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Altered Carbon: Sex as a Cyberweapon

Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs' new body. Martha Higareda as officer Kristin Ortega. Dichen Lachman as Reileen Kawahara Hannah Rose May as a newly awoken synth. Martha Higareda and Joel Kinnaman as Kristin Ortega and Takeshi Kovacs

Most cultures are shy or defensive regarding the naked human form, but a far flung future where bodies are upgradable and replaceable — at least where wealth will allow — would have little need for modesty. Such is the setting for Altered Carbon, a gritty, sex soaked cyberpunk mystery.

Freedom fighter or terrorist Takeshi Kovacs wakes up from a hundred year sleep to find his war lost and his comrades forgotten. He’s also in a body that’s not his own, and compelled to uncover whoever killed his newfound benefactor’s last body. As Takeshi weaves his way through this mystery, he makes many enemies, a few friends, and seeks answers about his own ‘death’ all those years ago.

World building is a bit limited in Altered Carbon, focusing primarily on the pivotal body swapping technology and cyberpunk staples of artificial intelligence and virtual realities, but these elements are more than enough to propel the story and create a brave new broken world for the characters to inhabit.

Casual sex and incidental nudity may be ploys to engage a certain desired demographic, and while it’s occasionally startling, it doesn’t seem overly exploitative or out of context. When bodies are swapped on a whim, is it really a concern who sees or fondles it? We may find out soon enough!

Written by in May of 2018. Last edited May 2018.

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