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Here's what Altered Carbon fans need to do after watching the show

Altered Carbon's first season was met with cautious approval from fans of the cyberpunk epic. The highly anticipated second season performed even better with critics, earning a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, even though fans were not as pleased. While many audience members enjoyed the dystopian series' short run while it lasted, viewers were left with what feels like an unfinished product and untapped potential that will never be met.

Altered Carbon created a massive and aesthetically pleasing universe. The series also crafted a unique premise: If you have enough money, you can live forever. Thanks to the technology in this world, a copy of a person's consciousness can be stored on a "stack," and cycled through multiple "sleeves" (a body). Although a sleeve can be damaged to the point of no longer being functional, a person can live on as long as the stack isn't damaged. The stack is simply placed into another sleeve.

Audience members want to see a definitive ending for Takeshi Kovacs (played by multiple actors) as season 2 ended on a cliffhanger. People also want to know more about Elders, the mysterious beings who created the stack technology that made immortality possible. Unfortunately, a new season is unlikely at this point as Altered Carbon wasn't renewed for a third season by Netflix. There is, however, something fans can do if they want to connect the Altered Carbon dots and indulge in more Takeshi lore: After finishing the show, fans can read the books that the series is based on.

Altered Carbon is based on Richard Morgan's book series

Altered Carbon is based on the 2002 novel of the same name by author Richard K. Morgan. That book is followed by the sequels Broken Angels and Woken Furies. Although there will always be the requisite book versus adaptation arguments, the Altered Carbon fan base appears to be happy with Morgan's series.

In a Reddit thread entitled "Are the books worth it?," u/IssueAcrobatic starts the conversation by writing, "So Altered Carbon s1 is probably my favorite piece of cinematic work ever, the world and the concepts are just f***ing perfect. I love Kovac' [sic] character and all of the small really well thought out details (Kovac [sic] poisoning himself to lower his body temp and get past a scanner) and stuff like that. My question is, are the books good? Are they worth a read?"

Suffice it to say, other users would agree that the books are, in fact, worth the read. "The books are amazing," another user responded. "So gritty and visceral. Richard Morgan is an all around amazing author." In case fans of the show still aren't convinced, another user said, "All the books are worth reading. They're all really good. The world is more fleshed out and there are plenty of those little details. The books handle Envoys better than the show. Kovacs feels way more op."

As can be expected, the TV show contains some different elements than the book series. Another user mentions, "The biggest difference is Quell and Quellism – it's a completely different philosophy in the books and I think the show makes it worse. Also, the Envoy Corps are not the Quellist Black Brigades in the books, they are an elite version of Protectorate forces."

While there are other differences — such as the Elders already being extinct in the books as opposed to the last remaining Elder appearing in the second season of the TV series — fans appear to appreciate the literature just as much as the show, if not more.