Have you read: Future is grim in ‘Market Forces’
August 18, 2005
“Market Forces” by Richard K. Morgan
Once in a great while a novel arrives that both projects into the future and reflects the current times. Richard K. Morgan’s latest novel, “Market Forces,” is that novel. Morgan’s previous two novels, “Altered Carbon” and “Broken Angles,” center on the character Takeshi Kovachs. Kovachs, a mercenary/private investigator, exists in a world where people could die, only to be “re-sleeved” into another body, allowing people to live for very long periods of time, provided they have lots of money. In “Market Forces,” Morgan departs from his very successful outings with Kovachs, and enters a world where making a profit at all costs is the bottom line, and war is a yet another commodity that is to be traded for profit.
Set in the near future of 2049, the roadways are now an extreme version of today’s Southern California highways: a high speed free-for-all where armed drivers try to do each other in. The class schism has deepened to a great abyss, where the “haves” live in defended encampments, and the rest of the world lives in violence-ridden poverty. Corporations have virtually replaced governments in their ability to cause power shifts. In short, the world that Morgan has created is not a far step away from what we see developing now.
At the heart of “Market Forces” is the character Chris Faulkner. Faulkner is a man whose moral compass has gone awry, but hasn’t totally broken. He specializes in corporate work where promotions are literally based on eliminating the competition. We see his life spiral downward to a point where he either regains or totally loses his sense of humanity. His wife struggles to keep him human, but all the other forces in his life pull him farther and farther from what little humanity he has left.
As usual, Morgan writes in a poetic style that fully engages the reader. “Market Forces” can be a bit heavy-handed at times, but its message of our possible future is very potent. “Market Forces” will both entertain and provoke readers.
– Mark Dulyanai is a Friend of the South Lake Tahoe Library.