Polity Agent impressions
I received Polity Agent on Saturday (ordered it from bookdepository.co.uk who ships free here to the US) and I have just finished it yesterday. If you read the 3 Cormac books this is a must since it ties up pretty much everything from those (Dragon, Jain, Horace Blegg and much more), explains and reveals quite a lot of things and starts up a new Polity thread to be continued.
In the process we see ground war, space war, Dragon fights, massive Polity projects (start of a Dyson sphere, arcologies, massive building and arming - the only question I have after that is why the Polity did not finish the genocidal Prador off - maybe the cost was deemed too high? ), almost every surviving character from the first 3 books and some new characters including a bored spider war drone that attaches itself to Cormac to "see action", and also some backstory of the Polity and Earth Central.
Highly recommended of course; as of now it surpasses the Skinner for the position of my favourite N. Asher book, mainly because a "global" book that well integrated is hard to write. Gridlinked was a very good book though a bit uneven, I did not like that much The Line of Polity though in retrospect it is enhanced a lot by its 2 sequels, I liked a lot Brass Man but it was still a chapter in a story; Polity Agent though brings everything together, smoothly, and delivers a great read with lots of memorable scenes (one of my favourites - Mr. Crane throwing a Jain egg to..., read the book to see to whom, and the why and what - "There comes a time when useful fictions become weaknesses to be exploited").
Whilst I agree with these comments I wanted to note the sense of dread that I felt as I moved 2/3rds of the way into the book. It was a wild ride, fascinating, enthralling and very satisfying but it became clear to me that time was running out in the book to wrap things up nicely.
As I approached the final quarter of the book the action was so great and the enemy just begged to be explored in more detail and just damn well *fought* with some teeth that I worried that there would be some simple happy wrap-it-all up ending in just a few short pages.
I was and continue to be happy. I left the book satisfied, and waiting for a continuation of the action. Safe in the knowledge that there’s plenty scope to continue just where we left off, if that’s where we are taken.
Neal, thanks for not taking the short cut and ending the action early. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Thanks you two for the comments about Polity Agent. The threads Tdeady mentions being brought together in this book were all there in the previous books and I guess you could suppose some foresight on my part. Well that could only be the case if I was putting them together in my unconscious. This is as much a process of discovery for me as it is for my readers!
As for not cutting it short, suscuil, I could have gone for the deus ex machina but that wouldn't have been satisfying at all. Look forward to some serious **** hitting the fan in Line War.
characters and opinions
First of all I want to say that I think Neal Asher is the best writer I've ever read period. He manages to inject so much intense philosophical basis into his work without waxing philosophical and yet simultaneously deftly manages to intertwine complex plot threads with action dwelling inside a complex universe with all different levels of tech and all sorts of tech interacting in well thought out ways that I am just enamored.
That said, I want to learn more about ECC. I want to know about the personalities of ECC and Jerusalem more. I want to know what motivates them...is it just a sense of humor?
I want to see more characters out there besides Erebus - the ever threatening unknown - there must be AI's out there who decided to take the next step in evolution...let's have some hint that they are there.
But most importantly I want to see more of Jack Ketch. Jack is a badass extraordinare, I absolutely love this character!
Yes, obviously Cormac is evolving into a Post-Human and as such he will become what Horace Blegg was intended to be for ECC and watching that happen and the war with Erebus will be interesting...but really I just want to see Jack be more of his badass self.
Oh, and watching what will happen with the very unique character of Aphran will be interesting too, I hope she doesn't get forgotten.
As an asside: I assume that Hyperion, Nueromancer, and Dune influenced Asher, I wonder if he takes any influence from the Orion's arm project at all, and if he reads or knows of Richard Morgan whose books are very close to Asher's books to my mind?
Hey Sigma. I read the first Hyperion one long long ago and only really remember the Shrike (is that right). Loved Dune and enjoyed Neuromancer. Much enjoy Richard Morgan's books too, but I wrote my first three before I ever picked up one of his. Line war will hold some disappointments for you, but there'll also be plenty for you to relish. Cheers!
Thanks for the quick reply!
I'll try not to drag you away from your writing anymore.