Gridlnked was the first Polity universe novel to be published but it is the 8th book in the series I’ve read, so I am coming to it from the ‘wrong’ angle, but to be honest, I love the way that Neal Asher interlinks his ideas and explores his creation from various angles so I wasn’t surprised to see Dragon’s appearance though it was curious to compare this appearance that in The Technician, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Ian Cormac is an Earth Central Security agent who have been connected to the grid longer than most humans should be, and because of that he agrees to be removed from the grid at the same time he’s given a mission to find out who blew-up a Runcible (a stargate I’d guess you’d could call them), so he has to use old fashioned detective work ,like asking people for information, at the same time as someone who is out to kill him for something he did on his pervious mission.
As with other novels in this series Asher’s passion for biology, physics and science in general shines. It doesn’t get in the way of Cormac’s investigation but it does create a concrete and fascinating world for him to live and breath in.
There are some great set-pieces, clever blending of AI and human interaction and, of course, Mr Crane. He gives each ‘person’ a proper personalities, which rightly extends to the AIs. It does make it easier to read as each character is in some way memorable.
I can’t think of a negative to be honest. All the ideas that come later are well-formed here and we end up with a thoughtful, fun and action-packed science fiction novel, which set up Asher to become one of the most enjoyable SF writers I’ve read. Oh, I have a negative – why did it take me so long to actually read it?