The Line of Polity by Neal Asher

the-line-of-polityAnother review I neglected to put up when it went up on SFFWorld in May. But still, Neal Asher’s The Line of Polity was much more enjoyable for me on the re-read. Reviews for the other three in the series are being finalised and should be going live this month too – remember to check back for them :)

The Line of Polity is the second novel in Neal Asher’s Cormac series, preceded by Gridlinked(review) and picking up events a short while after its conclusion. As I approached the Cormac re-read this was the one book I didn’t know how I’d like this time around. When I initially tried to read it I was put off by my view of the setting and somewhat strong religion-bashing theme that is rather heavy handed during the early chapters. However, for my second attempt I managed to put these to one side and I powered through it, enjoying the story that Asher told. This third time, some 6 years after reading it, I was aware of my first impression all that time back, yet I knew that what awaits me after this book pushed me through without any qualms. And I found that there was much more to enjoy than my faulty memory allowed…

Overall I enjoyed The Line of Polity enough not to let that one issue affect my feelings about the book too much. It’s got more of Asher’s hallmarks present that we didn’t entirely see in Gridlinked, in the weird and lethal wildlife of Masada. It’s also, in hindsight, one of the more important books in Asher’s Polity milieu (for reasons/spoilers that I won’t go into here). With a good focus on both the big picture and events on the ground it’s hard to fault much, though the distinct lack of answers from the end of Gridlinked still lingers. Regardless, a solid entry in the series and a damn good SF novel. Recommended.

Gridlinked by Neal Asher

gridlinkedWhile getting my review for Neal Asher’s The Line of Polity ready I realised I never posted a link to the first in the Cormac series, Gridlinked. So, without further ado, here it is :)

I’ve been a fan of Neal Asher’s work for many years, though I can’t remember which of his books I first picked up. However, I do know that it wasn’t his debut, Gridlinked, the first Agent Cormacnovel – this book came a little after discovering Asher’s work. As time has passed I’ve made my way through all of his releases, the majority of which are set in his vividly realised and completely packed Polity universe. While there are a couple of stories outside of this setting – notably hisOwner trilogy – Asher will always be best known for the Polity. I decided that it was high time to revisit these books and go back to the beginning…

So, Gridlinked is the kind of novel that should appeal to many sci-fi readers. It’s got action, intrigue, strange aliens, and powerful AI’s, but it also has some interesting characters that drive the plot forward at speed, all the while making you want to find out just what happens next. As his debut novel, Gridlinked is the perfect place to start with Asher’s work, and most definitely recommended.

War Factory by Neal Asher

war-factoryMy latest review is for War Factory by Neal Asher, one of my favourite SF authors who very rarely disappoints. This wasn’t one of those times! Check it out in full over at SFFWorld.

War Factory is the second novel in Neal Asher’s Transformations series, preceded by Dark Intelligence. Based in his ever-popular Polity universe, War Factory takes the events from the first novel and expands on them further, and all done in typical Asher fashion. Not the place to jump in to Asher’s work, but if you liked Dark Intelligence, you’ll love War Factory

In short, War Factory contains everything that is good about Asher’s writing. It’s thoughtful, yet action-packed, and adds layer upon layer to an already deep setting that is the Polity. With AI, Prador, and human elements to the story this truly takes the series title of Transformations and gives it a spin that is massively enjoyable. Add to this some truly unique and weird aliens that you’re unlikely to see from any other authors and you’ve got a winner. Nobody does science fiction like Neal Asher, and War Factory is yet more proof of that.

Zero Point by Neal Asher

Zero Point is the second Owner novel from Neal Asher, following on from The Departure. While I enjoyed the opening novel in the Owner series, The Departure didn’t work quite as much as I would have hoped – it was more a novel of setting things up, establishing the setting, and moving pawns in to place. My closing sentence in my review of The Departure was:

“Now the setting up is done I expect much more from the sequel, Zero Point, and I won’t be as forgiving if it doesn’t meet the expectations I have.”

So, the only question that really matters is whether it met those expectations, or did it fall flat in the attempt? Fortunately Zero Point built on the foundation laid out in the series opener, adding plenty to the story that kept me turning the pages to find out what happens next. Continue reading “Zero Point by Neal Asher”

The Departure by Neal Asher

It’s quite apt that this novel is called The Departure. Not only is it a departure from Asher’s Polity Universe (where all but one of his prior novels are set, the exception being Cowl), but it’s a departure from the typical space opera Asher has treated us to over the years. The big question is: is this departure successful, or not? Continue reading “The Departure by Neal Asher”

The Technician by Neal Asher

The Technician is Neal Asher’s latest novel and marks the completion of my resolution to get up to date on all of his releases. I’ve not done too badly, this being the fifth book of his I’ve got through since January, each being just as enjoyable as the previous one. I’m actually quite glad I’ve done it this way, especially as much of what happens in The Technician relates to the Cormac series, mainly the events in The Line of Polity which is set on the same planet. I thoroughly enjoyed completing the Cormac series and was eager to once again see what was happening in the Polity, but Neal didn’t meet my expectations. He exceeded them. Continue reading “The Technician by Neal Asher”

The Engineer ReConditioned by Neal Asher

The Engineer Reconditioned is a collection of short stories by sci-fi author Neal Asher, some in his popular Polity Universe, some not. One thing for sure is that it’s well worth reading. Here’s what’s contained in this great collection: Continue reading “The Engineer ReConditioned by Neal Asher”

Shadow of the Scorpion by Neal Asher

Another stunning space drama featuring agent Cormac and the horrific legacy of the Prador Wars

Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and the vicious arthropoid race, the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn’t remember.

In the years following the war he signs up with Earth Central Security, and is sent out to help either restore or simply maintain order on worlds devastated by Prador bombardment.

There he discovers that though the old enemy remains as murderous as ever, it is not anywhere near as perfidious or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some of them closer to him than he would like.

Amidst the ruins left by wartime genocides, he discovers in himself a cold capacity for violence, learns some horrible truths about his own past and, set upon a course of vengeance, tries merely to stay alive. Continue reading “Shadow of the Scorpion by Neal Asher”

Orbus by Neal Asher

In charge of an old cargo spaceship, the Old Captain Orbus flees a violent and sadistic past, but he doesn’t know that the lethal war drone, Sniper, is a stowaway, and that the past is rapidly catching up with him.

His old enemy the Prador Vrell, mutated by the Spatterjay virus into something powerful and dangerous, has seized control of a Prador dreadnought, murdering its crew, and is now seeking to exact vengeance on those who tried to have him killed.

Their courses inexorably converge in the Graveyard, the border realm lying between the Polity and the Prador Kingdom, a place filled with the ruins left by past genocides and interplanetary war. But this is the home of the Golgoloth, monster to a race of monsters, the place where a centuries-long cold war is being fought.

Meanwhile, the terrifying Prador King is coming, prepared to do anything to ensure Vrell’s death and keep certain deadly secrets buried . . . and somewhere out there something that has annihilated civilizations is stirring from a slumber of five million years.

The cold war is heating up, fast.
Continue reading “Orbus by Neal Asher”

The Gabble and other stories by Neal Asher

The Gabble and other stories is a new collection of Neal’s shorter fiction with 10 short stories dating from 1999 through to this year. Anyone that has read Neal’s other collection, The Engineer ReConditioned, will know just what to expect from the man that is the master of weird, wonderful and downright gruesome alien creature creations. Add this to the great way in which Neal can quickly draw you into a story and you’ve got a must have collection of some of the best science fiction out there. Continue reading “The Gabble and other stories by Neal Asher”