Neal Asher books: In what order should I read?

Vertigo

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Some new timelines on Neal's blog:
NealAsher_Polity_draft_full.jpg

NealAsher_Polity_Full.jpg

NealAsher_Polity_original_full.jpg


I hope it's okay to repost them (from here: THE SKINNER: Polity Timelines)

If not I'm sure a mod could remove the images and just leave the link.
 

Ursa major

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Given that some of Neal's series are linked and the diagram shows the recommended way to move from one to another AND THUS will encourage those worried about jumping into the middle of something to BUY one or more of Neal's books, I'm sure Neal won't mind it being posted here. :)

But if he does mind, he may even tell us. Anyway, speaking as a mod who'll now know which book to read next, I'd hate to have to second guess Neal's attitude to posting the map. :)
 

Vertigo

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To be fair my slight concern was that, according to Neal's blog, these images actually appear to have been donated to Neal by another person by the name of John Lewis. So maybe we should just acknowledge credit to him?
 

Ursa major

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these images actually appear to have been donated to Neal by another person by the name of John Lewis. So maybe we should just acknowledge credit to him?
If that is indeed the case, we can modify your earlier post to indicate this.

In the meantime, at least his name is now in this thread. :)
 

AE35Unit

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I's it not possible to read them as stand alone's, picked up at random? I have read Prador Moon and i now have Gridlinked on my shelf as well as Shadow of the Scorpion which according to FF is from a different series. Also where does Penny Royal first appear?
 

J-Sun

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I's it not possible to read them as stand alone's, picked up at random? I have read Prador Moon and i now have Gridlinked on my shelf as well as Shadow of the Scorpion which according to FF is from a different series. Also where does Penny Royal first appear?

You can read Prador Moon and Shadow of the Scorpion in any order, not least because he wrote 'em in any order, but they do have an internal order. And the main five are actually one giant story that should be read in order. I can't remember when Penny Royal appeared. (Somebody needs to do a Polity Concordance or some such - I started The Technician and had to stop because I got confused about whether I was supposed to be remembering some things or not, as one character, especially, seemed familiar but I couldn't place him.) I want to say it was in the latter part of the main five, but I really don't know. And that'll screw up my reading of Dark Intelligence, probably.

Oh yeah, and regarding Shadow, it's from a different series in the sense that it doesn't have anything to do with Dragon (which is the main five) but it is an Ian Cormac novel (and Cormac is in all the main five). It's set before the main story but doesn't affect it and isn't affected by it. That's actually probably the least impressive Asher novel, to me, but it's still okay. Prador Moon, on the other hand (which is neither Cormac nor Dragon but is in the universe prior to them both) is one of the most impressive, though. (Not everyone shares my opinion, though.)
 

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You can read Prador Moon and Shadow of the Scorpion in any order, not least because he wrote 'em in any order, but they do have an internal order. And the main five are actually one giant story that should be read in order.
Oh yeah, and regarding Shadow, it's from a different series in the sense that it doesn't have anything to do with Dragon (which is the main five) but it is an Ian Cormac novel (and Cormac is in all the main five). It's set before the main story but doesn't affect it and isn't affected by it. That's actually probably the least impressive Asher novel, to me, but it's still okay. Prador Moon, on the other hand (which is neither Cormac nor Dragon but is in the universe prior to them both) is one of the most impressive, though. (Not everyone shares my opinion, though.)
Wow, complicated! Oh I have The Skinner too!
 

Vertigo

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I thought it was The Technician that Penny Royal first appeared in but I may be wrong.

I'd agree with @J-Sun the order of these books is quite critical. The Spatterjay books can be read separate to the rest but still in their own correct order, but the Ian Cormac books do really need to be read in the correct order and the Penny Royal books do follow on from them. Prador Moon provides a good solid background to the whole Polity Universe but, as @J-Sun says Shadow of the Scorpian is more stand alone though it does give more depth to the Cormac character.

I think the thing to appreciate is that, whilst they are not a completely linked extended series like, say, the Honor Harrington books, which are effectively one long story, they are also not like Banks' Culture books where each one is pretty much stand alone within the same universe. Instead they lie somewhere between those two where order is sometimes critical and sometimes not so much so. Therefore the easiest approach is to either read them in published order or in chronological order, either would work.

@AE35Unit as the first of the Spatterjey books Skinner would also be a perfectly fine book to start. I read Gridlinked first and only picked up Shadow later which wasn't a problem. However Shadow does occur chronologically before Gridlinked and since you have bother I think I'd probably read them in that order. As J-Sun says, though, Shadow is not one of his best.
 
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AE35Unit

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I thought it was The Technician that Penny Royal first appeared in but I may be wrong.

.
From the entry in Fantastic Fiction for The Technician:

" The war drone Amistad, whose job it is to bring this information to light, recruits Lief Grant, an ex-rebel Commander, to protect Tombs, along with the black AI Penny Royal, who everyone thought was dead


That would suggest she appears in an earlier book but I can find no other reference before the Technician on that site
 

Vertigo

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The reasons for everyone thinking Penny Royal was dead are covered in that book (The Technician), so I'm pretty sure it doesn't appear in any earlier books.
 

Vertigo

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Funnily enough Skinner was the very first Neal Asher that I read and even when I later came to read Gridlinked I still didn't realise that they were set in the same universe (although at significantly different times). The Skinner can easily be read alone; the books that follow do continue the stories of some of the same characters but they really are completely new stories. The only warning I would give on these books is it does take a little while to wrap your head around the weird ecology of Spatterjay but once you've managed that it is a joy! There are background notes at the beginning of each chapter that explain that ecology and I recommend taking the time to read them.
 

Jojo999

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I would suggest following the internal chronological order as set out in the Wikipedia entry:
Neal Asher - Wikipedia

I started with the Ian Cormac series, then went back to read Prador Moon and Shadow of the Scorpion, which provided essential back fill. I've read the Technician (much improved writing over the prior books!) and am starting on the Transformation series now. I am not excited about Spatterjay series from summaries I have read, so unsure if I will read that series.

Seems like Line War jumped forward in time w/o resolving all the characters, so hope for another book or two in that arc. Also The Technician cries out for another book or two.

P.S. It'd be nice if SFF supported a spoiler tag as some other sites do where detail could be discussed but hidden from casual display.
 

Vertigo

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I would suggest following the internal chronological order as set out in the Wikipedia entry:
Neal Asher - Wikipedia

I started with the Ian Cormac series, then went back to read Prador Moon and Shadow of the Scorpion, which provided essential back fill. I've read the Technician (much improved writing over the prior books!) and am starting on the Transformation series now. I am not excited about Spatterjay series from summaries I have read, so unsure if I will read that series.

Seems like Line War jumped forward in time w/o resolving all the characters, so hope for another book or two in that arc. Also The Technician cries out for another book or two.

P.S. It'd be nice if SFF supported a spoiler tag as some other sites do where detail could be discussed but hidden from casual display.
I would at least give the Spatterjay series ago. I think they are brilliant if a little strange.

RE the spoiler tag there is one. you can either type [ spoiler ] [ /spoiler ] without the spaces or one of the buttons above the editing area is an insert button; select the spoiler text and then click that option and the spoiler tags will be inserted around the text.

So here is a spoiler
this is a spoiler
.
 

Vertigo

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An interesting blog post from Neal Asher here:
He shows the chronological reading order of all the series without getting too worried about any overlaps. Also includes a brief overview of each series or stand alone.
 

NerdNerdNerd

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Thanks for posting (reposting) the visual on the book series, Vertigo. I just finished Gridlinked and I cannot believe that I've never read Asher before? I'm a Sci-fi nerd and feel a bit affronted that not one of my fellow nerds have steered me to these books. I'm praying that Dragon makes a comeback in The Line of Polity, which I am beginning tonight. What the hell is that thing? So intrigued. Also, Cormac is straight bad ass and I bet he could take Mr. Crane in a straight up street fight.
 

Vertigo

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Thanks for posting (reposting) the visual on the book series, Vertigo. I just finished Gridlinked and I cannot believe that I've never read Asher before? I'm a Sci-fi nerd and feel a bit affronted that not one of my fellow nerds have steered me to these books. I'm praying that Dragon makes a comeback in The Line of Polity, which I am beginning tonight. What the hell is that thing? So intrigued. Also, Cormac is straight bad ass and I bet he could take Mr. Crane in a straight up street fight.
Dragon is a recurring presence throughout both the Cormac books and a number of other books within the Polity Universe and it's nature steadily revealed. A great and inscrutable character!

Oh and welcome to the Chrons. You should stick around it's a fascinating place to hang out!
 

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