Neal Asher books: In what order should I read?


Active Member
Oct 14, 2010
Should Mr. Asher's Polity universe be read in publication order, internal chronological, or does it not really matter?
Here we go:

1.The Skinner. 2.The Voyage of the Sable Keech. 3.Orbus.

1.Gridlinked. 2.the Line of Polity. 3.Brass Man. 4.Polity Agent. 5.Line War.

Shadow of the Scorpion is set some time before the above Cormac series alternating between when he was a child and when he was an army grunt.
Then there's this timeline:
Many thanks biodroid and Mr. Asher.

I opted to read the Cormac series first, the entire set should be arriving tomorrow.
Maybe I should start a new thread for this but general 'ordering' questions seem relevant. I've read The Engineer Reconditioned and (more relevantly) Gridlinked. I've finally come across Brass Man. If I generally prefer reading series in order but I'm getting tired of getting hung up waiting for things to fall into place, should I wait for The Line of Polity or is reading Brass Man directly after Gridlinked an option?

(I've also found Shadow of the Scorpion. That I think I will wait on - it may be a prequel, but it's written after and - for a very weird analogy, but the only one that immediately comes to mind, other than maybe some Flandry ordering - I don't think anyone should read A Stainless Steel Rat is Born before they read the original trilogy. Incidentally, how is that a 'stand alone' if it also features Ian Cormac? It may be a separate story if the other five tell a single one, but I wouldn't think to call it stand alone. But maybe I've misunderstood what it's about?)

And, Neal, if you see this: beat up your agent and publisher (or whoever) until they make your books more accessible over here in the US. We're knee deep in Hamilton and Reynolds bugcrushers, yet you're relatively hard to find.
J-Sun - they're all available as e-books on Amazon except, funnily enough Prador Moon or at least not the last time I looked.

Re reading order definitely don't skip The Line Of Polity as Brass Man makes numerous references back to it and in many ways is directly tied to it. Shadow of the Scorpion you can probably read at any time. The difference is that although it is Cormac there are virtually no other "dependencies" between them. Whereas as you go from G to TLOP tp BM they build on each other and refer back to events in the earlier books, although there is some recapping done I think it will work much better for you in that order.

My personal opinion of course and Neal may well disagree :eek:
Okay, thanks - that's what I was afraid of (needing LoP) so I'll wait. I don't do ebooks, so it may be awhile.

As an example of what I was getting at, I guess, is the idea that Baxter's Raft/Timelike Infinity/Flux/Ring series is often described as just that when, really, Raft and Flux are very peripheral in the sense of needing to read them to get the overall story - it's just Timelike and Ring that focus on the "big story" (and Vacuum Diagrams tells an even bigger story and would probably work first, last, or mixed in. So LoP fits between G and BM more like TI and Ring relate than Raft and Ring, I guess.
I'm not familiar with that series. But don't get me wrong each book is essentially stand alone in that it tells a complete story; there are no real loose ends left for the next book to pick up. The next book is another complete story but the first is very much part of its history.
Yeah, I think I understand. So I'll just keep on the lookout for LoP and if it takes too long, I'll break down and go ahead with BM. Thanks again. :)

-- Oh, and if you like neo-space opera with giant spans of time and space (or at least don't hate it), I definitely recommend getting familiar with the Baxter series. I didn't actually like Flux much but Raft is very good and the core two and the collection of stories set in the universe are fantastic.
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Is there an updated Timeline/readorder Picture, and is there a picture for the other timelines as well..?:confused:

Im reading the Cormac ones a.t.m. they're really good, halfway through Brass Man and loving the Cull atmosphere. :D
As far as I'm aware there are no new Polity books that are not on that timeline picture earlier in the thread.
Having read all five novels in the Ian Cormac series, I'd definitely recommend reading Prador Moon before them.

Oh, and I'd recommend reading all six books. :)
The only thing in series to come out since the chart is Dark Intelligence so there's not much to update. I suspect it goes on one side or the other of The Technician, but I don't know for sure.

Incidentally, scrolling up, I see I had questions about Cormac and pretty much figured it out with help but just wanted to state my view definitively, having read them: There are five Cormac novels involving the Dragon storyline that it is essential to read in order and Shadow of the Scorpion is absolutely a Cormac novel (and not something I'd call stand alone) but absolutely separate from the Dragon storyline so can be read before (it's set before), after (it was written after), or not at all in relation to it. Like I say, this is all established above but now I've confirmed it for myself.

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