The Gabble and Other Stories by Neal Asher (Tor)


The Gabble and other stories by Neal Asher
Published by Tor on 7 November 2008 in Hardback/Ebook
Hardback and ebook review copies received

Neal Asher has an amazing imagination combined with a strong understanding of science and its potentials for evolution. Or at least that’s the impression that I’m left with after reading the tales that make up The Gabble and Other Stories.

The wonderful thing about this collection, unlike most, is that the stories share the same universe. So several elements are free to reappear like the Gabbleduck and the Gabble, along with AI and golems and several other unique, fascinating or amazing ideas.

This is my first exposure to both Neal Asher and the Polity Universe and it won’t be the last. He’s a talented storyteller that doesn’t let the science take away from the fiction he’s writing. He makes it a part of the plot and explains it such a way that it’s understandable and vital to the action and not dumbed down at all.

Take for example Choudapt where Simoz in on a mission to neutralise an act of terrorism. He has a symbiont that allows from some interesting semi-internal dialogue. It takes place in an organic environment where the buildings are alive. He combines the story and the environment so one can only happen with the other.

My favourite story is the sixth one, Acephalous, because it brings together the AIs that control the Polity, the golems, nanotech and information on the ancient races that has been teased at during other tales.

But saying that I’ve got a soft spot for the Gabbleduck after the revelations that come from The Gabble, which is a great bookend for the opening Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck, that hints that it has more intelligence or maybe that should be more humanity than is originally thought.

Adaptogenic would bring a new twist to The Antiques Roadshow. There really is too much to mention and going into too many details would spoil the revelations that come through the telling.

I get the feeling that Neal Asher likes the idea of genetics and evolution and the possibilities that science has and enjoys how that knowledge and exploration feeds his stories. He’s managed to weave some wonderful but also believable tales.

The danger of a collection is that there is going to be one or two dubs but I really can’t think of any that fell short of the mark. Each has their own take on the world as well as enhancing and informing each other.

I’m really looking forward to reading more Neal Asher and the Polity Universe.

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