And that must sometimes be enough. 

Altered Carbon‘Mankind is strung out across interstellar space, and human consciousness is digitally freighted between the stars and downloaded into bodies, but some things never change…’

So goes the synopsis for Richard Morgan’s debut novel, a science fiction piece that is part-cyberpunk, part-neo noir, set mostly in 26th Century San Francisco.

In this violent, hip and dystopic thriller, human beings’ minds (essences) are preserved as software in a variety of platforms to be ‘downloaded’ into bodies both artificial and real – ie. their own or someone elses’ – called ‘sleeves’.

But what also struck me was not the plot or the imagined technology, but the style of writing – dark and cynical within the ambit of a future that is as progressive and interesting as it is as unfair and harsh as our present.

One line in the novel stands out, a line repeated several times by the lead character who remembers and quotes it from someone else:

You take what is offered. And that must sometimes be enough.

I find it so true, in this life and whatever life ahead that may come.

(cross-posted here.)


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