Richard K. Morgan is a science fiction and fantasy author of books such as Thin Air, The Cold Commands, and Market Forces.
But perhaps his most famous work is Altered Carbon which won the 2003 Philip K. Dick award and was a New York Times Notable Book.
The movie rights were optioned by Warner Bros on publication, but instead, it became a two-season series on Netflix. The second season is based on Altered Carbon’s sequels, Broken Angels and Woken Furies.
The author grew up in Norfolk, England, and attended Queens’ College, Cambridge studying modern languages and history. After graduation, he began working in Istanbul as an English language teacher.
After 14 years and a stint teaching at the University of Strathclyde, Morgan had his first book published and quit teaching to become a full-time writer.
Richard K. Morgan currently lives in the UK with his Spanish wife and their son, only five miles from where he grew up and is still writing.
If you are a fan of the books of science-fiction author Richard K. Morgan then you are sure to really enjoy the work of Neal Stephenson, and Iain M. Banks. Check out which of these authors’ books you need to read next.
Books By Richard K. Morgan
Richard K. Morgan’s debut book Altered Carbon was published in 2002 and was a cross-genre of cyberpunk and detective fiction. Its antihero, Takeshi Kovacs also features in the sequels, Broken Angels and Woken Furies.
His fantasy trilogy of A Land Fit For Heroes includes The Steel Remains, The Cold Commands, and The Dark Defiles featuring a gay protagonist, Ringil Eskiath. This trilogy inspired a game of the same name for phones and PC.
There have been two novels in the Black Man series with a third due in 2023. The first book of this series was initially called Black Man but was released as Thirteen in the US and later in the UK under the same title.
The sequel was released eleven years later as Thin Air with the third upcoming book titled Gone Machine.
Market Forces is a stand-alone novel that Morgan worked on after he wrote Altered Carbon and Broken Angels. It was originally intended as a short story, then developed into a screenplay, and finally published as a novel.
The thread running through most of Richard K. Morgan’s work is the idea that regardless of the intention of great plans and visionary movements, there will always be exploitation and oppression of the masses by the powerful and wealthy elite.
The primary settings of Morgan’s world are typically dystopian with the Takeshi Kovacs novels having a post-extropianism view where technology will help people to enjoy immortality.
Morgan’s books are a mixture of fantasy, science fiction, and detective novels which are hard-hitting, violent, and explicit.
But there is a deep philosophical train of thought underpinning them all. His strength lies in successfully and believably blending genres.
Authors Like Richard K. Morgan
Neal Stephenson is an American author, known for his speculative fiction. His works fall into similar categories as Richard K. Morgan with cyberpunk, science fiction, and historical fiction among the genres he contributes to (If you like historical fiction, check out Fantastic Books Like The White Queen).
Stephenson also writes non-fiction for technology publications such as The Wired and collaborates with his uncle George Jewsbury under the collective pseudonym Stephen Bury.
He has also worked with Jeff Bezos in his company Blue Origin, which developed a spacecraft and launch system.
Stephenson’s first two novels, The Big U and Zodiac were not hugely successful but did point to the direction his future work would take.
In 1992, his breakthrough came with Snow Crash, a fusion of cyberpunk, memetics, and Sumerian mythology. This book coined the word Metaverse, which would later inspire the inventors of Google Earth.
In 1999, Stephenson’s novel Cryptonomicon was published. The book included concepts from cryptography to establishing a haven for data. In 2013, the novel won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award.
The work is often credited with depicting the basis of cryptocurrency. A series of 17th and 18th-century historical hovels called The Baroque Cycle was the author’s next work and is seen as a prequel to Cryptonomicon.
More recently, Stephenson has published Termination Shock, which is a climate fiction novel based on solar geoengineering.
Neal Stephenson’s books are quite similar in theme to the work of Richard K. Morgan with cross-genres and a heavy leaning toward speculative fiction.
Both authors introduce philosophical and sociological aspects into their work combined with intriguing plot lines and complex characters.
- Neal Stephenson is an excellent writer who combines his knowledge of physics, and technology to create elaborate yet believable stories and concepts.
His work doesn’t just include fiction but also non-fiction, and video games, and has introduced words and concepts into 21st-century life.
- The plots of Stephenson’s books tend to be quite elaborate with a heavily complex plot and character detail.
Themes: complex characters, science fiction, historical fiction
Iain M. Banks
Iain M. Banks was born and grew up in Scotland, the son of a professional ice skater and Admiralty officer. He was introduced to science fiction at a young age and began writing at the age of eleven.
Having studied English, philosophy, and psychology at the University of Stirling he continued writing with his first mainstream fiction book The Wasp Factory published in 1984.
It is a dark psychological work that was extremely polarizing in the literary world due to its subject. As a science fiction writer, he assumed the middle initial M to distinguish between these works and his mainstream fiction.
Under this name, he wrote Consider Phlebas which was published in 1987. This was the first book in his Culture series. He continued to write a book for a year drawing influence from Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert A. Heinlein.
Banks’ work The Crow Road was adapted for television by the BBC in 1992. By the time he died in 2013, Banks had published 26 novels.
His works are some of the most powerful, and innovative of his particular generation, and he has served as an inspiration for upcoming science fiction writers.
Banks won or received nominations for over 25 literary awards between 1988 and 2013. Banks in his science fiction, builds elaborate worlds and civilizations while still delivering the action and adventure that readers want.
But he manages to introduce his commentary and philosophy of this world through his writing. The Culture series is commonly said to fall into the genre of space opera, which is a play on the idea of TV soap operas.
But this is simply a Trojan horse for Banks’ left-wing politics and hidden reflections on imperialism and civilization.
- Banks was a multi-award-winning author of both mainstream and science fiction (If you like science fiction, check out Ready Player One and other books like it).
- He preferred writing science fiction of which thirteen were published including nine as part of the acclaimed Culture series.
- Some readers find his science fiction writing complex on first reading. Consider Phlebas is complex and multilayered.
Themes: science fiction, elaborate settings, politics
Richard K. Morgan shares many similarities with Neal Stephenson and Iain M. Banks as all created science fiction works that are still impactful today.
All three have had a significant influence on the genre as well as in video games and even space flight.
Both Morgan and Stephenson share the impulse to cross genres while creating complex worlds complete with philosophical and sociological commentary. Morgan and Banks share a tendency to create brutal and violent storylines.
The genre of science fiction and fantasy (If you like the fantasy and science fiction genre, check out the works of Authors Like Charles Stross) is escapism but also serves as a mirror on the world and societies we currently live in.
It allows the imagination of the authors to construct societies that comment on their own belief systems and political stance.
If you enjoy the work of Richard K. Morgan you will love the books penned by both Neal Stephenson and Iain M. Banks.
The depth of the research that Stephenson employs for some of his work is incredible and will certainly impress any speculative fiction fan.
The late Iain M. Banks loved to write science fiction more than the mainstream fiction he also wrote and that shows in his Culture series which is still hugely popular.
Between these two authors, you have the choice of more than fifty books of incredible science fiction to read.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Altered Carbon Books Are There?
There are three books in the Takeshi Kovacs series of books by Richard K. Morgan. The order is Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies.
What Did Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash Predict?
Set in the early 21st century, this science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson predicted the metaverse as well as hyperinflation and a bleak future more than 30 years ago.
What Order Should I Read The Culture Series?
The Culture series are stand-alone novels and can be read in any order, not necessarily the order they were written or published in, although this may help with occasional references.
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