Woken Furies by Richard Morgan mixes hard-edge science fiction with sociology, politics and philosophy as the Takeshi Kovacs saga continues. Though a bit formulaic, Woken Furies is pure Morgan, equal parts slam-bang action and cerebral dissertation.
This is one of those instances where it’s probably best if you’ve read the other books in the series.
Woken Furies hits the ground running in a rich world of Morgan’s making. It’s a world where your essence is written to a ‘stack’ – a microchip of sorts at the base of your skull. Should your body die, your stack can be retrieved and you can be ‘re-sleeved’ in a new body.
If that’s confusing … well, then you should read Altered Carbon and Broken Angels to get your bearings.
Like most Morgan novels the plot is a pursuit. In this case the pursuit seemed to be secondary and was a device for Morgan to explore the impact of the innovations he’s introduced into his world.
How would our relationships change if we were able to re-sleeve and live for centuries or longer? How would you approach the world if you could live in a virtual construct?
These are interesting topics because they actually relate to modern day issues. How are we dealing with our growing life span and the ability to hop-scotch around the globe. How does that effect our current family dynamic? I live 3000 miles away from most of my family. That’s not something that happened much even 100 years ago.
How will ‘life streaming’ on sites like Facebook and FriendFeed evolve? What about those MySpace and Facebook pages that continue long after the user has died. Is virtual sex cheating?
We’re putting more and more of ourselves online so couldn’t the endpoint be something like Morgan’s Renouncers, a religious group who have renounced the flesh, live in a virtual construct and are awaiting Upload.
And then there are the more blatantly obvious parallels Morgan draws with his political and religious themes. He explores revolution, dynamics of economic class and politics, and weaves a type of religious extremism into the heart of the story.
Yes, there’s a lot to think about in Woken Furies.
In between you get high doses of well crafted, bloody fight sequences and raunchy sex scenes. The dichotomy between the action and cerebral are more pronounced in Woken Furies. It feels more forced then in Morgan’s other novels and was distracting at times.
Despite this criticism, I enjoyed Woken Furies. I read it quickly and enjoyed both the sizzle and the steak. I recommend Woken Furies but be warned, Morgan is not for the timid.