AncalagonTheBlack

The Richard Morgan Thread III

79 posts in this topic

New blurb for Thin Air (March 2018):

https://www.amazon.com/Thin-Air-Richard-K-Morgan/dp/0345493125/

An atmospheric tale of corruption and abduction set on Mars, from the author of the award-winning science fiction novel Altered Carbon, coming soon to Netflix.

An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Jegede, part of a colonial audit team investigating a disappeared lottery winner on Mars. But when Jegede is abducted, and Hakan nearly killed, the investigation takes him farther and deeper than he had ever expected. And soon Hakan discovers the heavy price he may have to pay to learn the truth.

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Do any of his sci-fi books address the lack of independent AI in the setting? 

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2 hours ago, Hello World said:

Do any of his sci-fi books address the lack of independent AI in the setting? 

Does the Hendrix count?

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Honestly, aren't the entirety of the Stacks equipped people A.I? They're not human brains.

At least purely.

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18 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Honestly, aren't the entirety of the Stacks equipped people A.I? They're not human brains.

At least purely.

That's a very fair point.

 

On 06/01/2018 at 2:00 PM, Hello World said:

Do any of his sci-fi books address the lack of independent AI in the setting? 

Probably more so in his fantasy trilogy oddly enough.

Generally, the problem with AI is that once you accept it as part of your sci-fi setting the question is raised of why we're even reading about the humans anymore - either the AI make humans redundant or they benignly hide in the bakground so that the author can still tell their story. Otherwise the author has to contrive some reasom why the AI isn't constantly solving the problem eg the Matrix.

black man/thirteen has a cool use of non-omnipotent AI which is a program that designs antibodies against viruses - and I vaguely recall their being biotech viruses that "evolve" at processing speed too.

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In the Kovacs novels it's mentioned that at some point all AIs had to be registered and licensed and that any that went rogue were destroyed.  I think it's in Altered Carbon when TK is describing the Hendrix and the Corporate Wars.

 

And then in Woken Furies there's a decent amount of backstory that skirts around this with the Decom on New Hokkaido, the mimints, sleeper personality bombs, etc.  

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In my Lucifer's Star books, I drew a distinction between "Cognition AI" (all powerful super AI) and "Dummy AI" which is only about as smart as a human being in personality and has no ability to grow.

You don't need the former to run your Hotel.

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Thanks for the inputs. My memory of Altered Carbon isn't too good, I guess. I'm halfway through Thirteen right now and what started as a great book is almost ruined by the Bakker style philosophical wanking. I almost feel like I'm reading Neuropath.

That said, the reveal of what the prologue scene was all about was so horrific. I should have seen that coming. 

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11 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

In my Lucifer's Star books, I drew a distinction between "Cognition AI" (all powerful super AI) and "Dummy AI" which is only about as smart as a human being in personality and has no ability to grow.

You don't need the former to run your Hotel.

A good distinction, but the AI wasn't designed to run the hotel, iirc, in this situation it ended up running it due to how it evolved and then the restrictions that were placed on AIs after the corporate wars prevented it from doing much else.  You also don't need (AC spoilers) :

a machine gun in the lobby but the Hendrix has that too.  It's not just a hotel, when they want to plant the virus to take down Kawahara the Hendrix helps them out, I'm assuming out of something more than guest loyalty

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11 hours ago, Hello World said:

Thanks for the inputs. My memory of Altered Carbon isn't too good, I guess. I'm halfway through Thirteen right now and what started as a great book is almost ruined by the Bakker style philosophical wanking. I almost feel like I'm reading Neuropath.

That said, the reveal of what the prologue scene was all about was so horrific. I should have seen that coming. 

Eek, I fear you might not enjoy the rest - I recently re-read it, and I'd say the second half has some of the most heavy-handed of the philosophical conversations (both internal and vocal). Some parts threw me off here and there  - the plot definitely meanders its way around, and I agree that it drifts into a bit of wankery. In general, though, I rarely enjoy re-reading a one-off novel as much as I did that one. Hope it comes together for you. 

I have somehow never read the Altered Carbon series, and should really get a copy already.

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On 1/8/2018 at 9:57 PM, Argonath Diver said:

Eek, I fear you might not enjoy the rest - I recently re-read it, and I'd say the second half has some of the most heavy-handed of the philosophical conversations (both internal and vocal). Some parts threw me off here and there  - the plot definitely meanders its way around, and I agree that it drifts into a bit of wankery. In general, though, I rarely enjoy re-reading a one-off novel as much as I did that one. Hope it comes together for you. 

I have somehow never read the Altered Carbon series, and should really get a copy already.

This kinda describes all of his novels. Altered Carbon is probably his most focused, and even it succumbs in parts. Don't get me wrong, I really like RM's stuff for the most part: he has really amazing ideas & occasionally incredible prose... but it sometimes/often feels like its teetering on the edge of collapse into unintentional satire. Market Forces and his fantasy trilogy in particular.

That, and his sex scenes are a bit much. Not that the sex bothers me, rather the show-off intent lurking beneath.

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8 hours ago, kuenjato said:

This kinda describes all of his novels. Altered Carbon is probably his most focused, and even it succumbs in parts. Don't get me wrong, I really like RM's stuff for the most part: he has really amazing ideas & occasionally incredible prose... but it sometimes/often feels like its teetering on the edge of collapse into unintentional satire. Market Forces and his fantasy trilogy in particular.

That, and his sex scenes are a bit much. Not that the sex bothers me, rather the show-off intent lurking beneath.

So much this. You can almost hear him screaming “look how edgy I am!” As you read

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I admit to never having been bothered by them. They're a piece with the hyperreal qualities of the series, and in any case, at least in the Kovacs books you're looking at genetically engineered supersoldiers or ungodly-rich sybarites who have heightened... well, everything, so it follows that the sex would be Olympic-athlete level (and then some). The extended sequence in THE STEEL REMAINS did raise my brows a bit, but mostly because my mental image of the alien folk was kind of creepy.

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The longest sex scene in Black Man/Thirteen has too many details and about six (!) paragraphs too many, but I thought the last line was memorable and a solid bit of pulpy erotic fun. Had to look it up to get it right, ha! 

Quote

And then it was like the hard evercrete steps they'd taken up to Moda, steep and stiff breathing and no speech at all on the long, steady climb together to the top.

I'm all about simile and metaphor use to describe epic sex.  

Edited by Argonath Diver

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On 1/18/2018 at 2:03 AM, kuenjato said:

That, and his sex scenes are a bit much. Not that the sex bothers me, rather the show-off intent lurking beneath.

It's amazing how often people mention they have a problem with sex, but say not a word about violence. And all of RM's work is hyper-violent.

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7 hours ago, Yohn said:

It's amazing how often people mention they have a problem with sex, but say not a word about violence. And all of RM's work is hyper-violent.

Maybe because the sex scenes are boring, and the violent scenes are not? :P Also, violence is par-for-course in these kind of highbrow pulp, but the sex, as someone else mentioned, feels deliberately edgelord, which gets eye-rolly after a short while.

Seriously, though, he does go overboard quite a bit. There's lots of Technical Porn and fussy Brand-Dropping (even when it's made up), reminding me of American Psycho.

 

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