Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thirteen, Richard K. Morgan

Title: Thirteen
Author: Richard K. Morgan
Rating: Great!

If you like your science fiction hard nosed and edgy, then Thirteen is for you.  In fact, so far, everything I've read by Morgan is grade A goodness of the same sort.

Set in the not too distant future, Thirteen tells part of the story of an... well... it's complicated.  The hero - Carl Marsalis - is an outcast working for the man.  He's kind of a cop, but his relationship with authority is challenging, and his assignments...  suffice it to say he hunts down escaped people like him.

And what is he?  Well, a thirteen is a member of the last (thirteenth) generation of genetically modified super soldiers.  They're faster and stronger than regular humans, and the programs were all shelved and the survivors are outcasts, relegated to a few fringe communities and the Martian colonies.  Some don't like that, however, and get loose with the rest of us.  When that happens, Carl is called in to find them and bring them back, or kill them if they won't come along.

But Carl gets brought into this story in a sideways way, involving a crashed ship from mars and a series of murders.

We get to watch Carl interact with humans - and other thirteens - and in the process see all kinds of interesting things about the dystopian society they live in.  This is a deeply uncomfortable world, and humanity is not doing well.

But Morgan's science fiction has that sort of edge about it.  Everything is dirty, and the real motivations for things are hard to find.

In short, this is good stuff, and I highly recommend it.

Oh, and it was published under the name Black Man outside the US, so if you're looking for it elsewhere, that's the name.