Altered Carbon: has cyberpunk discovered life beyond Blade Runner?
The new Netflix adaptation has won fans for its future shocks, but like much dystopian sci-fi it struggles to get away from the shadow of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece. Imagine a Black Mirror future. San Francisco, say, in the 24th century: a depraved new world, but one stacked precariously on the old. A flying cop car knifes through a benighted cityscape glinting with gaudy neon enticements. Far below, a multicultural throng jostles past exotic bazaars and hologram-enhanced fleshpots. In a darkened refuge, an investigator scrolls through footage vital to his big case, verbally instructing a computer to freeze and enhance where required.