I only finished reading this book because I recently did not finish some other books. But I did not like it. Crime story in the San Francisco of a far-future earth featuring a superhero named Takeshi Kovacs from a human colony of a distant planet.

What did I not like? Almost everything. The prose is not great, the story hard to follow (what was “resolution something something” again?), the protagonist is more like an action movie character laughably indestructible, way too much pointless raw violence.

There is one very detailed sex scene where I almost gave up on the book. I don’t despise pornography in general, but if I want porn, I reach for porn, if I want science-fiction, I reach for science-fiction. This was the wrong crossing of borders. (There are a few other minor distasteful crossings of this border. I really don’t want details about erections of any characters.)

Few things I liked. The concept of transferring identities between human and synthetic bodies and the problems that might and did arise. Takeshi’s home town being called “Newpest”, which is a real district of Budapest where I grew up. (Kovács is also a very common family name in Hungary.) Having spent some months in San Francisco, it was fun to see some places I know in the story. The “rust coloured suspension bridge”, or Potrero, that is now called Licktown and is a slum.

A quote I liked:

Course, with Understanding Day, the whales were suddenly big money for anyone who could talk to them. You know they’ve told us almost as much about the Martians as four centuries of archaeologues on Mars itself. Christ, they remember them coming here. Race memory, that is.

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