Favorite Asher Book?

Rane Longfox

Red Rane
Jul 30, 2004
It's quite a tough choice. My personal favorite keeps changing, but at the moment I would certainly say Brass Man is my favorite - Mr Crane is such a wonderful character, it just managed to sneak ahead of The Skinner.

Rane, it's usually The Skinner for most people yet, oddly, the series of books beginning with Gridlinked is the one that sells best.

Oh, and since I've noted some confusion about the order of those books, here it is: 1. Gridlinked 2. The Line of Polity 3. Brass Man 4. Polity Agent 5. Line War.
Ah, thanks. I've read a couple of your books and thoroughly enjoyed them. Now I know the order. I'll put them in my next batch of to buy books.

I am naturally lazy, I think many people are, often I don't buy a book in a linked universe of stories as the order is not clear.

By the way I recommend Mr Asher's books as a more muscular but intelligent (and often amusing), take on sci fi.

If you like Iain M Banks you'll probably like these.

To the author: I hope you think that's a fair comparison.
Well, I would have liked to have made every book in the series stand alone, which I tried to do with plenty of explanatory stuff in subsequent books, but there comes a point when there's too much of that, and too many plot components becoming very complicated. Macmillan reluctantly started numbering the books at number four, Polity Agent, and I believe future printings of the other books will be numbered. The reason they weren't numbered from the off was that I didn't start out with the intention of writing a series -- that idea took root at about the end of The Line of Polity.

Muscular, intelligent and often amusing? How could I object to that?

Yes, readers of Banks might like them, specifically readers of earlier ones like Consider Phlebas, where there's more exploding spaceships and homicidal aliens!
I think the comparison with Iain M Banks is a good one - strong individual characters and bat****-insane droids. I did always see Sniper as equivalent to Skaffen-Amtiskaw:D Hopefully you'll take that as purely a compliment, Neal, as that's how it's intended;)

I'm reading Polity Agent at the moment, though it's on a bit of a hiatus at the moment due to university - they actually expect me to work here, it's horrific! - and enjoying it immensely. Whenever I read a Cormac book, though, I always want to know more about Horace Blegg! Very frustrating, but the mystery surrounding him is great too.
Gridlinked is the first in the Cormac series, but can stand alone. The Skinner has a sequel, but can also stand alone. Cowl stands alone, but is not set in the same future (past, whatever - time-travel) as the others. Maybe others here can make suggestions for you?
I tend to read books in the order they're released, so I'd go for Gridlinked as a starting point. Plus, it's a damn good book, and it means you're closer to being able to read Brass Man :D

Plus, it's a good book to judge from - if you like it, you're most likely going to like the others too, but if you don't enjoy it, then try The Skinner before you make a judgement, if you don't like either of them, then you're beyond help;)
Im also one that wanna try Neal Asher mostly cause alot of people have recommended me to read him.

Which one of his books is the best start for a new reader? It doesnt matter if its a series or not.

Cormac series i saw today in my bookshop and thought it sounded interesting.
Hehe didnt think you the writer himself would recommend where to start.

Gonna check out The Skinner then. Dont even know what kind of SF you write only know that alot of people has said to me i should try you.
It's like when you lend an SF book to someone telling them you think it's excellent, and are then disappointed when they seem unimpressed. I've seen so many varying opinions of my books, many of them contradicting each other, that I can't really say. Check out the amazon reviews of them and you'll see what I mean.

Cowl is an excellent wide-screen time-travel story, done in the manner of a space opera ... or it's far too complicated and violent with unlikable characters.

Gridlinked is a space opera/detective/James Bond romp ... or it's boring SF with flat characters.

The Skinner is another romp full of wonderful characters and an superbly detailed ecology ... or it's full of unbelievable creatures, cardboard characters and a pointless plot.

Take your pick.
I just finished Cowl. I think I did the book a disservice by reading it mostly late at night. I fell off a couple of times throughout the book, like wondering where the hell that time-travelling city came from all of a sudden. While I have myself to blame for that, I did find the twist in regards to Cowl's motives at the end a little underdeveloped. It seemed almost put in there as an afterthought, just a couple of lines of dialogue and that's it.

Hearing about Gridlinked though, I like the sound of it and will be picking it up sharpish.
Oh, and since I've noted some confusion about the order of those books, here it is: 1. Gridlinked 2. The Line of Polity 3. Brass Man 4. Polity Agent 5. Line War.

Which books can you read without having to start book 1. Are they all from the same series and are sequels to each other? I recall someone mentioning that Cowl was stand alone. Does that mean I still have to read the others to understand Cowl or can I just dive right in? Which books are stand alone without needing to read Gridlinked etc. Not trying to do shortcuts, it's just that the bookstores I frequent don't have books 1 and 2 but they do have Cowl and Hilldiggers and Line of Polity, basically everything except Gridlinked and The Skinner
Gridlinked et al are good but my favourites are probably his short story collections (Runcible Tales and The Engineer Reconditioned).

Really liked "Walking John and Bird" out of Runcible tales - very interesting twist. Also liked a lot of the stories out of The Engineer.

Its very enjoyable (but rare) to find an author who can do good short stories as well as epic novels / series.
The Skinner is standalone to an extent - but only to the extent that Gridlinked is - it's the beginning of a story arc which is continued with The Voyage of the Sable Keetch. You can read it as a standalone though, that's true enough.

I think it is quite important to read Gridlinked before the others in that series though, unfortunately :(

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