Hoooooooly crap. I’m obsessed. I was sick last week and ended up binge watching this new Netflix series, Altered Carbon, and it changed my fricken life!! I wrote an article on cyberpunk a few months ago, and although I found the concept really interesting, I had not previously read or watched any cyberpunk material. When I had twelve hours to spare on television, and I saw Altered Carbon come up, I knew that I was in for a wild ride.
The Netflix show is based off the Takeshi Kovacs series by Richard Morgan. Having seen numerous film and tv adaptations of books, after loving the series, I knew I had to read the books.
The story takes place in the 26th century. Following the typical cyberpunk personality, the plot offers advanced technology in an urban dystopia. This is a world where people don’t have to die. Your consciousness is backed up on hardware, so should your organic body be damaged beyond repair, you can be placed in a new one. The super rich are super old and known by the name Meths. They can afford to live forever.
Instead of prison, criminals are sentenced to time on ice, where their consciousness is frozen for a determined amount of time, while the world passes them by. Takeshi Kovacs, the main character, is brought off the ice to investigate the death of one of the richest Meths there is, Laurens Bancroft. The payment for his work is his freedom.
Takeshi was selected by Mr. Bancroft because he is the last Envoy, which was an elite band of soldiers known for their heightened intuition, senses, and reflexes. His character is fascinating because he has so many layers of sincerity, complexity, and even suffers from severe PTSD, giving insight into his life before he was placed on ice.
As all good books do, the plot unfolds into layers and layers of conflict, much more than Kovacs had expected. Characters such as the Hendrix Hotel (in the show, its name was The Raven), Kristin Ortega, and Quellcrist Falconer, will captivate you.
The series is great because the special effects do a great job of animating the book. I watched it before I read the book, so it gave me a better understanding when I started off. Netflix was true to the book in many ways, but they also added a lot more, which I think made it much more enjoyable to watch.
I absolutely recommend both the series in the book. They are entertaining, engaging, and will leave you wanting more.