Wednesday, April 01, 2009


In March, I finished reading Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan. Over the last three and a half year, I have read three other of Morgan's books, including Altered Carbon, Broken Angels and Market Forces.

Set in the early 22nd Century, the plot includes a very different world geo-political landscape; the United States is divided into three different countries. Mars is being terraformed and settled. During the late 21st century, genetic engineering created a number of different specialized humans. The main character, a Thirteen, is a genetically engineered solider.

Thirteen started slow, but then pulled me in. About 200 pages into the book, someone asked me about the story and I described it as a detective story set in the future. Then about 350 pages into the 550 page book, the story rolled through and past what I thought was going to be the ending. While it remains in part a detective story, on another level it uses the story to comment on society based on how society reacts to the genetically engineered humans.

I am always looking for interesting ideas in books. At one point in the story, the main character talks about "eleven things that I wanted to do at some point in what was left of my life." Essentially, some larger goals to drive him forward. I like this idea. I have started outlining some overarching goals for my life.

Overall, I give the book a lukewarm recommendation: interesting, but not great. Of Morgan's four books that I have read, I recommend Altered Carbon as the best.

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