"Altered Carbon" by <span class="author">Richard K. Morgan</span>

"Altered Carbon" by Richard K. Morgan

"Altered Carbon" is a science fiction novel written by Richard K. Morgan and published in 2002. The novel is known for its exploration of themes such as immortality, identity, and the impact of technology on society, all set in a future where consciousness can be transferred between bodies.

Plot Overview:

The story is set in a future where humans have developed the technology to store their consciousness, known as "stacks," which can be implanted into different bodies, or "sleeves." This technology has led to a society in which death is not necessarily permanent, as long as one's stack remains intact.

The protagonist, Takeshi Kovacs, is a former soldier and mercenary who is hired by a wealthy man named Laurens Bancroft to investigate his own apparent suicide. Bancroft believes he was murdered and wants Kovacs to uncover the truth. Kovacs' consciousness is resleeved into a new body on Earth, where he navigates a world of advanced technology, political intrigue, and social stratification.

As Kovacs delves into the case, he encounters a complex web of relationships, power struggles, and dark secrets. His investigation takes him through the seedy underbelly of the society, as well as into the lives of individuals who may be connected to Bancroft's death.


  1. Immortality and Identity: The novel explores the implications of consciousness transfer and its impact on questions of identity, mortality, and the value of life.
  2. Socioeconomic Disparity: The society depicted in the novel is marked by extreme disparities between the wealthy elite and the disadvantaged, and the novel examines the consequences of such divisions.
  3. Ethics of Technology: "Altered Carbon" raises ethical questions about the potential abuses and moral dilemmas associated with advanced technology.
  4. Political Power and Control: The investigation uncovers layers of political power plays, corruption, and manipulation that are integral to the central mystery.
  5. Violence and Transhumanism: The novel explores themes of violence and the potential consequences of humanity's ability to transcend traditional physical limitations.


"Altered Carbon" received acclaim for its thought-provoking concepts, gritty world-building, and complex characters. The novel's exploration of consciousness transfer, identity, and societal consequences has resonated with readers interested in the ethical and philosophical implications of advancing technology. The success of "Altered Carbon" led to two sequels, further exploring the universe and themes introduced in the original novel. In addition, the novel was adapted into a popular TV series by the same name, further introducing the concepts and themes to a wider audience.

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