Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ask Takeshi Kovacs!

The gunslinging revolutionary outlaw protagonist of Richard K. Morgan's science fiction series Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies answers your questions about life and love in an era of interplanetary corporate warfare.

Dear Mr. Kovacs,
I am a law-abiding citizen with upstanding moral values, but I'm afraid that my colleague might get promoted ahead of me in the corporation. Should I hire an assassin to kill him, or just engineer a scandal to disgrace him and ruin his career?

Takeshi Kovacs: “When you strip away all the higher qualities, we inevitably fall back on fear and greed.”

Dear Sir,
Perhaps some find your exploits exciting, but all this murder and mayhem will not solve anything. Hatred cannot conquer hatred. Only love can do that. We have to end all the killing. Don't you understand this?

Takeshi Kovacs: “It's amazing how constant repetition can make even the most obvious truths irritating enough to disagree with.”

Dear TK,
I really wanted to take my wife on a honeymoon on Mars, but on our wedding night she was abducted, her sleeve was shredded in laserfire, her encrypted consciousness in her neck was torn out, and then uploaded into a time-dilated computer construct where she is now being tortured for eternity. What kind of advice can you give me? Thanks.

Takeshi Kovacs: “We all get our dreams stamped on from time to time, right? And if it didn't hurt, what kind of second-rate dreams would they be?”

Dear Kovacs,
I always wanted to follow in your footsteps, but on my first job an unexpected nanobot swarm reduced my team to a bloody puddle. My consciousness wasn't recovered for decades, and by the time I got a new sleeve, all my friends and contacts were dead or in debtors prison. What do you recommend?

Takeshi Kovacs: “Yeah, well. Who ever gets a second chance at these things? Sooner or later, we all get in up to our necks. Then it's just a question of keeping your face out of the swamp, one stumbling step at a time.”

Dear TK,
How do you handle the pressure? I've been killed and resleeved dozens of times, and murdered hundreds with everything from my bare hands to alien bioweapons. Now I'm not sure if any of this is real, or if I've been uploaded into another endless-loop psychological manipulation program by some former employer.

Takeshi Kovacs: “There are times when there is nothing you can usefully say. All you can do is listen, wait, and watch as this stuff comes out. Hope that it's a purge.”

Dear Takeshi,
There's this girl I like a lot but I'm not sure she knows I exist. Should I send her a card and flowers? Or get those muscle grafts and intelligence enhancing wetware implants everyone is talking about?

Takeshi Kovacs: “You can't get by on past models, you have to keep moving forward, building better minds and bodies. Either that or the universe moves in like a swamp panther and eats you alive.”

Dear Takeshi,
Do you believe in God?

Takeshi Kovacs: "Religion's just politics with higher stakes." 

Dear Kovacs,
I'm full of revolutionary fervor against this cold-blooded immortal corporate aristocracy the rules the solar system. But every time I speak up about it, some mercenary kills me and everyone I love. What's your strategy for revolution when the enemy is so powerful and ruthless?

Takeshi Kovacs: "Modern revolutionaries must when deprived of nourishment by oppressive forces, blow across the land like Quellcrist dust, ubiquitous and traceless, but bearing within them the power of revolutionary regeneration wherever and whensoever fresh nourishment may arise."

(All quotes from Woken Furies, by Richard K. Morgan.)

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