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Gridlinked is a science fiction adventure in the classic, fast-paced, action-packed tradition of Harry Harrison and Poul Anderson, with a dash of cyberpunk and a splash of Ian Fleming added to spice the mix. Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where "runcibles" (matter transmitters controlled by AIs) allow interstellar trav Gridlinked is a science fiction adventure in the classic, fast-paced, action-packed tradition of Harry Harrison and Poul Anderson, with a dash of cyberpunk and a splash of Ian Fleming added to spice the mix. Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where "runcibles" (matter transmitters controlled by AIs) allow interstellar travel in an eye blink throughout the settled worlds of the Polity. Unfortunately Cormac is nearly burnt out, "gridlinked" to the AI net so long that his humanity has begun to drain away. He has to take the cold-turkey cure and shake his addiction to having his brain on the net. Now he must do without just as he's sent to investigate the unique runcible disaster that's wiped out the entire human colony on planet Samarkand in a thirty-megaton explosion. With the runcible out, Cormac must get there by ship, but he has incurred the wrath of a vicious psychopath called Arian Pelter, who now follows him across the galaxy with a terrifying psychotic killer android in tow. And deep beneath Samarkand's surface there are buried mysteries, fiercely guarded. This is fast-moving, edge-of-the-seat entertainment, and a great introduction to the work of one of the most exciting new SF talents in years.


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Gridlinked is a science fiction adventure in the classic, fast-paced, action-packed tradition of Harry Harrison and Poul Anderson, with a dash of cyberpunk and a splash of Ian Fleming added to spice the mix. Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where "runcibles" (matter transmitters controlled by AIs) allow interstellar trav Gridlinked is a science fiction adventure in the classic, fast-paced, action-packed tradition of Harry Harrison and Poul Anderson, with a dash of cyberpunk and a splash of Ian Fleming added to spice the mix. Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where "runcibles" (matter transmitters controlled by AIs) allow interstellar travel in an eye blink throughout the settled worlds of the Polity. Unfortunately Cormac is nearly burnt out, "gridlinked" to the AI net so long that his humanity has begun to drain away. He has to take the cold-turkey cure and shake his addiction to having his brain on the net. Now he must do without just as he's sent to investigate the unique runcible disaster that's wiped out the entire human colony on planet Samarkand in a thirty-megaton explosion. With the runcible out, Cormac must get there by ship, but he has incurred the wrath of a vicious psychopath called Arian Pelter, who now follows him across the galaxy with a terrifying psychotic killer android in tow. And deep beneath Samarkand's surface there are buried mysteries, fiercely guarded. This is fast-moving, edge-of-the-seat entertainment, and a great introduction to the work of one of the most exciting new SF talents in years.

30 review for Gridlinked

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf (semi reviewing hiatus )

    The entry point of another great, complex space-opera series, Asher´s Polity universe, offers everything a Sci-Fi fan can wish for. Like the behemoths of the genre Hamilton, Scalzi, Banks, Reynolds, Simmons, etc., Asher has created an authentic, complex world, bursting with fresh, creative Sci-Fi ideas. Especially interesting is the idea of the influence of human and alien AIs that are not just entities of their own, but may be open or even dependent on a second kind of evolution. They may, para The entry point of another great, complex space-opera series, Asher´s Polity universe, offers everything a Sci-Fi fan can wish for. Like the behemoths of the genre Hamilton, Scalzi, Banks, Reynolds, Simmons, etc., Asher has created an authentic, complex world, bursting with fresh, creative Sci-Fi ideas. Especially interesting is the idea of the influence of human and alien AIs that are not just entities of their own, but may be open or even dependent on a second kind of evolution. They may, parallel to lonely learning, expanding and rewriting and optimizing their own code and added machinery and production capacity, unite and fuse with aliens and humans in different grades of severity. This can be symbiotic, parasitic, psychotic, traumatic, etc. for both involved, depending on how much feelings an AI can perceive and control. The motive or programming of the AI to share its immense capacity with something as slow as an alien or human opens up the option to describe both the AIs and the persons' main plot goals. Both parties could, with or without consent or noticing it, assimilate, manipulate, destroy, help, etc. each other. Does the machine become humanoid or does the soft shell become like an AI and what is the better model, if it is even possible to objective point the finger on the more attractive lifestyle? This concept is a fresh, unspent idea and could find use in Social Sci-Fi, for instance with different, competing transhumanist concepts like a technocratic, cold, more machine than cyborg woman slowly getting interested in a Gaia-hyping, bioengineered, eco-friendly terraforming Psiguy. It would be an interesting exaggeration of gender stereotypes when the male and female roles are reversed and caricatured. Tropes show how literature is conceived and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Kelsey

    It had a solid setup, which it did not deliver on whatsoever. Painfully boring, terribly inconsistent one dimensional characters, cookie cutter secondary characters, zero resolution. I didn't expect quality writing, but I thought at least it would be fun, or pulpy, or.. just anything at all.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    Catadapts, ophidapts and lots of other weird stuff. Q: A blue snow was falling on the roof of the embarkation lounge, where it melted and snaked across the glass in inky rivulets. ... On Samarkand it was raining Dragon scales. (c) Q: He saw the weapon. 'You made love like a machine,' ... (c) Q: Typical well-hugger trying to look like a member of the runcible culture, he thought. The vogue slick-pants and corsair shirt told him all he needed to know. The Sensic augmentation behind the man's left ear told Catadapts, ophidapts and lots of other weird stuff. Q: A blue snow was falling on the roof of the embarkation lounge, where it melted and snaked across the glass in inky rivulets. ... On Samarkand it was raining Dragon scales. (c) Q: He saw the weapon. 'You made love like a machine,' ... (c) Q: Typical well-hugger trying to look like a member of the runcible culture, he thought. The vogue slick-pants and corsair shirt told him all he needed to know. The Sensic augmentation behind the man's left ear told him things he did not want to know. Unlike those who lived for the dirill of new worlds and new experiences, this guy's dress was inappropriate and his augmentation a cheap copy likely to scramble his brains within a month. But then who was Freeman to judge? He managed to scramble his brains without mechanical aid. (с) Q: 'We should be able to understand it, unaugmented.' ... 'No human understands Skaidon tech, even with augmentation. I work on the damned things, and half the time I don't know what I'm doing.' (c) Q: The runcible itself stood at the centre of this, mounted on a stepped pedestal. It might have been the altar to some cybernetic god of technology. Nacreous ten-metre-long incurving bull's horns jutted up from the pedestal. (c) Q: Shoved into underspace, dragged between shadow stars, Freeman travelled, diumbing his nose at relativity, in the cusp of a technology his unaugmented mind could not comprehend. Between runcibles he ceased to exist in the Einsteinian universe. He was beyond an event horizon, stretched to an infinite surface with no thickness, travelling between stars as billions of mose called 'quince' had done before him. Done, in that instant when time is divided by infinity and brought to a standstill. Done, in the eternal moment. ... only… only this time something went wrong. (c) Q: They came in naked and left naked, and were scrutinized molecule by molecule each way, yet even they had no idea what information was gathered, what decisions were reached, and what orders given. Each time they left, they left part of their minds inside, downloaded into another mind that knew it all. (c) Q: The ruler of the human polity was not human. ... Hundreds of light-years away, its decisions were acted upon. (c) Q: Of course you can't understand it. You're used to thinking in a linear manner, that's evolution for you. Do you know what infinity and eternity are? That space is a curved sheet over nothing and that if you travel in a straight line for long enough you'll end up where you started? Even explained in its simplest terms it makes no sense: one dimension is line, two dimensions are area, three are space and four are space through time. Where we are. All these sit on top of the nullity, nil-space, or underspace as it has come to be called. There's no time there, no distance, nothing. From there all runcibles are in the same place and at the same time. Shove a human in and he doesn't cease to exist because there is no time for him to do so. Pull him out. Easy. How do the runcible AIs know when, who and where? The information is shoved in with the human. The AI doesn't have to know before because there is no time where the spoon is. Simple, isn't it…? From How It Is by Gordon (c) Q: He had faults, scars, the habit of picking his toenails in bed, a tendency not to suffer fools. All emulation, wasn't it? (c) Q: It was a concise observation. He probably knew their number and deviation from standard size. (c)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I'm working myself up to flying through the Polity Universe, having already read a bit of Asher already, and while I kinda expected something worse from the general consensus of this particular novel in the full continuity, I did not get frozen eyeballs after being exposed to cold vacuum. Yay! That being said, I did rather enjoy the spy stuff, the high-tech stuff, and the *ideas* of the super-AIs, the investigation of the planetary disaster, the BIG ALIENS, and, as a matter of course, the very coo I'm working myself up to flying through the Polity Universe, having already read a bit of Asher already, and while I kinda expected something worse from the general consensus of this particular novel in the full continuity, I did not get frozen eyeballs after being exposed to cold vacuum. Yay! That being said, I did rather enjoy the spy stuff, the high-tech stuff, and the *ideas* of the super-AIs, the investigation of the planetary disaster, the BIG ALIENS, and, as a matter of course, the very cool action sequences. I mean, DRAGON, yo! DRAGON. And yes, this is hard-SF. Instantaneous travel, cyberpunk cyborgism, AIs everywhere, spaceships, and my personal favorite, mysterious immortal agencies. :) Literally, some Japanese guy who's the head of the investigatory agency who has been around since Hiroshima. Kinda has that St. Germain vibe. :) This isn't the best SF novel I've ever read, but I can honestly say I had fun with it. I have no compunctions with moving on with the series. :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

    Taking a break from fantasy/romance/mystery, i picked this book up because my brother recommended it. And it was TOTALLY worth it! If you read a lot of my reviews you know I adore Iain Banks' work, and this book felt like a cousin of his work. Basically we're dealing with a deep future society depended on vast machines, and an overarching mystery of a sabateur, a James-Bond-like main character, and a side-plot of a psychopath's ruthless need for revenge at any cost. I dunno how to describe it mu Taking a break from fantasy/romance/mystery, i picked this book up because my brother recommended it. And it was TOTALLY worth it! If you read a lot of my reviews you know I adore Iain Banks' work, and this book felt like a cousin of his work. Basically we're dealing with a deep future society depended on vast machines, and an overarching mystery of a sabateur, a James-Bond-like main character, and a side-plot of a psychopath's ruthless need for revenge at any cost. I dunno how to describe it much more, but if you like violent and gritty sci-fi, you will like this a lot. I did feel like the emotional potential of having this character pulled away from the machine-dependent world he'd lived in for so long was not mined as much as it could have been. And the whole Dragon thing (WTF IS THAT THING) was obscure in that classic sci-fi way to the point where I was slightly irritated, but I can't deny the interestingness of the world, the twistedness of the characters, and the adventure that drew me in. This is the start of a long series, and I definitely know I'll be coming back to it when I want my hard sci-fi kick in the pants. Recommended!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Ideiosepius

    Oh dear. For pure reading experience this probably deserves a one star, or even negative stars. The world building is great, absolutely fascinating and if some of the concepts are not entirely new, well they are certainly freshly presented. The book would probably be improved by knocking 200 pages off it because I have no idea why it takes up 522 when it hurts to read more than a page or two at a time. The characters unfortunately are about as engaging as cold black coffee. Instant coffee. Inscru Oh dear. For pure reading experience this probably deserves a one star, or even negative stars. The world building is great, absolutely fascinating and if some of the concepts are not entirely new, well they are certainly freshly presented. The book would probably be improved by knocking 200 pages off it because I have no idea why it takes up 522 when it hurts to read more than a page or two at a time. The characters unfortunately are about as engaging as cold black coffee. Instant coffee. Inscrutable ancient Japanese oracular/mastermind prototype is, indeed, Inscrutable! Psychotic, one dimensional "bad-guy-who-obsessively-wants-to-kill-our-hero" is, indeed, psychotic. Dehumanised leading man, recently disconnected from the grid is, indeed, dehumanised. Random powerful alien thrown in to be irritating, is, indeed, irritating. These, among other things resulted in the fact that despite the brilliant world building, this book was so unenjoyable to read that it took me ages. Ian Cormac, our leading man, is not a bad character just very, very difficult for the reader to bond with. All the characters are fairly difficult to bond with, or even, at times remember. I rather suspect that Ian was meant to be like Case in Nuromancer; where the dissociation is the defining factor of the character, but here it really was not great reading. By page 410/522 the only reason I was still reading was because I was determined to finish the thing, kind of like watching a train wreck through to the end. Also, I believe the books improve, and I like the world building enough that at some stage I may try more by this author. Maybe. Several people of my acquaintance had long since given up on the effort of reading, finding it too un-enjoyable. (view spoiler)[ The end of Pelter (psychotic bad guy) was so anticlimactic that I had to wonder why the effort of even creating the character was invested, also why did we have to slog our way through his incomprehensible, never ending, utterly meaningless obsession for so many hundreds of pages? What on earth was the point? (hide spoiler)] The finale was so understated as to be almost redundant and while not actively bad it seemed to be entirely for the purpose of setting Ian Cormac, inscrutable sage and irritating alien up for further adventures. Further adventures it will take me a long time to be game to try and read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Urges

    Everybody knows that we are living in a meritocracy and that those in charge are not human. Everybody knows that AIs are running the show. Who would trust a human planetary governor? Who would trust humans with controlling the vast spread of human migration and trade? Certainly not other humans. As that sublime AI, which is referred to as ‘Earth Central,’ once put it, ‘Humans: fast machines that serve the purpose of slow genes.’ Most right-thinking people would agree that we are not to be truste Everybody knows that we are living in a meritocracy and that those in charge are not human. Everybody knows that AIs are running the show. Who would trust a human planetary governor? Who would trust humans with controlling the vast spread of human migration and trade? Certainly not other humans. As that sublime AI, which is referred to as ‘Earth Central,’ once put it, ‘Humans: fast machines that serve the purpose of slow genes.’ Most right-thinking people would agree that we are not to be trusted with our own destiny and are glad things are the way they are. Our history should be a salutary lesson held at the forefronts of our minds when we consider these matters. Nowadays you do not see such bloody resolution to events as was seen in the past. I mean, you don’t see the machines killing each other, do you? Gridlinked is a highly entertaining and decently thought-provoking science fiction novel that follows Earth Central Security agent Ian Cormac on a mission to uncover why a runcible was destroyed on a distant planet. Runcibles are teleportation devices that connect planets spanning light-years across the galaxy and are controlled by the AI programs that aid and govern humanity. Cormac has been gridlinked for nearly thirty years, which is ten years longer than is typically allowed. Gridlinking is like having internet and AI access within your mind. But living thirty years with the link is like living thirty years as an addict: you can lose yourself. Cormac must disengage and take on this new mission with a clean head and a lack of access. He has to be human. I loved this. I needed the escape. Gridlinked is not perfect, but it presents a universe that seems plausible, for good and for bad. Cormac is a man that has to make difficult choices without regret. We have fascinating technology and AI. And though the worldbuilding is not as fleshed out as it could be, I enjoyed ever minute. I am excited to see more of this universe and its dangers. I don’t want to explain too much of the book because I think part of the fun of the experience in reading this is slowly seeing all the technology and aspects of the world unfold. The universe is much more than it appears on the surface. Hard science fiction meets cyberpunk meets adventure thriller. I do have a complaint. You can tell this is Neal Asher's first book. Certain parts of the book do not read clearly, but the biggest issue is the editing. I don’t know if it is just my edition of the book (first mass market edition 2004) or what, but damn, Asher needs a new editor. Several times I was taken out of the book by the weird mistakes I found. I have never in my life seen “her’s” or “your’s” used in a published novel. I actually second-guessed myself and did the Google to make sure I wasn’t crazy. I’m not crazy. There are also weird comma mistakes, like a, comma in a place where, it shouldn’t be for, any logical reason. I really hope these mistakes are only in my edition. Other than the severe editing mistakes in the book, this is a worthy science fiction read. I ordered the next four books in the series because I dig it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael Reitema

    This book is just bad. Let's list some things: Interstellar "dragon" that acts as histrionic and pathetic as a chubby junior high goth kid? Check. Amateurish attempts at creating false tension by using the word "as" (as in "he moved slowly as he pulled out his gun" [my quote, not from the book:])? All over the place. Use of the word "suddenly?" You betcha. Horrendously awkward sexual encounters? Of course. Seemingly random motivations and wild mood swings amongst the protagonist and antagonist? Don't This book is just bad. Let's list some things: Interstellar "dragon" that acts as histrionic and pathetic as a chubby junior high goth kid? Check. Amateurish attempts at creating false tension by using the word "as" (as in "he moved slowly as he pulled out his gun" [my quote, not from the book:])? All over the place. Use of the word "suddenly?" You betcha. Horrendously awkward sexual encounters? Of course. Seemingly random motivations and wild mood swings amongst the protagonist and antagonist? Don't get me started. Terrible, trite idea? Actually, no. The idea is sound. It's almost a passable novel, but the actual nuts-and-bolts writing technique is reminiscent of first-semester writing students. I admire the author for simply getting through it all, for creating a complete novel, but, in truth, he still fails. If I ever need to self-mortify, I'll look around to see if this no-name has swindled another publisher into inflicting this drivel upon us. Not as terrible as Dan Brown, but close. 2 of 6

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    5.0 stars. Excellent debut novel and a terrific read. Never boring, great characters and even better world-building. Will definitely read more from this author. Recommended!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    4 Stars My first Neal Asher novel and it did not let me down. I have had his series on my to-read list for far too long. Sprawling, creative, dark, and dirty space opera. Artificial Intelligence run the Polity universe, a place like ours in the near future. There is plenty of creative science in here and Asher often spends time detailing his creations. Political wars, common enemies, and god like monsters to fear. Cormac is a good lead protagonist, a high tech 007, who is not afraid to do things h 4 Stars My first Neal Asher novel and it did not let me down. I have had his series on my to-read list for far too long. Sprawling, creative, dark, and dirty space opera. Artificial Intelligence run the Polity universe, a place like ours in the near future. There is plenty of creative science in here and Asher often spends time detailing his creations. Political wars, common enemies, and god like monsters to fear. Cormac is a good lead protagonist, a high tech 007, who is not afraid to do things his way, his form of justice. Asher does not hold back from some pretty gory kill scenes. This story was made interesting by the fact that Cormac, our hero, is unplugged from the grid in order for him to regain his humanity. There is a lot of great internal monologue that deals with Cormac coming to grips with his found again individuality, his retouching of his emotions and his loss from instant answers. Pelter is a disturbed and motivated antagonist to our story, and he takes control and employs one cool bad guy, Mr Crane. Mr. Crane is a seriously bad ass golem that is enhanced to the nth degree making him incredibly strong and nearly unstoppable, oh yeah and he is also quite a psychopath. He is a golem that loves to rip things in half, pull off appendages, and decapitate heads for trophies...cool stuff. The novel has good pacing and the plot lines are all worked out in the end. I enjoyed this novel and look forward to spending much more time in Neal Asher's Polity universe. Highly recommend.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    Well well well. Hello Neal Asher a new author (well new for me) who has me completely engrossed in SciFi again. Reading Asher is like reading a story written by Alistair Reynolds and China Mieville. There is your high tech scifi and weird augmentation bits. I think what i like about Asher is he seems to have the best bits of Reynolds and Mieville, great believable advanced technologies with wonderfully descriptive monsters, body improvements and world building. This story I think is around book t Well well well. Hello Neal Asher a new author (well new for me) who has me completely engrossed in SciFi again. Reading Asher is like reading a story written by Alistair Reynolds and China Mieville. There is your high tech scifi and weird augmentation bits. I think what i like about Asher is he seems to have the best bits of Reynolds and Mieville, great believable advanced technologies with wonderfully descriptive monsters, body improvements and world building. This story I think is around book three in the whole, polity, spatter jay and agent cormac series, so i'll be going back to the start after this one. In this one we meet Agent Cormac who is an agent for the good guys. Ai's are pretty much running all human space and their interaction with humans is completely integrated with everything we do. Think a benign big brother. Cormac is a grid linked agent, meaning he is permenantly connected to Google in his subconscious. When he wants any info he thinks for it and the Ai on the world he is on provides it. after 20 years of this it is time to unplug his wifi modem and go commando/ learning to deal with his own lack of emotions and having to manually think has him on a interesting chase across the galaxy with your bog standard pyscho bad guy. Definitely a book I really enjoyed and a defining moment where I loaded the Kindle and audiobook library with others in this series and put on hold all the fantasy I had planned. HELLO SCIFI, it is good to see you again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    You could pitch Gridlinked with four words: “James Bond... In SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!” That’s simplifying things somewhat, but Asher’s novel at its core is a tale of an interstellar secret agent who gives his licence to kill a serious workout. This isn’t interstellar Timothy Dalton either, or even Pierce Brosnan. The tone of Gridlinked is down the Daniel Craig end of the Bond spectrum – a Bond who is a little dark, and more inclined to summarily shoot someone in the head than cheesily order a martin You could pitch Gridlinked with four words: “James Bond... In SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!” That’s simplifying things somewhat, but Asher’s novel at its core is a tale of an interstellar secret agent who gives his licence to kill a serious workout. This isn’t interstellar Timothy Dalton either, or even Pierce Brosnan. The tone of Gridlinked is down the Daniel Craig end of the Bond spectrum – a Bond who is a little dark, and more inclined to summarily shoot someone in the head than cheesily order a martini and listen to a long winded speech from an evil genius. Neal Asher’s galaxy hopping Sci-Fi 007 - Ian Cormac - is a legendary agent of Earth Central, the ruling government of the vast civilisation known as the Polity. The Polity is a hybrid AI/Human civilisation centred on Earth that has spread across countless star systems. AIs administer government and control a planet-linking instantaneous transport network – a series of gates called Runcibles that are much like the Farcasters in Simmons’ Hyperion Cormac is the Polity’s best operative. He does however, have a problem. He has been Gridlinked – completely linked to and immersed in the vast internet of the future and the AIs that dwell in it – for three decades. While this has made him a deadly agent his humanity has been slipping away, his affect becoming colder, and his ability to read other human beings slowly crumbling. After botching an operation against a group of terrorist separatists Earth Central calls Cormac back in and gives him the option of either retiring, or severing his data link and becoming once again a normal, unconnected human being. Cormac takes the latter option – retirement to a beach planet doesn’t really suit the Bond type – and begins to learn to work without his link, struggling to operate machines he previously commanded with his mind, and trying in vain to fit in among other unaugmented people. And he has plenty of work to do. A runcible has exploded, taking an entire city on a far-flung world with it, and Cormac is sent to find out what happened. As he investigates a survivor from his botched anti-terror operation is hunting him across the stars, this vendetta coinciding with the now disconnected Cormac being the weakest he has been in decades. And so, interplanetary secret agent mayhem ensues. There’s some real fun to be had in Gridlinked, but what I loved most was the depth of Asher’s worldbuilding. The Polity universe (which I first encountered in the entertaining Prador Moon) is very much a living, breathing complex organism, a setting with a feeling of depth and history that not all SF authors can manage. At times Gridlinked reminded me of (drum roll) Iain Banks’ legendary Culture universe, with its intricate backstory and well-drawn details, not to mention the human-AI hybrid nature of The Polity – I suspect Cormac would fit in nicely among the agents of Special Circumstances. Everything from weapons to fashions to Cormac himself is fleshed out with backstory and lore, and overall it’s a hell of a lot of fun. There are some scathing reviews of Gridlinked on here, and while I think they are a tad harsh, there are a few areas of this novel that aren’t as strong as they could be. Cormac isn’t the deepest character, and the enemy pursuing him is a little one-note, that note being the standard crazy, unrelentingly-vengeance-obsessed guy who wears a million faces across a million novels. Honestly though? None of these flaws bothered me much. I got sucked along in the pacey narrative, following Cormac as he badassed his way around the Milky Way, shooting folks while trying to figure out how to be a normal human again. Its escapist, it’s a quick read, and I’m very much looking forward to reading the rest of Asher’s Cormac novels. Three and a half Space Martinis out of five.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stevie Kincade

    This was the 3rd Neal Asher book I read. The consensus among fans seems to be to start with the prequel"Prador Moon" and I agree 100%. Prador Moon was a tight, focused, non stop thrill ride. Gridlinked kind of ambled here and there and I found it a little hard to get into or care about. Even while I was reading it I had a hard time retaining what I had read. Several times I would be reading about a minor character and wonder "who is this person and why am I supposed to care about them again"? The This was the 3rd Neal Asher book I read. The consensus among fans seems to be to start with the prequel"Prador Moon" and I agree 100%. Prador Moon was a tight, focused, non stop thrill ride. Gridlinked kind of ambled here and there and I found it a little hard to get into or care about. Even while I was reading it I had a hard time retaining what I had read. Several times I would be reading about a minor character and wonder "who is this person and why am I supposed to care about them again"? Then a Chapter or 2 later they would be killed off as cannon fodder. Aha! Cormac was a pretty bland lead. Mr Crane was very cool but writing this now a few months after reading it I am struggling to recall a lot of the details. Something about a dragon....lots of carnage... So while I was not a big fan of "Gridlinked" I am a big fan of Neal Asher. Having loved Prador Moon I know this is a great universe i want to spend a lot of time in. I had heard Asher improves with every novel but after I loved his first novella "The Engineer" I maybe expected too much for "Gridlinked". With lowered expectations this might be more enjoyable. I have heard more then one person say by the 3rd book "Brass Man" Asher has really hit his stride within the Polity universe and this is one of the great recent series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leo Robertson

    Disappointingly dull! Asher's novels have the coolest covers—I was kinda hoping I'd enjoy his writing so that I'd have a tonne of new books to read. Alas despite some cool ideas, it just went on and on, back and forth between hero and villain while almost nothing happened. More and more secondary characters introduced, none of them really distinct enough to get built into my head. I've also found that, the cooler the book cover, the less the author thinks they need to describe cool stuff in their Disappointingly dull! Asher's novels have the coolest covers—I was kinda hoping I'd enjoy his writing so that I'd have a tonne of new books to read. Alas despite some cool ideas, it just went on and on, back and forth between hero and villain while almost nothing happened. More and more secondary characters introduced, none of them really distinct enough to get built into my head. I've also found that, the cooler the book cover, the less the author thinks they need to describe cool stuff in their book. As if the cover does the job, rather than hint at the imagery the book will help you make in your mind. There are some really cool creatures in here including some alien thing that gets described, multiple times, as four kilometre-wide spheres stuck together. Except... that's all you get. Then more creatures come out of it, and one turns into a "manthing" and it creates a chess set and table, presumably of flesh? Is the word flesh all I'm getting? Where did these things come out of? Can I get a bit more surface anatomy? Come on, this is cool! Help me out! If you want a guy to wander through a city bigger than any we have on Earth (right?) I need more than a sentence introducing the place ffs. And if you're doing it to maintain pace, how come your book is so slow?! Early rejection letters for my own stories said, "This seems to be one of those stories that mostly takes place in the writer's head." I quite rightly should not have been allowed to get away with that. How come some people make whole careers out of it? Does he get better? Other series of his I should try? What the fuck is the Polity?! Care to tell me??

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    Perfectly serviceable mystery-space-op-sci-fantasy. Not up there with Banks or Bear or Watts at their best but if you're after a book where an FTL culture still allegedly lives in a pre-scarcity economy and follows an action-lit plot-line you could do far worse. Two criticisms I've had to pick out, if only because of the extreme strange-ness, though: SPOILERS 1. Asher didn't seem to realise that our favourite characters were The Baddest Baddies: Pelter and Mr Crane (in fact, the series titular char Perfectly serviceable mystery-space-op-sci-fantasy. Not up there with Banks or Bear or Watts at their best but if you're after a book where an FTL culture still allegedly lives in a pre-scarcity economy and follows an action-lit plot-line you could do far worse. Two criticisms I've had to pick out, if only because of the extreme strange-ness, though: SPOILERS 1. Asher didn't seem to realise that our favourite characters were The Baddest Baddies: Pelter and Mr Crane (in fact, the series titular character and the other Gung Ho Hooray for the Polity good guys were likely the most dull until the very end). We spent the entire book wanting to see Mr Crane hit one of the Cyborg 30's like a train and then enjoy several pages of armoured super-titans duking it out at mega-speed. We got slightly less than a paragraph, ending with Crane getting bundled and perma-killed. Cormac then drilled a hole in Pelter's forehead without a second thought and was perplexed about how nuts he looked. In a way this was quite a funny subversion of expectations when it comes to a Climactic Final Scrap, but this isn't a book I was reading for clever subversion. Especially in light of: 2. Was the Polity society supposed to be a dystopia? There isn't a great deal of Civ-Building done on screen, but whenever the Polity is mentioned it's reverentially. Some kind of capitalist, inter-stellar Super-Rome, perpetually thrusting it's glorious hegemony into the dark crevices of the galaxy. Then, in the flavour text you find out that when they create a sentient AI it's automatically a slave until it pays off what it cost to build it (generally in very dangerous military service). Huh. And later it turns out the punishment for criminals is to wipe their brain clean (kill them) and slap a new personality into the body. Oh... kay? I mean, I'm already finding it hard to cheer for the champions of Right here, guys. SPOILERS END Other than that, as I said, it is exactly what it said it was going to be on the tin. If you like your space opera served with a heaping side-dish of descriptive prose and pulse-rifles you'll be right at home.

  16. 5 out of 5

    William

    In my opinion, Gridlinked succeeds at being a smart, well written, engaging sci-fi spy thriller of a page turner. Neal Asher succeeded at what he set out to do on all counts. Gridlinked did not ask or answer any of life's great questions, but it did provide me with hours of great fun, action, humor, and a VERY well done sci-fi world! I love the Polity lore, and can't wait to read more. If Steven Erickson's Malazan is my favorite fantasy world, Polity is it's sci-fi counterpart. Wouldn't it be gr In my opinion, Gridlinked succeeds at being a smart, well written, engaging sci-fi spy thriller of a page turner. Neal Asher succeeded at what he set out to do on all counts. Gridlinked did not ask or answer any of life's great questions, but it did provide me with hours of great fun, action, humor, and a VERY well done sci-fi world! I love the Polity lore, and can't wait to read more. If Steven Erickson's Malazan is my favorite fantasy world, Polity is it's sci-fi counterpart. Wouldn't it be grand if a Runcible appeared on Genabackis. :) Well done Neal Asher. Well done. From "How It Is", by Gordon.

  17. 5 out of 5

    James Parsons

    The first full book from Asher I've read here. Published quite a while back now, it seems to have set the standard for a few of his novels and his style. Quite a long and good sized book, not space opera but features things like various planets, spaceships, AI and alien species. Like an action-adventure sci-fi movie, it moves along steady, never really slowing down too often. Good interesting lead character and others around him. If this is your kind of sci-fi thing, it probably will not let you The first full book from Asher I've read here. Published quite a while back now, it seems to have set the standard for a few of his novels and his style. Quite a long and good sized book, not space opera but features things like various planets, spaceships, AI and alien species. Like an action-adventure sci-fi movie, it moves along steady, never really slowing down too often. Good interesting lead character and others around him. If this is your kind of sci-fi thing, it probably will not let you down.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Luke Burrage

    Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #377. http://www.sfbrp.com/archives/1479 Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #377. http://www.sfbrp.com/archives/1479

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Whitehead

    I’ve been trying lately to pin down, in some quantifiable way, how I read books. When I first started my blog I started giving everything a rating. It didn’t make sense after awhile so I abandoned it. I decided that my reviews have to stand on their own. So I’ve been trying to find a way to describe why some books fill me with pure hatred and others with pure glee. For instance I don’t know why I love Robert Jordan’s books but read Dan Brown with the kind of loathing that is actually joy at all I’ve been trying lately to pin down, in some quantifiable way, how I read books. When I first started my blog I started giving everything a rating. It didn’t make sense after awhile so I abandoned it. I decided that my reviews have to stand on their own. So I’ve been trying to find a way to describe why some books fill me with pure hatred and others with pure glee. For instance I don’t know why I love Robert Jordan’s books but read Dan Brown with the kind of loathing that is actually joy at all the horrible things I have to say about it. Everybody has a limited attention span. Some people it’s longer than others. When I’m sitting in class it takes about ten minutes for me to start thinking about something else. Other people have shorter or longer attention spans. They say for children that the rule of thumb is about one minute per year of age – so I have the attention span of a ten year old – or something. At some point that breaks down. However, when I’m reading a book that I like reading my attention span becomes hours. So I’ve started to pay attention to how I read a book. Do I look at my watch frequently, or look up or stop to count the pages until the end of the chapter? Do I sometimes read twenty minutes while thinking about something completely different and have no idea what I just read? Those are all signs that something is not right with this book. Sometimes I can identify what it is that is keeping me from really getting lost in the words. Sometimes I can’t. Very few authors can achieve this to the extent that I lose track of time. I could probably list them all on my two hands – though it would take awhile to scrub the ink off. Gridlinked is one of those books that I just couldn’t get into and I think I know why. The story is about Ian Cormac, legendary ECS agent and the psychotic killer who is hunting him down. There’s also a bit about some weird aliens and giant explosions. Ian Cormac is basically James Bond in the future. He goes undercover by using his real name – even though he’s famous all over the galaxy and he stands in the middle of a hail of bullets and shoots the bad guys right in the face without ever getting hit once. Sometimes I get the idea that the whole thing is supposed to be a farcical play on spy movie tropes but if it is it’s too buried for it to be clear. It feels more like it’s just a series of those tropes glued together in a science fiction universe – albeit a well thought one. The writing, though, is probably the most atrocious thing about this book. Many of the sentences were so awkward that I had to read them twice before I believed that they actually passed an editor. There’s a great deal of maid-and-butler dialoge only thinly disguised as ‘explain it to me again’ which is dull and annoying. Other than the three or four main characters the rest are all indistinguishable from each other and serve only to either get injured or make awkward narrative suggestions such as ‘lets start calling this alien Scar so we don’t have to keep saying “the other alien” all the time.’ Yes this really happened. The bad guy is an evil psychopath who kills anybody whenever he feels like it a la Darth Vader except when they are characters that we are supposed to care about, and then he miraculously lets them live when they offend him. He even has some kind of giant metal brain attachment on the side of his head and sticking out his eye so that he will look all villainy. This book suffered a lot in translation as well. It was written in English and I read it in English but it was written in British English and I don’t read British English. Words were misspelled and every past tense verb ended in –t instead of –ed. These aren’t the author’s fault as much as the editor and publisher but they made it harder to read. In American English saying “he leant against the wall” means he borrowed something with the wall as collateral. Many of the chapters started with short descriptions of the technology in the book in the form of excerpts from fictional encyclopedias and journals. These were actually quite interesting and entertaining. I found myself frequently looking to see when the next chapter started so I could read another of these sections. Which is another problem, I suppose. The pre-chapter discussions were more interesting than the book. In all I don’t think I will read this author again. His style is so over the top that he made me think I was reading a Dan Brown science fiction novel. At least he didn’t have the half-page cliffhanger chapters. Small mercies.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Neil Hepworth

    The first three quarter of the book were a very strong 4 stars. Unfortunately, the novel’s end sank down into the two/one star category. The Good Parts: I loved the world-building and weird universe that Asher created. I liked his quirky AI’s. I enjoyed the grit, gore, action and pace. And once I got use to the slightly choppy writing writing style, I liked that too. It had the feel of a cyberpunk novel, but more readable. (I often find cyberpunk intriguing in concept, but difficult to actually The first three quarter of the book were a very strong 4 stars. Unfortunately, the novel’s end sank down into the two/one star category. The Good Parts: I loved the world-building and weird universe that Asher created. I liked his quirky AI’s. I enjoyed the grit, gore, action and pace. And once I got use to the slightly choppy writing writing style, I liked that too. It had the feel of a cyberpunk novel, but more readable. (I often find cyberpunk intriguing in concept, but difficult to actually read - this was not the case with Gridlinked.) Once I figured out Asher’s rhythm, the pages started to turn. The Bad Parts: The main character, Cormac, was rather static and underwhelming. The initial concept set up in the very beginning of the book of Cormac being removed from the Grid and going through a withdrawal was sorely underutilized. I mean, it’s the title of the book - you’d think he’d occasionally freak out, or shake, or get the sweats, or try to plug back in, but no. Alas, the only withdrawal symptom was when Cormac inadvertently hurt someone's feelings and he didn't understand why. (I mean, come on - this sounds like me and every girlfriend I've ever had.) Whoop-dee-freakin’-doo. If only all addicts could quit cold-turkey with such ease. The other bad part deals with the ending: (view spoiler)[ For all the buildup, all the scenes where the two antagonists are written as unstable monsters and evil killing machines, their demise was so disappointing as to be utterly laughable. One antagonist is given a few sentences to get ripped apart by two androids without even offering up a struggle. The other antagonist, gets off one shot at Cormac - then Cormac steps out and shoots the bad guy in the head. And I’m pretty sure that my little paragraph here provided more details for the incidents than the novel did. (I’m only exaggerating this a little, not a lot). Also the plot itself...well, never has such a complicated plot had such a simple, disappointing, and yet utterly opaque ending. You know the ending is confusing, when the author releases a revised edition of the final scene on his website wherein he actually explains all of what just happened. (hide spoiler)] I don’t know. I’m very conflicted on the novel. As I started the novel, I was really getting into the universe, the characters, and the writing style, but the ending left a terrible taste in my mouth. On the other hand, I wanted to like the book so much, that I will eventually pick up book number two. Hopefully that one will have a proper ending. (If anyone out there who has read more Neal Asher books wants to, shoot me a comment - I’d love to know if his novel endings get better.) The book is worth picking up and giving a try. If you don’t like it, well, that happens, However, there’s an equally good possibility that book will drag you along for a great ride.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aurel Mihai

    I was expecting to read a cross between the grittiness of Neuromancer and the epic storyline of Dune. I can only assume that's what Neal Asher was going for by writing us a cyberpunk plot full of cheap death and shady characters set in a pan-galactic universe where faster-than-light travel is a trivial matter. Unfortunately, the story is terribly rushed. Where Neuromancer and Dune are full of details that add life to those stories Gridlinked glosses over anything that isn't gore or action. Both I was expecting to read a cross between the grittiness of Neuromancer and the epic storyline of Dune. I can only assume that's what Neal Asher was going for by writing us a cyberpunk plot full of cheap death and shady characters set in a pan-galactic universe where faster-than-light travel is a trivial matter. Unfortunately, the story is terribly rushed. Where Neuromancer and Dune are full of details that add life to those stories Gridlinked glosses over anything that isn't gore or action. Both main characters are flat and never grow, their interactions with those around them are repetitive and dull. The entire novel is a collection of scifi cliches held together by simple, uninteresting writing. I'll admit I didn't finish this one, but after the first few hundred pages I've had enough.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ric

    About 85% done according to Kindle: a brawny, masculine book about an insensitive super agent. The story is more about action than sense or motivations. Characters are introduced and killed without compassion. A cold book that reminds me of action movies such as Mission Impossible or Captain America, where the entertainment is in the blasting, furious activity, tantalizing the eyes but light on the humanity and eminently forgettable. I realize that Asher wrote many books in the same universe and About 85% done according to Kindle: a brawny, masculine book about an insensitive super agent. The story is more about action than sense or motivations. Characters are introduced and killed without compassion. A cold book that reminds me of action movies such as Mission Impossible or Captain America, where the entertainment is in the blasting, furious activity, tantalizing the eyes but light on the humanity and eminently forgettable. I realize that Asher wrote many books in the same universe and maybe they would have more heart than this. But am somewhat disappointed since I started this having the notion that the book would be comparable to Haldeman's Forever War, but instead its a chase story filled with sf gadgetry. Perhaps others would find this mind-blowing and fun, but sorry to say, I am not so thrilled. Addendum: Just finished the book. On hindsight, Asher has style and this helped move the book along. Maybe I'll try another of his books later.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Aneel

    I found this pretty disappointing. The world didn't make much sense to me, which I think is a pretty bad failure for SF. Why are these people squabbling over petty change when they have energy surpluses large enough to quickly terraform ice planets? Why do the AIs let humans make the important choices? If linking human and AI minds leads to such amazing advances, why has it only been done once? If the main character's antique weapon is so powerful, why doesn't everyone use things like that? Overl I found this pretty disappointing. The world didn't make much sense to me, which I think is a pretty bad failure for SF. Why are these people squabbling over petty change when they have energy surpluses large enough to quickly terraform ice planets? Why do the AIs let humans make the important choices? If linking human and AI minds leads to such amazing advances, why has it only been done once? If the main character's antique weapon is so powerful, why doesn't everyone use things like that? Overlooking the SF shortcomings, the book was pretty flat. The characterizations weren't interesting. The plot seemed contrived.

  24. 4 out of 5

    spikeINflorida

    Disappointing read. Clunky prose. Inane dialogue. Plodding storyline. Hero worship. Assinine aliens. Faceless characters. Weak women. Dumb henchmen. Anticlimactic ending. Author's freshmen novel. GR reviews state that the sequel THE LINE OF POLITY is much better. I hope!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tudor Ciocarlie

    This book is a fantastic melange between intelligent plot, great action, interesting characters and some very profound questions.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lady*M

    In the prequel to the series, it had been determined that Cormac has an autism spectrum disorder which could be seen in his extreme focus on the knowledge and lack of social skills. Imagine a man like that connected for 30 years to the AI grid. When his performance on the field as an ECS agent starts to suffer because of the lack of empathy and recognition of human emotions, he was given an ultimatum: get off from the grid or resign. Disconnected from the grid, Cormac has to investigate a potent In the prequel to the series, it had been determined that Cormac has an autism spectrum disorder which could be seen in his extreme focus on the knowledge and lack of social skills. Imagine a man like that connected for 30 years to the AI grid. When his performance on the field as an ECS agent starts to suffer because of the lack of empathy and recognition of human emotions, he was given an ultimatum: get off from the grid or resign. Disconnected from the grid, Cormac has to investigate a potential sabotage of the runcible (gate) on a distant world. The explosion of the runcible destroyed the terraforming project on Samarkand and killed ten thousand people. With the science and military team he arrives to the planet to discover two survivors - two alien creatures created by the mysterious entity called Dragon he encountered decades ago. Not knowing whether to trust Dragon, who has its own interests in the sector, or not, Cormac has to unravel the mystery and, potentially, punish the culprits. He is followed by the psychotic criminal/separatist whose sister he killed in the operation that alerted the AIs to his grid problems. When the book starts, Cormac is already the legend in the Polity. Asher made a good decision to make him basically crippled - he has to kick his addiction and do his job at the same time. It was a good decision, because otherwise he would have been just another super agent. The author could have explored his dependency on the technology more and could have made some plot points less opaque, but overall this is a fun novel that uncovered another layer of the Polity. It's like an infinite onion. I'm addicted.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Yet another of the cadre of great British science-fiction writers (which, I maintain, is where all the best new sci-fi is coming from these days). This is a spy story. The protagonist is James Bond-ish, but with a critical weakness -- he's been hooked into the AI net for so long that he's lost his connection with his fellow humans. So, the AIs cut him off and he's now forced to do his job -- which involves thwarting the plans of an enigmatic alien -- without his usual advantage. Kind of an intere Yet another of the cadre of great British science-fiction writers (which, I maintain, is where all the best new sci-fi is coming from these days). This is a spy story. The protagonist is James Bond-ish, but with a critical weakness -- he's been hooked into the AI net for so long that he's lost his connection with his fellow humans. So, the AIs cut him off and he's now forced to do his job -- which involves thwarting the plans of an enigmatic alien -- without his usual advantage. Kind of an interesting twist and I have a fondness for flawed heroes. Anyway, the story is quite well told and one of those things you have a hard time putting down. He's got several others in this same universe, including Brass Man, The Line of Polity, and Polity Agent, though I haven't read any of them yet.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jim Mcclanahan

    The positive side of Gridlinked revolves around the author's ability to create interesting characters, set forth a compelling conflict among those characters and describe the action using descriptions of biology and technology that are almost sufficiently detailed to qualify as "Hard SF". However, in the end, Asher writes Space Operas. Which is fine because that's what I like. On the negative side, for this novel, the author seems to intoduce a few too many elements (and perhaps characters) into The positive side of Gridlinked revolves around the author's ability to create interesting characters, set forth a compelling conflict among those characters and describe the action using descriptions of biology and technology that are almost sufficiently detailed to qualify as "Hard SF". However, in the end, Asher writes Space Operas. Which is fine because that's what I like. On the negative side, for this novel, the author seems to intoduce a few too many elements (and perhaps characters) into the mix, causing some muddling of the story's outcome. But, in the end, this may have been the intent. I have yet to read the rest of the Ian Cormac novels, but it appears that some characters will resurface. Mika is one. But so too are Mr. Crane, the crazed robot and the dragon. It seems that the dragon's motives continue to be a mystery and, hopefully, that will be part of the fun. I liked this tale, but would have preferred a little more resolution at the end. However, that won't prevent me from reading the rest of the series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    MTK

    I really wanted to like this book. The world-building is spectacular and there are dozens of novels set in the same universe; I was looking forward to them. Unfortunately, I found it a slog to get through, because frankly the plot was boring and predictable and the story was told in a wooden and tiresome manner. The characters were also under-developed, but I don't consider that a huge issue for a sci-fi adventure. It's a shame, I would have loved to read more about the Polity.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Strix

    Weirdly, bizarrely compelling to me despite its myriad flaws. Warnings for extreme violence, off-screen rape and general cynical grittiness. There are no likable characters in this. Not a single character is compelling or interesting, despite attempts by the author to make them that way. Agent Cormac himself tries to be interesting with how he's coping with not being "gridlinked" - essentially permanently connected to futuristic AI google - but the awkwardness fades and he becomes flat action her Weirdly, bizarrely compelling to me despite its myriad flaws. Warnings for extreme violence, off-screen rape and general cynical grittiness. There are no likable characters in this. Not a single character is compelling or interesting, despite attempts by the author to make them that way. Agent Cormac himself tries to be interesting with how he's coping with not being "gridlinked" - essentially permanently connected to futuristic AI google - but the awkwardness fades and he becomes flat action hero who does the right thing. The other characters range from flat to repulsive, but before I describe them I'd better take a step back, explain what this is. It's a sci-fi technothriller set in the far future when humanity has colonized hundreds of planets, and they're all linked together by stargates - called runcibles in this 'verse - and they're governed by the "Polity", which is essentially an AI-run government. Our main character is a super special agent, sent to root out rebels and stop criminals. The plot follows this agent as he's pulled off of an undercover op he botched big time to go investigate one of these runcibles exploding and killing ten thousand people. This is where the book is at its best, because it involves a bizarre set of aliens and their truly bizarre psychology. If the book had just been this investigation I would have scored it higher, as it was consistently interesting despite the flat characters and I adored everything about trying to understand the Dragon alien's motives. (An alien named Dragon that consists of four mountain-sized floating orbs. Yes. I love it.) The problem is, the plot also follows the fallout from the botched undercover op. See, in the first scene with Cormac he kills a woman in self-defense and cuts off her head. She was the second leader of a rebel cell, she figured out he was undercover, and it all went to hell. "Cuts off her head" - yeah. This book is ultraviolent and does not apologize for it. So. This plot follows the dead woman's brother as he descends into insane psychopathy on his revenge quest to kill Cormac. As there are like four more books in the Agent Cormac series, guess how it goes. Yeah. We spend literally half of the book learning about this psycho as he gets a sidekick and hires mercenaries and picks up a psycho killer android and murders his way to an outlaw planet, murders more people there, and murders his way to his big confrontation with Cormac. It's gross, it's violent, it literally goes nowhere. Cormac learns nothing from this, the brother dies violently, it's awful and why the hell did I have to read so much of it. Like, I /guess/ because of the sidekick pov? We spent a lot of time with the sidekick as he grew increasingly less okay with murder and by the end of the book basically surrendered to Cormac so he could get out of the crime business and go have kids with the woman he fell in love with along the way, but like. Bad character writing made his entire arc flat as hell, and while I'm glad they survived it's like, okay. Whatever. So here's this kind of generic future setting, with no compelling characters except for the bizarre aliens, and we spend half the book wasting our time with ultraviolence. Why does this have three stars and not two or one? Because something about the writing style and the grimness of it all dragged me through it in like a weekend. I hit the halfway point and couldn't put the damn thing down. You already know if you want to read it or not. If you're on the fence: sigh. Don't read this. Try Rememory for a cyberpunk technothriller that has something to say. Try CJ Cherryh's Pride of Chanur for bizarre yet interesting aliens. And so on. You are either in the niche for this kind of writing or you aren't.

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