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The Departure (Owner Novel 1)
 
 

The Departure (Owner Novel 1) [Kindle Edition]

Neal Asher
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Visible in the night sky the Argus Station, its twin smelting plants like glowing eyes, looks down on nightmare Earth. From Argus the Committee keep an oppressive control: citizens are watched by cams systems and political officers, it's a world inhabited by shepherds, reader guns, razor birds and the brutal Inspectorate with its white tiled cells and pain inducers.Soon the Committee will have the power to edit human minds, but not yet, twelve billion human being need to die before Earth can be stabilized, but by turning large portions of Earth into concentration camps this is achievable, especially when the Argus satellite laser network comes fully online . . .

This is the world Alan Saul wakes to in his crate on the conveyor to the Calais incinerator. How he got there he does not know, but he does remember the pain and the face of his interrogator. Informed by Janus, through the hardware implanted in his skull, about the world as it is now Saul is determined to destroy it, just as soon as he has found out who he was, and killed his interrogator . . .

Book Description

The Argus Space Station looks down on a nightmarish Earth. And from this safe distance, the Committee enforces its despotic rule. There are too many people and too few resources, and they need twelve billion to die before Earth can be stabilised. So corruption is rife, people starve, and the poor are policed by mechanised overseers and identity-reader guns. Citizens already fear the brutal Inspectorate with its pain inducers. But to reach its goals, the Committee will unleash satellite laser weaponry, taking carnage to a new level. This is the world Alan Saul wakes to, travelling in a crate destined for the Calais incinerator. How he got there he doesn’t know, but he remembers pain and his tormentor’s face. He also has company: Janus, a rogue intelligence inhabiting forbidden hardware in his skull. As Janus shows Saul an Earth stripped of hope, he resolves to annihilate the Committee and their regime. Once he’s discovered who he was, and killed his interrogator . . . ‘Full-tilt action sequences … Delivers plenty of thrills’ SFX ‘Fast, dramatic stuff … definitely not one for the faint hearted’ SFFWorld.com ‘I had an absolute blast with this book … his work really does get better and better’ FalcataTimes blog

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More About the Author

Neal Asher lives sometimes in England, sometimes in Crete and mostly at a keyboard. Having over eighteen books published he has been accused of overproduction (despite spending far too much time ranting on his blog, cycling off fat, and drinking too much wine) but doesn't intend to slow down just yet.

http://theskinner.blogspot.com/
http://freespace.virgin.net/n.asher/

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, just different 9 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read a lot of disappointed reviewers' comments on this book before I bought it. I've read all of Neal Asher's 'Polity' novels which I have enjoyed immensely so bought it anyway but expected to come away hugely disappointed.

Well, I didn't. I thought it was a good story in its own right and echoed many themes used in 'Polity' novels from a different perspective and within a more familiar framework.

I think many people may have been disappointed by the fact that the main character, Alan Saul, is not particularly likeable and is portrayed as something of an 'anti-hero'. In many stories, a person/entity such as Saul would be the bad guy. However, as a long time reader of the Thomas Covenant stories, I can deal with the 'anti-hero' concept and didn't feel it was a problem.

There's also been a lot of comment about the amount of violence in the book. I think it is more bloody than other works of his but it's hardly venturing into Shaun Hutson territory. It's there but it's not covered in minute detail.

However, it's not perfect. I would have liked more character definition, even if it only made me dislike them more. A lot of the characters, including the main ones, felt a bit shallow. I'm also not entirely convinced about the basic plotline right now but, given this is the apparently the first of a series, I would assume that there's a bigger picture to be revealed and I'm certainly interested enough in what happens to buy the next instalment and find out.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it a go 10 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback
Are we all reading the same book? Reading some of the negative reviews I wondered if perhaps The Departure had been re-written and re-issued prior to my purchasing a copy?

The Departure is very dark.

It really is.

Pretty distasteful in places, but the writing effectively paints a frankly disturbing picture of a society that has surrendered its scary freedoms to the safety of governmental dominance. It seems to me to be a critique of over-reliance on the state, something you can see happening in this country whatever the colours of the ruling party. I certainly didn't read it as a socialist bashing diatribe. In fact to me it reads more like a warning of how a society can fall into subservience to a fascist like governmental/corporate system. A society where things have gone horribly wrong largely through inaction and apathy rather than through subjugation by some overarching bond-like villain. What I think gets under your skin is the link Asher makes between this horrifying future and the actions (or lack thereof) of ordinary people (just like us) in the present day.

As an opening book in a series I feel it sets the scene very clearly. It's quite different to the other works by Asher, which to my mind is a positive. It's an impressive author who can create totally separate immersive worlds and not rely on constantly going back to safe and reliable ground. I normally only read on the Metro on my journeys to and from work (about 15 minutes each way) so it takes me a while to finish a book. I found that I was so engrossed in this one that I had to read through it rather more quickly. Now I'm going to have to buy the second book on the kindle and then probably despair at how long it takes before the third book is ready, not that Asher is slow, heck I've waited for George R R Martin, but just because I'll really want to know how it works out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dystopian horror! 13 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback
A really enjoyable book and exactly the kind of work Mr Asher has been entertaining us with for a long time now. The build up does have its fair share of deus ex machina to get us to the concluding off world fire fights, but if you can live with that then the closing 150 or so pages are a ripping read. There are a lot of critical reviews and of the ones I checked out they all seemed to be concerned by the politics of the book- which is ridiculous. It just goes to show how dangerous these EU socialist bureaucrats really are when they start complaining about any potentially negative portrayal of themselves and ironically goes to justify the storyline (joke!).
Asher uses as background for the book's story a world with a centralist Global government which has spiralled out of control, in case you were wondering. Heavy connotations to the EU here.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Departure in more ways than one... 5 Sep 2011
By M. Yon
Format:Hardcover
Neal's latest novel is a departure of sorts: away from his Polity series, and the start of a new series, but a place he has written of before. The Departure is the first of The Owner novels, though Neal's story collection The Engineer (and its later revised version, The Engineer Reconditioned) tell three stories of the Owner Universe.

Whilst the short stories tell of events much later, The Departure sets up the basics in the origin of the stories. Set in the 22nd century, Earth is being run by a global authority known as the Committee. Its enforcers, the Inspectorate, rule a rapidly growing population with ruthless efficiency, often involving torture and death. The general populace are controlled by human enforcers and robot Shepherds, a Wellsian type machine that can both capture and shred people.

Things in this dystopia are generally not good. A too-large population using too many of its finite resources without the luxury of expansion means that life for many is arduous. The idea that `Power Corrupts' is important here, and there's clearly something rotten in the socio-political structures of the 22nd century. The world government administrators live in luxury, whilst the ZA (Zero Asset) people, who contribute nothing to the economy, exist on a bare minimum with limited health care and facilities.

To this we have Alan Saul, assisted by an artificial intelligence named Janus. Having being tortured by the Inspectorate, his past is a mystery and much of Alan's past is unknown to him, or at least fragmentarily remembered at best. His mission objective is to bring down the corrupt organisation. He helps who he thinks is his torturer/interrogator, Hannah Neumann, but actually finds that they are former lovers and colleagues.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much detail
Decent enough ... but it could be painfully dull to read at times. This could have been 100 or so pages shorter.
Published 8 days ago by Portly Bill
3.0 out of 5 stars Loved the start of this book with an interesting concept ...
Loved the start of this book with an interesting concept and quick, brutal action. About halfway through I became very bored. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Lastadt
3.0 out of 5 stars Great story great action but a cold main character I'm ...
Great story great action but a cold main character
I'm going to get the other books as the story has me hooked as is the usual case with Asher...
Published 9 days ago by Ian Cleggett ( Cleggsta).
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this book
Good storyline. Well worth a read.
Published 20 days ago by KayEss
4.0 out of 5 stars ... Neal Asher's I've read and wow I was not disappointed. Great story
First of Neal Asher's I've read and wow I was not disappointed. Great story, great plot, great great great. Awesome sci fi.
Published 1 month ago by Big Six
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Some interesting ideas and concepts around technology and man's inherent selfishness. Holds together well.
Published 1 month ago by Mr G. Tooley
4.0 out of 5 stars very good
Very enjoyable, kept me sucked in and wanting to find out what happened next. I shall be buying the follow up right after sending this review.
Published 2 months ago by Colinberg
2.0 out of 5 stars Mr Nasty
This is a tough book. It's full if vitriol and anger with unlikeable, uncertain, mean characters that are fodder for Asher's trademark ultraviolence. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A great book. Can't wait for next in series. A chilling near future that sounds all to possible of what might be in store for us.
Published 2 months ago by Mr R S J Bernath
4.0 out of 5 stars Dystopic, dystopic, dystopic...
Asher's tales rarely 'pull punches' --Think 'Spatterjay' & co-- but 'Departure' is remarkably grim. I had to put the book aside after a dozen pages, wait until my shivers... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nik
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