Nice little review of Gardner Dozois’s Galactic Empires here on SF Signal. And here’s the bit about my story, though I thought it mean to give it three stars (I’m biased).
Neal Asher’s “Owner Space” opens with a group of people on the run from (1) the Collective – the dominating conformance society from which they escaped, and (2) an alien known to be dangerous to mankind. Their only salvation is to enter the mysterious Owner Space, an area of space that is home to a rumored God-like being equally intolerant of humans and aliens. Sound confusing? It may take a little time to get a clear picture of all factions and interrelationships involved (additionally there’s the Markovian society which fell to the Collective) but the conflict is actually well-imagined and intriguing. The most memorable characters are the evil Collective Doctrinaire named Shrad, who is power-drunk and evil to the bone; the Owner, an unassuming human with mind-boggling but largely unexplained powers; and the Grazen alien mother, a hapless victim to man’s atrocities. Some cool elements in the story – like the mind-controlling strouds and the automaton Guards it turns people into – round out a good story.