With his third novel Market Forces
, Richard Morgan moves from the far-future SF violence of Altered Carbon
and Broken Angels
to almost equally extreme corporate violence in the mid-21st century. The hero, or antihero, Chris Faulkner is a rising executive in a Britain where the gap between suits and the underclass is huger than ever. Both promotion and competitive tendering in the cut-throat world of Conflict Investment (arms dealing) are settled by duels to the death: "Road-raging is here to stay."
The action happens in the nearly derelict arena of our motorway system--an executive playground--since the lower orders can no longer afford petrol. Individual drivers or teams manoeuvre to run the opposition permanently off the road in a Mad Max frenzy, no mercy asked or given. At first, Faulkner has a black mark for taking a defeated opponent to hospital instead of finishing the kill. He won't make that mistake again. After all, the latest management status symbol is the exclusive Nemesis-10 handgun.
International business decisions are tough ("Regime change is our worst-case scenario"), and there's no longer any safe distance between boardroom decisions and blood on the streets. As a big deal with revolutionary South American factions goes badly wrong, both careers and lives are on the line. This deadly game still has some rules of conduct, but getting to the top means pushing the envelope. Faulkner pushes hard enough to make you wince.
With terminal stress on his marriage, his battered conscience, and his few friendships, our man seems doomed to become either a monster or a mutilated corpse. Company backstabbing intensifies; the stakes are higher with each new challenge. One chancy way out of the rat race is offered, but maybe it's possible to get addicted to living on the edge?
An ultra-black, ultra-violent and intensely depressing vision of 2049's amoral Masters of the World. Compulsive reading for the un-squeamish; you can almost hear Michael Moore saying "I told you so". --David Langford
His writing and dialogue are still as sharp as flick-knives... this is a real fast-forward thriller from a major talent. -- John Jarrold SFX It's a bleak, violent portrait of a world which is only a few heartbeats and regime changes from our own. Imagine Michael Moore, George Orwell and Philip K Dick collaborating on a novel and you're halfway to realising what a mind-blowing book this is. -- George Walkley Ink Magazine Morgan's depictions of road battles are truly stunning -- I challenge you to fold the page and put the book down in the middle of one -- you simply can't do it. Another "Certificate 18" killer read that you'd be a fool to miss! -- Stuart Carter Infinity Plus This near future thriller starts with a bang and immediately we know that we are once more in the company of the UK's freshest and hardest hitting of the new wave genre writers. Morgan's writing is as explosive and energized as one could hope for. This is an accessible and intensely exciting work. By far the sharpest book I've read in the last year, Market Forces is highly recommended. -- John Berlyne SFRevu
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.