Grindlinked by Neal Asher
**** ½ 423 pages paperback Tor
I generally like old school science fiction, I love me some early John Shirley, Phil K. Dick, Ursala Leguin, Norman Spinrad or John Brunner. When choosing Sci-fi novels I generally dip into the past, but Neal Asher is quickly becoming one of my favorite 21st century Science Fiction authors. My two favorite 21st century Sci-fi authors are Neal Asher and John Scalzi the author of the Old Man’s War series. The best stand-alone 21st century novel would be Asher’s The Skinner. That book literally knocked me silly. It was gonzo over the top epic Sci-fi novel that was a strange cross of epic world creation but also a swashbuckling adventure not to mention the gritty feeling of a crime novel.
Gridlinked came first, but I read the Skinner first so it put the bar super high for Gridlinked. Is it as good? No, but let’s face it he had grown as an author before The Skinner. Gridlinked is a Sci-fi spy thriller set in the 24th century and featuring a Bond like spook named Ian Cormac. The title of the book comes from the condition he is suffering from. He has been linked to far-future version of the web which is a worlds wide web. The Human race is spread out of several worlds called the Ploity, connected by instantaneous transporters called Runicbles.
The story takes off as Cormac investigates a Terrorist attack that destroys the runicble on the planet Samarkind. This story flows and provides an excellent introduction to Asher’s Polity which he has featured in several stand-alone novels set in the same universe. This novel is big weird ideas meets action fest which made it perfect for me. I don’t think the characters were as well developed as in the other Asher book I read, but I still love it.
I’m three for three(Also read a cool novella called Africa zero) with Asher and think you should check him out. I want to read his novel The Departure next. Yeah I’m sold.