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wealhtheow

wealhtheow

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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Thirteen (Th1rte3n) - Richard K. Morgan Carl Marsalis seems like a lucky man. Thirty-odd years ago the US and UK created genetically modified soldiers, called "Thirteens", but when public horror shut the project down, the Thirteens were put into camps or shipped off to Mars. Carl is one of the few permitted to roam free--on the condition that he hunt down other Thirteens, who have left their reservations without permission. His latest mission is to stop Merrin, a Thirteen who tortured, ate, and mutilated the corpses of his fellow passengers on a flight from Mars.

Despite the thriller plot, the majority of this book was actually a slow slog for me. The characters (especially, but not only, Carl) communicate mostly in several-page rants whose main points seem to be how tough the speaker is, how hard they've had it, and how terribly unfair the world is. And it is a terrible world! Morgan is master at creating dystopias and the hard-bitten noir types who survive in them. But I can only read so many monologues per chapter, and each of the characters is so disheartened, jaded and unhappy that reading their thoughts was a drag. The other problem is that the first 400+ pages are just Carl and his various police and COLIN partners taking suborb flights all over the world to try to intimidate and threaten various underworld types (most of whom get monologues of their own). It seems very pointless. Now, all that time bumbling around does actually have a point, because all the while Morgan is dropping hints and clues to a worldwide conspiracy. In the final few chapters, all of it comes tumbling together into a beautiful solution that makes sense of everything, even bits I didn't realize had confused me before.

I really was impressed by the mystery/thriller writing--it's some of the best I've seen. But it couldn't make up for how unpleasant I found hyper-masculine Carl, nor how bored I was by the sentence fragments that make up the narration.