Feature Article

New Netflix Series Altered Carbon's Sci-Fi Terms Explained

Breaking down the future.

Netflix's new sci-fi show Altered Carbon is based on a series of novels by Richard K. Morgan. It takes place in a cyberpunk future where death is no longer a limitation on the lives of humankind, and existing in virtual reality is as normal as walking the streets of the real world. The seven settled worlds have evolved to accommodate this massive leap in technology, giving the rich and powerful the means to cheat death by moving between bodies, while miring the less privileged in rundown districts filled with their vices.

Naturally, the series is stuffed with grand ideas, existential quandaries, and strange technologies, and--in many cases--it doesn't dwell on them enough to fully explain them. It's easy to get lost in all the tech terminology, references to government agencies, or fleeting historical context, so we've put together a breakdown for all the most important things you need to know to watch Altered Carbon and fully understand what's going on.

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Now Playing: Altered Carbon's Cyberpunk World Explained

In the video above, we go through everything from Stacks and Sleeves to AI, VR, Dippers, Songspires, CTAC, and more. We explain what they are, how they fit into the world of Altered Carbon, and why they're important to the story. Of course, we've done this while avoiding major story spoilers (there's some minor spoilers for episode one and two). You can also read about the many cyberpunk terms in Altered Carbon here.

Altered Carbon is available to watch on Netflix now, and we think it's well worth your time. You can watch our spoiler-free Altered Carbon review to find out why we like it. We also have a written Altered Carbon review for you to check out. For those looking for a deeper dive, we'll have a spoiler-filled Altered Carbon review coming up soon too. Make sure to subscribe to GameSpot Universe on YouTube so you don't miss it.

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Tamoor Hussain

Tamoor Hussain is the Managing Editor of GameSpot, he has been covering the video game industry for a really long time, having worked in news, features, reviews, video, and more. He loves Bloodborne and other From Software titles, is partial to the stealth genre, and can hold his own in fighting games too. Fear the Old Blood.

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