Mini-Review: Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan

Thirteen Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan

My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
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 named Thirteen on the cover, a ball-less and eggless move on the part of the U.S. publisher, rather than calling it Black Man, its U.K. title and a far better way to refer to the book.

I loved it. I think it is Richard K. Morgan’s best thing yet. Despite being another hard-ass soldier who is weary of the machine he has killed for in the past, Carl Marsalis is a breath of fresh air.

That said, I feel like this archetype is cooked. Morgan has commented on the world through the eyes of a veteran bad-ass now in every novel but Market Forces. I’d like to think Marsalis is the last of them and see new moves in the coming books.

The book does what science fiction novels are supposed to do. It comments on our own society in a way that made me vaguely uncomfortable while entertaining me and educating me.

There are twists and turns like in a good noir whodunnit and while it is relentless in its critique of certain political parties of the U.S. of A., it does not simplify the matter and vilify the red states for an easy villain, far from it.

P.S. I listened to the majority of the book on my iPod via Audible and found the narration really solid. I got impatient with the last hour and broke out the book so I could read it and be done with it.

Games to check out if you liked this:

Shock: Social Science Fiction

View all my reviews.

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6 thoughts on “Mini-Review: Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan

  1. I’m so glad you liked this, man. I almost want to listen to it again thanks to your review.

    I think the key is that Kovacs is more of a Mary Sue than Carl is. Oh and also, that Thirteen is intentionally about something, while when the Kovacs books were, that was only incidental.

    That isn’t to say that something has to be about something to be worthwhile, good, or entertaining. Nor that there isn’t great fun to be found in teasing out/imputing meaning in things where it’s not already in your face. It’s just that it can make a book even better, at times, when it is present.

  2. I’m so glad you liked this, man. I almost want to listen to it again thanks to your review.

    I think the key is that Kovacs is more of a Mary Sue than Carl is. Oh and also, that Thirteen is intentionally about something, while when the Kovacs books were, that was only incidental.

    That isn’t to say that something has to be about something to be worthwhile, good, or entertaining. Nor that there isn’t great fun to be found in teasing out/imputing meaning in things where it’s not already in your face. It’s just that it can make a book even better, at times, when it is present.

  3. I’m so glad you liked this, man. I almost want to listen to it again thanks to your review.

    I think the key is that Kovacs is more of a Mary Sue than Carl is. Oh and also, that Thirteen is intentionally about something, while when the Kovacs books were, that was only incidental.

    That isn’t to say that something has to be about something to be worthwhile, good, or entertaining. Nor that there isn’t great fun to be found in teasing out/imputing meaning in things where it’s not already in your face. It’s just that it can make a book even better, at times, when it is present.

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