The Bosch

 

The Bosch is a short novella of 21,000 words, written after nightmares about a far future biotech world and subsequently leafing through a Hieronymus Bosch art book.

Set in a far future after the Polity of my books has passed into history, The Bosch tells the story of how, when your biotechnology is sufficiently advanced, you can create the monsters others only imagined. When you are the ruler of a world, based on such tech, and have lived for thousands of years, perhaps you have become numb to mere human concerns. But a crime has been committed and restitution must be made, by raising the Bosch.

Genres:
Tags:
Excerpt:
Reviews:Terence Blake on Xeno Swarm wrote:

Excerpt:

The novella’s story is one of beauty, sex, love, and violence (in fact mostly violence), and the sense of wonder that far future world-building provides, when done well. It is full of ideas, embedded in striking images and teaseful twists.


The Human

Book 3

Their enemy seems unbeatable. But humanity is indomitable . . .

A Jain warship has risen from a prison five million years old, wielding a hoard of lethal technology. Its goal is to catch their old enemy, the Client, and it will destroy all who stand in its path.

Humanity and the prador thought their mutual nemesis – the bane of so many races – was long extinct. But the Jain are back and Orlandine must prepare humanity’s defence. She needs the Client’s knowledge to counter this ancient threat. But is the enemy of your enemy a friend? Earth Central even looks to the prador for alliance. These old enemies must now learn to trust one another, or face utter annihilation.

As the Jain warship crosses the galaxy, it seems unstoppable. Human and prador forces alike struggle to withstand its devastating weaponry ­­– far in advance of their own. And Orlandine’s life’s work has been to neutralize Jain technology, so if she can’t triumph, no one can. But could she become what she’s vowed to destroy?

The Human is the final, thrilling, book in Neal Asher’s Rise of the Jain trilogy.

'Neal Asher's books are like an adrenaline shot targeted directly for the brain' John Scalzi, author of the Old Man's War series

'Magnificently awesome. Then Asher turns it up to eleven' Peter F. Hamilton on the first in the trilogy, The Soldier

Published:
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Excerpt:

Foreign or old covers:

Owning the Future

Short Story Collection

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

Published:
Genres:
Tags:

All these can now be bought POD or for Kindle on Amazon:

The Warship

In this second volume of Rise of the Jain, Neal Asher takes us on a thrilling ride into interstellar politics and impending war. 

Their nemesis lies in wait . . .

Orlandine has destroyed the alien Jain super-soldier by deploying an actual black hole. And now that same weapon hoovers up clouds of lethal Jain technology, swarming within the deadly accretion disc’s event horizon. All seems just as she planned. Yet behind her back, forces incite rebellion on her home world, planning her assassination.

Earth Central, humanity’s ruling intelligence, knows Orlandine was tricked into releasing her weapon, and fears the Jain are behind it. The prador king knows this too – and both foes gather fleets of warships to surround the disc.

The alien Client is returning to the accretion disc to save the last of her kind, buried on a ship deep within it. She upgrades her vast weapons platform in preparation, and she’ll need it. Her nemesis also waits within the disc’s swirling dusts – and the Jain have committed genocide before.

The Warship is set in Neal Asher's popular Polity universe.

 

 

Published:
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Excerpt:

Foreign and old covers:

The Soldier

The Soldier is the first novel in the Rise of the Jain series, by bestselling science fiction author Neal Asher.

Her mission is vital. Her failure is unthinkable.

A corner of space swarms with alien technology, a danger to all sentient life. It’s guarded by Orlandine, who must keep it contained – as it could destroy entire civilizations. An alien intelligence shares her vigil. But she doesn’t share everything with Dragon . . .

Orlandine is hatching a plan to obliterate this technology, removing its threat forever. For some will do anything to exploit this ancient weaponry, created by a long-dead race called the Jain. This includes activating a Jain super-soldier, which may breach even Orlandine’s defences.

Meanwhile, humanity and the alien prador empire also watch this sector of space, as neither can allow the other to claim its power. However, things are about to change. The Jain might not be as dead as they seemed and interstellar war is just a heartbeat away.

Published:
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Excerpt:

Infinity Engine

Transformation Book 3

On the cusp of a black hole, the future of the Polity hangs in the balance.

Several forces are now pursuing the rogue AI Penny Royal, and the Brockle is the most dangerous of all. This criminal swarm-robot AI has escaped its confinement and is upgrading itself, becoming ever more powerful in anticipation of a deadly showdown.

Events escalate aboard Factory Station Room 101, the war factory that birthed Penny Royal. Here, humans, alien prador, and an assassin drone struggle to survive amidst insane AIs and technology gone wild. The situation is further complicated by the unexpected arrival of the Weaver. The Weaver is the last of the Atheter, resurrected from a race that suicided five million years ago. But why would Penny Royal want an Atheter here? And what could it contribute to the dark AI’s plans?

And beyond the war factory, a black hole conceals a tantalising secret – one that could destroy the entire Polity.

Infinity Engine is the third and final novel in the Transformation series, by bestselling science fiction author Neal Asher, following Dark Intelligence and War Factory.

Published:
Publisher: Tor
Genres:
Tags:
Excerpt:
Reviews:Markus Thierstein on Scififantasy Network wrote:

"Asher delivers the plotting, the deeply woven interplay of story threads, and the thrills. Never mind the big kabooms!
This evidently suits his storytelling skills, and he delivers the quasi-military Space Opera with gusto here. What he does not deliver is where I find his writing, his descriptions really excel, though – creatures, eco-systems, actor-interplay full of logically violent interdependent relationships; may this be fauna, flora, or actual actors."


War Factory

Transformation Book 2

One seeks judgement, another faces damnation and one man will have his revenge . . .

Thorvald Spear is losing his mind as he drowns in dark memories that aren't his own. Penny Royal, rogue artificial intelligence, has linked Spear with the stored personalities of those it's murdered. And whether the AI seeks redemption or has some more sinister motive, Spear needs to destroy it. He feels the anger of the dead and shares their pain.

As Spear tracks the AI across a hostile starscape, he has company. Sverl, an alien prador, has been warped by Penny Royal and hungers to confront it. But will the AI's pursuers destroy each other or hunt it together? Sverl's prador enemies aren't far behind either. They plan to use his transition to prove human meddling, triggering a devastating new war.

Clues suggest Penny Royal's heading for the defective war factory that made it. So allies and enemies converge, heading for the biggest firestorm that sector of space has ever seen. But will Spear secure vengeance for his unquiet dead?

Published:
Publisher: Tor
Genres:
Tags:
Excerpt:

Dark Intelligence

Transformation Book 1

Dark Intelligence
Editions:Kindle - Kindle Edition: £ 4.99 GBP
Pages: 480
Hardcover: £ 15.90 GBP
ISBN: 978-0230750722
Size: 16.00 x 24.10 cm
Pages: 480
Paperback: £ 6.29 GBP
ISBN: 978-0330524551
Size: 12.90 x 19.60 cm
Pages: 480

One man transcends death for vengeance. One woman transforms herself for power. And no one will emerge unscathed...

Thorvald Spear wakes in hospital, having been brought back from the dead. He died in a human vs. alien war that ended a century ago.

Spear had been trapped on a planet, surrounded by alien Prador forces, when he spotted a rescue ship. Yet he and his entire squad were killed by the ship's Artificial Intelligence, Penny Royal, which turned rogue. Now, reliving these traumatic final moments, Spear finds the drive to keep on living. That drive is vengeance.

The AI still roams free and Spear vows to destroy it, planning to exploit another of its victims in his quest. But crime-lord Isobel Satomi has been modified by Penny Royal, turning her into something far from human. And as she evolves into the ultimate predator, will she turn Spear from hunter to hunted?

Published:
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genres:
Tags:
Excerpt:
Reviews:Antony Jones on SFBook.com wrote:

Dark Intelligence is an imaginative, epic space opera this manages present a dark future universe full of vibrant spaceships, people, creatures and intelligence. Highly enjoyable and highly addictiven.

Paul Di Filippo on Locus wrote:

"It’s a scenario that trembles on the edge of the Singularity while still being comprehensible to, and inhabitable by, the humans of the era and of course to us 21st-century dullards as well. Novelty and neologisms dominate nearly every page. Handled badly, such a strategy becomes confusing and frustrating. Asher does it well, though. And yet the reader needs to keep pace. There is just enough authorial guidance, but no condescending hand-holding. This type of SF is really the litmus test for separating serious readers from, say, media fans who might groove to Guardians of the Galaxy but blanch at A. E. van Vogt..."


The Gabble

And other stories

'What has six arms, a large beak, looks like a pyramid, has more eyes than you'd expect and talks nonsense? If you don't know the answer to that, then 1) you should and 2) you haven't been reading Neal Asher (see point 1)' Jon Courtenay Grimwood

In the eight years since his first full-length novel Gridlinked was published by Pan Macmillan, Neal Asher has firmly established himself as one of the leading British writers of Science Fiction, and his novels are now translated in many languages. Most of his stories are set in a galactic future-scape called 'The Polity', and with this collection of marvellously inventive and action-packed short stories, he takes us further into the manifold diversities of that amazing universe.

No one does monsters better than Neal Asher, so be prepared to revisit the lives and lifestyles of such favourites as the gabbleduck and the hooder, to savour alien poisons, the walking dead, the Sea of Death, and the putrefactor symbiont.

Published:
Publisher: Tor
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Excerpt:
Reviews:on BBC Focus:

'economical, crisp and frequently fiendishly clever. The stories featuring...dangerous aliens who `speak' in a nonsensical language, are particularly impressive'

on Green Man Review:

'Excellent, all of it well-worth reading. If you haven't yet read your way through this series, I envy you; if you have, go get your copy of The Gabble and Other Stories right now before it sells out in hardcover!'

on The Guardian:

Fans of Asher's Polity future history will not be disappointed.

on Sci-Fi-London:

For the established fan this collection makes a great addition and fills out some the Polity universe you've come to know and love. For the newcomer to Neal Asher, you've a treat in store as this will serve as a nice introduction to his work and a neat signpost as to what part of Asher's universe to read next.

on SciFiNow:

If you've never sampled the delights of Asher's work then this collection would be a very good place to start.

on Fantasy Book Critic:

Thirteen marvellously inventive and action-packed short stories.


Foreign and old covers:

Mason’s Rats

Mason has a rat problem on his farm, a serious problem, for these rats are armed and dangerous. But he soon learns that rats in suits are even worse.

What do you do when rats invade your barn? Kill them or negotiate? Mason finds out the hard way that force does not always work!

An allegory of war and violence? A statement on the arms race? Neal Asher’s work takes Orwell’s Animal Farm into a grimly humorous future where evolution is outrunning humanity.

You may never trust a rat again!

“I’ve never read anything like MASON’S RATS before … it’s sharp, funny and highly inventive. There’s more fun in this one slim volume than in many a full-length novel!”
– Stephen Gallagher

 

Published:
Genres:
Excerpt:
Reviews:Brett Bligh on DooYoo wrote:

When George Orwell wrote ‘Animal Farm’, he was very obviously not simply writing a children’s tale about a group of revolutionary animals who manage to wrest control of the farm away from the farmer and form an animal’s paradise, only for the revolution’s leaders to succumb inevitably to the same corruption which they had so despised in the farmer. Animal Farm, as probably most of the country are aware, is a none-too-subtle allegory of the Russian revolution, through which Orwell sought to discredit the USSR as no better than the capitalist states it opposed. With the USSR now dismantled and socialism itself no longer on the mainstream political agenda (at least for the moment), it was perhaps inevitable that someone would seek to re-use the basis of Animal Farm — that of the human-animal relationship on a farm as a representation of the class relationship of society — in a different context, one arguably more relevant to the current political climate. ‘Mason’s Rats’, by Neal L. Asher, is just such an example of this re-use. Mason’s Rats is published as a small-press chapbook containing three related short stories: Mason’s Rats I, which was originally published as ‘Mason’s Rats’ in Orion Magazine issue 2, Mason’s Rats II, which was originally published in Orion issue 4, and Mason’s Rats III, which is original to this volume. In Mason’s Rats I, we are introduced to Mason, a rather enigmatic character who is proprietor and sole live employee of a huge automated farm. When his farm is invaded by mutated rats possessed of high intelligence, Mason calls in the Traptech company which sells automatic devices intended to deal with infestation problems. Unfortunately, the rats on Mason’s farm are a little TOO intelligent for the successively more vicious machines provided by Traptech, and Mason must seek a rather unconventional solution
to his problem … a truce with the rats, and an accommodation which allows them to live on a certain section of his farm. In Mason’s Rats II the farm is invaded by a group of black rat’s from neighbouring Smith’s farm, and Mason must not only manage to find a way to accommodate both his existing colony of [brown] rats and the new arrivals, but also find a way of ridding himself of the pesky salesmen who just will not stop arriving at the farm to give him advice on how to ‘solve’ his little problem… Finally, in Mason’s Rats III, Mason is faced with the problem of a government inspector who has received reports of the large rat colonies which Mason is allowing to exist on his property and who is convinced that such a thing cannot possibly be hygienic or proper. Mason’s choice is a stark one: get rid of the rats or lose his farming licence. So, given the history of the farm allegory as a tool for political comment, and given a chapbook containing no less than 3 such tales clearly intended to fit this pattern, one question remains — precisely what is Asher trying to say? It is my belief that to find the answer to his question we must look back at the original intention of Animal Farm as a pastiche of socialism, and then consider logically that so-called ‘ideology’ which many of those in the ‘new Labour’ party would have us believe is the successor to socialism: Tony Blair’s “Third Way”. The Third Way is essentially an ideology which states that the differences between the needs of the majority (as addressed by socialism) and the needs of the economically and politically powerful minority (as addressed by capitalism) can only be reconciled by an ‘alliance’ between the various social classes of modern society or, at times, by actually denying that such class divisions exist. Hence Tony Blair supports (or at least pa
ys lip-service to) trade unions, whilst insisting that they form constructive relationships (“social partnerships”) with the capitalists (employers and their representatives). It is my belief that this is what Mason’s Rats attempts to represent; it is also my belief that the book unfortunately does not actually examine this ideology in any depth, let alone provide a critique of it, however this disappointment is partly mitigated by the book’s very short length — such a critique would require a much lengthier set of stories in order to be even slightly meaningful. In the system as introduced in Mason’ Rats I, therefore, we have an industrial relationship at the heart of society which is three-fold: the working-class and their organisations (the unions), which are represented here by the rats; the employers and their organisations (CBI?), as represented by the farmer; and, finally, the government, as represented by the Traptech corporation. Following this allegory through, what we obtain is actually quite a worrying (and certainly rather distasteful) view of modern society and the views held by many of those in it. The rats [working class] are essentially to be viewed as a rather distasteful infestation who are only really tolerated because the farmer [employers] take pity on them. The employers, therefore, are attempting to form a constructive relationship based on good faith with the workers — hence the Third Way reference — whilst the government (as represented by Traptech) constantly intervene [a reference to ACAS?], usually on the side of the employers. The first two allegorical connections made above will be rather controversial and obviously do not represent the views held by the vast majority of the population, however it is certainly true that this view IS held by a select and very powerful few — especially those who make speeches at the CBI — and, perhaps more threateningl
y, is increasingly the way in which relations between corporations and employees occur, at a time when multinationals can announce mass redundancies at the drop of a hat and move between one country and another at will in search of cheaper and more flexible labour costs. The third allegorical connection, that of government intervening on the behalf of the employer rather than the employee, is unfortunately much more recognisable, with this having been the policy of successive conservative governments for living memory and the de facto bias of Labour government policies since 1997. Perhaps the stage at which this reading of the story fails to cohere is when we consider the ending, in which Mason the farmer intervenes on behalf of the rats against the Traptech corporation. Can anyone, no matter whether they be an adherent to Blairism and the social partnership ideology or not, honestly imagine a corporation acting in a hostile manner to a government which had entered an industrial dispute on its side? No, I thought not, and it is here where I believe Asher to be making the point, albeit in a manner which is far more obscure than subtle, that the Third Way is an inherently ludicrous ideology, and that so-called ‘partnership’ agreements do not hold water under close [or even any] scrutiny. To be honest, whilst it was possible to read meaning into Mason’s Rats I, as indeed I attempted to do above, it was extremely difficult to find anything major hidden in the depths of the second story, which seems to be a close repetition of the events in the previous sequence with only a slightly different ending. Mason’s Rats II concludes with a similar arrangement to the first story, with the exception of the employment by Mason of the black rats as guards of his farm, with orders to shoot — using a cleverly constructed gun which fires metal bolt pellets — anyone approaching the farm who happens to be wearing a suit. To
me, it is difficult to interpret this tale as anything other than a brief and flippant (and admittedly rather enjoyable in a light-hearted kind of way) story about animals and a farmer, with the allegorical potential here far reduced. The only possible interpretation would have to be that in order to advance the working class must somehow ally itself with the bourgeois corporations against the government, and hence thereby defend it interests. This would seem very suspect indeed; just as with the first tale, the conclusions may be patently ludicrous, but here they do not expose any set of beliefs that actually exist, and hence I must conclude their actual target to be somewhere far away from the British political scene in a realm at which possibly only the author himself can guess. Nice story, though! The third story, imaginatively entitled Mason’s Rats III, is by far the longest piece in the volume and continues this trend, with the intrepid farmer having to actually team up with the rats in order to outwit the government. In this case, however, I am inclined to take the view that Asher has written an allegory of the immigrant worker industry, with companies vying to take advantage of low wage workers who do not expect to be treated in accordance with official employment legislation, and hence making larger profits than they would were their set-up more above board. The European Union has recently cited Britain as one of the countries in the EU whose economy uses illicit workforces to the largest extent, and hence the scale and importance of this problem cannot be underestimated, especially since for every immigrant worker working for paltry wages and in terrible conditions in this country, it is possible that another was killed or otherwise failed to arrive here at all. Not only is the use of such people in sweatshop conditions unsavoury, therefore, but the entire industry of human smuggling is an utterly abhorrent one which the government
is correct to clamp down upon (although inflammatory statement regarding ‘bogus’ asylum seekers by British politicians and press certainly do not meet with my approval). Unfortunately, however, although Mason’s Rats III can certainly be read as an example of a company fighting to hide its illicit workers from an inquisitive authority, there is very little in the way of actual criticism of this practice, and hence the story falls short of its potential. Of course, the central reason for my interpreting this story according to political allegory is based upon the notion that this volume is a deliberate encroachment on the territory of Orwell, which I think is pretty valid assumption given not only the book’s blatant style but also its back cover blurb. It is, however, also very possible to enjoy this trio of short stories purely ‘as is’, and in this context I would have to note that they are, without exception, simply written and unpretentious little tales which zip along at a fair old pace and provide the reader with more than a few wry smiles. It is quite nice, for once, to read a book which does not contain the padding so commonplace in modern publishing — the ideas here are enough to properly fill 34 pages, and so that’s exactly what Asher chooses to do. Were this topic to be expanded to a 400-page novel, I feel it would lose it point and its impact amongst the daed forest of extraneous pages rather quickly. The back cover asks whether Mason’s Rats is “[a]n allegory on war and violence? A statement on the arms race?” Personally, I find it quite difficult to focus upon these tales as either of these, but as I have already shown, that does not mean I think the contents herein to be completely devoid of meaning. Although this volume is a small press item (to get hold of a copy, the best place to look would be BBR Distribution at http://www.bbr-online.com/catalogue/, since both Kimota, the publisher, and Amazon seem to have run out of copies), Neal Asher is certainly not a writer who deserves to be condemned to such limited exposure. Indeed, his first full-length professional novel, ‘Gridlinked’, has just been published by Macmillan. On the basis of this slim volume alone, I intend to read it. Recommended.


This can now be bought for Amazon Kindle: