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.