Thursday, September 29, 2005

Plug-and-Play Humanity

Yesterday, at long last, the last (but hopefully not final) Takeshi Kovacs book fell into my grubby little hands.

The Good

- Morgan's prose is incredible as always. The man can describe new places like no one else since Neal Stephenson's - oops - I mean, Bruce Sterling's travelogues (See: Heavy Weather and Holy Fire). Except with bloodier metaphors.

- This one was denser than the previous two, numberofplots-wise and prose-wise. The latter was good, the former marginally less so.

- Morgan and Charlie Stross are the two writers in scifi with the firmest grasp on how history actually moves - like evolution, it is relentless and unkind to its instruments. Yet good things emerge from it still.

- if you thought he had explored every possible ramification of the cortical stack, you're in for a treat. Stacks implanted in animal bodies is just one of them.

- mimints were a very cool idea. DeCom was just as cool if not more.

- with Ascertainment, Morgan finally explains how people can identify each other in a world where bodies are as interchangable as clothing - hell, they're literally referred to as sleeves!

The Bad

- mimints have more potential than he used.

- The climax ... wasn't. The denouement on the other hand, filled me with glee. But it would ...

- not enough young Kovacs. On the other hand, Morgan did something really freakin' clever with him and an oooold friend towards the end.

- Richard. K. Morgan really doesn't like transhumanists - and by god if he has to set up a strawman to knock 'em, so be it! (See: Renouncers)

- a certain figure from Kovacs' past doesn't live up to the hype. I shall reread and see if that was precisely the point.

- hoped to see more of the Martians (or whatever they are). Ah well.

The Interesting

- the Eishundo sleeve is such a clever little thing, I wish I'd come up with it.

- Aww, I miss the Nemex pistol. Company went out of business?

- the first two books had sex with two women each. This one, about ... four if you count VR and the ghost. Could the editors be to blame?

- Kovacs has two problems. 1) He's a Quellist who doesn't can't believe in Quellism because he understands the human animal too well. 2) He has a deeprooted hatred for the male human and thus himself.

- I can't believe it took me this long to figure out: Quellcrist Falconer is Che Guevera with tits.

- HA! I knew it! Morgan may not have made it easy, he didn't make it shiny and it took him three books to get around to it but by god, he did it, just as I said he would.


All in all, I recommend this book without reservation. Unless of course you have a problem with tomato spray. In any case, Mr. Morgan has done it again. Many people will consider this their favorite of the three (not me though; Broken Angels rocks beyond all else).


Blogger TheUltimateCyn said...

:::::just stopping to play peek-a-boo:::::

yep, still stalkin ya... deal with it!

11:40 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Avriette said...

I am not stalking you. And this is five years old? There just aren't a lot of pages including the word "Eishundo."

Many people will regard Furies as the favorite thus far. I actually finished re-reading both Furies and Angels, in that order, with not much time to reflect on either until after both had been finished.

To be honest the first thing that struck me about both books were that they are remarkably similar, and that Angels is a whole lot shorter. If you peek deep enough, there really is something of a disparity between the two, with respect to the so-named Angels (vis-a-vis Harlan's and Sanction IV).

A much more obvious problem between the two is the same tricks used repetitively with different names. Any given time you'd care to, swap "wolf gene" and "gekko grip," and I think you get the idea. (worth noting, I guess is adding Black Man to the others; I read this last book long after the other two, which I think I finished originally near the same time you did. And, again, swap "Japanese" for "Quecha" and you get the idea. He also describes this Tebbit knife business somewhat differently, but I'll leave that for people who haven't read it)

Before re-reading the two, I had considered the third to be his best, and on re-reading I'm not sure. I haven't re-read Carbon because I'm fairly certain I recall all of it.

Your insight is appreciated. I had fairly well made the same observations, but I think many of them need to be re-worked or revealed further before it's very clear what he is doing with them.

I have a sort of love-hate relationship with the assorted weapons that only Hiro, ahem, Kovacs, seems to be in sole possession of. What use is a 20kT yield tactical nuclear weapon in the glove box if all your prisoners have fancy fly-to-their-palms weaponry? You seem to have less of a and-hate relationship, so I won't drag on any further.


7:20 AM  

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