Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Five humans turned weapons of science fiction

Karen Osborne is the author of Architects of Memory and Engines of Oblivion from Tor Books. Her short fiction appears in Uncanny, Clarkesworld, Fireside, Escape Pod, Robot Dinosaurs, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She is a member of the DC/MD-based Homespun Ceilidh Band, emcees the Charm City Spec reading series, and once won a major event filmmaking award for taping a Klingon wedding.

Osborne lives in Baltimore, MD, with two violins, an autoharp, five cameras, two cats and a family.

At the Tor/Forge Blog she tagged five favorite science fiction humans turned weapons, including:
Takeshi Kovacs and the Envoys — Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

In Morgan’s cyberpunk world, people are virtually immortal. Human minds are separated from bodies to be “re-sleeved” at will. Takeshi Kovacs was a criminal before he was a member of the United Nations Envoy Corps, a group of supersoldiers who aren’t trained as much as conditioned, able to achieve superhuman feats partially because their conditioning strips them of all inhibitions when it comes to violence. (There’s a reason Envoys are prohibited from holding public office.)

When Kovacs leaves the service, he becomes a criminal again, and his recidivism is understandable. It’s impossible for a post-conditioning Envoy to live a normal life. There’s no bumpy transition back to a civilian world because the changes to his mind make it impossible for him to become a civilian. Kovacs is arrested and imprisoned in digital storage for years before being resurrected to work hazardous private-eye gigs, because if there’s something a human weapon knows how to do, it’s dueling spy operatives, blowing out airships, and taking out mob bosses—while getting reincarnated to do it over and over again.

Kovacs, of course, finds his place in it. After all, he’s a weapon now.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Altered Carbon is among Nick Petrie's top nine science fiction novels built on the chassis of crime fiction, Neal Asher's top five favorite about achieving immortality, Ernest Cline’s ten favorite SF novels, Jeff Somers's five books that lived up to the hype, Lauren Davis's ten most depressing futuristic retirement scenarios in science fiction and Charlie Jane Anders's top ten science fiction novels that pack more action than most summer movies and top 10 science fiction detective novels of all time.

--Marshal Zeringue