Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

Gridlinked US cover

Gridlinked (2001)

US Tor paperback (left)
423 pages

UK Macmillan trade paperback
cover art by Steve Rawlings / Debut Art
426 pages (right)

Gridlinked UK cover

From the back cover of the US paperback:
       Gridlinked is a fast-paced science fiction adventure mixed with a dash of cyberpunk and a splash of espionage.  Earth Central Security agent Ian Cormac is a legend, a protector of the Polity, hundreds of worlds connected together by instantaneous transport via "runcibles."  Unfortunately, he's burnt out, "gridlinked" to the net so long his humanity has nearly drained away.
       Now he must go cold turkey as he's sent to investigate a thirty-megaton runcible disaster on the planet Samarkand.  With the runcible out, Cormac must get there by ship to investigate the disaster.  But he has incurred the wrath of psychopath Arian Pelter, who trails him across the galaxy with the decidedly homicidal android Mr. Crane at his side.
       And deep beneath Samarkand's surface are mysteries better buried.
       It's not only humans who know the meaning of hate.

Read for group discussion on March 26, 2008

How we each rated this book
Dan - Amy 8 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 7.5 Barb -
Aaron 7 Cynthia -
Jackie 7.5 Ron 6
Jessica 7 Jenn -
Alan 9    

Aaron's Commentary   Neal Asher - Gridlinked

This is set in a terrific future universe, with plenty of imaginative detail and hints of an elaborate history that make the place feel very lived in.  The action scenes are effective and the novel is well-paced.  The protagonist Cormac's struggle to adapt to no longer being gridlinked is a nice metaphor for our need to adjust to information overload in today's society.  All this makes Gridlinked well worth reading despite its flaws.  In particular, the bad guy Pelter is too thor oughly evil to be very interesting.  Asher compensates by fleshing out his sidekick Stanton, but it doesn't entirely work.  Better if at least one of Cormac's adversaries had some partially sympathetic motivation.  Don't any of them believe in their revolutionary cause, for instance?  I also thought Asher needed to do more to convince us of what is at stake in Cormac's mission.  Even though Asher carries the story along with flourish, it all feels like a rather minor skirmish in some ill-defined clash between humans, AIs, and aliens.  Hopefully the nature of this conflict becomes more apparent in later Polity books.

What do you think? Your comments are welcome. Please send them to

Neal Asher (1961-      ) is a UK writer of science fiction.

Ian Cormac Series:
--Gridlinked (2001)
--The Line of Polity (2003)
--Brass Man (2005)
--Polity Agent (2006)
--Line War (2008)

Spatterjay Series:
--The Skinner (2002)
--The Voyage of the Sable Keech (2006)

Other Polity novels:
--Prador Moon (2006)
--Hilldiggers (2007)
--Shadow of the Scorpion (2008)

Neal Asher Space
Neal Asher - Wikipedia
Neal Asher - an infinity plus profile
SF Reviews GRIDLINKED by Neal Asher
Neal Asher: Gridlinked - an infinity plus review
The SF Site Featured Review: Gridlinked
Gridlinked - Wikipedia

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This page was last updated October 15, 2008