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Black Man (GOLLANCZ S.F.) [Hardcover]

Richard Morgan
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 May 2007 GOLLANCZ S.F.

One hundred years from now, and against all the odds, Earth has found a new stability; the political order has reached some sort of balance, and the new colony on Mars is growing. But the fraught years of the 21st century have left an uneasy legacy . . .

Genetically engineered alpha males, designed to fight the century's wars have no wars to fight and are surplus to requirements. And a man bred and designed to fight is a dangerous man to have around in peacetime. Many of them have left for Mars but now one has come back and killed everyone else on the shuttle he returned in.

Only one man, a genengineered ex-soldier himself, can hunt him down and so begins a frenetic man-hunt and a battle survival. And a search for the truth about what was really done with the world's last soldiers.

BLACK MAN is an unstoppable SF thriller but it is also a novel about predjudice, about the ramifications of playing with our genetic blue-print. It is about our capacity for violence but more worrying, our capacity for deceit and corruption.

This is another landmark of modern SF from one of its most exciting and commercial authors.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; First Edition edition (17 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575075139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575075139
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Morgan is 39 and was, until his writing career took off, a tutor at Strathclyde University in the English Language Teaching division. He has travelled widely and lived in Spain and Istanbul. He is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Product Description


Since his ferocious debut novel Altered Carbon roared into town, Richard Morgan has been at the forefront of this breed of full-on, edgy science fiction, and his latest tech-noir thriller is also looking dangerously like his best yet. Smart, gripping, and downright indispensable¿ the search for the best sci-fi thriller of 2007 might just have come to an end¿ (SFX)

¿Richard Morgan writes pumped-up steroid fuelled cyber punk. This is an unashamedly male, rip-roaring boy¿s own thriller for the 21st century. If Andy McNab ate a year¿s worth of issues of New Scientist, this is the kind of stuff he might write afterwards. Black Man is kick-ass SF from the hard end of the spectrum.¿ (DEATHRAY)

Brilliantly plotted and unremittingly violent. (Eric Brown THE GUARDIAN)

BLACK MAN is exciting and extremely violent but is driven by passionate moral concerns. (Lisa Tuttle THE TIMES)

Richard Morgan has produced a stunning book with this girtty tech-noir thriller. Exciting and thought-provoking, this is destined to be a science fiction classic. (ABERDEEN EVENING EXPRESS)

There are some aspects of BLACK MAN which are strikingly effective. As always, he writes action well. (Anthony Brown STARBURST)

"He certainly knows how to write a cracking yarn. It grabs hold of you and won't let go." (Dave Golder BBC Focus)

This is his best since Altered Carbon. (EDGE)

Book Description

The sensational new thriller from the international bestselling star of SF combines a savage man-hunt with speculation on the dangers of genetic engineering.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
If you've read Richard Morgan's other sci-fi novels, especially those featuring Takeshi Kovacs, then you might think twice about picking up Black Man. It's set in a different scenario and Kovacs (a compelling and complicated character) is no where to be found. So the unfamiliar setting and the weird cover design (it almost seems deliberately constructed to distance this book from Morgan's established series) might sway you to put down Black Man and buy something else instead.
The world of Black Man is another brilliantly constructed, plausible near future. It's scarily close to ours, so many of the superstates are recognisable evolutions of the current political structure. America has fractured into a bible-belt 'JesusLand' and the Union. The major global superpower is the Rim (the Pacific Rim). The technology is based on extrapolations of what we have now -- evercrete replaces concrete, and coffee comes in instant-heat containers -- but the majority of the players are still humans. Just.
There's a colony growing on Mars, corporate influence corrupting the push into space, space-elevators lifting raw materials to and from the surface of earth into low orbit, and shuttle running on the long, long journey to and from Mars.

Into this situation come a set of believable characters; the augmented, hyped-up 'good' guy; the demobbed uber-soldier spawned by genetic experiment who shouldn't be on earth but is; the weary, chemical-assisted police woman. Their paths knit together as the plot progresses -- and Morgan nevers shies away from hot-blooded action and eye-raising plot twists. The only downside is the sheer volume of new stuff which is slung at the reader in the first couple of chapters; you have to get up to speed with a whole new universe pretty quickly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sure to upset, but that was probably the point 13 Feb 2011
This book is set about 100 years in the future, where the USA have imploded into three separate states; one Pacific facing, high tec and efficient, one liberal, internationalist in the north east and one seemingly sprung from today's Tea Party fundamentalists, with a touch of good ole racist red-neck thrown in for good measure. China is the world's super power and Europe has managed to bumble its way through to keeping the EU in one piece. Mankind has gone through some obviously troubling regional wars, where genetically bred soldiers were used in a failed attempt at supremacy. One of these genetic variants, a "13", is now globally illegal and can only legally live on Mars where there is an international colony involved in terraforming the red planet.

The protagonist, Carl Marsalis is one of these 13s, a mercenary hunting other rogue 13s living on earth. Worn out, he lands in jail in Jesusland, the poorest and most backward but biggest remnant of the old USA but is hauled out to solve a series of murders perpetrated by a rogue 13 who has stolen a spaceship from Mars, casually eating all the inhabitants on the way, and then crashing that craft into the sea near the Pacific Rim, the most modern of the successor states to the USA. Marsalis teams up with an ex-cop, Sevgi Eretkin to solve the murders and the rest of the book winds its way through a particularly gruesome plot and a heartbreaking, but poetic ending.

The novel was written at a time when the US had invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, but when both wars were starting to unravel and when George Bush and his folksy, quasi-religious brand of American conservatism were almost universally reviled across the globe. The 2004 elections in the USA were under way and the polarisation of American society had really started to take off.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Might be the scifi book of the year! 10 Jun 2007
Carl Marsalis is a variant Thirteen -- one of the genetically engineered subjects of a failed government/military program to create the deadliest of soldiers. He is now a hit man with a UN mandate to find and dispatch rogue Thirteens. The problem is that Carl has lost the will to kill. When a job takes a turn for the worse and he's arrested in Miami, Carl believes that he can now leave his troubled past behind him. Unbeknownst to him, what appears to be a mentally unstable Thirteen returns from Mars and crashes the ship he's on in the Pacific, only to reappear later and leave a trail of corpses in his wake for no apparent reason. Soon afterward, government officials show up to bail Carl out of jail. In exchange, they want his expertise to help them deal what those seemingly random murders. Unfortunately, it won't take long for him to realize that there is much more to this than meets the eye.

Morgan's writing style and his fine eye for details make the narrative leap off the pages. The author truly knows how to make the story come alive, and I found the imagery quite compelling.

The worldbuilding is interesting, though Morgan doesn't delve too much on how it all came to pass. The USA have imploded and the country has split into three separate States: the Pacific Rim, the North Atlantic Union, and the Republic, also known as Jesusland. China is now a superpower and the rest of the world appears hard-pressed to keep up with them. It is a fascinating backdrop, to be sure, and it's too bad Richard Morgan didn't spend a bit more time explaining how it all unfolded.

The characterizations are well-done, the dialogues gritty. The author knows how to keep the readers interested by allowing us to learn more about the characters by increments.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars OnTipToes
Generally enjoy Morgan but not this one. It reads as if he is writing beyond his research/understanding of the subject matter - the narrative reads like an explanation Morgan is... Read more
Published 11 hours ago by OnTipToes
1.0 out of 5 stars I am annoyed
I am really really annoyed. I bought this because I thought it was a sequel/prequel to "thirteen". But it is the same thing. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Rohit (NZ)
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Ideas in Need of an Edit and a Rewrite
This book was a diaappointment after his novel AlteredCarbon which I rated as highly intelligent and innovative SF. Read more
Published 15 months ago by John Baxter
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great book. Fast shipping and a joy to read. I recommend it highly and hope you enjoy reading it as much as me
Published 18 months ago by A. Chatterjee
5.0 out of 5 stars This book won the 2008 Arthur C Clarke Award
I read Richard Morgans first book altered carbon and loved it enough to accidentally buy 2 copies of his next book, which i still haven't ready :P Having read most of classics over... Read more
Published 22 months ago by R. Desai
5.0 out of 5 stars Good solid SF
I was hoping for a new Takeshi Kovacs novel but I found this instead. It's more gritty and an equally good read. Recommended.
Published 22 months ago by Alan Bell
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
A very well written book that's a big improvement on some of the author's other work but still not up to the standards of Altered Carbon. Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2012 by Hampshire J
2.0 out of 5 stars It's just not the same withoug Kovacs
I'll cut to the chase. I didn't enjoy this book. It wasn't anything like as bad as Market Forces, but not as good as other people I've spoken too have said they thought it was. Read more
Published on 11 April 2012 by Mr. Paul J. Grenyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and brilliant
I delayed buying this book for a long time as a long-time fan of the Takeshi Kovacs novels who was seriously put off by the dull summary of Black Man on these pages. Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2012 by Z de MC
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Tech-Noir.
I bought this on a recommendation from Amazon's robots, because they'd spotted that I like William Gibson - especially the earlier, more action-y stuff. Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2012 by mikey
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