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Feb 13, 2018

Altered Carbon’s Blade Runner rehash misses the point of cyberpunk

Netflix’s new science fiction TV series Altered Carbon ticks all the boxes for a modern-day cyberpunk series. Based on a 2002 novel by Richard K. Morgan, it’s about a hardboiled investigator named Takeshi Kovacs who lives in a world where human consciousness can be stored on a chip called a “stack,” and transferred between bodies (now known as “sleeves.”) The rich have effectively become immortal, sequestering themselves far above the gritty streets of futuristic San Francisco. The masses use flashing holograms to sell copious sex, drugs, and violence, beneath a perpetually dark and rainy sky. The series offers a Blade Runner-tinged aesthetic that many people adore, me included.

But that aesthetic, paradoxically, is why Altered Carbon...

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