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85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
This review is for readers who are unfamiliar with Neal Asher's work because...let's face it. If you're already a fan of his work, you're not reading this review because you're already reading the book! And when you're done you'll be all disappointed because you now have to wait for the next one.

So for readers who have not read any of Asher's work before, I...
Published on 13 Sep 2010 by ecirpanes

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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not the usual Asher...
As a big fan of Neal Asher, I was very much looking forward to a new Polity novel. Those familiar with the previous books will find the setting familiar (Masada), and will be interested to find out more about Amistad (the war drone that featured in Shadow of the Scorpion). The book also follows-up matters introduced in previous Polity novels, as well as some of Asher's...
Published on 30 Aug 2010 by Hodroulis


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85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 13 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Technician (Polity 4) (Kindle Edition)
This review is for readers who are unfamiliar with Neal Asher's work because...let's face it. If you're already a fan of his work, you're not reading this review because you're already reading the book! And when you're done you'll be all disappointed because you now have to wait for the next one.

So for readers who have not read any of Asher's work before, I have to say...Don't buy this book. Wait! What? Sorry, but while this book is great, it's not the book you want to start with. Technically, you can, as it's not *really* a sequel, but the events in this book take place after events in previous books and many characters from previous books are referenced. And more to the point...this book ties together many loose ends, so if you read this book and like it (which you will), you'll want to go back and read his earlier books. And you'll be missing out a lot since this book is somewhat "spoilerific".

So stop here and go read his earlier Polity books. Specifically, the "Cormac" series, starting with Gridlinked. [...]
You won't be sorry.

And when you're done with those (and this book), pick up the "SpatterJay" series. And then his stand-alone's. And then the short story collections. And then re-read them all again, while marveling at the universe he has created. And then wait anxiously and impatiently for his next book.

But when you've become a raving Neal Asher fan, don't blame me because remember...I told you not to buy the book.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not the usual Asher..., 30 Aug 2010
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As a big fan of Neal Asher, I was very much looking forward to a new Polity novel. Those familiar with the previous books will find the setting familiar (Masada), and will be interested to find out more about Amistad (the war drone that featured in Shadow of the Scorpion). The book also follows-up matters introduced in previous Polity novels, as well as some of Asher's short stories about the gabbleducks and the fate of the Atheter. However, I did find this particular novel less compelling than some of the earlier Polity novels. The pacing is much slower than we are accustomed to from Asher, and his typical pyrotechnics only appear towards the end. One of the things perhaps missing for me was also Asher's trademark irreverant humour - The Technician is rather sombre is tone, without the comic relief that he usually provides in the form of witty asides or amusing characters (such as Sniper and Thirteen from the Spatterjay novels). This is by no means a bad novel, and will undoubtedly be enjoyed by fans of the Polity universe. However, it's not Asher's best to my mind...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All colour of socks in a tumble dryer, 9 April 2012
By 
Mr. Jan Tari "anomalocarus" (london) - See all my reviews
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I fell for the reviews on the back cover. I didn't notice they were from Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph or I might have saved myself a few dull afternoons chugging through this.
It's too long, the characters are childishly simplistic, not a lot of it makes sense, it resorts to hard sci-fi to try and drive the plot but fails monumentally (Greg Egan does it a whole lot better. Much, much better), and it is inhabited by some of the dumbest artificial intelligence personalities you can imagine.
On that point, imagine a scenario: giant dangerous (but unintelligent) beasties densely roaming an area. You are a large, dangerous artificial being equipped with no end of exotic made up technologies like force fields and various weapons that would entertain a teenager for weeks, and in addition you are overwhelmingly intelligent. You are trying to ensure the safety of a few people unlucky enough to be in the midst of it all. Said beasties cannot fly and they cannot burrow. You can move as fast or faster than them. You have endless tricks. You may be able to fly, surely you are able to dig. At the very least you could pick up these people in one of your magical force fields and naff off at speed. What to do? Obviously, you engage them with purely physical strength in what amounts to an arm wrestle.
If you want intelligent AIs, read Iain Banks. You won't find them here.
There's no real moral dilemma either. When it comes down to it Tombs the Proctor, in a position of authority in a very brutal political system, turns out to be a Jolly Nice Chap after all and not in the least fond of hurting anyone. No, too easy.
Anyway, it certainly had enough oddities to make it interesting as a one-off but it's an avalanche of colourful but ill-linked and ill-explained ideas that won't bring me back for any more by this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asher - brilliant, as usual, 4 Jun 2011
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This review is from: The Technician (Paperback)
Yet again, Asher has produced another stonking novel from the universe of humans, adepts and AIs he creates. Frankly, Mr. Asher can't write them fast enough for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 1 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Technician (Polity 4) (Kindle Edition)
to start with i like Asher anyway - and have read most of his previous books. With this one - i think you would have needed to have read something previous to understand his style of writing.
good story, usual range of interesting characters and action.
the only thing is i felt half-way through he lost interest and needed to finish it - at the end it felt there were a lot of loose ends - what happened to Blue? Where was Dragon now? Where were people really going at the end, what did they learn from the whole episode? how did the war drone feel? What was his role after the end? What happened to the captain of the battleship?

Will this storyline continue?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome Polity novel delivering everything I wanted, 29 Mar 2011
By 
Mark Chitty (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Technician (Paperback)
The Technician is Neal Asher's latest novel and marks the completion of my resolution to get up to date on all of his releases. I've not done too badly, this being the fifth book of his I've got through since January, each being just as enjoyable as the previous one. I'm actually quite glad I've done it this way, especially as much of what happens in The Technician relates to the Cormac series, mainly the events in The Line of Polity which is set on the same planet. I thoroughly enjoyed completing the Cormac series and was eager to once again see what was happening in the Polity, but Neal didn't meet my expectations. He exceeded them.

The Technician is set on Masada, a planet recently freed from a theocratic rule that kept the powerful in their orbital habitats away from the dangers on the surface while the workers were forced to live day to day in squaller, risking their lives so the higher echelons could benefit from their work. The Polity is now in control after the events in The Line of Polity brought about intervention, granting amnesty to those in the Theocracy and raising the living conditions of all on the planet. With Masada being under quarantine for many years after the Jain threat that caused the intervention, it has been a slow and steady climb for the population adjusting to the Polity. But there are still some who feel amnesty is unacceptable - the Tidy Squad. This group conducts its covert operations with the sole aim of bringing ultimate justice to former Theocracy members. And Jeremiah Tombs, the only man ever to survive a Hooder attack, has been in their sights for a long, long time.

Tombs is a mess, living in isolation under the eyes of the Polity AI's, supervised by Sanders and still believing the Theocracy is ruling strong after so many years in captivity. The truth he will not believe - the Theocracy is dead and the Polity rules, while the legendary Hooder know as the Technician did something to his brain that not even the great AI's can understand. But time is now short, for an ancient Atheter machine is waking in the depths of space and is heading for Masada, once the homeworld of its creators, with its mission still intact: destroy any signs of Atheter intelligence. Tombs is released and Amistad, the de facto expert on the Atheter, must help Tombs unravel the mystery that the Technician planted in his head.

When I came to read The Technician I had a couple of concerns. Firstly, the story is set on Masada, the setting of events from The Line of Polity. Now, I think Masada is a great setting, it has all sorts of dangerous wildlife, a history that has been uncovered throughout Neal's works, and holds the potential to deliver a stunning novel. But The Line of Polity is my least favourite of Neal's novels. It's good, but because of the Theocracy and the in-your-face religion bashing I just found it left a sour aftertaste. Returning to the planet that had all of this history was both exciting and daunting. Secondly, after reading the final volumes in the Cormac sequence (Polity Agent and Line War) I was unsure whether I could enjoy a novel that was once again restricted to one lonely planet in a galaxy that had so much to offer.

Now, regarding my first concern about religion. Asher has certainly grown as a writer in the seven years between The Line of Polity and The Technician. While religion is still an aspect in this novel - it has to be with Tombs as a former member of the Theocracy - it's more subtle, more relevant to the story without being dragged up every other page. Tombs is a disturbed man and his fixation on the fact that the Theocracy survived is a key element to the story, and Asher manages to convey this through his words and behaviour very effectively. As the whole planetary situation has changed these moments with Tombs are a stark contrast to the beliefs of many of the other residents. The Tidy Squad is another aspect to this religious theme, but they are against the amnesty the Theocracy members are offered, living to exact revenge on those that treated them so badly in the past. While this thread could have easily turned into a dig at religion, Asher keeps it relevant to the plot and to those characters it affects.

As to my second concern and limiting the story to one planet. This is Masada, why was I worried? There are Hooders, Gabbleducks, Dracomen, and a whole host of other dangerous and equally interesting creatures wandering its plains. And this time around we're getting a full-on story that has a Hooder at its centre, not to mention the Atheter AI and the Gabbleducks that play a role throughout. While the building blocks of Masada were laid during The Line of Polity, it really does get centre stage here. We find out why Masada is the way it is, and just what caused it to become that way.

Suffice to say, the worldbuilding going on in The Technician is second to none. Asher covers all the bases and manages to add the history from previous books in without it being noticeably repetitive for those that have read them, but equally important for those that have not. Asher's writing is very much a fast paced action orientated style, and when he flexes those muscles in the story it's a joy to read, but experience has also given him some very good story-telling skills that apply to those sections that aren't balls-to-the-wall action. With the combination of world-building, story-telling and all-out action, The Technician has a little bit of everything that adds up to a very satisfactory whole.

The Technician does start slowly though, with sections jumping back and forth through periods of over 20 years, and this can be a little confusing. More than once I had to double check just which period the point of view was from and slipping it into the right place in my mind. Fortunately these are only present for the first part of the story, and once we're brought up to date with events it's full steam ahead. Story and character progression go very much hand in hand throughout the novel, one leading to the other, and vice versa. Tombs is one of the main contributing forces to forward movement for the overall plot and, along with the imminent threat of the ancient Atheter device, we learn plenty of things that have only been hinted at or suggested in past novels. It all comes together surprisingly well, and the revelations kept those pages turning and turning late into the night.

There is so much to enjoy in The Technician it's hard to stop blurting it all out here and let you go out and experience it for yourselves. The titular legendary Hooder, the history and fate of the Atheter, the changes to Tombs and his journey and discovery of these, the advancement of Amistad, the deadly environment of Masada. It's all good, and it all makes for a gripping and extraordinary story. I thought Line War was excellent, but The Technician tops that and is far and away the best thing I've read by Neal Asher.

As I finished The Technician I became frustrated - I've had the pleasure to catch up on the events in the Polity over five novels, to enjoy the settings that Asher has created, and to do so with the knowledge I had another waiting on the shelf. Now, however, I don't. Yes, I've got a couple of his older books to re-read, but with Neal's departure (no pun intended) to a different setting, the wait for something new set in the Polity is going to be a long and painful few years.

But what a way to start a hiatus: The Technician was awesome.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good read, 17 Mar 2011
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This review is from: The Technician (Paperback)
More of a review of the whole series of Polity books and their spin offs than this book in particular.

Neal Ashers books are really, really, REALLY good fun, a somewhat strange thing to say about the subject when dealing with massive, virtually indestructible alien constructs, stellar warfare, hegemonising swarms (yoink! nicked from IMB) planets teeming with flora and fauna that can and very much will kill you in a wonderfully escalating series of nasty ways and a whole plethora of supporting thugs, mad robots, evil villains and a race of aliens that could give the Affront a run for their money on sheer outrageous bloody-minded cruelty and viciousness!

You get the sense from these books that Neal is having a rollicking good time writing them, and it feeds through the pages to make you chuckle at all the right places, and merrily buzzsaw through one of his books in one sitting and finish it with a smile on your face and a feeling of 'I'm coming back to read you again on a grey, rainy winters day for sure' when slotted into the bookshelf

There is also a miniscule undercurrent of slight silliness, especially in the Splatterjay novels, that cuts through his work but it is a masterstroke of writing that you revel in it rather than think 'Oh now come on, you are just being daft! I mean, its a giant snail for crying out loud!' which again just make his books very difficult to put down once started.

I for one have worked my way merrily through the entire back catalogue of his work and every new release gets added to my wish list as soon as they appear, and if you want some very good science fiction, that is a lot more fun and enjoyable to read than it really should be allowed to get away with, even when being deadly serious then hunt out and delve into the Polity universe, you won't regret it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic inner journey with fast-paced alien-world action, 30 Dec 2010
By 
cybermage.se (USA) - See all my reviews
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The Technician can be enjoyed as a standalone novel but you will get more out of it if you read the Cormac novels first. Visiting Masada again for me that have is a bit like coming home and I get to enjoy some of the characters from previous books. The Line of the Polity is the one with most Masada in it.

As usual with Neal's books this one also has an intriguing and well developed back story that tightly fits together with what happened before. I can understand why he went back to Masada. It is such a wonderful quirky place with huge hooder predators that can swallow a man or a minor car and gabbleducks walking around copying human talk but not making any sense; the whole world is wrapped in the mystery of a disappeared alien civilization called the Atheter. On top of this an oppressive theocracy was toppled by rebellion facilitated by the Dragon's destruction of their orbital lasers. Masada is also the homeworld of the Dracomen created when the Dragons crashed on the planet.

Amistad the war drone from Shadow of the Scorpion is back in charge of Atheter research as events set in motion by the Dragon once again threatens humanity. Amistad is one of my favorites. With him we get to follow a bit of personal growth and development, ai style.

I might be the only one but I thought it was hilarious when Blue, the only blue Dracowoman was introduced, I immediately thought; Neal your rascal, you sneaked in a Na'vi on us. The other explanation that came to mind was the blue pill from Matrix in reverse.

The plot centers on Jeremiah Tombs and his journey back to sanity. A theme he also used success with Mr Crane/The Brass Man. Tombs is not the only point of view or main character in this novel but I enjoyed him most because he changes the most. The characters are well developed with much more `meat' than in his early novels something I as a character person like and appreciate.

The Dragon's hidden agenda goes like a chain from Grindlinked to this one. That is a nice touch even if there is not much Dragon action in this one. It is more like a heritage.

The Technician is no doubt one of the best new novels I have read this year. It got a fantastic inner journey with fast-paced alien-world action. I am in awe of Neal Asher for this amazing feat of original writing. If you haven't read Neal before you might as well start with this one, you will not be sorry. Maybe I should add that Mr Asher is very fond of gigantic insects and might get a bit graphic in his descriptions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic continuation to a Fantastic series, 27 Sep 2010
Having become a Massive fan of Neal Asher, i wait in anticipation for his future books in the Polity ubiverse.
This one is a great continuation of the series, where new characters are brought to life and a truely BIG step is taken in the polity universe by introducing us slowly to a new supposidly extinct race.
Well Done Neal, bring on more... Please
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 16 Sep 2010
By 
M. Olbrich "SciFi Rules 1" (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This books proves that you actually CAN have too much of a god thing and live to tell the tale. The story binds lots of critical threads from previous books into one coherent climax - but I desperately hope it is NOT meant as a finale. Like exquisite chocolates it tastes much better if one has had a full meal of Ashers before. It has the right balance between sometimes overexplained action technicalities and spinning a good yarn. Entirely plausible humans, entirely plausible aliens and machines who know their place lead to the climax everyone hoped for. I actually slowed the reading pace down to enjoy it more. Buy, buy, buy.
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