Monday, June 06, 2011

34. Gridlinked by Neal Asher

I borrowed this from my brother-in-law, for whom reading science fiction is one of the few little pleasures my sister allows him. He tends towards the higher end of the spectrum, but every now and then will delve into the more populist fare, such as Gridlinked. I was looking for an easy and entertaining read and so I grabbed it. I was highly skeptical of the "Asher has lit up the sky of science fiction like a new sun" blurb on the front cover, but felt that I would get a fairly good cyberpunk bang for my buck here.

I'm being lazy, plus quite busy, so I'll quote the wikipedia page for the plot summary:

The novel follows the exploits of Earth Central Security agent Ian Cormac, as he attempts to discover who or what is behind the destruction of the Runcible on a remote colony. Cormac drops an investigation into Polity separatists on Cheyne III, and takes the starship Hubris to the ruined world of Samarkand to directly oversee the investigation there. Having been directly "gridlinked" to the Polity A.I. network for too long, Cormac has been slowly losing his humanity, and takes the opportunity of this particular mission to disconnect and solve the mystery the old-fashioned way.

My reading has finally slowed down, so it took me a week or two to get through this. I do blame the book a bit for this, as the plot tends to drag on a bit in the second half. The overall plot is not all that innovative either, being basically a military adventure. However, the trappings of the future galaxy and all its tech are really quite cool. I'm not even sure I would really call this cyberpunk, though it definitely has such elements. I particularly liked the portrayal of the AIs (that are basically the human government at this point) as well as the existence of miniminds in things like weapons.

It was an enjoyable read, but I felt could have used some tightening up. If you are hungry for this kind of super hi-tech sci-fi, Neal Asher is not a bad way to go at all. I suspect the series will get better and more interesting as it moves forward as well, so I would probably pick up the next book if I find it for cheap.

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