Friday, September 26, 2008

Takeshi Kovacs

Finally managed to get through Altered Carbon, Broken Angels and Woken Furies. I can see why Hollywood optioned the first book (AC) - there is enough sex and violence to satisfy the average American audience. AC was "fresh" and "gritty" and "dark" and I enjoyed it as well as the novel concept of "resleeving" and that the UN was now an "enforcer". The subsequent books seemed to gradually go downhill for me: not in terms of the quality of the writing but the novelty of the first book was so great that it seemed hard to maintain that level. BA still had its twists and turns and surprises but not as much as AC. The introduction of the Martians was perhaps meant to be novel but it didn't seem to grab me as much as "resleeving". Perhaps I'm not as interested in alien life as much as technological concepts. By WF, it began to feel like Richard Morgan didn't really have anything new to offer. Bringing Quellcrist Falconer (who has been in the background of all the previous book) back to life via Martian technology (as a follow-up to BA) was again perhaps meant to be novel but didn't seem to register with me. WF also did not seem to have as many surprises as the other two and felt like the weakest book. I'm hoping that if there is a next Takeshi Kovacs novel, it will be better than the third (but in my mind it'll be hard to beat AC).

"Resleeving" has the added advantage of letting a person store his or her personality into a "cortical stack" which can be transferred to a new "sleeve" thus allowing them to "live" several hundreds of years or until the stack is destroyed. Even though the real time difference between AC and BA was 30 years, technologically and socially very little has changed which seemed hard to believe. Perhaps he was making a point that nothing really changes in BA - wars always occur and there is always a struggle for power but I was hoping for something fresh technologically. Perhaps I am also a little sensitive but the dialogue about UN missions on Sharya (BA, WF) and Beards (WF) smacked a little of Islamaphobia. I think though it was meant to be against religious fundamentalism in general but it was a little too overt for me.

And if it were made into a movie, I'd probably see it. Will it be a blockbuster the way Terminator was? I highly doubt it. I don't think any sci-fi movie will ever approach the Terminator movies. Those were the years when violence was "in" - Die Hard, Rambo - these days I don't think any movie that is violence filled will pull in crowds the way they used to. As for sci-fi, the last blockbuster was probably The Transformers and that was based on a known concept. The Matrix is probably a better comparison to the Kovacs series but that also seemed to suffer in terms of plot by the sequel. This movie if it ever gets made will need to build some buzz and that's hard to do.

No comments: