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Thin Air

de Richard K. Morgan

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Hakan Veil (1)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3982263,953 (3.82)8
"From the moment Richard K. Morgan's dazzling debut, Altered Carbon, burst onto the scene, it was clear that a distinctive new voice had arrived to shake up science fiction. His subsequent novels--including the sequels Broken Angels and Woken Furies--confirmed him as a master of hard-boiled futuristic thrillers. Now Morgan returns to the world of SF noir with a riveting tale of crime, corruption, and deadly crisis on a planet teetering close to the edge. On a Mars where ruthless commercial interests violently collide with a homegrown independence movement, as Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power, Hakan Veil is an ex-corporate enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that's made him a human killing machine. But he's had enough of the turbulent red planet, and all he wants is a ticket back home--which is just what he's offered by the Earth Oversight organization, in exchange for being the bodyguard for an EO investigator. It's a beyond-easy gig for a heavy hitter like Veil . . . until it isn't. When Veil's charge, Madison Madekwe, starts looking into the mysterious disappearance of a lottery winner, she stirs up a hornets' nest of intrigue and murder. And the deeper Veil is drawn into the dangerous game being played, the more long-buried secrets claw their way to the Martian surface. Now it's the expert assassin on the wrong end of a lethal weapon--as Veil stands targeted by powerful enemies hellbent on taking him down, by any means necessary"--… (mais)
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This book marks return of [a:Richard K. Morgan|16496|Richard K. Morgan|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1175224722p2/16496.jpg] back to hard-boiled SF action genre.
Book follows genetically enhanced enforcer Hakan Veil as he wakes up (after mandatory cryogenic sleep) and gets himself thrown into merciless everyday politics on Mars.

Technology and entire world setting describe world that is not set in Takeshi Kovacs timeline but several centuries before (Earth to Mars travel requires hibernation of passengers while in Takeshi Kovacs novels inter-system travel takes considerably less time - at least this is how I see it :)). Unlike Kovacs' universe, Hakan's universe is rather similar to our own - consumer society run by profit-margins of international conglomerates (you gotta love Veil's constant annoyance with advertisements), organized crime and mercenaries running rampant but still with strong presence of national armies and intelligence forces bent on old-fashioned territory control.

What I like in stories by Richard K. Morgan is that while he uses some weird words to describe everyday items and activities [not existing today] unlike Gibson he does not use this new vocabulary to purely bombard the reader - author describes what certain things do and perform as story progresses so you can visualize all of the fantastic futuristic technology and finally accept newly coined words as part of the story vocabulary (to the point when you hear 'geltech or 'gelbrain you know at least what is capable of and you move on with story). This helps readers immersion into story and setting tremendously. Book does not assume you are already familiar with any of the existing cyberpunk genre dictionary and this is great plus in my eyes.

Story contains everything that I came to expect from Richard K Morgan - cynical main character, in his own words "not so nice person" who kicks ass but in more than one occasion gets beaten almost to death, AI that acts as faithful but none the less deadly side-kick, pretty ladies that prove to be more deadly than expected but always end up in bed with main hero :) hard-core mercenaries and deadly futuristic weapons and tactics. Like in Kovacs' novels technology here is not "chrome only" - entire technology is mesh of hardware and biological modifications (I enjoyed how one of the Veil's friends, retired intelligence officer, decides on more cyborg-like look that makes him stand out of the crowd (very much like weird body choices for characters in [a:Gavin G. Smith|6572857|Gavin G. Smith|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1354680383p2/6572857.jpg] [b: Veteran (Veteran #1)|7298320|Veteran (Veteran, #1)|Gavin G. Smith|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1328838641s/7298320.jpg|8649327] - if you haven't read this one do yourself a favor and read it)).

To go any further into story would be to spoil it, so I will stop here.

If you like SF, cyberpunk, fast paced action, detective story, military style shoot-outs, lots of twists and turns, main character that is not a super hero but highly capable person that is sometimes too smart for his own sake, investigations into and with criminal underground all set in the very very interesting world of Mars colony with very strained relations with the mother Earth don't look any further - this is book for you.

Highly recommended.

P.S.

I just saw that novel Black Man (or as it is also known Thirteen depending on the market) is set in the same universe as this novel. If you wander if you need to read that one first my answer is no - "Thin Air" is standalone novel.
Having said that I am currently looking for Thirteen :) You can never have enough cyberpunk action stories. ( )
  Zare | Jan 23, 2024 |
My reading history with Richard Morgan’s books is somewhat… troubled, since I remember reading first his cyberpunk novel Black Man (a.k.a. Thirteen) - which by the way is set in the same universe as Thin Air: I enjoyed the story of anti-hero genetically enhanced super-soldier Carl Marsalis, so when Morgan published his first fantasy novel The Steel Remains I was curious to see how he would fare in the genre, but while I did not dislike the story and the characters, I was put off by the author’s excessive propensity for goriness and profanity which seemed to be there only for their shock value, rather than for narrative purposes. When Morgan’s more famous novel, Altered Carbon, was recently adapted for the small screen it did not manage to conquer me, even though many online comments tended to indicate that the book was far better. So, even though the synopsis for Thin Air sounded intriguing, I was a little hesitant in giving this author another chance: now that I have I’m glad to have “taken the plunge”, because his latest work shows a great deal of improvement both in writing and in characterization if compared with my previous reading experiences.

As I mentioned, there is a parallel between previously explored character Carl Marsalis and Thin Air’s protagonist Hakan Veil: they are both genetically engineered - but that’s all there is to it. Veil’s modifications started in his mother’s womb, when he was gifted with enhanced senses and reaction times, and an embedded AI circuitry named Osiris (Onboard Situational Insight and Resource Interface Support) which allows him to connect with other cybernetic systems and to hack them if needed, and which also works as an inner voice, often commenting sarcastically on his actions. Veil used to be an overrider in the employ of the security firm Blond Vaisutis: planted in suspended animation on ships, he would be awakened in case of emergency to solve - through bloody violence - any situation that might have developed on board. Used to, because a failed mission caused him to be fired from Blond Vaisutis, stripped of some of his enhancements and exiled to Mars, where he’s been eking out an uneasy life as hired muscle for various shady enterprises and crime syndicates.

The novel opens with Veil freshly awakened from his four-month hibernation period - something made necessary by his modifications - and quickly employed in the assassination of a small-time gangster, ordered by the head of a criminal syndicate. Arrested by the local police, he’s offered a way out working as the bodyguard of a high-ranking Earth official, part of a team who just landed on Mars to investigate the disappearance of one of the Lottery winners, whose prize is a ticket back to Earth. As Veil tries to fulfill his assignment, he and his charge travel all over the colony, from its most glamorous venues to the seediest quarters, and it soon becomes clear that the disappearance of the lottery winner is only the tip of a huge, convoluted iceberg made out of political maneuverings, corporate interests and shady dealings. And that a dark page of Mars’ grim history might be on the verge of repeating itself…

Hakan Veil is a very intriguing main character: on the surface he might simply look rude and cynical, and he is that of course, but there is a subtle veneer of world-weariness and self-mockery in his first person narrative which confers him an added depth that makes the reader feel invested in his story, one that moves at a breakneck speed with hardly any time for respite: the constant references to Veil’s “running hot” condition, which means he’s ready to mete out unstoppable violence and that he needs no sleep, make for a heightened pace that carries you throughout the novel knowing that new surprises and new dangers are lurking around the next corner.

Thin Air is a hard-boiled noir placed in a science fiction setting and the combination of these two apparently disparate elements creates a fascinating story in which Veil’s movements across the planet create a picture of the background with no need for lengthy info-dumps; it’s a narrative choice that drops the readers in the middle of things with little or no explanations and at times makes them feel a bit lost (or at least that was my impression), but if one trusts the author and goes with the flow, they will soon learn that the colony’s history is a troubled one, that the tug-of-war between the various corporations bent on mining the planet’s resources left the population in a constant state of near-rebellion, and that politicians and police forces are not always looking for the best interests of the citizens. The descriptions make it easy to picture the various settlements with something of a Blade Runner appearance, complete with some drizzling mist that should imitate real rain under the atmospheric dome covering the cities. And despite the underlying bleakness there are some flashes of truly poetic beauty:

Outside the sandstorm raged on, tall dancing plumes of fine-grade regolith driven past like the lost souls of some massive alien race in exodus.

Thin Air’s Mars feels real and believable and it also drives home the concept that humanity, no matter where it chooses to reside, will always take with it both the best and the worst of its nature - especially the worst, maybe. It’s probably a cynical point of view, and the fact that it’s filtered through the eyes of a cynically disillusioned character enhances this sensation, and yet there are a few rays of light here, particularly where some more positive characters enter the mix, that drive home the hope that humanity’s future, even through its turmoils, might not turn out to be absolutely bleak.

I’m glad I gave Richard Morgan’s work another chance, and this positive encounter might bring me to give the Altered Carbon series a look: I find that this cyberpunk dystopian background can be quite interesting… ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Nov 30, 2023 |
Fast and furious, ultra violent, smart, some pretty graphic sex. I had enjoyed the Altered Carbon series, and this is more of the same. But that is also a problem- it is merely more of the same. It was fun to read, but also had the feeling of a formula money maker rather than a new interesting novel. ( )
  keithostertag | Sep 24, 2023 |
Liked
- Moments of incredibly clever writing.
- A social issues drama military sci-fi.
- Dystopian gritty seedy mars.
Disliked
- A couple paragraphs of tastelessly detailed erotica.
- Out of place political backstory dumps ( )
  cneskey | Jun 17, 2023 |
I expected a Black Man sequel (I loved Black Man, still think it one of the best scifis ever), but actually got an Altered Carbon clone (I did not like either the book, or the tv series). Also, this book is waaay too heavy with descriptions and jargon for its own good. Failed completely to engage me, but I do hate the detective genre and love the military scifi, so my own disappointment might have made it feel worse than it actually is. I am not sure. What I do know for sure is that after Black Man i thought I am a Morgan fan, after Altered Carbon and Land Fit for Heroes had serious doubts, now I definitely can tell I am not. And will not try his future books. ( )
  milosdumbraci | May 5, 2023 |
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"From the moment Richard K. Morgan's dazzling debut, Altered Carbon, burst onto the scene, it was clear that a distinctive new voice had arrived to shake up science fiction. His subsequent novels--including the sequels Broken Angels and Woken Furies--confirmed him as a master of hard-boiled futuristic thrillers. Now Morgan returns to the world of SF noir with a riveting tale of crime, corruption, and deadly crisis on a planet teetering close to the edge. On a Mars where ruthless commercial interests violently collide with a homegrown independence movement, as Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power, Hakan Veil is an ex-corporate enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that's made him a human killing machine. But he's had enough of the turbulent red planet, and all he wants is a ticket back home--which is just what he's offered by the Earth Oversight organization, in exchange for being the bodyguard for an EO investigator. It's a beyond-easy gig for a heavy hitter like Veil . . . until it isn't. When Veil's charge, Madison Madekwe, starts looking into the mysterious disappearance of a lottery winner, she stirs up a hornets' nest of intrigue and murder. And the deeper Veil is drawn into the dangerous game being played, the more long-buried secrets claw their way to the Martian surface. Now it's the expert assassin on the wrong end of a lethal weapon--as Veil stands targeted by powerful enemies hellbent on taking him down, by any means necessary"--

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823.92Literature English English fiction Modern Period 2000-

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