Who Reads my Books? Dean Edis

Hi Neal! I don’t know if you’ve got enough ‘Who Reads My Books’ fodder, but I thought I might add my humble blurb to the pile. I won’t be offended if I don’t ‘make the cut’ – I mostly just wanted to say thanks for all the books!

Apologies for the grammar…

My name is Dean Edis (43) and I come from Cambridge in the UK, living with my wife, two kids, and two cats. My ‘Asher’ journey started an eternity ago with ‘Gridlinked’ and I _think_ I’ve read every book he’s published since then. To avoid sounding too stalker-y I should point out I also enjoy reading Richard Morgan, Ian M Banks, and most recently R. R. Haywood.

I’m currently re-re-reading The Owner series – An awesome trilogy and worth looking at if you haven’t already!

My day job is a software developer (mostly C#/C++), so the COVID lockdown thankfully hasn’t affected me too much. As such I’ve had years of training to enjoy my own company and being a bit socially awkward. Still, after nearly a year it is getting a bit tiresome…

In my spare time I alternate between rebuilding an old Sinclair C5, making a near full-size Arduino-powered BB8 robot, and writing GPU-powered ‘shaders’. These ‘shaders’ are written in entirely in computer code from the ground-up, not requiring any 3D models or art packages, and with a clever application of vector math and algebra you can make some pretty cool scenes which run in ‘real time’ on even a modest PC.

If anyone is interested I usually put my efforts on YouTube and Twitter.

Right – I’m going back to ready a bit more ‘Zero Point’ now. I’m juuust getting to the finale…

Thanks for reading!

Who Reads my Books? Chandra London

Surprise, I’m not a beardy middle-aged pale dude! (To be fair, I did marry one.) I am, however, a big ole nerd from childhood. My interest in science fiction and fantasy probably started around age 6 when I saw my mum reading The Lord of the Rings books and wanted to know who those little guys on the cover were. She handed me a copy of The Hobbit and off I went. My dad was not much of a fiction reader, but he did love futurism and had a subscription to Omni magazine. Whenever it arrived in the mail I would immediately snatch it up and read it cover-to-cover, and of course my favourite parts were the short stories. There, I was introduced to most of the SF greats from Asimov to Zelazny, as well as some others that I came to love such as Spider Robinson and Richard Kadrey. My nerdiness extends to RPGs, comics, board games, video games, non-vascular plants, invertebrates and rocks. I have a favourite lichen (that fact says everything about me, really). Going for walks with me is apparently annoying because I’ll stop to look at all the little plants and creepy crawlies.

I got into Neal Asher’s books by picking up a copy of The Skinner sometime around 2007. I immediately fell in love with Spatterjay’s ecosystem and the Polity AIs. I’m now known for pushing this book on anyone who asks for a book recommendation, and have managed to get several friends hooked. I’ve got 20 of your books at this point, still gotta catch ‘em all.

What does a gal do when she’s not reading Neal’s books? Since I’ve had a lot of time at home over the last little while due to waves at the fuckery I decided to organize my book collection. I purged about 10 boxes of dross and am now left with about 1400 books currently shelved in actual alphabetic order and catalogued using LibraryThing.

Don’t worry Neal, you were safe from the purge!

What else do I do? I’ve been a geologist exploring for gold in the Arctic and oil in northern Alberta, an environmental technician, a residential geothermal designer, a delivery driver and a parent of weirdly tall children (seriously, paint ‘em blue, they’d look like something from that Avatar movie). I am on the lookout for my next career–since I’m learning geographic information systems (GIS), hopefully something in that? I currently live in Edmonton, Alberta, though I spent my childhood throughout the wilds of northern Canada living in places you had to fly to get to.

Who Reads my Books? Henry Wolfe

Hi Neal,

I’ve been an avid reader of SF from a very young age, I can’t really remember what I first read but likely to have been Asimov or A C Clarke. As a kid I spent a lot of time in librarys looking for the yellow Gollancz book spines. From there, moved onto Harry Harrison and very much to Larry Niven’s works.

Fast forwarding into the near past, I had been getting heavily into P F Hamilton and I had got an E Reader and now that physical space was no longer a problem! I started actively trying to fill this up as much as possible so subscribed to several sub-reddits on SF books and looked for recommendations.


Always loving military and epic scale Sci Fi/Space Opera it didn’t take long for your name to show, hence I was introduced to your works via Prador Moon. Well I was hooked from there and have since got every book you’ve done. I’m trying hard, but can’t think of a dud yet, which is pretty impressive. Stand out favourites for me are the Spatterjay and Agent Cormac books. Jain related stories are breathtaking in scope, but take a fair amount of reading to get your head around. Your stories incorporating natural or biological elements make a refreshing change from the norm too.

Oh yes, about me?

Well I spent a shade over 20 years working for the UK’s largest wholesale magazine & news distributer in a variety of roles from part time Packer Driver to SAP Implementation team, then eventually onto ‘Special Projects’. Then I became sentient and, because of a whole lot of various tragic family dramas, I pulled in close with my family and embraced this change in lifestyle whole heartedly (I don’t really do half measures).

Family life, is probably more tiring and hard work than any of the 14 hr shifts I ever did at ‘work’ but ultimately a lot more satisfying. I now spend my days caring for my family, including my disabled wife, autistic daughter, and two traumatised and damaged grandkids. I should throw in the blind cat and half blind dog into the mix too I suppose.

And you know what? I couldn’t be happier. Busier but very fulfilling.

Life sometimes has a way of making you appreciate things in a different way from expected.

Not sure if it’s any good, but it’s what I have!

Who Reads my Books? Aaron Spuler


Joining the ranks of those that have submitted to Neal’s question of who reads his books.  Not sure what the relevancy is of the pattern, but there defintely seems to be a pattern of folks with beards featured here…

I’ve been a fan of science fiction for as long as I can remember.  I am a voracious reader, averaging 40 – 60 books a year for over three decades.

I’ve dipped my toes in to Arthurian legends, Robert E. Howard, HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, David Weber, John Ringo, Joe Haldeman, Robert A. Heinlein, Ben Bova, Ursula K. Le Guin, Dan Abnett, JRR Tolkien, Robotech, William H. Keith, Norvell Page, David Gemmell, Andy Remic, Graham McNeill, Louis L’Amour, Travis S. Taylor, John Ringo, and hundreds of other authors. I defnitely read much more SF than other generes, but do enjoy horror, fantasy, military, zombie apocalypse, mystery, crime, and western generes as well.  Given the option, I would prefer to read than watch something on television.

Part of the big draw to me for science fiction is the promise of the future.  It really is neat to read something set decades or centuries in the future, then start to see the inklings of those imagined technologies in every day life just a few short years later.

Another part is just simple escape.  Escape from the dullness of everyday life, a getaway to a different place/time where your problems/concerns can’t follow, or just something completely different.  There’s plenty of times that the inside of my head may be 30,000 – 40,000 years away from the present day.

At the end of the day, I’m just a regular guy from Texas who loves guns, listens to metal, and has a deep love of reading.  To pay the bills, I have worked at one of the ‘big four’ credit card companies hacking their applications for the past 15 years. These days I don’t get as much time to get my hands dirty as I lead the global internal hacking group.  A personal side project for the last 11 years has been sharing my love of firearms as founder and editor in chief at The Weapon Blog — Neal, you did mention that self-promotion was permitted! I get to share every day with my wife, two boys, two dogs, four donkeys, four chickens, and two goats, especially now more than before with the times we find ourselves in.”

In closing, I’ll echo what Mr. Waters stated: “My name is Aaron, and I read Neal Asher!”

Who Reads my Books? Matthew Leigh

Hi Neal,

I thought I should take my opportunity for a few moments of internet fame.

I don’t remember exactly when I discovered your books but I do know it would have been in the Waterstones on Oxford street. I was working in a cocktail bar in the west end and the time spent on public transport reignited my joy in reading and I steadily worked my way through the sci-fi section. I think Cowl was my first. Growing up our family all read and we had lots of books the whole family read, most memorably the Duncton wood series, where in turn we would all laugh and cry at the same parts. The hobbit was also a firm childhood favourite but Lord of the Rings not so, starting on multiple occasions but never finished, to this day. My taste slowly changed from fantasy to sci-fi. Favourites now revolve around you, Alastair Reynolds, Iain M Banks, Richard Morgan and Frank (and grudgingly Brian) Herbert.

I live in Brentwood, Essex but grew up in Suffolk. The distance from London is perfect. Close enough to work but far enough to be near real countryside.

For work, I am a commercial electrician but came to it in my 30’s after years of managing pubs and bars in various parts of London. After dealing with drunk/angry/overly happy people for years building sites are quite tame.

In my spare time I’m getting back into cycling for fitness, scale models (stop laughing) and as a family we have an allotment (plot48b on Insta) where I can live out my The Good Life fantasy.

Well thanks for the interest in who reads your amazing work, I feel I’m in good company.


Pictures: Ivy, Nicole and our glorious compost heaps.

Who Reads my Books? Andrew Denman

I discovered your books through my best friend of twenty years who, knowing my love of the weird and wonderful, recommended the Spatterjay series. The richness of your “world-building” had me hooked immediately with The Skinner. As an animal lover and monster afficionado, I loved the intricacy of the ecology, and the manner in which cultural and societal norms were so intricately tied to that ecology (as is always the case even if we are blind to it). I also really identified with the positivity of your futurism. Though your books have plenty of horror elements, the future universe you imagine is a positive place where human beings have transcended all manner of foibles.

I have been obsessed with science fiction and horror since I was a kid. When I about five-years-old, I began suffering from ocular migraines (undiagnosed until years later) that caused visual distortions such as severe tunnel vision. To a small child, it was quite terrifying, and, also coincidentally suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I developed elaborate bedtime rituals to try and stop what I perceived as some sort of monstrous existential threat. Having had an experience which, however mundane and medical it ultimately turned out to be, I perceived as fantastical, made me adore stories of the bizarre, paranormal, and futuristic. Stories of ordinary people living through extraordinary circumstances, learning how to successfully combat monsters, master the vacuum of space, and otherwise transcend normal human experience was intoxicating.

Long before I discovered your work, I loved classic science fiction, both in the world of literature (Asimov and Wells being among my favorites) and film. I grew up on the campy horror and sci-fi of the 1950’s and 60’s, and still appreciate them today, especially for their flaws. I enjoy both the goofiness of the technology they envisioned and as documents of the contemporarily problematic cultural norms they often embody.

With these genres as my reference point, it is no wonder that my first forays into my future career as an artist were focused on monsters, dragons, imaginary creatures from distant planets, about which I would narrate mock wildlife documentaries long before I knew that exobiology was a thing (You can understand why I have fallen in love with Hooders, Gabbleducks, and the like). Eventually my focus shifted to living wildlife, and I now make my living as a professional artist specializing in painting wildlife in a style combining representational realism with abstraction. Though my professional work is more grounded in reality than my childhood experiments, I still have an eye for the fantastical, taking my subjects out of their natural environments and recontextualizing them. Popular of late has been my totem series, in which animal subjects are stacked in dizzying towers, referencing both the delicate balance of nature and the manner in which humans have always imbued their animal neighbors with symbolic import. Painting animals for a living, I am an ardent conservationist, but I DO NOT identify with the apocalypticism that dominates so much conservation ideology. I grow weary of the constant negativity and alarmism, mostly because it inspires defeatism rather than positive change. Based on some of your FB posts, I have a hunch we would find a lot of common ground on this subject over a drink or three.

I grew up in California with a loving family who encouraged (and still encourage) my creativity. I feel enormously fortunate to have been able to build my career around my passion for the visual arts, though I enjoy many other creative exploits, including writing poetry, screenplays, novels, and short stories. I am determined to one day squeeze out a particular sci-fi-horror-fantasy novel I have been writing in fits and starts for years. Of course a certain author continues to be an inspiration on this front!

Today I live in Tucson, AZ with my partner Guy, also an artist, and our two dogs, Ella and Enzi. We live in a fabulous original mid-century modern home ( a long-time ambition of mine, finally realized two years ago), the architecture of which reflects the naive futurism of the 1950’s and 60’s that I love so much.

As an artist, I think what I appreciate most about your work is the notion of finding ways to extend human life. True artists always have more ideas in their heads than we will ever be able to bring to life on a page, in a painting, or in any other physical manifestation. It is both the gift and the curse of the artist to know that he will always have more “brain children” waiting to be born than he will ever be able to share in his lifetime. I don’t resent a wrinkle or a grey hair, but I do fear running out of time, and your books transport me to a universe where the infinite stands before us, vast, terrifying, and brimming with promise.

The pictures in order are a headshot, two images of my artwork “Totem #6: Teton Totem,” and “String Theory #9: European Goldfinches.” Both are acrylic on board. A picture of me (on the right) with my partner in Kenya, and a shot of our dogs and constant companions, Ella & Enzi. Thanks very much for inviting us to share our own stories and for always sharing your own!

Who Reads my Books? Stevan Apter

My first Asher was Prador Moon. i recommend it to friends as a gateway drug. I can’t eat soft-shell crab without having queasy associations … gee thanks Neal. Like others around here I started reading SF around age 10 – the Heinlein juveniles. then quickly discovered the paperback rack at the local drugstore: Methuselah’s Children, Childhood’s End, Rebirth (The Chrysalids), Starship (Non-Stop). Harlan Ellison!! My academic background is philosophy (logic & metaphysics), and while I still read in this area, I’ve lost the appetite for writing. Contemporary academia strikes me as hell on earth. My wife Rebecca is the SF novelist R M Meluch (space-Romans!). I earn my living as a programmer, specializing in the various array programming languages (APL, K, J). My first programming job (1970) was working at the pole for the US Antarctic research program. Asher writes faster than I can read — I can’t keep up.

My website is nsl.com, and here we are at a convergence con a few years ago:

And here with the kind folks who put me up for a month in their longhouse in the village of Madobak on Siberut – despite the corbusier spectacles and big stupid clown-shoes.

And finally here I am in Ajijic Mexico with our beloved wolf-dog Jermiah.


Note: I often chat with people via DMs and it was only when in passing Stevan mentioned his wife that I recognised the name. Obviously it is not a common one, to me anyway. Memory switches clicked down and I had to ask, ‘Is this your wife?’ The book has been in my collection for some time. That it is there means I very much enjoyed it.
— Neal Asher


Who Reads my Books? Alan Smith

Hi Neal

I started on SciFi very early with my father’s huge collection of pulp magazines, firstly by looking at all the lurid illustrations then eventually graduating to the written word. I read all the usual classics: Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Campbell, etc before moving onto newer, edgier writers like Vonnegut, Harry Harrison, Bob Shaw, Philip K Dick and Douglas Adams. Being the exact right age for the likes of Star Wars, (Tom Baker) Dr Who and Blakes 7 also helped cement my life-long love of the genre, with gothic and weird being my favourite flavour.

I first found one of your books (The Gabble) around the same time I discovered Alastair Reynolds and Iain Banks (what a year!) It immediately appealed to my taste for the profoundly strange and alien, with hints of a much bigger universe that you kindly expanded upon in the following decade. My favourite (so far) is the first full novel that I read: Voyage of the Sable Keech, it pitched me into a universe of monsters and intrigue that made my head spin – glorious!

I’ve had a pretty mixed working life with an early stint in the Royal Australian Navy followed by many, many driving and delivery jobs before falling into civil engineering and following a move to New Zealand, a 15 year career with the local Council. Officially, I manage a small team of guys who repair and maintain the wastewater and stormwater infrastructure but you can usually find me ‘on the tools’ and elbow deep in something unpleasant!

I’m currently re-reading Gideon the Ninth (and then Harrow the Ninth) by Tamsyn Muir in preparation for the final instalment due this year. If you like a gothic blend of fantasy and scifi, I highly recommend it.


And a photo of me in Bali with a group of mates for our collective 50th. Remember when you could just get on a plane and travel? Sigh…

Who Reads my Books? Steven Lee

Hi Neal. I guess I must have first read one of your books – Prador Moon – about 4 or 5 years ago. I then spent a long time wading through Peter F Hamilton’s output before returning to you at the beginning of 2020. Since then, I have worked my way through Shadow of the Scorpion and the 5 Cormac books.

I started reading sci-fi early, spurred on by my older brother who was nose deep in Clarke and Asimov. Terrance Dicks was an early favourite for me. I even remember reading a set of 5 fiction books written by Sir Patrick Moore! As a teenager I discovered fantasy and entered Middle Earth, the Belgariad of David Eddings, Raymond E Feist’s Rift War Saga, and more. Then, one fated day, I picked up a book called Legend by David Gemmell. A lifelong passion for his writing followed; I know you also have a collection of DGs books in your library and I suspect, like he did for me, he inspired elements of your writing. I read some Iain M Banks in my twenties, but I didn’t return to sci-fi properly until my mid-to-late-forties. I’ve since read everything by PFH, can’t seem to get into Alistair Reynolds, and have obviously discovered you. I am writing this on my 51st birthday and have just used a welcome Amazon voucher to purchase the Transformation trilogy for my Kindle – yes, that is a bribe – put me on your blog!! Please use the royalties to enjoy a nice hot curry or, maybe, a few cold ones at Revan’s!

As to who I am – married, father of two grown ups (though not sure I’ve actually grown up!), grandad of one. An ex-civil servant, I have worked a few different jobs since. A congenital bad back (degenerative disc) and sciatica forced me out of full-time work a few years back now and, while I was laid up on benefits and I’d already run through the DVD library, I decided to turn my hand to writing for one last time. I had tried to write out the stories in my head in my late-teens/early-twenties but burnt the dross I typed up back then. I have now got six books out in two series, one being a collection of short stories. Check out my Facebook page here: Steve P Lee Author. I work part-time at the local motor auctioneers and sell hard rock/heavy metal patches and an assortment of ‘alternative’ goods on eBay.

Who Reads my Books? Graeme Finch

If you want some back story you need to whiz back through Neals blog to the 17th of January 2010… that was a lot of clicking and scrolling Mr Asher. Have you ever thought about adding a search my blog button FFS?

In the ten years since I wrote a `Who Reads my Books?’ piece’ for Neal’s blog many things have transpired. Here’s an interesting one cribbed from that very piece: Neal’s own references to strong diseases and weak humans in Cowl will, if we are unlucky, prove to be one of those Scfi “cos that’s wot’l appen” moments some time down the line.

Well blown me down with a feather, ten years later Covid-19.

Everyone who reads Neals books needs to read Cowl, it will bend your head, but some of the visualisation is fabulous and it’s a golly good romp through time. I think it’s one of my favourites because it’s written about our shared home turf of Essex. Though I am originally from East London, the Essex countryside has been my easiest route to nature since I was a child, staying for weeks at a time at my nan’s place in Kirby Cross near Frinton-on-Sea during the school holidays. Later, once I had the independence of two wheels with an engine, I explored the area (unknowingly) that Cowl starts in; the Saltmarshes and flats of what Essexites call the `The Thames Delta’… it isn’t a delta, but it’s not far off.

I did read Moby Dick, it was a monster of a book, never mind the whale. It’s very much an academic read, and useful glimpse into social history (a bit like Dickens and the Iliad). Is the Silmarillion still my favourite book? Probably. I’ve read a lot more Tolkien since then, mostly the later stuff edited and published by Christopher Tolkien, and as much to get an understanding of his father’s mind (if such a thing is possible) as for the stories themselves. I could quite happily write a piece on Tolkien. But I can summarise my thoughts with: my gut says he got lost in world building, lost in his experience of the first world war, and trying somehow, through endless iterations of noble soldiers trooping into battle in gleaming armour, pennants held high, trying to find nobility in war and death, contrary to the reality of his experience of trench warfare. Apparently, I’m not the first person to think this. When asked, he denied it.

Where am I in science fiction now? Waiting for Neal’s next. Halfway through a re-read of the Culture novels, which I only discovered in August 2011 while recuperating from a Lumbar fusion. I’m awaiting the last instalment of the Expanse. I’ve also discovered Adrian Tchaikovsky, read the Reynolds Revenger series and a few others.

I should mention Kevin Andersons the Seven suns Saga… or whatever it’s called. Utter bilge, I skimmed the second book in the series to find out what happened to one character who disappeared into a wormhole, but he didn’t come out at any point in the second book. After this I took both books and binned them so no one else would be subjected to them.

In-between doses of science fiction, I’ve been reading commentaries of the past the present and the future. Matt Ridley’ How Innovation Works, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. If you ever wondered why North America is English speaking in the main, and why South America is Spanish speaking? The answer is the Comanche.

It has been an interesting decade, I’ve moved house three times, lived full-time in a camper van with my other half for the best part of eight months as we travelled around Spain, Portugal, France, Italy Germany, Holland, Luxembourg and a big old chunk of the UK, finally settling in what has become my spiritual home, Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset, a place I find difficult to put into words. Though I am trying to on my own new blog. What’s next? Trying to do that thing that Neal does so well. Write… just sit down and make it up as you go along. My problem is that my brain doesn’t work like that, so I’ll have to find my own approach to the writings that litter my Onedrive.