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Richard Morgan has always been one of our most successful SF authors with his fast-moving and brutal storylines, blistering plots and a powerful social conscience behind his work.And now he's back, with his first SF novel for eight years . . . and it promises to be a publication to remember.An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part Richard Morgan has always been one of our most successful SF authors with his fast-moving and brutal storylines, blistering plots and a powerful social conscience behind his work.And now he's back, with his first SF novel for eight years . . . and it promises to be a publication to remember.An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part of a colonial audit team investigating a disappeared lottery winner on Mars. But when Madekwe is abducted, and Hakan nearly killed, the investigation takes him farther and deeper than he had ever expected. And soon Hakan discovers the heavy price he may have to pay to learn the truth.


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Richard Morgan has always been one of our most successful SF authors with his fast-moving and brutal storylines, blistering plots and a powerful social conscience behind his work.And now he's back, with his first SF novel for eight years . . . and it promises to be a publication to remember.An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part Richard Morgan has always been one of our most successful SF authors with his fast-moving and brutal storylines, blistering plots and a powerful social conscience behind his work.And now he's back, with his first SF novel for eight years . . . and it promises to be a publication to remember.An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part of a colonial audit team investigating a disappeared lottery winner on Mars. But when Madekwe is abducted, and Hakan nearly killed, the investigation takes him farther and deeper than he had ever expected. And soon Hakan discovers the heavy price he may have to pay to learn the truth.

30 review for Thin Air

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Most of the people that want to kill me barely have the budget for a nice knife. Hakan Veil, ex-Overrider and now muscle for hire, is running hot after coming out of his four month hibernoid sleep rotation. All systems are cranked high, with emotion and aggression responses dialled right up to max, and that’s before everything turns to shit. Someone in the criminal underworld has aggressively disappeared a client he stepped in to protect on his last waking cycle and that’s the kind of disrespect Most of the people that want to kill me barely have the budget for a nice knife. Hakan Veil, ex-Overrider and now muscle for hire, is running hot after coming out of his four month hibernoid sleep rotation. All systems are cranked high, with emotion and aggression responses dialled right up to max, and that’s before everything turns to shit. Someone in the criminal underworld has aggressively disappeared a client he stepped in to protect on his last waking cycle and that’s the kind of disrespect that needs to be addressed in this town. On top of that, the COLIN oversight committee has arrived from Earth, here to investigate possible corruption following yet another person gone missing, this time of a ticket-home lottery winner. And guess who’s been ‘assigned’ (read: given zero choice) the task of protecting one of the high-ups, Madison Madekwe, by Bradbury PD? Yep. The guy with serious impulse control issues and a very problematic attitude towards authority. Drawn into her investigation and placed on somebody’s hit list, he’s right in the middle of the storm as all kinds of nasty secrets and underhand dealings emerge from the dark. Cue what seemed like a relatively minor task morphing into the mother of all fuck ups, ably accelerated by brutal violence, deceit, and not a little death. Given the recent Netflix adaptation of Altered Carbon, the spectacular visuals, outrageous savagery, and another level tech on show here was exactly as expected. Except the detail of this imagined frontier type Mars colony was beyond what I could have envisaged, utterly meticulous and all-encompassing. There’s no other choice but to believe wholeheartedly in this world, to see every aspect of it with blinding clarity, because it’s all there. All of it. I may be a newbie to sci fi, but it boggles the mind when authors know their creations to this extent, whatever the genre. It did take me a long time to get to the end, because whatever else it is, it’s also hard work. The layers of assumed knowledge, technical vocab and Mars slang means that there’s sometimes a stutter in the flow, with sentences overloaded and bereft of sense. I had to reread often at the beginning, though maybe that’s a personal failure rather than an authorial one. It gets better for two reasons. The first being that Morgan does explain it all, specifically or in context so that reader understanding grows exponentially. The second that the staccato rapidity of Veil’s language and thought processes slow to match his physical status, running less hot as time moves forwards, changing the way he is presented. Everything is connected, not just the labyrinthine plot unfolded via Veil’s investigation, but the way its all done. The author has a knack for character and expression that never ceases to surprise and amuse: I think you’d cut the laugh out of a toddler’s throat with a blunt scalpel if you thought you could sell it for cab fare. In fact, the commentary as a whole is deliciously dark and entertaining, but the themes and issues underlying the book have an unmistakeable contemporary relevance, a forceful questioning of the ways in which the masses are manipulated by business and government. It's a book that punches you in the face and then makes you think about why it happened. As well as being ultra violent, it’s also got some er… in-depth sex scenes. Yet the presentation of women is representative of the larger picture: as individuals with agency. It’s just another way the book surprised me. Veil might be an arsehole but he’s not entirely Mr. Misogyny. Sure, he’s got the attitude that women’s lives would be improved by a ride on what he’s got going on, but whether they decide to do so is all up to them. And he’s not afraid of putting in a bit of work, their pleasure is something he thinks about, but whether they enjoy it or not is entirely relative- this is not one of those books where women explode into orgasm as soon as the guy looks at them with purpose. There’s a great section where he’s interviewing a series of women about someone they’ve all chosen to have sex with and they all mention the impressive size of this guy’s dick. Veil gets more than a little irked by it, but is fully aware of his fragile ego, and so is the author, making the whole thing into a comedic episode that's genuinely funny. So there’s this effective clash between the way I expected Veil to be, how he thinks of himself, and how the women in the book respond to him. All of which has clearly been considered by Morgan. Women’s sexual choices are theirs to make, mistakes and all, same as the rest of their lives within the confines of whatever larger problems they have going on. It's well done. And the depiction of various ethnicities follows the same pattern. You're either being an arsehole or you're not, race and gender have nothing to do with it. Overall, this was one of those books that made choosing a rating difficult. Sometimes it was a push to get through, but was fun and most importantly, memorable. Other reviewers have mentioned their disappointment that Hakan Veil is too similar to what Morgan has done before, but since I haven’t read anything else he’s written, I could just sit back and enjoy. And anyway, if that’s the case, it means that I have the benefit of a whole back catalogue I know i’ll appreciate too. Saying that, I did picture Joel Kinnaman as Veil, but I may just see him as every male sci-fi lead from now until the end of time so… it might just be a coincidence. Who knows?! While the noir style investigation/Mars colony corruption story is all wrapped up here, I’d be up for seeing more. There’s certainly scope for it. In the meantime, Takeshi Kovacs bekons… ARC via Netgalley

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Like his 2002 hit “Altered Carbon”, this one is a great blend of detective noir and cyberpunk in a dystopian world. Instead of shipping a detective self to far planets by sleeving a digital personality into a receiving body, the future tech staged here on a colonial, terraformed Mars is in the realm of bioengineering, artificial intelligence implants, and nanotechnology. Instead of Tak in the earlier series, our similar hero here is Hak, short for Hakan Veil, and he is a weapon incarnate. Veil h Like his 2002 hit “Altered Carbon”, this one is a great blend of detective noir and cyberpunk in a dystopian world. Instead of shipping a detective self to far planets by sleeving a digital personality into a receiving body, the future tech staged here on a colonial, terraformed Mars is in the realm of bioengineering, artificial intelligence implants, and nanotechnology. Instead of Tak in the earlier series, our similar hero here is Hak, short for Hakan Veil, and he is a weapon incarnate. Veil has been genetically modified for heightened physical capabilities (like night vision and high octane combat modes) and implanted from infancy with an onboard military-grade AI he can dialog with internally and interact with through analytic displays projected onto his retina. This investment was made by a mega-corporation, Blond Vaisutis, specializing in corporate security, sort of a Haliburton of the future. For twenty years Veil worked for them as an “overrider”, an all-around agent for spying, covert operations, and violent countermeasures to any threat to profitable business from pirates, insurrections, or uppity local governments. But he made a costly mistake that incurred deaths and exposed the company to adverse political expose, for which he was fired and exiled to Mars. There he struggles against poverty to use his talents in private contracting. His cybernetic make up requires Veil to undergo hibernation for four months out of a year. He has been able to buy a former spaceship escape pod with hibernation unit set up in a living block of living pods for the poor in the metropolis Bradley (sort of like Bruce Willis’ pad in the movie “The Fifth Element”). When he is revived, he runs “hot”, or on a hair-trigger, for violent solutions, which is part of his programming for decisive action like when a company ship is under attack. Thus, we get a little bit of a cartoonish Hulk aspect to our fallen superhero. His onboard AI, ‘Ris, tries to shape him toward more strategic and safe behavior with sarcastic goading and ironic nagging, but “her” military design makes whatever the current mission or contract top priority: She’s a Blond Vasuitis crisis management system; you can’t really blame her. OSIRIS—Onboard Situational Insight and Resource Interface Support. It’s her whole desoigned purpose to plan and oversee critical conflict situations, and with that comes a tacit enthusiasm for the fight. .. Where possible, an Osiris will prefer to avoid damage to high-value personal—they are company assets after all—and sometimes even to human beings in general, because it understands that large numbers of casualties can be a public relations nightmare. …Come the crunch, Osiris will always prefer murder and mayhem to failure. I’d like to think I’m made a little differently, but deep down I suspect it isn’t true. Our first experience with Veil upon waking up from hibernation is a bold murder of an organized crime figure who killed a woman he had saved from being collateral damage in the last job he did. Soon thereafter he unwinds with hot sex with a female neighbor in his “Pod-Park Heaven” abode. Crude revenge violence and wallowing in crude sex sets us on a squirmy path to what? The next phase quickly had me pushing down the “ucks” and the “icks” and blasting off to a “wow” ride. Like with James Ellroy’s post-war Los Angeles noir detective tales, I felt like taking a shower by the end of the run, but nonetheless I had to race through the pages. Veil’s new case starts with a metro police Lieutenant, Nikki Chakana, using leverage of his arrest for the murder to get him to serve as contracted security for a key female auditor sent from Earth to investigate corruption in the colonial government. She serves the Governor Mulholland, whose interest in maintaining his beautiful (and profitable) wickedness calls for doing anything to keep Mars out from under the military boots of Earth: She’d be scurrying around like a ferrite bug in a mountain of rust … Plugging leaks, disappearing inconvenient evidence and witnesses, getting stories straight. Terraforming local conditions, in other words, into some shiny simulacrum of what the good people back on Earth apparently expected things to be like out here. Good luck with that, Lieutenant. The particular auditor in his charge, Madison Madekwe, aims to look into corruption in the state-run lottery system in the more rural provinces where the last winner has disappeared and presumed killed. But these provincial regions of the “Uplands” are like the Wild West with respect to central government controlled, and besides the usual conflict and collaborations among factions like organized crime, local police and governments, and the corporations, there is a huge underclass of people with many aligned toward the revolutionary “Mars First” movement. At the same time that Veil slips home to gather some weapons, the auditor is kidnapped with expert slaughter of security forces and Veil’s home defense tech identifies a coming assault from two commandoes with a ship-killer missile and another with a a big-caliber automatic assault weapon. Our hero survives with the wonderful application of his special skills, but all he gets is grief from Lt. Chakana: You think you could have left something for forensics? They’re having a hard time finding six organic molecules still stuck together down there. She doesn’t quite see the connection between the two events or recognize that both reflect military capabilities beyond any of his many known enemies or Mars First guerilla factions. I love the hyperbolic, Chandleresque speech Morgan creates for Veil: Look, you don’t send a crack audit team across 200 million kilometers of interplanetary space because you think someone needs a few close tips on colonial management. … This was a major crackdown in the making, and the knowledge was all over Mulholland’s face. He looked like a man being forced to choke down spoiled oysters in zero G. The satisfying Gibsonian cyberpunk element of the tale comes from the coolness of our hero in the face of all the corrupt factions he has to deal with and the replication of his predecessor’s “Sprawl”, the richly detailed and multicultural urban underbelly of a dog-eat-dog world in a high-tech future. A pleasurable return to the human jungle captured so well the “Blade Runner” film take of P.K. Dick’s “Do androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” I passed on successor books by Morgan after “Altered Carbon” as I didn’t want a lesser repeat. After highly enjoying the recent Netflix production of the book, it was perfect timing to catch up with him in this thrilling new work. This book was provided for review by the publisher through the Netgalley program.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    This is a standalone novel set in the same universe as Thirteen but as the action is pretty much all Mars (with some flashbacks from Hakan Veil's past as overrider - see below - and discussing a few important geopolitical events in the rest of the Solar System that impact the storyline) one doesn't need to read the other book (I read it a while ago on publication and didn't like it that much - the only thing I remember is that the usual RK Morgan twist, namely the main villain is the main hero's This is a standalone novel set in the same universe as Thirteen but as the action is pretty much all Mars (with some flashbacks from Hakan Veil's past as overrider - see below - and discussing a few important geopolitical events in the rest of the Solar System that impact the storyline) one doesn't need to read the other book (I read it a while ago on publication and didn't like it that much - the only thing I remember is that the usual RK Morgan twist, namely the main villain is the main hero's friend/associate/employer was present there too - thankfully that twist was not really present in Thin Air as I thought it would have been again too much repetition within the author's sf oeuvre); also it is self-contained in the sense that there is a clear storyline, a clear ending and while the author can write more books in this universe - which could definitely be interesting with the right characters and plot - Thin Air is done as is, no sequel needed, no real loose ends remaining After a slow beggining, maybe some 80 pages in, Thin Air starts getting really interesting with action, lots of promises for stuff to come and with the quips and verbal duels of the narrator becoming the usual dark, cynical but funny RK Morgan entertainment - the narrator being Hakan Veil, former overrider contracted to a major Earth corporation before birth so raised in the relative luxury of high skill corporate indenture, with the advantages and drawbacks of being groomed as an overrider from the womb - requiring 4 months of hibernation per year in cryo, but when awoken being in the "hot" phase where he is almost superhuman in thinking, reflexes and fighting abilities as his job of overrider meant precisely this, being in cryo on the corporation spaceships plying Solar System trade until/unless there was major trouble and then he was woken up to solve it and save the ship and its cargo/passengers at any cost, but now marooned on Mars for some 7 local, 14 Earth years due to messing up a mission, being fired and not being able to get his overrider license/job back as the corporation still owns all the hardware inside his body. But now Earth is ready to clean the corruption on Mars - again as Veil points out to one of the leaders of the Earth audit, while the last try some years back led to a few of his friends turned whistleblowers, buried alive in regolith when the audit was aborted and the vengeful Mars governor and his cronies were cleared - and Hak gets an offer he cannot refuse from the investigators, while being at the mercy of the local Bradbury homicide PD chief (who is, of course, hand in hand with the governor, so opposite the Earth team) for the small matter of the ("unsolved" for now but with Veil as prime suspect) murder of a bar owner who crossed Veil before his hibernation time (and who made the major mistake of having his enforcers beat Hak badly as he was quite sluggish at the time, but then let him go) Lots of cool stuff - technology, atmosphere, naming (Adam Smith counties, Rand junction, Gingrich corporation etc - keeping with the Mars as the new wild west/libertarian paradise image that is sold to the masses, while of course, all is corporate corruption this being an RK Morgan novel after all), lots of action and intrigue as noted and again being a RK Morgan book, mayhem, dark cynical humor and unvarnished language are what's ultimately powering Thin Air Great (and complete) ending and an excellent novel which shows a lot of evolution in the author's oeuvre (being less simplistic, with more interesting twists and superb world building and characters beyond the narrator) A few choice quotes below: “Well, it’s the thought that counts. Fact remains—launch determines orbit, and Torres got a launch in life that put him low and in decay from the start. You just give it time and watch the sky.” I lifted an index finger and drew a slanting trajectory across the air between us. I made a noise like oil in a pan. “Bye-bye, Torres.” “Even with a lottery win under his belt?” “That’s just fuel for the vector. Good luck won’t save these guys any better than bad. Bad’s the air they breathe. If good comes along, it just **** with the mix. Get some big payoff or other, they’ll most likely go out ODed or smashed up in some high-spec crawler they blew all the money on.” I thought about it. “Or they maybe just swagger in the wrong direction, **** off the wrong OC *****, end up buried in the regolith.” “You think that’s what happened?” I spread my hands. “Hey—I’m not a detective. You do the investigating, I’ll just stand around and make sure no one tries to stop you.” ****** She flushed. “Is that how you see us?” “Not really about you, it’s about local conditions. You talk up a storm in your retreats and your universities, but go outside and you don’t have the critical density. This valley is filled with people who don’t give a **** about your theories of history and economics, and the people they listen to have already sold them a shinier dream.” “Which is what?” “Lifetime membership in Humanity’s Rugged High Frontier Elite, with a side order of aspirational consumer tech product for the masses. Exceptionalism, a sense of belonging, and shiny toys to play with along the way. What have you got that’s going to compete with that?” “It can’t last,” she snapped. “It’s a bubble, a fantasy. When it all falls apart—” “Yeah—if and when that happens, sister, you’d better ***** pray you’re not standing anywhere close to ground zero.” Some jagged shard of old anger spiking in my voice now. “I’ve seen what happens to humans when it all falls apart. Believe me, it isn’t pretty.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    kartik narayanan

    Thin Air is in the same vein as Takeshi Kovacs but the noirish/hard boiled element is much more. Hakan Veil is an ex-black ops operative who is now dabbling in crime to keep himself alive. He is a manufactured product developed by a corporation to help them 'solve' problems - usually permanently. He is now unemployed but still has to pay for hibernation. As character, I really liked Hakan. He starts off as an amoral person but soon we get to see hidden depths in him with elements of humanity tha Thin Air is in the same vein as Takeshi Kovacs but the noirish/hard boiled element is much more. Hakan Veil is an ex-black ops operative who is now dabbling in crime to keep himself alive. He is a manufactured product developed by a corporation to help them 'solve' problems - usually permanently. He is now unemployed but still has to pay for hibernation. As character, I really liked Hakan. He starts off as an amoral person but soon we get to see hidden depths in him with elements of humanity that other 'normal' humans do not have. He has a great character arc and 10/10 for RkM for doing this This book is set in Mars about 100-200 years in the future. And so, comparisons to Total Recall cannot be avoided. It has the same feeling of paranoia as well as the gritty feel of life on Mars. The scifi elements were quite decent and believable. The one thing that RkM uses throught the book is the concepts of 'gels' which seem to be tablets/screens which can be used for a lot of purposes. It cannot be a RkM book if the action scenes do not get your pulse pounding and they do. There are numerous places where you just get sucked into the action. Overall, I loved the book. I hope there will be more books in this universe

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robert Davis

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED … This book is a whole lot of fun! It is, essentially, a hard-boiled noir detective story set on the Red Planet. Think of Mike Hammer on Mars! Although set in the same universe as Thirteen, it is a stand alone novel and completely separate from its' predecessor. Meaning, if you haven't read Thirteen, no worries, you will have no problem with starting here. In many ways, I think Thin Air is superior in style and overall fun. It is a great combination of old fashioned detective n HIGHLY RECOMMENDED … This book is a whole lot of fun! It is, essentially, a hard-boiled noir detective story set on the Red Planet. Think of Mike Hammer on Mars! Although set in the same universe as Thirteen, it is a stand alone novel and completely separate from its' predecessor. Meaning, if you haven't read Thirteen, no worries, you will have no problem with starting here. In many ways, I think Thin Air is superior in style and overall fun. It is a great combination of old fashioned detective noir and science fiction. (view spoiler)[ On Mars, corporations clash with independence movements fighting against interests on Earth trying to extract as much profit from the planet as it can. In the midst of this is Hakan Veil, a cybernetically enhanced ex-super soldier who just wants to return home to Earth. There’s a catch: he has to work as a bodyguard for an investigator from an organization called Earth Oversight. The investigator, Madison Madekwe, is on the trail of a missing lottery winner, and the two find themselves in more trouble than they bargained. (hide spoiler)] Did you ever have a book that was so good that you didn't want it to end, so you stopped reading it so that you could let the story live a little longer before you finished it? That was me with this book! As I neared the end, I procrastinated so that I could live a little bit longer in the world of the story. It is that good! My only real complaint, and it is a very minor one, is that I am not really in love with the final bookcover design, it seems a little 'CreateSpace' to me. The earlier proposed bookcover (seen here) also seemed a bit generic. Surely they could have come up with something more interesting. ----------------------------------------------- Finally received my ARC from Goodreads and am really enjoying it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    A while back my fiancée and I tried watching Altered Carbon on Netflix. We made it through one episode with no interest to continue. That should have been a good indication that Morgan’s stories may not be for me, but then again Netflix has long traded quality for quantity and Morgan’s new book showed up on Netgalley and it’s been a while since I read some scifi and it was set on Mars, so I took a chance. A decision I’ve come to regret over and over during the countless, ok, not really, it was t A while back my fiancée and I tried watching Altered Carbon on Netflix. We made it through one episode with no interest to continue. That should have been a good indication that Morgan’s stories may not be for me, but then again Netflix has long traded quality for quantity and Morgan’s new book showed up on Netgalley and it’s been a while since I read some scifi and it was set on Mars, so I took a chance. A decision I’ve come to regret over and over during the countless, ok, not really, it was technically one morning and one day, but still entirely too long of a time it took to get through. And here’s the thing…it may not be Morgan at all, he seems to be wildly acclaimed award winning author, it might have just been the non existent author/reader chemistry, but boy, did I loathe this book. Kinda knew I wasn’t gonna like it from the first pages, but no, my OCD drives me to finish every book I start and since it’s such an odd uncharacteristic display of drive for an otherwise drivefree person, it gets tolerated. So I waded through this entire book, 400 pages that definitely seemed longer and the denseness of the text not only prohibited speedreading/skimming, but did indeed justify using wading as an adequate descriptor. The thing is when you stuck reading a short book you don’t care for it creates a dislike at most, when the book is this long…it’s hate. Like a tedious family function, it just seemingly wouldn’t end. Slowly, sluggishly, the plot convoluted around some tiresome Martian politics, while Veil (the macho protagonist that reminded me of the main guy on Altered Carbon, is that all Morgan writes?) glowered, plowed, fought, killed and screwed his way through his impromptu investigation. At no juncture did I care about the protagonist, the plot or any of the characters, which is pretty depressing of a status for such a long book with so many players. Just wanted it to be over. Morgan seems to write using pure testosterone for ink, it’s all clipped, tough machismo with some occasional very graphic sex scenes. It’s also very heavy on tech and light on world building, the exact opposite of how I like my science fiction. It’s like all the wrong aspects are detailed and all the fascinating things are skipped over. And then there was a shoot’em up finale and it was finally over. Whew. If it seems like I just gave up on the book early on and then merely went through motions, it isn’t so, I really did try to get into it, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Even Mars wasn’t enough. Turned out to a tragically tedious trip to such a spectacular literary destination. What a waste of time, though. Not fun, not even entertaining, learned nothing, gained nothing but yet another reminder to be more selective, at least before committing to large books. I bet there are readers out there who’ll love this, but for me, Morgan, either cinematically or literary, is a no no. Thanks Netgalley.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Radiantflux

    109th book for 2018. Every so often when the corruption of this World gets too high, I need a hit of cynical ultraviolent scifi, and who better to deliver this than Richard K Morgan? His first two Takeshi Kovacs novels (Altered Carbon and Woken Furies) are among my all time favorite books, his world-building and character development were phenomenal (forget the obscene corporate saccharine wankfest television series designed for maximum appeal to a brain-dead publicum). Like most (all?) RKM books 109th book for 2018. Every so often when the corruption of this World gets too high, I need a hit of cynical ultraviolent scifi, and who better to deliver this than Richard K Morgan? His first two Takeshi Kovacs novels (Altered Carbon and Woken Furies) are among my all time favorite books, his world-building and character development were phenomenal (forget the obscene corporate saccharine wankfest television series designed for maximum appeal to a brain-dead publicum). Like most (all?) RKM books Thin Air tells the story of a down-on-his-luck cynical mercenary (this time on Mars) with one more unwanted job that leads the antihero deeper and deeper into the corrupt corporate/government rabbit hole. Lots of cool tech and cynicism as usual (I loved that in his universe it's mentioned in passing that the successful detection by Mars-SETI of FOUR independent alien signals just lead to collective shrugs and a desire to turn to more profitable enterprises). While I didn't like this as much as some of his previous works (perhaps there was a little too much of the same-old same-old) I'd still lap up anymore books he has coming. Next time I just need to make sure I have a bottle of single malt on hand. Four-stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Don't wake the overrider.... As catchy mantras go, I like it, ... and it grew on me (... no, I didn't get it at first, maybe I was a little slow... but), as a warning, a harbinger, or, I dunno, a curse.... If they end up making this one into a movie (or a Netflix series), I expect don't wake the overrider.... could be right up there with I'll be back.... or, I dunno, Jumanji or, for that matter, Beetlejuice, ... it's not exactly a summoning of a demon, ... but I digress. In any event, it's been y Don't wake the overrider.... As catchy mantras go, I like it, ... and it grew on me (... no, I didn't get it at first, maybe I was a little slow... but), as a warning, a harbinger, or, I dunno, a curse.... If they end up making this one into a movie (or a Netflix series), I expect don't wake the overrider.... could be right up there with I'll be back.... or, I dunno, Jumanji or, for that matter, Beetlejuice, ... it's not exactly a summoning of a demon, ... but I digress. In any event, it's been years since I've read Richard K. Morgan, and I admit ... during that time, I hoped he'd return to his unique brand of militaristic, dystopian, gene-altered, star-hopping sci-fi (and, quite frankly, I harbored hopes that he'd return to his iconic protagonist/envoy, Takeshi Kovacs of Altered Carbon fame, book trilogy, and, more recently, Netflix series flesh and blood). This isn't Altered Carbon, but like in that trilogy, Morgan plows new ground (here, well-settled, late generation Mars) and creates a unique brand of protagonist - ah, yes, remember, don't wake the overrider - and takes his sweet time filling in the blanks of the overrider's back-story, capabilities, and ... most interesting for my purposes ... role in the global space community. Morgan isn't for everyone. Plenty of (graphic) violence? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full. To the point of excess? maybe. Currently, I'm struggling to get the word "carnage" out of my mind... High octane, bordering-on-the-gymnastic, no subtlety whatsoever, sex? With abandon and without apology. A dark, cynical view of society and governmental institutions, bordering on - and probably qualifying as - dystopia? You betcha. Complicated ... to the point of bordering on the just-plain-messy? Yeah, probably more than I'd like... And, yet, as a whole, the package works. Reader's nit: I've really enjoyed Morgan's sci-fi, and ... for whatever reason ... his constructs, his stories, his characters resonate with me. But ... and maybe this is just me ... the pages rarely turn smoothly for me in his books, and that's a double-edged sword. I'm not saying the prose or the style is necessarily good or bad, but ... it's unique. For whatever reason, I find that I frequently, and I mean frequently, re-read passages (ranging from sentences to paragraphs to pages). Some of this is that Morgan doesn't shy away from lengthy sentences or paragraphs. But (and this, ultimately, is a good thing), if you don't skim, and if you read carefully, Morgan's work is peppered with innumerable small gifts, what I'd think of as Easter Eggs in a movie or a video game. Whether its a name, an acronym (used sparingly or frequently), a place, or an object, the smallest details are often the most interesting. Indeed, I'd actually love to see a reader's guide to accompany this book. I guess this means Takeshi Kovacs really isn't coming back. Well, in that case, this was a lot better than nothing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    I've long been a fan of Richard K. Morgan's style of science fiction writing and his return to the field after a decade-long absence is certainly welcome, with Thin Air doing much to remind me why I fell in love with this author's work to begin with. Morgan writes sci-fi that is heavily, heavily influenced by hard-boiled mysteries. Beneath all the whiz-bang high-tech wrappings of interstellar colonization, cybernetic augments, and next-gen weaponry, there's a grizzled take on the classic PI - do I've long been a fan of Richard K. Morgan's style of science fiction writing and his return to the field after a decade-long absence is certainly welcome, with Thin Air doing much to remind me why I fell in love with this author's work to begin with. Morgan writes sci-fi that is heavily, heavily influenced by hard-boiled mysteries. Beneath all the whiz-bang high-tech wrappings of interstellar colonization, cybernetic augments, and next-gen weaponry, there's a grizzled take on the classic PI - down on his luck, hard drinking, smartly armed, and chasing dames - and a planet-sized dose of noir. Thin Air is gritty, like a mouthful of coffee grounds and gravel, and just as grim and bloody as you could imagine. On Mars, one lucky lottery winner has won his ticket back to Earth. Only problem is, he's dead, a complication that has triggered a planet-wide audit by the colony's Earth overseers. Hakan Veil is a former overrider - a genetically augmented warrior who has had his license to kill revoked and has been exiled to Mars. He's just murdered a local gangster, which has put him in police custody. He can make the charges disappear if he can protect the auditor, Madison Madekwe, and keep her safe from whoever's murdered the lottery winner. Veil makes the deal and finds himself up to his neck in organized crime, terrorist factions, killers, and political intrigue...and then things go even further south from there. Thin Air is a densely packed narrative, and Morgan has done an excellent job building up the world of Mars and delivering a cast of deeply complicated characters. Loyalties are ever-shifting, and there's almost as many motives to the madness Veil finds himself lost in as there are Martians. The plot spins wildly upon each new revelation, and the scope of this particular story grows broader and broader. I have to applaud Morgan for being able to keep all the twists, turns, and back-stabbings straight, because there are a lot of moving pieces and characters to keep track of here. I honestly wouldn't mind seeing the notes and outlines he must have created to keep this story flowing as impressively as it does. Thin Air is a perfect example of how characters serve the plot, and the reasons behind their motivations are just as labyrinthine as the story Morgan is telling. And, of course, there is plenty of sex and violence to move that story forward - it wouldn't really be a Richard K. Morgan book without those elements appearing rather frequently in grisly, graphic abundance. Veil is a lab-engineering killing machine; murder is literally built into his DNA, so expect a no-holds barred approach to the action sequences here. Ditto the book's sex scenes. Veil may have been coerced into playing the role of a private dick, but of this latter, well, it ain't all that private and Veil isn't the kind of guy who lets nearly being murdered with a military-grade rocket prevent him from shacking up with the stripper next door. After spending the better part of a decade crafting a trilogy of fantasy novels, it's pretty damn thrilling to have Morgan back in the game of telling ultra-gritty, hard-boiled futuristic noir. I've missed his contributions to science fiction, and Thin Air didn't disappoint in the least. This sucker is chock full of crime, conspiracy, action, and subterfuge, and Morgan is a goddamned master, at the top of his game right here. I just hope I don't have to wait another decade for his next work of dark sci-fi, but if it's as good as Thin Air, I certainly won't complain. [Note: I received an advance reading copy of Thin Air from the publisher, Del Rey Books, via NetGalley.]

  10. 4 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for a digital galley of this novel. If you check out the Amazon.com information for this book it shows 544 pages, the Goodreads info shows 400. I can tell you it definitely feels more like the 544. And it started off so well with Richard K Morgan getting the noir element just perfectly blended with the science fiction. I was fully on board with Hakan Veil and his backstory of the four months of the year cryo sleep, coming out o Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for a digital galley of this novel. If you check out the Amazon.com information for this book it shows 544 pages, the Goodreads info shows 400. I can tell you it definitely feels more like the 544. And it started off so well with Richard K Morgan getting the noir element just perfectly blended with the science fiction. I was fully on board with Hakan Veil and his backstory of the four months of the year cryo sleep, coming out of the coma on "hot" ready to shred and destroy pretty much anything that got in his way. This seemed like it was going to be my kind of dark hero with the Mars background and culture just adding to the good stuff. Then I began to notice my reading was slowing down and slowing down and then just not getting anywhere at all. Okay, I persevered and read about almost every kind of political and criminal backstabbing plot you could think of. I grew weary! I got bored! I wanted so much to like this a whole lot, but just couldn't make it happen. I think if about half of this book's plot had been saved for another book it would have been fine. As it was, there was just too much and too many. There is profanity coming from every character but I can understand the need for that - all of these characters were dark, dirty, or damaged. However, what I hadn't bargained for were the explicit sex scenes. Yikes, that's not what I want to read in my science fiction novels. I've got an imagination, otherwise I wouldn't be reading science fiction; I can imagine those scenes for myself. And don't think it was there to emphasize the relationship between the two characters, that had been done very well before the sex scenes. All in all, I wanted to like the book much more than I did.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen’s Library

    I watched Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon on Netflix when it first came out and was so enthralled with the sci-fi, tech, and premise, that I watched all 10 episodes in a weekend and then bought the book to read. That was my first Richard K. Morgan book and I really enjoyed it. When the chance came to read a new sci-fi book of his that was set on Mars, I jumped at the opportunity as I love everything Mars. Hak is an overrider exiled to Mars. He’s been bred as an elite soldier/warrior and has en I watched Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon on Netflix when it first came out and was so enthralled with the sci-fi, tech, and premise, that I watched all 10 episodes in a weekend and then bought the book to read. That was my first Richard K. Morgan book and I really enjoyed it. When the chance came to read a new sci-fi book of his that was set on Mars, I jumped at the opportunity as I love everything Mars. Hak is an overrider exiled to Mars. He’s been bred as an elite soldier/warrior and has enhancements to make him the best. He ends up assigned as a bodyguard/babysitter to an Earth woman sent to Mars to do an audit and she’s kidnapped a few days later. Of course Hak does whatever is needed to find her. He is promised a ride back to Earth if he saves her so he’ll stop at nothing. Although there were definitely aspects of Thin Air that I enjoyed, like the sci-fi tech and the gritty world-building, I did have a tough time getting through this book. The slang was hard to figure out, and the story started out pretty slow. I kept at it though, expecting it to make sense eventually, and it paid off. Everything came together. This wasn’t my favorite book ever, but it was definitely a decent action packed sci-fi once it got going. None of the characters were particularly likeable throughout although Hak did finally grow on me towards the end. *Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey Books for the advance copy!*

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steven Shaviro

    Richard K Morgan has long been one of my favorite science fiction writers. This book marks his return to science fiction after writing a fantasy trilogy. That trilogy was pretty good, but I found it intrinsically less interesting than his science fiction work, so this new novel is a welcome return to form. Thin Air takes place in the same universe as Morgan’s last SF novel, THIRTEEN (US title; it was originally called BLACK MAN in the UK), but it is not a sequel; the two books are entirely indep Richard K Morgan has long been one of my favorite science fiction writers. This book marks his return to science fiction after writing a fantasy trilogy. That trilogy was pretty good, but I found it intrinsically less interesting than his science fiction work, so this new novel is a welcome return to form. Thin Air takes place in the same universe as Morgan’s last SF novel, THIRTEEN (US title; it was originally called BLACK MAN in the UK), but it is not a sequel; the two books are entirely independent from one another. Morgan pulls off a difficult feat in all his texts: he gives us a central character who is essentially an ultra-macho superman (due, in the sf novels, to different varieties of technological body enhancement, as well as character), yet combines this with a degree of sensitivity to social and political concerns that one would not usually expect in this subgenre. For instance, Veil, the narrator and protagonist here, is emphatically not in the least misogynistic, even though this usually comes with the territory of ultra-violence and frequent sexual opportunities. The women he meets have agency, and sometimes the sex is... just bad. All of Morgan’s sf novels have interesting takes on the way neoliberal economics and governance work, extrapolated into various futures. Here Morgan again pulls off an impressive and difficult feat: he is sufficiently clear-eyed not to gild the lilly to the slightest extent, but instead to present financial domination and corporate/governmental impositions without even the slightest hint of redemptiveness; he wants to give us neoliberal capitalism in its full feral horror, even to rub our noses in it. There is nothing in this world besides rich people, and the corporations and governments they control, willing to go to any degree of destruction, torture, murder, and oppression in order to augment their profits. There is no line between criminal corruption, grand political manipulation, and totalitarian control; they are all the same thing. Yet at the same time, he resists the all too common temptation whereby this would slide into total cynicism. Morgan suggests that the worst speculations of Machiavelli and Hobbes are correct in how they view politics; and yet he maintains a sense of outrage about it all. His protagonists enjoy perpetrating violence, and their skills are largely for sale to the highest bidder; they don’t really have the stubborn integrity of those hardboiled noir detectives in novels and movies of the mid 20th century; and yet they aren’t simply amoral monsters, but suggest that there is at least a slim hope of getting beyond the atmosphere of atrocities that they inhabit (and do their bit to perpetrate). In Thin Air, Veil doesn’t really have a conscience, and yet he remains convinced (even if he himself doesn’t quite understand why or how) that something better than given social world is still possible. I am being vague here to avoid spoilers; this pattern is one that we see in all of Morgan’s science fiction in different ways. I am not sure Thin Air is quite as good either as the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy (with its surprising meditations on the slim but not entirely in existent possibilities of socialist revolution in this neoliberal capitalist hell, or as Thirteen, with its fascinating meditation on the powers and limitations of genetic engineering as a technology of capitalist control; but it is still a powerful book because of the way it posits the worst, almost revels in it, and yet allows us to think about the possibilities of things being otherwise than the way the text depicts them... which I take to be Morgan’s overall accomplishment as an SF novelist. It may sound as if I am describing Thin Air as a cyberpunk novel, but it's not. Cyberpunk is long dead and gone, and this is what comes after: the deglamorized residue. Most specifically, Thin Air is about neocolonialism under neoliberal conditions, or about what has been called Combined and Uneven Development . It takes place on Mars, in the aftermath of the Earth attempt to populate a new world. Things are grim and rundown; despite over 200 (Earth) years of colonization, Mars is still a crappy place to live, though there is a lot of money to be made from exploiting it. Of course, this rundown state, with the project of terraforming having been abandoned, rather than a glorious new settlement, is what we can actually expect if Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos ever should succeed in their projects for colonizing Mars. Capitalist cosmopolitanism always requires backwaters. Capitalism always needs to underdevelop the very places it milks or exploits for profit, and the people there are just collateral damage (if they aren't among the very few who are joined with the corporations back in the center - Earth in this case - in skimming off the surplus). Veil, the protagonist of Thin Air, is a former corporate goon who now sells his labor (and the corporate implants for killing and surviving that the corporation didn't manage to deprive him of when they got rid of him) as a mercenary to the highest bidder. It's the only work he can get on Mars, and he doesn't have the money to get back home to Earth. Under such circumstances, everything is a set-up of which we are right to be suspicious - every bit as suspicious as Veil himself is. The novel succeeds because it already anticipates, pre-empts, and discounts in advance whatever we might be tempted to think about it. The novel shows us that everything is in fact even worse than we were prepared to think; and in continually outrunning us in this way, it also earns the barest whiff of the possibility of an at least slightly less awful world with which it entices us, but withdraws from whenever we get too close.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adam Whitehead

    Bradbury City, Mars. Hak Veil used to pilot ships through the blackness between worlds, acting as a highly-trained combat operative. After a few things went wrong, he's wound up abandoned on the Red Planet, trying to find a way of getting back to Earth. His unique abilities allow him to find work in the most unlikely of places and his new job is a doozy: playing bodyguard to a pen-pusher, one of a team sent to audit the colony's finances on behalf of the colonial authorities. But things soon sta Bradbury City, Mars. Hak Veil used to pilot ships through the blackness between worlds, acting as a highly-trained combat operative. After a few things went wrong, he's wound up abandoned on the Red Planet, trying to find a way of getting back to Earth. His unique abilities allow him to find work in the most unlikely of places and his new job is a doozy: playing bodyguard to a pen-pusher, one of a team sent to audit the colony's finances on behalf of the colonial authorities. But things soon start going south and Veil finds himself on the line, with the promise of a ticket home being the only thing keeping him going... Rewind a decade or so and Richard Morgan was one of the hottest new voices in science fiction. His Takeshi Kovacs trilogy (now a Netflix TV show under the title Altered Carbon) was a vital, angry work of cyberpunk meshed with hard-edged, military SF. Market Forces was a corporate thriller with an SF angle and the even angrier, dirtier Black Man (Thirteen in the US) was a gripping and increasingly prescient story of nations collapsing amidst a tidal wave of rising social discontent. Morgan then took a hard-right turn into the grimmest end of the fantasy genre (albeit SF-tinged) with his Land Fit For Heroes trilogy (The Steel Remains, The Cold Commands, The Dark Defiles), an accomplished work but one where, it turns out, his sensibility was perhaps a little too familiar, with writers like Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence achieving greater success in that end of the market. Morgan's voice and sensibility felt a little redundant in that field at that time, despite his obvious writing chops. Morgan is now back in the field of science fiction and it feels like the return of one of SF's prodigal sons. SF is ready for a new, scintillating book that tears the genre a new one and does fresh, exciting things. Thin Air is not that book. That is not to say that Thin Air is a bad novel, as Morgan's skill with prose, with ideas and with violent action remain undimmed. It is, however, a novel that is not so much in his comfort zone as it is one clad in a Richard Morgan dressing gown and slippers. We once again have an ultra-competent, alpha-male protagonist with near-superhuman technological abilities whom everyone underestimates repeatedly, whom women want to have sex with and men want to have a beer with, who is constantly living on the edge of either death or bankruptcy (despite his clear and unique skillset), who gets in over his head but comes out on top through his superior skills and intelligence and ability to murder literally everyone in a room in seconds. When Morgan did that with Takeshi Kovacs, it was fresh and exciting. When he did that with Carl Marsalis, the racial angle added something fascinating to the mix. When he did that with Ringil, the fact he was an angry and unapologetically gay man made that work. With Hak Veil, it's starting to feel a bit less fresh and a bit more like a retread. It doesn't help that there isn't really a great hook in the story. Mars is being audited and some people are unhappy with that and that's really kind of it. The Martian angle is also not tremendously distinctive either, the odd mention of the weaker gravity and the tall walls of Mariner Valley aside, the book could be taking place in pretty much any SF metropolis on or off Earth. Kim Stanley Robinson's position as the author who has brought Mars vividly to life as its own place better than any other remains unchallenged. Also, most of the characters are distinctly unlikable and the plot makes frequent pit stops for increasingly non-sequitur random sex scenes (rather more than in most of Morgan's prior novels, in fact, including the distinctly late-Heinleinian use of the phrase "pneumatic breasts"). On the plus side, Morgan's writing crackles with kinetic energy and no-one does a brutal turn of phrase better than him. If this novel is Morgan-by-the-numbers, it at least brings the author's talents as well as his weaknesses. There's some pretty good action set pieces, Veil putting together the clues to the mystery is fun (even if, as with his previous novels, there's zero chance of the reader solving the mystery themselves) and there's a wry sense of humour that occasionally surfaces. Whilst virtually all of the characters are unlikable, they're also mostly at least interesting and well-drawn (the major exception being Veil's stripper neighbour whom he also has a no-strings relationship with) and the novel's finale features an appropriate amount of clever plotting and visceral carnage that makes for an explosive ending to the story, even if the stakes never feel hugely engaging prior to that. Thin Air (***) is a fairly solid Richard Morgan novel. It's far from his best, but certainly readable and it's nice to see him back in the science fiction thriller genre. But it feels like he's capable of far more. Readable, engaging but ultimately perhaps a little too ordinary a novel for an author who should never be ordinary.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Morgan’s writing opens with a shotgun blast of Mars-speak. The slang, the technology, the background of the politics on the Red Planet… it can be dense and overwhelming, but I say stick with it. The most important info will come back around. I do have to say that there may have been one too many side missions in this one, a puzzle wrapped in a… but the ending is one of the best I’ve read in awhile. A complex wallop… it’s the big finale at the end of the fireworks show. Thin Air is a vastly reward Morgan’s writing opens with a shotgun blast of Mars-speak. The slang, the technology, the background of the politics on the Red Planet… it can be dense and overwhelming, but I say stick with it. The most important info will come back around. I do have to say that there may have been one too many side missions in this one, a puzzle wrapped in a… but the ending is one of the best I’ve read in awhile. A complex wallop… it’s the big finale at the end of the fireworks show. Thin Air is a vastly rewarding read. Not easy to work out, but satisfying and fun. A sparky array of gangs and bureaucrats… all the nefarious peoples of the galaxy. For my full review: https://paulspicks.blog/2018/09/30/th... For all my reviews: https://paulspicks.blog

  15. 4 out of 5

    Koeur

    Publishing Date: October 2018 Publisher: Del Rey ISBN: 9780345493125 Genre: SciFi Rating: 4.8/5 Publisher’s Description: On a Mars where ruthless corporate interests violently collide with a homegrown independence movement as Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power, Hakan Veil is an ex–professional enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that’s made him a human killing machine. But he’s had enough of the turbulent red planet, and all he wants is a ticket back home—which is just wha Publishing Date: October 2018 Publisher: Del Rey ISBN: 9780345493125 Genre: SciFi Rating: 4.8/5 Publisher’s Description: On a Mars where ruthless corporate interests violently collide with a homegrown independence movement as Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power, Hakan Veil is an ex–professional enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that’s made him a human killing machine. But he’s had enough of the turbulent red planet, and all he wants is a ticket back home—which is just what he’s offered by the Earth Oversight organization, in exchange for being the bodyguard for an EO investigator. It’s a beyond-easy gig for a heavy hitter like Veil . . . until it isn’t. Review: I did not want this novel to end. It is that good. I wanted to savor every page and end it short to make it last. The imagery and poignant delivery transports you to a futuristic detective tale with all the subtle rawness in tow. It is funny, gritty, bloody and lusty seen through the eyes of a man that is aware enough of his actions to feel regret but driven to carry through based on his genetic development. The Meh: Oh my fuk, who thought of that cover art? I think Veil should have been referred to as a “Heeb” rather than a “Hib”. More street worthy for martian slang, methinks. The Good: The world building is spectacular but you would not think so with all the whiney reviews complaining that the author throws you into a world with idioms and techno-terms without explanation. Wah fukin’ wah. Welcome to unbridled old school SciFi you sniveling arse warblers. Dive into a world without explanation and you might find a transport into realities unknown. Indeed, wherever the story line takes you, it is full of expansive and detailed visuals that lends a septic air to the malady inherent in Mars populace. The Better: The story line crackles with taut buttock like energy in the form of base instincts going off like a pyrotechnic orgasm. Yep, there are peeps that thought the book was pornography, and let me tell you it is confined to short stints with some graphic detail. These interactions usually have hilarious interchanges and outcomes. More funny than porno. There are many interests at play from the various groups that plague Mars that the story line becomes more of a mystery in which to discern along with Hakan Veil. The Best: Hakan Veil is a character that I would read over and over without tiring. He is at once complex in thought, and base in action. He feels regret and makes choices devoid of painful outcomes but can carry out brutal retribution if threatened or paid. If he has a job to do, watch out. He embraces the internal solitude reflected in the masses yet shifts to higher ground in order to enact a hidden sense of humanity despite his debased environment. As he rides this line of moral ambiguity you can’t help but love him no matter the choices he makes. Anyhoo, if you like SciFi techno-noir set in a well rendered Martian landscape, get this! Catch all of my book reviews, here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alan Taylor

    Thin Air is Richard Morgan’s first SciFi novel in eight years. I have to admit that I was unaware of Morgan until the Netflix adaption of his first, Altered Carbon, but, inspired by that, I then picked up the three books in that series. The latest, although set in a different ‘universe’ shares much with the earlier trilogy. Thin Air is a hard-boiled noir. It may be set on Mars but is as influenced by Chandler, Hammett and MacDonald as it is by Ray Bradbury. The protagonist, Hakan Veil, bio-engin Thin Air is Richard Morgan’s first SciFi novel in eight years. I have to admit that I was unaware of Morgan until the Netflix adaption of his first, Altered Carbon, but, inspired by that, I then picked up the three books in that series. The latest, although set in a different ‘universe’ shares much with the earlier trilogy. Thin Air is a hard-boiled noir. It may be set on Mars but is as influenced by Chandler, Hammett and MacDonald as it is by Ray Bradbury. The protagonist, Hakan Veil, bio-engineered from childhood to be an enhanced corporate soldier, is much more Mike Hammer than Philip Marlowe. Veil is essentially a thug who solves problems with his fists, always aided by a built-in AI. Having been arrested after one such ‘solution’, Veil is blackmailed into acting as bodyguard for a representative of Earth auditors, sent to interrogate the finances of ‘frontier’ businesses. The labyrinthian plot involves political and corporate corruption, organised crime, femme fatales, a missing lottery winner and a lot of violence. I admit I got a little lost at times but The Big Sleep is one of my favourites so not being entirely sure of what is going on is not necessarily a problem. Thin Air is no The Big Sleep but it is a good read. Mars is realistically realised and the mixture of science fiction with frontier town lawlessness is fascinating. On the evidence of Thin Air and the Altered Carbon-series, Richard Morgan is a master of the futuristic, hard-boiled hybrid and I would not be surprised to see Hakan Veil join Takeshi Kovacs on screen.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chip

    In many ways a (welcome) return to Morgan's breakthrough first novel, Altered Carbon - a page-turning melange of Blade Runner, badassery, and cyberpunk gumshoe. The one part that didn't ring true for me, and why not 4.5 stars, was (view spoiler)[the hookup (actually, repeated hookups) of the protagonist with Madekwe in light of her later revealed true nature. I get that Morgan wanted to make her resulting fate more impactful, and that relationship did serve that purpose ... but I just don't see In many ways a (welcome) return to Morgan's breakthrough first novel, Altered Carbon - a page-turning melange of Blade Runner, badassery, and cyberpunk gumshoe. The one part that didn't ring true for me, and why not 4.5 stars, was (view spoiler)[the hookup (actually, repeated hookups) of the protagonist with Madekwe in light of her later revealed true nature. I get that Morgan wanted to make her resulting fate more impactful, and that relationship did serve that purpose ... but I just don't see how her chilling with Veil the second time around, while the game was meanwhile afoot, made sense from her perspective. (hide spoiler)]

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This was a particularly dense read given the rich imaginary vernacular that Morgan has imagined for Mars. Despite the sci-fi trappings this is a hardcore noir novel through and through. Mystiers, secrets, beerayal and hard action abound.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Down on your luck and given a choice between jail time or a body guarding gig, what are you going to do? Hakan Veil, Hak to his few friends, Veil to everyone else, opts for the latter. The only problem is that within a matter of days, and an epic error of judgement on his part, his charge has been kidnapped. Veil could just walk away but he is far too stubborn for that. No one is going to stop him from doing his job. There is a blissful lack of complication when it comes to Veil’s methods of ret Down on your luck and given a choice between jail time or a body guarding gig, what are you going to do? Hakan Veil, Hak to his few friends, Veil to everyone else, opts for the latter. The only problem is that within a matter of days, and an epic error of judgement on his part, his charge has been kidnapped. Veil could just walk away but he is far too stubborn for that. No one is going to stop him from doing his job. There is a blissful lack of complication when it comes to Veil’s methods of retrieving auditor Madison Madekwe; direct doesn’t even begin to cover it. His game plan, at first glance, appears to be shoot anything that moves and if it survives question it. Of course, as his investigation continues it becomes more and more obvious that there is actually some depth to our protagonist. Yes, he might shoot from the hip, but his gung-ho attitude belies a razor sharp brain and keen observational skills. Though he is an entirely self-absorbed pessimist, most of the time Veil is extremely good at what he does. He knows people, knows what drives them and knows what buttons to press to get the results he wants. He is the perennial tough guy, the almost but not quite, world-weary gumshoe. I’ve been thinking a lot about what other fictional characters I could best compare him to. I may have imagined it, but I think there might be a very subtle nod to the classic 70s crime flick, Get Carter in Thin Air, and that struck a chord with me. It feels like the perfect comparison, a quintessential anti-hero driven by a questionable moral compass, yeah that works. Hakan Veil is Jack Carter in space, perhaps with a bit of Blade Runner’s Rick Deckard thrown in for good measure. One of the most intriguing facets of this character is the constraint he is forced to live by. Military conditioning and biological tampering means Veil has to spend four months out of every twelve in hibernation. When he initially awakes he ‘runs hot’. Essentially meaning there is an additional urgency to everything he does. His internal dialogue and reactions to certain situations read like they have been turned up to eleven. Veil is a flawed super soldier and there you can sense the bitterness that surrounds his character. In all honesty, I’m not sure that I even liked him. He is gruff, snarky and more than a little surly, but he is genuinely fascinating character to watch. Veil stomps around Mars dishing out his own brand of revenge, violence and twisted justice. The other characters are a uniformly sleazy bunch, Morgan’s vision of Mars is no utopia. Our “hero’ spends a lot of his time rubbing shoulders with gangsters, hackers, prostitutes, thugs and political zealots. The authorities aren’t much better. Local law enforcement are crooked, people from Earth view Martians as second class citizens, and the military are keen just to control everyone with a brutal efficiency. There are also elements of the plot that made me think of old westerns. Though the planet has been settled for some time, Mars is still viewed by many as a frontier world. The further away you get from the big cities, the more lawless the world becomes. In many of the more remote locations it’s the criminals who run the show. This amalgam of different genres, wrapped up in a shiny science fiction package, really works well. A lead character who bleeds gunslinger attitude finds himself in a mystery/detective noir that features mob war action, political land grabs and high-tech weaponry. Works for me. The world building in Thin Air is pretty impressive. Unlike some other science fiction novels I’ve read, it doesn’t feel signposted or in your face. There aren’t reams and reams of explanation. The world-building is just there in the background, fleshing out the locations and inhabitants of the red planet. The author deftly scatters the narrative with little moments that help the reader to better understand Mars and the people that live there. Economics and politics play key components in this plot and the logistics of this are dealt with admirably. Anyone who has read Richard Morgan’s work before will not be massively surprised when I tell you that Thin Air is decidedly adult in nature. For the uninitiated however, a word of warning. The violence is extreme, body parts have a habit of not remaining where they are supposed to when powerful handguns are involved. Things do get deliciously bloody. There are also a couple of sex scenes that leave very little to the imagination. My advice, if you are easily offended or delicate of nature, this is not the novel for you. I had no such qualms. This is down and dirty sci-fi and I loved it. Thin Air is exactly what I have come to expect from this author, an unashamedly adult science fiction thriller. I can only hope there are further novels planned featuring some of the characters we meet here. Hakan Veil lives a unique existence and it feels like there are more stories involving him that are still left to tell.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ric

    SF in the vein of the author's Altered Carbon. Down on his luck Hakan Veil has just come out of an induced coma, running hot with aggressive impulses and trigger reflexes. His first stop is a former employer with whom he has a score to settle. Veil walks into the employer's bar and through a phalanx of bodyguards, then proceeds to rip the defenders and the boss apart in a violent confrontation. It turns out Veil is equipped with biological enhancements that give him lightning reaction, speed and SF in the vein of the author's Altered Carbon. Down on his luck Hakan Veil has just come out of an induced coma, running hot with aggressive impulses and trigger reflexes. His first stop is a former employer with whom he has a score to settle. Veil walks into the employer's bar and through a phalanx of bodyguards, then proceeds to rip the defenders and the boss apart in a violent confrontation. It turns out Veil is equipped with biological enhancements that give him lightning reaction, speed and strength, especially in the "running hot" period after his replenishing treatment. In a previous life, Veil was an overrunner, bred from birth to protect and preserve intrasolar transports, however, following one failed mission, he was removed from the service and left on Mars with a number of his enhancements disabled. So here Veil must toil in the dregs of the frontier known as Mars, scrabbling to pay for maintenance on his remaining enhancements and hoping for a way back to his home, Earth. In the novel, Veil is somehow called upon to provide protection for a visiting auditor, Madison Madekwe, come from Earth to investigate corruption in the Mars geopolitical system. Madison, however, has more to her than meets the eye, and soon this leads to complications for Veil which he inevitably resolves through reckless violence. Progressively, he uncovers Madison's secret and with this the resolution to his personal issues and concerns. Thematically, this novel is quite similar to the author's first novel. A tormented lead character, seeking clarity on his life's trajectory, and using violence and an anti-authority attitude to do so. Also, both Tak (of Altered Carbon) and Hak (short for Hakan in this novel) have enhancements and training that make them dangerous in confrontational situations. Everyone else is an enemy, even the love interests turn out to be in opposition to the lead character's objectives. The feel of the books is one of an angry invective-laced scream against establishments and the vicissitudes of life. I enjoyed the book to the same extent as I enjoyed Altered Carbon. The SFnal aspects are intriguing and geeky. I especially liked the internal AI deadpanning through the more serious action sequences. I've always had trouble with the author's character motivations and narrative flow but chose to ignore these to enjoy the book, though there is a totally out of context sex scene that I had difficulty reconciling. But anyway, the good parts were much better than the bad, and thus this makes for a good read. My rating is 4.5 stars. Note: Thin Air is in the same fictional universe as the author's novel, Thirteen. That novel I did not enjoy and did not finish despite many attempts. But thankfully, it was not necessary to have read Thirteen for me to enjoy Thin Air.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robert Lee

    Review copy courtesy of NetGalley This an excerpt of my full review located at: https://rantingpenguin.com/2018/11/05... Haken Veil is a hard-boiled muscle for hire. After getting arrested on suspicion of killing some lowlife, he somehow gets drafted into babysitting a Madison Medekwe, a corporate auditor from Earth. The purpose of her particular audit is to find out what happened to a blue-collar worker who disappeared after winning a lottery that would have paid his way back to Earth. True to tro Review copy courtesy of NetGalley This an excerpt of my full review located at: https://rantingpenguin.com/2018/11/05... Haken Veil is a hard-boiled muscle for hire. After getting arrested on suspicion of killing some lowlife, he somehow gets drafted into babysitting a Madison Medekwe, a corporate auditor from Earth. The purpose of her particular audit is to find out what happened to a blue-collar worker who disappeared after winning a lottery that would have paid his way back to Earth. True to tropes, things do hit the fan. The rest of the book involves Veil snarling, swearing, punching, killing, and screwing his way through the underbelly of the Martian city of Bradbury to figure out the truth. Mix in an overdose of seedy criminals, corrupt officials, prostitutes, and hackers and you get cyberpunk version of a long island ice-tea — a mix of everything on the shelf. Ultimately that mix leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Thin Air is full of atmosphere and has a strong attempt at world building. But Other than a few side mentions about the gravity and being in domes, the book could really have taken place in any metropolis setting. Sure there are healthy doses of Martian politics but frankly it’s the standard Mars independence from Earth that has become a main trope. The city of Bradbury is full of tough talking f-bomb dropping characters with very little to like about them. The protagonist is not only unlikable but unrelatable. Even after flashbacks, we know little of him and thus have little investment in what happens to his character other than to see the novel to the end. An it does come to an explosive end at that. Whatever failings that Thin Air has, Morgan does good job of making up for it in nice action set pieces that can be bloody and explosive. As graphic as the action is, the sex is even more so. The first time was jarring but by the third or fourth sex scene it does get ridicules in its graphic depiction of bumping uglies. The plot does relatively tie up neatly in the end with conspiracies uncovered and mysteries solved. One character twist was pretty easy to spot from the start though. Maybe that was not an important twist as it really did not come as a surprise, only the timing of the reveal. The world that Morgan created is quite an intriguing one and by the end I had hopes that there was more to the lore than vague references to other events o places like Ganymede. In the end the book was entertaining enough overall but a bit long.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    I'm a big fan of Richard K. Morgan's science fiction. I reread his Takeshi Kovacs trilogy every handful of years, and 'Market Forces' is a dark, nasty thrill ride that I only appreciated more once I took a job in corporate America. So when I learned that he was working on another sci-fi novel after a long break, I was eager to get my hands on a copy. Unfortunately, I'm not sure this is one I'm likely to revisit. Part of the problem is the main character. Hakan Veil is both a "hibernoid" and an "o I'm a big fan of Richard K. Morgan's science fiction. I reread his Takeshi Kovacs trilogy every handful of years, and 'Market Forces' is a dark, nasty thrill ride that I only appreciated more once I took a job in corporate America. So when I learned that he was working on another sci-fi novel after a long break, I was eager to get my hands on a copy. Unfortunately, I'm not sure this is one I'm likely to revisit. Part of the problem is the main character. Hakan Veil is both a "hibernoid" and an "overrider:" in the early phase of the book, these terms are used frequently without being defined, but it is eventually explained the Veil was genetically modified as a young age to be capable of spending extended periods in cryogenic hibernation ("hibernoid") with the purpose of placing him on long-haul spaceships where he can be awoken to retake a ship on which the crew mutinies ("overrider"). As a result of his genetic alternations, Veil spends four months out of every year in hibernation, and when he wakes up, he's amped for extreme aggression and superhuman physical activity. But, if you want someone who can hibernate indefinitely but wake up immediately ready for action, does it necessarily follow that he'd have long periods of required hibernation? The two concepts don't entirely align, and moreover, there doesn't seem to be a really good reason for this aspect of character identity. We never seen Veil being anything other than brutal, so it's not like his condition alters his behavior or personality appreciably. Nor does the need for prolonged sleep meaningfully change his motivations. It's mentioned early on that he needs to earn enough money during his active periods to sustain him during his annual hibernation, but on the time scale of the novel this never feels like a truly motivating factor: there's no sense of a ticking clock, or that Veil is coming up against a hard limit of his own biology. It would have made for an interesting plot device, but as it stands, it doesn't add much except for the opportunity for some confusing terminology. On the topic of unnecessary elements, the secondary characters in this novel all felt half-developed. Veil seems to have a love-hate relationship with all of the women around him, from the angry lady cop to the hooker with a heart of gold to the bitter failed revolutionary to the icy lady gangster. None of them are fully realized, and although they all serve a plot purpose, it feels very repetitive. Morgan HAS written well-defined, interested female characters before, so I don't know what happened here. The rot eats into the plotting, as well. Morgan tends to throw the reader into the story immediately without a lot of handholding or orientation. This makes for a challenging few early chapters, but it's a valid stylistic decision. In this novel, however, major plot evolutions come out of nowhere. On two different occasions Veil double-crosses someone without warning to the reader. In both cases it's more or less justified retrospectively, but the feeling is less that Veil is making decisions motivated by his values and more that he's bouncing around like a ping pong ball. Additionally, Veil's biotechnological enhancements serve as a recurrent deus ex machina--they allow him to bust out of restraints to escape torture, to shrug off shotgun blasts to the spine, and to generally do whatever the plot needs him to do at any given moment. It short circuits the tension of story, and it feels like a really amateurish mistake for the author to make. I didn't hate it--it was interesting enough, and presented some neat concepts, but it wasn't as good as I'd hoped for from the guy who wrote 'Altered Carbon.' Hopefully now that he's knocked the dust off he'll be back in form.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jay Batson

    Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to read via Netgalley in exchange for a review. I never let that aspect affect my honesty... … as you’ll see here. I’ve given every one of the 5 books I’ve read by Richard Morgan 5 stars. They’ve been full of interesting ideas, and were well written page-turners. Sadly, this one wasn’t that for me. The book follows Hakan Veil, a former professional security enforcer, Earth-born, bio-tech enhanced in his youth, raised for the purpose of being an extreme e Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to read via Netgalley in exchange for a review. I never let that aspect affect my honesty... … as you’ll see here. I’ve given every one of the 5 books I’ve read by Richard Morgan 5 stars. They’ve been full of interesting ideas, and were well written page-turners. Sadly, this one wasn’t that for me. The book follows Hakan Veil, a former professional security enforcer, Earth-born, bio-tech enhanced in his youth, raised for the purpose of being an extreme enforcer, who has been stuck on Mars for years after being given the boot by his employers, working from contract to contract. Well-colonized Mars is developed in myriad ways to cope with little-to-no air on the natural surface, with a population living under domes, sealed buildings, tunnels, and more. The story grows interplanetary, with tensions between Earth & Mars seeming to arise from Mars’ frontier-style approach to being above-reproach (as in, "not”). The story itself is well-enough done, with plot development taking new twists every couple of chapters. But, this book falls down for me in two ways. First, be forewarned that a small portion of the book is pure porn. Morgan has never worried about prudish people; Altered Carbon is testament to that. But here, at the point where two of the main characters get busy with each other, Morgan lets his "adult entertainment” muscles flex. And, personally, I was offended at the reveling he took in turning on this juice. Later, the main character revisits those moments fondly, and those remembrances can be slightly uncomfortable, too. Because of the degree he turns this on, there’s a vast number of people to whom I will not recommend this book due to this content. I feel he could have accomplished the same goal of showing the sexual linkage between the characters involved without taking such language liberty, and make the book more broadly readable. But like I said - he is unlikely to be worried about this. Second, I struggled with readability. The difficulty begins immediately; Morgan uses the technique of dropping the reader fully into a stream of slang, terms, entity names, etc., the meaning of which must become known only by accumulating context as you continue to read. This can work super-well when done well; here, though, I struggled for a long, long time to finally get comfortable with what he was talking about. Until then, it was like reading a book from a domain about which you know nothing, and you’re quite in the dark. Even as the book went on, the writing continued to be a struggle for me; it was a little too beat-generation, and got in the way of me enjoying the story. I wish I could be excited about this book. I like Morgan’s other books. This one, sadly, not so much.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brian Clegg

    Just occasionally, you come across a book where the way that the characters speak really gives the feel of being immersed in a particular vision of the future. A Clockwork Orange and Neuromancer spring to mind. And Richard Morgan's Thin Air does exactly the same thing. The setting is a familiar one of a future colony on Mars, struggling with the environment, heavy handed corporations and interference from Earth, where enhanced humans endure the harshness of the frontier life. Yet Morgan manages Just occasionally, you come across a book where the way that the characters speak really gives the feel of being immersed in a particular vision of the future. A Clockwork Orange and Neuromancer spring to mind. And Richard Morgan's Thin Air does exactly the same thing. The setting is a familiar one of a future colony on Mars, struggling with the environment, heavy handed corporations and interference from Earth, where enhanced humans endure the harshness of the frontier life. Yet Morgan manages to bring the whole thing to life and make it feel fresh and effective. I'm not usually a fan of chunky books, but despite this being a long read, I never felt that it was longer than it should be. Morgan keeps the pressure up, giving us a mix of thriller and detective story, gradually building a picture of the main character Hak Veil and how his enhancements have influenced his life. There's politics, military conspiracy, plenty of dubious cashflows and more, as, with Veil, we eventually get an understanding of just what is going on and why. Just occasionally the slang and cultural references made things a little difficult to follow. There is one point where we read "See, 'Ris put in." I genuinely thought that this was some kind of futuristic slang reference to Rasputin. In fact, an AI character called Osiris (shortened to 'Ris) has just said 'See.' However, with a bit of 'go with the flow' such things quickly became ironed out. Apart from a couple of arguably gratuitous sex scenes, this is a well-crafted and hugely enjoyable piece of work. It's an easy read, but also engrossing. A heady mix of detective noir with seedy nightclubs, Blade Runner aesthetic and a Martian twist, supported by clever technological concepts. The revelations keep coming right to the end.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patrick St-Denis

    When I heard that Richard Morgan would return to science fiction and that his new novel would be set in the same universe as his bestselling book Thirteen, I was pretty excited. The author's fantasy gig did not turn out to be as appealing as it was meant to be and I was pleased to learn that Morgan would revisit his old stomping grounds. Even better, Thin Air reads as a stand-alone work and there is no need to be conversant with what took place in Thirteen to fully enjoy his latest novel. Do rea When I heard that Richard Morgan would return to science fiction and that his new novel would be set in the same universe as his bestselling book Thirteen, I was pretty excited. The author's fantasy gig did not turn out to be as appealing as it was meant to be and I was pleased to learn that Morgan would revisit his old stomping grounds. Even better, Thin Air reads as a stand-alone work and there is no need to be conversant with what took place in Thirteen to fully enjoy his latest novel. Do read it if you haven't, though, for it is a hell of a book! But you don't have to do it beforehand in order to understand the plot of Thin Air. Here's the blurb: Richard Morgan has always been one of our most successful SF authors with his fast-moving and brutal storylines, blistering plots and a powerful social conscience behind his work. And now he's back, with his first SF novel for eight years . . . and it promises to be a publication to remember. An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part of a colonial audit team investigating a disappeared lottery winner on Mars. But when Madekwe is abducted, and Hakan nearly killed, the investigation takes him farther and deeper than he had ever expected. And soon Hakan discovers the heavy price he may have to pay to learn the truth. In terms of worldbuilding, basically all the action takes place on Mars. And though the colonists' days are over and decades behind, the terraforming process was never a true success on the red planet. I wasn't expecting something as in-depth as what Kim Stanley Robinson produced in his celebrated trilogy, but other than mentions of the different gravity and similar details, Mars and its harsh environment never truly came alive the way I expected them to in this book. If anything, it felt as though this plot could have taken place in any city back on Earth. It's not a disappointment per se, and it doesn't take anything away from the overall reading experience. And yet, the author has accustomed us to more impressive worldbuilding in the past. Hakan Veil is Morgan's typical badass, alpha-male, combat operative protagonist. When he came up with Takeshi Kovacs back in the day, this sort of main character was kind of new and somewhat refreshing. But after all these years and every single one of the author's works featuring a similar protagonist, some readers might find that redundant. Personally, though there is a certain sense of déjà vu regarding the characterization, I had no problem with Veil, for he turned out to be exactly the type of lead this story required. I particularly enjoyed the fact that overriders need to spend months in hibernation, and then wake up in what is known as the "hot" phase. During that period, an overrider like Veil possesses nearly superhuman reflexes and combat abilities. The supporting cast is nothing to write home about, but there are some exceptions such as Madison Madekwe, Nikki Chakana, and Hannu Holmstrom. I could have done without the James Bond-esque sex scenes, but what can you do? It's a Richard Morgan novel, after all! Given its shortcomings, why then did I enjoy Thin Air to such a degree? I guess it has to do with the multilayered and always surprising plot. With the Earth audit supposedly meant to unveil all the corruption that plagues Mars and the subsequent abduction of Veil's charge, every clue that the overrider unveils reveals another twist. There is balls-to-the-wall action scenes, plenty of political intrigue, corruption at every level, and when the proverbial shit hits the fan Hakan Veil doesn't necessarily know who he can trust. Mind you, it's impossible for the reader to solve the various mysteries that make up the plot of this novel, yet it's always interesting and exciting for us to witness Veil connecting the dots. Thin Air does suffer from a few pacing issues, especially due to its slow beginning. But once the author has established the overrider's special "running hot" phase and the main storylines, things quicly pick up and the rhythm moves at the very good clip from here on out. The endgame packs a powerful punch that delivers on all fronts and Morgan caps it all off with an exclamation point with a satisfying ending. Thin Air is nowhere near as good as Altered Carbon, Thirteen, or Broken Angels turned out to be. And yet, given Richard Morgan's talent and originality, even not at his best he can produce better and more engaging books than most of his peers writing today. Moreover, I believe it's unfair to expect everything he writes to capture the imagination of the masses the way he did with Altered Carbon. In the end, if you're looking for an action-packed scifi thriller with a decidedly convoluted plot featuring a kick-ass main character, look no further. Thin Air is exactly what the doctor ordered! For more reviews, check out www.fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com

  26. 5 out of 5

    El_Commutador

    As a general rule, I do love audiobooks, where voice actors add their art to the writer's, similar to the way in which artist and writer blend together in a comic book, to make something bigger and better that the sum of its parts. But, sometimes, I don't click with the voice actor, so I find myself disliking a book I'd otherwise love. These have happened me a few (but painful) times. Until I got to Colin Mace's performance @Thin Air: sometimes I couldn't follow him, sometimes I absolutely loved As a general rule, I do love audiobooks, where voice actors add their art to the writer's, similar to the way in which artist and writer blend together in a comic book, to make something bigger and better that the sum of its parts. But, sometimes, I don't click with the voice actor, so I find myself disliking a book I'd otherwise love. These have happened me a few (but painful) times. Until I got to Colin Mace's performance @Thin Air: sometimes I couldn't follow him, sometimes I absolutely loved his voice. The end result is positive, though, so I look forward to give a try to another book read by him (See what I did here? Writer leads to voice actor who leads to a different writer... and so on). What about the book, by the way? It's the usual (and gritty, bloody and sexually wet) Richard K. Morgan's stuff. If you are into it, read the book. If you disliked a previous book by RKM, don't read it. If you have never read a book by him, come here after reading Altered Carbon, The Steel Remains and Market Forces.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tonya

    Wow, I really did not know what to expect when I started reading Thin Air over the past couple of days. I had heard great things about Altered Carbon, and have it on my list to read (and watch). Thin Air definitely kept my interest... I felt like I had come into the middle of the story, and thankfully I was intrigued enough to keep going because that was seriously the beginning!!! Futuristic sci-fi at its best, author Richard Morgan gives it all to us with action, sex, head spinning twisty plot, Wow, I really did not know what to expect when I started reading Thin Air over the past couple of days. I had heard great things about Altered Carbon, and have it on my list to read (and watch). Thin Air definitely kept my interest... I felt like I had come into the middle of the story, and thankfully I was intrigued enough to keep going because that was seriously the beginning!!! Futuristic sci-fi at its best, author Richard Morgan gives it all to us with action, sex, head spinning twisty plot, remarkable dialogue, and quite the rush as the reader gets caught up in the story!I highly recommend Thin Air for a different type of sci fi that is edgy, This novel is deep and layered and I love that!!!! Hakan Veil is offered the chance to go back to Earth and all he has to do in exchange is be a bodyguard. With his high tech enhanced body, this should be a breeze but we all know it isn't going to be that easy. I can't wait to hear what you thought of Thin Air!! Thank you to NetGalley, Richard K Morgan., and Random House Publishing Group- Ballatine for the ARC of Thin Air for me to devour and review. As always, my opinions are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Will

    Okay, so first of all, I won an ARC of this and that's why I have it. Second, well... It wasn't great. Not even really all that good. Thin Air has its moments, but uh. Not enough of them. Few and far between. As usual, Morgan tosses the reader in blind and lets them catch up. The 'lingo, the terms, the plot; pretty much figure it out yourself. It worked in Altered Carbon, and to a lesser extent in Thirt3en. It doesn't work in Thin Air. Not enough is explained, well, ever. Some things are, but most Okay, so first of all, I won an ARC of this and that's why I have it. Second, well... It wasn't great. Not even really all that good. Thin Air has its moments, but uh. Not enough of them. Few and far between. As usual, Morgan tosses the reader in blind and lets them catch up. The 'lingo, the terms, the plot; pretty much figure it out yourself. It worked in Altered Carbon, and to a lesser extent in Thirt3en. It doesn't work in Thin Air. Not enough is explained, well, ever. Some things are, but mostly after I'd already worked them out. It was really hard to get into the story when you weren't sure what exactly was going on. And meanwhile the story... well, it started slow. "It all started with an audit", is not exactly a phrase I'd use to begin a techno-thriller. So, points for originality. Sadly, no points for execution. The audit remains the focus for waaaay too long. And the plot twists, when they come, are too condensed to keep the story moving smoothly. I'll sit on the rating for a little, as mostly right now I'm just disappointed by Thin Air. It took too long for me to read, too much effort, too little excitement, too little fun. And I didn't even have to pay for the bloody thing. Full-er review to come. Probably. At the moment... 2/5 stars. I wouldn't recommend it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carla Patterson

    I've been hoping for another novel from Morgan which was scifi more than fantasy and here it is. The story was complex and layered, made all kinds of sense, and included some really great near future developments. The universe it is set in is sort of like those of Takeshi Kovacks and The Black Man (Thirteen), without it feeling too close to either of them to be populated with either. The writing is as beautiful and evocative as ever and there were many characters to respond to emotionally coveri I've been hoping for another novel from Morgan which was scifi more than fantasy and here it is. The story was complex and layered, made all kinds of sense, and included some really great near future developments. The universe it is set in is sort of like those of Takeshi Kovacks and The Black Man (Thirteen), without it feeling too close to either of them to be populated with either. The writing is as beautiful and evocative as ever and there were many characters to respond to emotionally covering a full spectrum of reasons why. Morgan's characters are too complex and well-drawn to be two-dimensional so they never bore me. The main character's thoughts, reactions, and memories take the reader through the story from beginning to end so, if you are willing to follow him through the looking glass, you will enjoy this book. I don't want to say more because I don't want to hide this review because of spoilers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Morgan, Richard K. Thin Air. Gollancz, 2018. Richard K. Morgan, the author of Altered Carbon, now gives us something a bit more near future. Set on a partially terraformed Mars where deep areas like Valles Marineris have been given a breathable atmosphere, Thin Air is a hardboiled mystery thriller. It features a complex political back story that will please fans of Game of Thrones and The Expanse series. Our protagonist calls himself Veil—and don’t call him Mr. Veil. He is a genetically modified Morgan, Richard K. Thin Air. Gollancz, 2018. Richard K. Morgan, the author of Altered Carbon, now gives us something a bit more near future. Set on a partially terraformed Mars where deep areas like Valles Marineris have been given a breathable atmosphere, Thin Air is a hardboiled mystery thriller. It features a complex political back story that will please fans of Game of Thrones and The Expanse series. Our protagonist calls himself Veil—and don’t call him Mr. Veil. He is a genetically modified deep space security agent who has been involuntarily “retired” to mars and has had to go freelance. His modifications include an implanted tactical AI, vision enhancements that aid in lie detection, and a bunch of Robocop-style built in weaponry. Unfortunately, many of the villains are well-organized and well-equipped. The book has all the action anyone could want and lots of inventive tech detail. Highly recommended.

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