Next it was time to bite the bullet so I started off by publishing Runcible Tales in paper form on Amazon. That went well enough so I did the same with the rest. There were some hiccups concerning pagination and the covers are quite plain (something I must look into in the future), but now all of the above are available on Kindle and in POD paper. The links below each will take you through to the Amazon UK, but these are also available in the US and elsewhere.
I’ve just put this collection up on Kindle. It will also be appearing as an Amazon paperback sometime soon . . .
I have a varied collection of short stories in my files and, of course, the temptation is there to dump them on Kindle, take the money and run. However, though I think some of them are great, some aren’t, and some are profoundly dated. I am aware that there are those out there, who will just buy these without a second thought, so I have to edit, be selective, and I damned well have to show some respect for my readers. Kindle in this respect can be a danger for a known writer, because you can publish any old twaddle and someone will buy it. Time and again, I’ve had fans, upon hearing that I have this and that unpublished in my files, demanding that I publish it at once because surely they’ll love it. No they won’t. A reputation like trust: difficult to build and easy to destroy.
I’ve therefore chosen stories other people have published here and there, and filled in with those I really think someone should have published. Here you’ll find some Polity tales, some that could have been set in the Polity (at a stretch) and some from the bleak Owner universe. Enjoy!
Neal Asher 04/06/18
Memories of Earth
I believe I wrote this one as a publicity exercise for Tor Macmillan while they were publishing the Owner trilogy, but then it wasn’t used. I subsequently shunted it off to Asimov’s and they published it in their October/November 2013 issue. There’s also an audible version on Starship Sofa (No. 383).
This appeared in The New Space Opera 2 edited by Gardner Dozois and Johnathan Strahan published in July 2009.
The Rhine’s World Incident
First appeared in Subterfuge from Newcon Press in 2008, next appeared in In Space No One Can Hear You Scream from Baen Books in 2013. This is the story where the swarm AI the Brockle makes its first appearance.
Appeared in Galactic Empires published by Gardner Dozois in 2008
First appeared in Asimov’s in December 2004, next in Year’s Best SF 10 published by Hartwell and Kramer in 2005. StarShipSofa did an audible version: No. 463
The Other Gun
Cover picture story in Asimov’s April/May 2013. This is a backstory for the Rise of the Jain trilogy – it concerns the Client.
This appeared in George Mann’s Solaris Book of New Science Fiction in 2007
Not appeared anywhere at all!
There’s an audible version of this on Escape Pod, episode 118, read by Steve Eley – went up there in 2007
I haven’t been reading many books over the last few years. I put this down to events of over four years ago when I ceased to take pleasure in anything. By and by my enjoyment of most things has returned but with the reading, not so much. Too often in the last few years I’ve picked up books and then lost interest in them – the whole idea of continuing to read them seeming a chore. I therefore began to think that maybe this was a pleasure that would never return and that, after years of reading books and years of writing the buggers, I’ve become jaded with them.
I’ll be doing a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) at 6PM UK time.
You should be able to find it somewhere here at that time:
Nice review in Locus from Russell Letson of The Soldier. You can buy the magazine here. Here’s a little of it:
But I get ahead of myself. The Soldier: Rise of the Jain Book One opens a new set of chapters in the story of the infiltration of Jain technology into the Polity/Prador neighborhood. The story hosts a reunion of characters from earlier books: the Jain-taming haiman (AI-enhanced human) Orlandine; the Jain-spreading creature once called the Legate, now Angel; and one of the ancient, moon-sized, enigma-loving aliens called Dragon. New characters include familiar Asherian types: a couple of Hoopers, nearly-indestructible humans from the everything-eats-everything planet Spatterjay; some disturbingly upgraded and cooperative (if still vicious) Prador; and miscellaneous snarky battle drones and AI warships. They are joined by some even stranger creatures, often singletons of various kinds: relicts and lone survivors, the creation of a rogue AI warship, self-redesigned cyborgian entities.
I had thought with the Transformation trilogy (Dark Intelligence, War Factory, Infinity Engine) that Asher had maxed out what could be done with the Polity setting – that the near-metaphysical implications of the fate of Penny Royal constituted a kind of narrative event horizon. I think I might have been mistaken.