This one’s for Virginia Cottinelli—
afileres, camas, sacapuntas
Once again, thanks to my family and friends for putting up with me during the making of Broken Angels. It can’t have been easy. Thanks once again also to my agent Carolyn Whitaker for her patience, and to Simon Spanton and his crew, notably the very passionate Nicola Sinclair, for making Altered Carbon fly like a golden eagle on sulphate.
This is a work of science fiction, but many of the books that influenced it are not. In particular, I’d like to express my deepest respect for two writers from my non-fiction inspiration bank; my thanks go to Robin Morgan for The Demon Lover, which is probably the most coherent, complete and constructive critique of political violence I have ever read, and to John Pilger for Heroes, Distant Voices and Hidden Agendas, which together provide an untiring and brutally honest indictment of the inhumanities perpetrated around the globe by those who claim to be our leaders. These writers did not invent their subject matter as I did, because they did not need to. They have seen and experienced it for themselves at first hand, and we should be listening to them.
PART I: INJURED PARTIES
War is like any other bad relationship. Of course you want out, but at what price? And perhaps more importantly, once you get out, will you be any better off?
I first met Jan Schneider in a Protectorate orbital hospital three hundred kilometres above the ragged clouds of Sanction IV and in a lot of pain.