I’ve just finished reading the latest two books from Richard Morgan, Broken Angels
and Market Forces. With these two books is now pretty much on my default for consistent quality buy list, along with Greg Bear, David Brin, Peter Hamilton, Robin Hobb and David Zindell.
Broken Angels is the second Takeshi Kovacs novel, which started with Altered Carbon. This series is set in the twenty-fifth century, where humankind has spread throughout a section of the galaxy using the technology of sleeving. Physical transport is still at slower than light speeds, but using technology discovered on Mars 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”). A person’s consciousness can also be sent FTL across the galaxy to be resleeved into a waiting body. In a galaxy where sending a physical police force with be too late, the spread of humanity is monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. envoys, an elite corps trained to be able to sleeve into any situation by a combination of mental training.
Although Broken Angels is not as good as the first book it is still a very good read. Altered Carbon introduced some very interesting ideas and quite apart from being an excellent story is worth reading purely for the exploration of the interesting idea of sleeving and what a society like this would be like. Broken Angels however fall squared into the second book category. We find the character of Takeshi Kovacs is fleshed up, but the story line lacks the punch of the first book.
Market Forces is a completely different story with definite quality and imagine, a good sign that Richard Morgan is not a one shot author. Set in a near future world were only the corporate elite can afford cars a new breed of business has arisen. The corporate gladiator, a sharp-suited, hard-driving gunslingers who operate armoured vehicles and follow a pseudo Samurai code. Our main character an anti-hero, at the start of the novel begins work for Conflict Investments at Shorn Associates, where in the superheated global village of the near future, big money is made by finding the right little war and supporting one side against the other–in exchange for a share of the spoils.