I am a big sf fan and Neal Asher is one of my buy on publication writers (out of "established" 4+ books authors, I have 8 such, the others being Peter Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, J.C. Grimwod, Richard Morgan, JackMcDevitt, John Ringo and David Weber with John C. Wright almost there). Since I live in the US I have to pay the Amazon.uk postage but it is worth it . I thought of sharing my impressions of Mr. Asher novels/ss here. On a scale to 10:
Gridlinked: 10 - I like to try new authors both from here and the UK especially in my favourite areas (space opera and military sf) so in 2001 I got Gridlinked (bundled with Chasm City - to reduce postage costs I try to bundle several UK books together); after reading it I said "Wow" that is someone to buy on publication
The Skinner: 10+ - Usually the second book is not as good as the first but this time it was better. Loved Sniper
Cowl: 9 - I do not like time travel books unless the time travel is one way (blink and that Universe changes/dissapears is too solipsistic for me) so I got this book because it had Neal Asher as author and I really liked it to my surprise
The Line of Polity: 8 - I really waited impatiently for this book and I was very dissapointed since it seemed too much a rehash, plus the Theocracy and all thing has been done to death and I do not like villains you cannot like or at least appreciate if only a little bit (I liked Mr. Crane, but Skellor or the theocrats both stupid and unlikable... Even Arian Pelter was more interesting...) Maybe I expected too much (had a similar experience with China Mieville where after 2 books I really liked came Iron Council which I almost could not finish...). On rereading The Line when Brass Man came out, I changed my mind slightly so I give it an 8 now, but still it is the weakest of the novels so far
Brass Man: 10 - It was everything that The Line was not. Loved the rogue AI's subplot - thought it brilliant
The Voyage of Sable Keech: 9.5 Very good, just a bit too similar to Skinner but still loved it a lot
Short Stories: 9.5 I own both the Enginner (old edition) and The Writers of the Future book which has a group of stories "Runcible Tales" by Neal Asher and of course I read the Asimov's stories with the Gabbleducks. Overall they are pretty good, some are mentioned in the novels (original meeting with Dragon, Janer on the Snairl ship) and the last ones may represent the begiining of an extension of the Polity Universe with the origin of Hodders and so on...