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Richard K. Morgan

Richard K Morgan(1965- )
Richard Morgan was, until his writing career took off, a tutor at Strathclyde University in the English Language Teaching division. He has travelled widely and lived in Spain and Istanbul. He is a fluent Spanish speaker. Read his comments about his books at Richard K. Morgan’s website.
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Altered Carbon: Graphic, brutal, and thrilling

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

Richard K Morgan’s Altered Carbon, the first Takeshi Kovacs novel, is a roller-coaster ride. Morgan cycles us through traditional science-fiction, some mean-streets detective drama and a fine caper story before the book ends, all told by Kovacs himself, a disillusioned killer, a futuristic Sam Spade only slightly less dirty than the dirty business he’s in, a battered knight in tarnished armor.

In Altered Carbon’s future world, science has given humanity the ability to digitize consciousness and store it in a tiny canister embedded in a vertebra at the base of the skull. What is stored in these “cortical stacks” lasts indefinitely and can be decanted into a virtual reality or “sleeved” into a clone or any vacant human body. This technology was refined... Read More

Broken Angels: Good noir science fiction

Broken Angels by Richard K. Morgan

Three weeks ago I finished Broken Angels, the second book in Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs trilogy. I’ve been struggling with this review ever since. Broken Angels is good noir science fiction. It is well-written. I just didn’t like it.

In some places in the book the timbers of the plot show through the flash-and-dazzle, but that is no more than a nuisance. Kovacs is a believable character in a complicated and exciting situation. The world, Sanction IV, is not well drawn at all, and that is deliberate. Sanction IV’s civil war is is just One More War on One More World. The planet’s people, its history, its culture and its future don’t matter to the people Kovacs works for, or to Kovacs himself for that matter.

On medical leave from the government-sponsored military, Kovacs is drawn into a ... Read More

Woken Furies: When Takeshi Kovacs is in a bad mood, people die

Woken Furies by Richard K. Morgan

Takeshi Kovacs spends most of Woken Furies, the third book in the Kovacs series, in a bad mood. Kovacs is an ex-Envoy, a carefully selected, highly trained, rigidly conditioned assassin for the powerful and draconian Protectorate, so when he’s in a bad mood, people usually die.

Of course, many of them are not really dead, or rather, Really Dead, because people in Richard K. Morgan’s future universe have cortical stacks, shiny storage devices attached to their cervical vertebrae, holding consciousness. As long as your cortical stack is undamaged, your consciousness can just be downloaded into a new physical body, called a “sleeve.” While you’re waiting for a sleeve your consciousness can be dormant, or it might be active, inserted into a virtual environment. This could be a paradise or a torture chamber, depending upon who got hold of your stack.... Read More

The Steel Remains: Dark, gritty, obscene

The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan

The Steel Remains, by Richard Morgan, is a dark, gritty, and in some places obscene fantasy that will not be to everyone’s liking. So let’s get the surface material out of the way — if you don’t like your books laced with a heaping amount of f-bombs, graphic sex (hetero and homosexual), and graphic violence, The Steel Remains is not for you. In the slightest. Run. Run as far as you can. And if you can live with the swearing, sex, and violence? In that case, The Steel Remains will mostly entertain, though it isn’t a standout fantasy, nor does it, I think, rise to the level of Morgan’s sci-fi stories involving Takeshi Kovacs — his best work to date. Read More

Thirteen: A story with conflicting agendas

Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan

Like drugs for techno-action junkies, Richard K. Morgan did the futuristic, world-weary warrior story well in his TAKESHI KOVACS series. With a Wild West-style of justice continually seeping through the scenes of blood and gore, Morgan also indicated there may be a little more on his mind than just action. The nihilism was left without an explicit voice, so Morgan set out to rectify this in his 2007 Thirteen (Black Man in the UK*). Slowing the plot to allow ideological exposition a place, the novel finds the author highlighting the prevalence of vice in unabashed, overt style. The thematic content does not always match character representation and premise, so the result is a story with conflicting agendas.

Thirteen is the story of... Read More

Thin Air: An intense, foul-mouthed, high-octane thriller

Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan

Richard K. Morgan’s stand-alone novel Thin Air (2018) is set on Mars in the universe of his novel Thirteen. His protagonist, Hakan Veil, is a disgraced “enforcer” who’s just been dumped on Mars by the corporation to whom he had been indentured since childhood. They recently fired him. Hakan would love to get back to Earth, but that’s nearly impossible these days because it costs too much to get there and Earth lets very few people in. Mars is a hostile and decadent world with a populace made up of many criminal elements.

Fortunately, Hakan still retains some of the genetic enhancements his company supplied before cutting ties with him. This makes him a total badass. Corporate enforce... Read More

Magazine Monday: Grimdark Magazine, Issue Two

The opening story of Issue 2 of Grimdark Magazine, “The Line” by T.R. Napper, presents a picture in nobility. You might not think that at first, as the tale concerns George, a wrestler who makes a practice of breaking his opponents’ bones; but, you soon learn, that’s the least harm he can do to end a match. George is so good at his game that his wins come to seem too easy, and that’s where danger seeps in. The thoroughly corrupt regime that runs the “free zones” — places that seem anything but free to the majority of those who live and work there — has plans for George. What will George do in the face of the implacable foe ironically called Hope Corporation? The story is predictable and manipulative, but nonetheless somehow exhilarating and, at the same time, depressing to read. I’m curious to see what Napper will do as his writing experience and skills grow.

Aaron Fox-Lerner’s “Drone Str... Read More

More speculative fiction from Richard K. Morgan

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsMarket Forces — (2004) Publisher: From the award-winning author of Altered Carbon and Broken Angels–a turbocharged new thriller set in a world where killers are stars, media is mass entertainment, and freedom is a dangerous proposition… A coup in Cambodia. Guns to Guatemala. For the men and women of Shorn Associates, opportunity is calling. 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. To succeed, Shorn uses a new kind of corporate gladiator: sharp-suited, hard-driving gunslingers who operate armored vehicles and follow a Samurai code. And Chris Faulkner is just the man for the job. He fought his way out of London’s zone of destitution. And his kills are making him famous. But unlike his best friend and competitor at Shorn, Faulkner has a side that outsiders cannot see: the side his wife is trying to salvage, that another woman–a porn star turned TV news reporter – is trying to exploit. Steeped in blood, eyed by common criminals looking for a shot at fame, Faulkner is living on borrowed time. Until he’s given one last shot at getting out alive….


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