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    • I am 3 episodes into the second season of Altered Carbon, and having read all the books, I'm quite disappointed. Not only by the way they put the hatchet to the plot lines and twists and mixed and matched stuff, but by the overwhelming dumbing down of the narrative. The execution is almost flawless, but it has been made to feel hollow, castrated.

      This opinion on Vice echoes my feelings on it:

      If anyone else is watching, what are your thoughts? (no spoilers, please, for the sake of those who didn't read the books and/or wants to enjoy the show as it unfolds anyways).

    • I was really looking forward to the first series. Not having read the books I had no preconceptions and was very interested in the premise.

      For reasons I don't fully understand myself, the TV show totally failed to hold my interest. I don't know why, but when faced with watching an episode of AC I just thought my time would be better spent elsewhere.

      What makes this odd is that I am a real sci-fi enthusiast, so it should have been right up my street. Needless to say, series 2 has not been explored.

      By contrast I have been watching Westworld, where there is some overlapping premise, and I have been totally engrossed by it.

      No such thing as a "sure" thing, I guess....

    • I think my Science Fiction series sensibilities may be similar to your own.

      It’s weird, but I tried to get into “hard science fiction” shows like Altered Carbon and The Expanse but they failed to interest me like they have @mbravo and @Pathfinder.

      In researching Altered Carbon, I see that it’s based on a Cyberpunk novel. I could never get into the writings of the cyberpunk authors, even though there is a huge fan following for it. So perhaps that’s my bias against what appear to be two very well-crafted series.

    • cyberpunk authors

      Cyberpunk is not necessarily a stigma :) William Gibson sort of invented the term, but he is not limited by it. If you haven't tried Pattern Recognition, I highly recommend.

    • I really liked season 1, but didn't have time to check season 2 yet. Are you only disappointed with the new season, or were you already disappointed with last season based on your book knowledge?

    • Oh, I didn’t mean it as a stigma. Not at all.

      I grew up as a science fiction fan of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke, and others of the 1950s to 1980s literary eras.

      And then the 1990s came around. There were quite a few female SF writers who I gravitated to in short story collections and/or novels: Nancy Kress and Connie Willis come immediately to mind. I also read several of Orscon Scott’s Ender’s Game series.

      But the Cyperpunk writing was almost alien to me. SF has always been about what can happen if the setting is outer space or far in to the future. I’ve never been interested in knowing how or why the dilythium crystal interstellar drive worked, just that it got the heroes from point A to point B. Cyperpunk, however, would go into incredible detail on the technology that shaped the character’s reality: think the authors behind Johnny Neumonic and The Matrix.

      It’s not about skill set: I have no doubt that William Gibson is an outstanding writer in the same way that Stephen King is. But given the choice I’d prefer to read a different sub-genre of science fiction.

      I suspect that’s what feels the most frustrating about the second season of your series: they successfully established the characters and the world they inhabit in season one, so the possibilities for season two should be far beyond what you’ve been given instead.

      Sometimes a SF series will escalate the conflict so many times, and with so many different characters added, that by the end of the third or fourth season it has no real path to continue on. Dark Matter is a good example: the show’s conflict could’ve been resolved at the end of season two, but they created a new conflict that felt like an excuse to continue for another season. 12 Monkeys ran into similar difficulties, although there were many fans who happily continued to watch after the end of season three.

      But to run out of creative storylines after only one season would be incredibly frustrating. My condolences on the disappointment.

    • I'm currently somewhere at the half-point of the season 2. Having never read the books, I'm quite ok with it. There is a hint of a sense that they re-arranged quite a lot of parts, but having no burden of 'the right way' (as depicted in the books) I can let it slide and just enjoy the show.

    • It’s weird, but I tried to get into “hard science fiction” shows like Altered Carbon and The Expanse but they failed to interest me like they have @mbravo and @Pathfinder.

      In researching Altered Carbon, I see that it’s based on a Cyberpunk novel.

      Hm, I try to tread carefully over here, and not step on any toes, but I think some clarification of terms is in order here...

      Hard SF would be a genre of SF that insists on the science part of SF. So: no faster than light travel, no breaking of conservation of mass/energy, no unobtanium, no dropping of random sciencey/technical jargon to hand-wave problems away (like Star Trek does, for example). In that sense I would not count Altered Carbon as hard SF (primarily the whole 'stacks' tech - although I admit I haven't read the books, there might be attempts to explain the basis for it - TV series certainly didn't delve into it). The Expanse - yes, that is Hard SF, and pretty apparent in the TV series itself (space battles are a joy to watch for physics literate, for example). Pretty much any Neil Stephenson book is hard SF (Seveneves being the prime example, I'd say).

      Cyberpunk is somewhat orthogonal to the whole hard/soft SF axis. IMHO, cyberpunk is best characterised by the line from Burning Chrome: "the street finds its own uses for things" (i.e. technology). Meaning that unlike much of the early SF where technologies exist in and of themselves, cyberpunk tries to imagine what would the second order, unintended consequences of technology be. Especially, how will it impact and be used by the people on the fringe of society? One example Gibson himself frequently uses: you can invent instant communication devices (pagers), but the cyberpunk thing is to realise that it will transform the way drug trade operates.

    • I'm only so very slightly allergic to rearrangements (if done tastefully which is, IMHO, not the case here), but my biggest gripe is that they lost the whole spirit of the book(s) and made it into a syrupy FX action flick, where even the cultural accents quite masterfully daubed in the books (Yakuza/Japanese, Takeshi's eastern-European half, the whole deCom subculture, etc) are very much bunched in one mauve spot.

    • Yep, I'm sure I would be seriously annoyed if I read the books. Thankfully, I did not. Ignorance FTW! ;-)