciousness can be put into a digital format this has interesting implications for torture, sex, space travel and warfare conducted by soldiers that don't die a "real death".

I also found the story line about the Martians fascinating. The Martians were long gone when humans discovered their cities and artifacts, but by using the Martian technology and information that they left behind, human beings have been able to leap far beyond their capabilities, especially in terms of space travel. I don't want to give the plot away but I found the entire Martian story line fascinating and hope that it is developed more in the following book.

I will definitely read the next (and supposedly last) Takeshi Kovacs book, Woken Furies, which is set on Kovac's home world, Harlan's World, and delves into Kovac's history.

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