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Black Man

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  5,796 ratings  ·  328 reviews
The future isn't what it used to be since Richard K. Morgan arrived on the scene. He unleashed Takeshi Kovacs - private eye, soldier of fortune, and all-purpose antihero - into the body-swapping, hard-boiled, urban jungle of tomorrow in Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies, winning the Philip K. Dick Award in the process. In Market Forces, he launched corporate ...more
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published May 17th 2007 by Gollancz (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Justin
Richard K. Morgan is kind of hot shit in the sci-fi world these days, but this book does not demonstrate why. At 550 pages, it's a ridiculously long thriller wrapped in a shroud of William Gibson-esque cyperpunk. Morgan has a lot of interesting ideas about human genetic modification in the future, and how it all ties into the political intrigue of the time, but his actual plot, at least in this book, is an overly complicated murder mystery that fails to pay off in any way whatsoever. The main ch ...more
Stephen
6.0 stars. IMHO, second only to Market Forces as Morgan's best book and he is one of my favorite authors.

Winner: Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: British Science Fiction Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Mohammed
SF thrillers or just regular kind its hard to find someone who writes as good,hardcore noirish thrillers as Morgan. He stands out, his action scenes are better than most authors in the same fields. He writes about main characters like Carl Marslais who you could never in a million years call a hero and who is a violent, amoral noir protagonist. Still he makes seem him more human than you would expect. He doesnt write simple thriller stories where the good and bad guys are clear.

Something i must
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Well, I made several discoveries here. First I discovered I'm deeply grateful that I got this from the library and didn't purchase it. Second I discovered that I probably won't be seeking out any other of Mr. Morgan's work.

Thirdly? I've discovered that the four letter "f" word that ends in k (f**k) is apparently Richard K. Morgan's favorite word in the entire English language. He uses it as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb... a participle...sometimes a dangling participle. It just depends
...more
Hazel
Two hundred pages in and great fun. This is intelligent science fiction, a look at social and cultural change and geopolitics, all interwoven with 21st century genetics and artificial intelligence. It would make a good movie, just the kind my husband would love, lots of action, great visuals and clever plotting. Why haven't I read Morgan before?

Well, I'm almost finished this and I have a problem. I think there are two books here. One is an intriguing proper sci-fi novel about an outsider negotia
...more
Greg
This was ok, it had some interesting ideas about what it means to be human, and an especially bleak look at our possible future, but besides that the book was very predictable, even when it was throwing in big plot curve balls. For all the convoluted twist and turns the book is essentially an action / adventure story in the vein of something like the Penetrator. A big guy who women can't keep their hands off of goes around and kills all the bad guys that get in the way between him and his righte ...more
fo jammi
Richard Morgan doesn't conceal his source material, intellectual or stylistic. His acknowledgments at the beginning of the book are a great jumping off point for exploring some of the themes that "Thirteen" tackles, and there are plenty of them. Stylistically he weaves a noirish blend that owes a great deal to Dick, Gibson and Chandler, and echoes cinematic sources as well as literary. The last scenes evoke "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" in the slant of the light and the quiet punctuated b ...more
Brainycat
Genre: scifi / cyberpunk
Brainycat's 5 'B's:
boobs: 4 // blood 4 // bombs 2 // bondage 1 // blasphemy 4
Currently listening to: Alien Vampires: Harshlizer CD2

Richard K. Morgan has again established himself as one of my very mostest all time favorite authors. As a reader, I've often gone through endless numbers of book descriptions online, or browsed the shelves at bookstores, and felt like nobody is writing a book just for me. Sure, there's more 'good' or even 'great' books out there that I'd enjoy
...more
Chloe
Carl Marsalis is not a lucky man. A genetic variant, the thirteenth result of humankind's tinkering with their own DNA, Carl is engineered to be the perfect soldier. He's cold, emotionless, able to shunt away knowledge of pain and avoid human concepts like community and dependence. He and his kind were very good at what they were designed for, a little too good according to the humans they supposedly protected. So, once peace again descended on this 22nd Century globe, the Thirteens were offered ...more
Joel
Jan 06, 2011 Joel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joel by: Nancy Nield
Probably a bit rape-y for a book club selection.
Wealhtheow
Carl Marsalis seems like a lucky man. Thirty-odd years ago the US and UK created genetically modified soldiers, called "Thirteens", but when public horror shut the project down, the Thirteens were put into camps or shipped off to Mars. Carl is one of the few permitted to roam free--on the condition that he hunt down other Thirteens, who have left their reservations without permission. His latest mission is to stop Merrin, a Thirteen who tortured, ate, and mutilated the corpses of his fellow pass ...more
Judd Karlman
Prelude: Carl Marsalis, the protagonist of this novel, should be played by Idris Elba. He would rock the shit out of this role.

Nature vs. Nurture, Black vs. White, Blue State vs. Red State and Faith vs. Reason collide with lots of sex and violence in this modern Blade Runner. If you are upset by the graphic sex but not upset by the vicious violence that counter-balances it, I don't know what to tell ya other than Morgan isn't the writer for you.

My only complaint about this book is that it was na
...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in August 2007.

On the assumption that any technology developed by the human race will be used in for short term gain without consideration of the consequences or of ethics, the outlook for genetic engineering is frightening. That is the basic premise of Black Man, Richard Morgan's latest novel (published in the US as Thirteen, presumably because the publishers there - Del Rey - don't want readers to assume that it is about racism). Richard Morgan envisages th
...more
William Thomas
I wrote in a status update, while I was still reading the book, that this book was basically Wolverine hunting Sabretooth. After I've finished with it, it still feels that way, although it became more of a modern political thriller by increments than a science-fiction novel. And I wonder, with the way China Mieville has been writing these days, if that isn't the current trend in sci-fi. At least for the Brits.

Another reviewer said she keeps coming back to Morgan because of his essential Scottish
...more
Neal Asher
Enjoyable stuff, but perhaps far too heavy on the polemics for some. A couple of times I felt the urge to skip bits, especially some of the long conversations serving as vehicles for social commentary, but I didn’t skip because by then Mr Morgan had hooked me. Also, for someone who very definitely can illustrate the shades of grey in human existence, Morgan goes blind to them when writing about what seem to be his pet hates: religious fundamentalism and right wing politics. Taking a whole lump o ...more
Mike
2 stars for me, despite what I admit is some good writing in places. The premise of this book is that we have killed off all the disruptive, aggressive “hunters” in society since we invented agriculture and became civilized. The “thirteens” are the results of the effort to reinvigorate our gene pool through genetic modification, developing a strain of feral soldiers and law enforcement not found in the societies of the near future. What a bunch of crap! Ya think UBL thought in those last few sec ...more
Mia
I liked this so much more than Altered Carbon. I think it was the layer of added complexity and the implicit questions the book brought up -- of nature vs. nurture, gender roles, the nature of connection and emotional attachment, and of humanity.

But there were troubling things too. Like, that in a society where all kinds of human genetic modification are possible, there doesn't seem to be access to effective and unobtrusive contraception. Also, for all the interesting examination of racial assu
...more
Janos Honkonen
Richard K. Morgan's "Black Man" was one of those books that are initially a very interesting read - sometimes action packed, sometimes surprisingly touching, but consistently thought provoking. The thing that made it stand out for me is the fact that it was one of those books which stayed in my head for weeks after the book was finished. The novel touched interesting and important themes and featured characters, who by all probabilities should've been unlikable or cliched, but whom Morgan manage ...more
Nathan
Dreck. Belabored themes of genetic monsters and compulsion could have easily been handled in a short story. The violence that seems so integral to the Kovacs novels feels gratuitous and titillating after the first scene here. Likewise the sex.

The detective story is interesting enough but really had little to do with the other themes and could just as easily have taken place today (minus the Mars bits).

Also suffers from the same over-analysis of every action along genetic lines and hyper-cynicism
...more
Laura
Embarrassing disclaimer: Despite the fact that I downloaded this book from Audible in three parts, all clearly labeled with the title of the book and the part number, I managed to skip part 2 completely and only listened to parts 1 and 3. In my defense, I was able to do this with only minimal confusion - which says something about the storyline - but that doesn't cover the fact that I made a really stupid mistake. End of embarrassing disclaimer

In view of the above information, I'll restrict my
...more
Benjamin Newland
I read a three book series by Richard K. Morgan last year, beginning with Altered Carbon. Much of what I said in my reviews of those books applies to this one as well because Morgan keeps a similar writing style and feel throughout.

Thirteen is another near future setting, though even nearer than Altered Carbon, with the stories occupying a similar universe where the United States has fractured into three sections. During Thirteen, colonization of Mars is underway and progress has been made with
...more
Amaenad
On the one hand, this is a much better read than the overrated Altered Carbon.

On the other hand, there are two things that really trouble me. He seems to have based some of his future genetics on a very reductive gender binary, plus some discredited ideas about early humans. It's possible that this will turn out to be critique - I'm only 1/3 of the way through. But then he's based genetics on it...

He's also splintered off the U.S.into several smaller states, one of them embodying all the worst e
...more
Eric
Feb 13, 2013 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eric by: Goodreads
It's early in the 22rd century. Genetic engineering has produced a number of human "variants": bonobos, submissive female super-geishas; hibernoids, who go into a catatonic sleep state four months a year; and thirteens, an alpha-male throwback variant, last seen in pre-civilization, pre-agricultural times. Thirteens are stronger, tougher, more remorseless and single-minded than mere humans. All the variants experience some level of resentment and fear from "normal" humans, but only thirteens are ...more
Joe Landers
I have two big criticisms of this book. For starters, this is one of those stories where the degrees of separation between various characters, and their respective backgrounds, seem to be a little too convenient. I don't want to elaborate without giving anything away, but if you haven't figured certain things out before the last 50 pages, then you weren't paying attention to the details.

The second issue I have is that this heavy book continued to repeatedly beat me over the head with the race (g
...more
Mark
My first reaction to this novel was what a brave book this was in today’s current political and social climate. Richard, who could hardly be accused of holding much back in his earlier novels, has extrapolated some very interesting and scary ideas of the future. In doing so he has included comments on race (though the name ‘Black Man’ has clearly more than one meaning here), and society, politics, religion, economics, science and space pioneering. At a time when the discussion of such issues in ...more
Lawrence
I would echo some of the other reviews of Thirteen here on goodreads:

- this is a very gibson-esque cyberpunk/dystopian view of the near future america, with a rich and detailed environment
- the reveal at the end was lame. Nearly 600 pages and the author uses a character-to-character dialogue to explain the mystery?
- the sex was graphic and unnecessary (see all of morgan's other books!)
- the protagonist's hyper violent tendencies make him difficult to empathize with.

However, I did find this book
...more
Todd
Far too long for the story. It felt like it was winding up about halfway through, but then kept on going. The last 3 chapters remained unread for weeks and weeks, because I just didn't care about finishing it. I finally did, just because I didn't want to leave it unfinished. When I did finish it, I realized I was previously correct: I didn't care about what happened to the main character anymore.

It's too bad that it ended up feeling like a chore, because I really like Morgan's books and his writ
...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award for Altered Carbon (see below), his debut novel, and the author of successful follow-ups Broken Angels (**** July/Aug 2004) and Woken Furies, as well as the stand-alone Market Forces (*** May/June 2005), Richard K. Morgan and his characters are hardly strangers to violent dystopias. Thirteen, published simultaneously in Britain as Black Man, tackles some difficult issues, including race and identity. The result is perhaps less compelling than some of Morgan's p

...more
Lindsey
This book wants to explore how much of us is free will, and how much is genetically determined; it seems to fall pretty hard on the essentialist side, that is, 'determined'. It wants to explore how racial bigotry is wrong, but essentialist misogyny is okay--women exist to have babies and be sexy. It works from a fundamental misunderstanding of hunter/gatherer societies and why people transitioned away from them. It was almost good, in places, in the way characters seemed to be rationalizing bad ...more
Noah
Aug 26, 2007 Noah rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like their foresight served with a strong hint of violent smackdown
I really enjoyed this book, Morgan's latest, though it did feel like a guilty pleasure. It sits in the same box for me as the films Minority Report or I, Robot in that it was a simple story made engaging by entertaining action scenes but set within a thoughtfully constructed sci-fi world. The characters are all killers and the story is a noir detective thriller that revolves around deception, power, secrecy, sex and violence. But the events of the story are only the underbelly of a highly plausi ...more
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Richard K. Morgan (sometimes credited as Richard Morgan) is a science fiction writer.
More about Richard K. Morgan...
Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs, #1) Woken Furies (Takeshi Kovacs, #3) Broken Angels (Takeshi Kovacs, #2) The Steel Remains (A Land Fit for Heroes, #1) Market Forces

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“The way I see it, anyone who's proud of their country is either a thug or just hasn't read enough history yet.” 17 likes
“Hand over your responses to the man who triggers them, and you have already lost the battle for self. Look beyond, and find yourself there instead.” 3 likes
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