REVIEW: ‘Altered Carbon’ does justice to cyberpunk, tech-noir genres

Wade Ronspies watches and reviews movies and TV shows in Lincoln, Nebraska. Cyberpunk is, without a doubt, one of my favorite genres in fiction. Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction, focusing on more grounded, darker approaches to the future. Think “The Matrix,” “Ghost in the Shell” or “Akira.” Bleak depictions of Earth’s future that usually contain androids, cyborgs or some sort of post-apocalyptic setting. I love cyberpunk because a lot of brilliant storytellers have used this setting to provoke fascinating ideas about what it means to be human — one of the core tenets of sci-fi. One of the most famous interpretations of cyberpunk is telling the story as a noir thriller, just as one of the originators of the genre did with “Blade Runner.” This is called tech-noir: a subgenre within a subgenre. It’s weird. The Netflix original series “Altered Carbon” is one such ‘tech-noir.’ In the world of “Altered Carbon,” death isn’t the end — people’s memories are digitally stored in hard drives called ‘stacks’ placed in the backs of their necks and, if extracted, can be planted in a new body, dubbed a ‘sleeve.’ Of course, this costs money, and without the right amount of […]

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