Altered Carbon

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Altered Carbon, a new Netflix original series, is technically a murder mystery. In a world where consciousness is stored in a "stack" tucked between your vertebrae and can be uploaded into other bodies, the only way to truly die is to have your stack destroyed.

Takeshi Kovacs has been dropped into a new body, or "resleeved," after 250 years in cold storage. His job is to find the killer of his benefactor, a long-lived megawealthy "meth" (short for Methuselah). The twist is that the meth's stack was destroyed—for anyone else, that would have been the end of him—but he is one of the few elites who have full satellite stack backups.

Based on a novel by Richard K. Morgan originally published in 2002, there's one key detail where this gorgeous, stylish series shows the age of its source material: In 2018, the majority of Americans already back up massive parts of our memory—images, conversations, addresses—in online storage for pennies. A future as advanced as the one depicted in Altered Carbon would certainly have enough room in the cloud for everyone.

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  1. A future as advanced as the one depicted in Altered Carbon would certainly have enough room in the cloud for everyone.

    Except that in Altered Carbon it isn’t even known that a person can survive in ‘the net’ as an independent consciousness until that crazy ol’ A.I. helped some disembodied kid figure it out, and afterwards she isn’t even sure if she’s real, alive, or just some set of amalgamated memories.

    It’s questioning the nature of human existence and reality in the digital revolution, and includes bits that parallel the advent of cloud computing, and it’s themes seems pretty darn relevant in 2018.

  2. I read the book a couple of years ago and was surprised when they turned it into a Netflix series. I recently finished watching it, and was surprised they did a really nice job adapting the book.

  3. I found this technically well crafted and well acted, but with turgid pacing. I couldn’t stay awake long enough to engage the series. Maybe you have to read the book to enjoy it.

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