American Go E-Journal

Go Spotting: Altered Carbon

Tuesday February 13, 2018

The premise of Netflix’s new sci-fi show Altered Carbon is simple: After 250  years of suspended animation a prisoner is2018.02.13_alteredcarbon_kovacs_vertical-core_rgb_us-1 returned to the world with exactly one chance to save his life – he must solve a “mind-bending” murder. And, oh, by the way, his consciousness has been digitized, downloaded  and stored in the “cortical stacks” implanted in the spine of his new body.

AC‘s central protagonist, Takeshi Kovacs, is of Japanese descent and sometimes plays go. In a flashback during Nora Inu (#7 – between the 40th and 42nd minute) Kovacs plays go with his sister as they talk. The ‘board’ presented here is a roll-up, either vinyl/cloth (or the futuristic equivalent), though the go-ke appear to be chestnut. The game in progress presented, however, appears believable. Toward the end of Rage in Heaven (#9) a goban is featured on camera twice; it appears this is a “set piece,” although a character picks up and plays with a stone. The same table goban in Rage in Heaven appears at the beginning of season 1′s final episode, The Killers (#10.)

The future Altered Carbon depicts is less than optimistic; think the bluesy, morose zeitgeist of Blade Runner, as opposed to the love letter to humanity that was InterstellarAltered Carbon is based on the Richard Morgan novel of the same name, his first book in the Takeshi Kovacs cyberpunk trilogy.

- Charles “Doc” Sade

 

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