It seems that after the advent of A Song of Ice and Fire, anything that has enough “gritty realism” and enough iterations of “fuck” in it will be proclaimed the next second coming. Just, you know, as long as the characters swear often enough. Say, how about twenty times a page? No? Well, let’s make that fifty and we’ve a deal!
And there you have Richard Morgan’s The Steel Remains in a nutshell.1
I think it says something–says a lot of things, really–when one of the positive Amazon reviews of this book begins with:
I’ve been a fan of Morgan’s since his first book, Altered Carbon. His novels generally have the same pattern: The main character is an alienated, burnt-out warrior with dangerous combat skills. He has a tortured past, and is largely amoral and cynical, but nevertheless fights for justice against incredible odds. In the end, he saves the day and maybe better understands his place in the world. Perhaps rightly, his work gets branded as juvenile, violent, and misogynistic (the female characters are somewhat poorly drawn). It’s also great fun to read.
Pretty much. Except the great fun part. This reviewer also compares being gay to eating bugs, which is charming to no end. Some others, fans of Morgan from the sf series, whined that The Steel Remainsis too… “politically correct and multicultural.” Is that, like, shorthand for “I’m a xenophobic homophobe, GET THE GAY AWAY FROM ME EWWWW COOTIES WHAT IF I READ THIS AND WANT TO SUCK COCKS TOO”?