Thursday, February 05, 2009

SFF: The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan

Back in 2002 when Richard K. Morgan’s first book, Altered Carbon, hit the shelves, both readers and reviewers went nuts. In January Magazine’s Best of 2002, gabe chouinard made the book one of his picks for best of the year. “If Raymond Chandler had ever spent any amount of time wallowing in the cyberpunk movement of the 1980s,” wrote chouinard, “I’m pretty sure he could have written Altered Carbon, an absolutely stellar first novel from Richard Morgan.”

It was a feeling that was echoed throughout reviewerdom and has been echoed since in subsequent books and which, in fact, is bound to be echoed for The Steel Remains (DelRey), another stellar novel, and one that takes Morgan into a new-for-him world: epic fantasy which, in his hands, is darkly gritty, violent and entirely gripping. And from the book’s opening paragraph, we know we’re back into territory that chouinard described so well: Chandler on hard drugs. Or maybe, Chandler on synth drugs, rather than the hard booze he was known for.
When a man you know to be of sound mind tells you his recently deceased moth has just tried to climb in his bedroom window and eat him, you only have two basic options. You can smell his breath, take his pulse, and check his pupils to see if he’s ingested anything nasty, or you can believe him.
If you have thus far missed out on Morgan’s work, do yourself a favor and try whichever one of his six books strikes your fancy. It might be good to know that a couple of Morgan’s books -- Altered Carbon and Market Forces -- have been optioned for film. Also homophobes might want to brace themselves for The Steel Remains, intended to be the first book in a new trilogy. Whatever you’ve heard about him, you’ll be hearing more soon.

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Anonymous Ian Kaplan said...

Great recommendation! I loved The Steel Remains. The book is a very fresh take on the fantasy genre. Of course I like everything that Morgan writes.

I have also been reading Matthew Stover whose Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshall are very unusual, gritty fantasy book, mixed with a dystopian future. Stover has not, sadly, gotten much notice and Blade of Tyshall is out of print. I am just finishing reading a library copy.

Saturday, February 7, 2009 8:17:00 PM PST  

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