The new Netflix series Altered Carbon is based on the book Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan. But do you need to read the book before you watch the series? Or does it really matter? According to Richard K. Morgan fans, you should have no problem following the season on Netflix even if you haven’t already read Altered Carbon. It’s really up to you if you want to read the book first or not.
Like almost any movie or TV series based on a book, it doesn’t matter if you read the book before or after you watch the series. It really just depends on whether or not you’d rather experience the twists and turns in the book first or on the TV show. In the case of Altered Carbon, there are quite a few changes made in the TV series, so some of your experiences will be different no matter what order you choose to put the book and the TV show.
In fact, Richard K. Morgan wrote three books featuring the main character. Altered Carbon is based on the book “Altered Carbon” by Richard K. Morgan, published in 2002. Luckily for us, Morgan didn’t stop the series with Altered Carbon. He continued the series with Broken Angels and then Woken Furies. The books take place in different universes, but fans already know that some things will be significantly different. For example, at least one character who appears in Season 1 of Altered Carbon doesn’t show up in the books until the third novel.
When a new viewer asked this very question on Reddit, the answer from one Morgan fan (lyricyst2000) was: “You should read the books. Period. Before or after, doesnt matter. If you’re a big fan of scifi you’ll appreciate both.” However, another reader cautioned that reading the book first would spoil the ending, since this is a murder mystery. (But the reader wasn’t sure if the TV series would solve the murder in the same way as the book or not.)
If you’re the type of person who gets really annoyed when a TV show or movie changes things from the books, then you should probably watch the TV series first. Some readers are saying that they’ve felt quite annoyed by some of the changes and might have enjoyed the series more if they experienced it on TV first.
Readers do offer some words of caution about books 2 and 3. Apparently the tone of the books change quite a bit, so if your favorite part is the cyberpunk feel, that changes quite a bit in books 2 and 3. And audiobook listeners aren’t too thrilled about the narrator for book 2. They change to a different narrator and a lot of listeners didn’t like that change.
Either way, the books are masterfully written and the TV series is stunning and intriguing. You shouldn’t be disappointed whichever route you choose.