Thursday, February 14, 2013

Woken Furies

by Richard K. Morgan

I was first introduced to Richard K. Morgan and his character Takeshi Kovacs in Altered Carbon  and then Broken Angels both of which I read for prior years' Sci Fi Experiences.  Woken Furies is the "final" Takeshi Kovacs novel.

It is remarkable how different the three books set in the same fictional universe with the same protaganist, can each be so different.  I enjoyed all three.  In Kovac's reality 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.  This has all sorts of implications considered over the three novels for almost all aspects of life including crime, torture, sex, space travel, warfare and interaction with technology and other digital constructs.

Altered Carbon was set on a future Earth where Kovac's is digitally transmitted and re-sleeved in order to solve the murder of a wealthy gentleman who has been re-sleeved in one of his cloned bodies but cannot seem to recall the events of his actual murder.  This is basically a noir detective story that just happens to be set in the future.

In Broken Angels Kovac's is 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. This is not a noir detective story at all but really a war story.  It gave the author the opportunity to consider what war would be like without "real death" on the table.  What I found most interesting about this one was learning more about the "Martians" who were long gone but who had left behind some amazing technology that humans had been able to utilize to change their lives.

Woken Furies provides a glimpse of Kovac's past and involves religion, politics and the human/digital interface.  Although taking place after Broken Angels, Kovac's is back on his home world where his past is catching up with him. While he is seeking revenge against a group of religious zealots he gets mixed up in a conflict between a bunch of mercenary deComs and the Yakuza.  Its not clear what the conflict is but having saved Sylvie, the deCom head, his lot is cast with hers.  It seems that Sylvie may have the digital personality of former revolutionary Quellcrist Falconer, inside her head with her, or maybe not.  Kovacs must enlist the help of his old friends and revolutionaries to attempt to save Sylvie from the Yakuza, the First Families, the Envoys and a younger duplicate of himself.  I enjoyed this final Kovac's novel and would be interested to read more by Richard K. Morgan.           

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