Brass Man (Ian Cormac) Paperback – Unabridged, 17 Feb 2006
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|Paperback, Unabridged, 17 Feb 2006||
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Another broiling, sprawling, witty, hard-SF adventure, filled with the truly alien
On the primitive world of Cull, a knight errant called Anderson is hunting a dragon, little knowing that far away someone else (now more technology than human flesh) has resurrected a brass killing machine called 'Mr Crane' to assist in a similar hunt encompassing star systems. When agent Cormac learns that this old enemy still lives, he sets out in pursuit aboard the attack ship Jack Ketch ...whilst scientist Mika begins discovering the horrifying truth about that ancient technology ostensibly produced by the alien Jain. Meanwhile, for the people of Cull, each day proves a struggle to survive on a planet roamed by ferocious insectile monsters, while they slowly construct the industrial base that may enable them to escape to their forefathers' starship - still orbiting far above them. But an entity with questionable motives, calling itself Dragon, assists them with genetic by-blows created out of humans and the hideous local monsters. And now the planet itself, for millennia geologically inactive, is increasingly suffering earthquakes ...'Compelling reading ...Asher has become a resounding and distinctive voice in British SF' - "SFRevu".See all Product description
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Keeping the above in mind I think one of the problems that I had with the early part of this novel is the torrent of information I had to absorb. Saying that Asher’s universe is big, does not do it justice it is a masterwork of the imagination - but having to try and come to terms of it was hard going.
This is where not starting at the beginning has an effect. Had I read the first book I am sure everything there would have been a competent lead in to a very well thought out and advanced universe and I would have been able to sail through the books easily. Instead I was thrown in the deep world and had to doggy-paddle as I tried to catch up. Once I had done so though I found myself enjoying the book immensely. Asher has created a universe that is rich in detail and technology that twists the mind with it’s concepts and pure invention. A society ruled my Artificial Intelligences that have as much personality as the humans around them. Humans, if they can be called that, who have the chance to live forever, able to move between bodies, cloned or artificially created things called Golems.
The novel is the home of many characters, but at it’s core there are two characters, Ian Cormac and the titular Brass Man, Mr. Crane. Of course there are others, from some of the incredible AI controlled space ships, characters in their own right Jack Ketch and Jerusalem being two that spring to mind, various living or formally living or artificially living members of the Polity; and I suppose the true villain of the piece Skellor a human now enmeshed with an ancient alien technology.
Crane is fascinating a near unstoppable killing machine apparently made of brass (it’s just his skin really), and unique agent Cormac, someone who appears to be growing into something a lot more than a simple human. The metallic Golem is something that has had his mind broken, turning him into a near unstoppable killing machine. But there is a slim chance that he may be made whole. Again most of the characters have come from earlier books, and perhaps joining the story here diminishes the whole experience.
As a whole the book is a magnificent read, I just wish I had started at the beginning of the series....
The only downside for me, which tended to interfere with my suspension of disbelief, is Neal's compulsion to populate all alien planets with horrific fauna and flora making life a real grind for the struggling human population. As far as I can tell, the only planet is his universe where one can live without being ripped apart by some ghastly alien lifeform is Earth itself.
Nevertheless, I am keen to follow the future developments in Cormac and Dragon's story but would relish a novel set on a more likely planet!