The Gabble - And Other Stories Paperback – 2 Sep 2011
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Asher serves up tales that are economical, crisp and frequently fiendishly clever. The stories featuring the gabbleducks, dangerous aliens who ‘speak’ in a nonsensical language, are particularly impressive. Neal Asher: the Lewis Carroll of space opera anyone? (BBC Focus)
Fans of Asher's Polity future history will not be disappointed by his third collection . . . Asher delights in depicting the universe as a Hobbesian nightmare. He's superb at detailing, with macabre relish, the frailty of the flesh. (Guardian)
The way his characters interact with the strange locations and technologies creates more than enough to keep the pages turning. If you've never sampled the delights of Asher's work then this rather entertaining collection would be a very good place to start. (SciFiNow)
With this collection of thirteen marvellously inventive and action-packed short stories, Neal Asher takes us further into the manifold diversities of that amazing universe. (Fantasy Book Critic)
The master of weird, wonderful and downright gruesome alien creature creations. Add this to the great way in which Neal can quickly draw you into a story and you've got a must have collection of some of the best science fiction out there . . . this is one of the better author specific collections I've read and that Neal is one of the must read authors in the science fiction genre. (Walker of Worlds)
'Thirteen marvellously inventive and action-packed short stories.' -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Hardcover.See all Product description
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For less than the price of a cinema ticket, you won't go wrong here.
One quick note, and no fault of the Author, the longest story in the collection, "Alien Archeology" was also published in the recent "The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 21" anthology edited by Gardner Dozois, which effectively made a 1/4 of the book redundant for me.
These stories also represent an author finding his niche as a science ficiton writer. Sometimes called "post-cyberpunk" but really just action/horror/noir, the author can see the author settling into the niche which has made him famous... and so deep in the pit that I don't think the author could ever redefine himself. Whereas his previous collection was dating from 1995-2001, this collection mainly includes stories from 2001-2008.
Softly Spoke the Gabbleduck (2005 novelette) - 3/5 - Incestuous siblings on homicide safari: Tameera, Tholan, and his assistant Anders hire a safari guide on the planet Myral. When Tameera snipes a C-grade sentient and later becomes abducted by the hextet of Sheq, the shagging siblings take revenge upon the Sheq, and the assistant and the safari guide who have witnessed the crime. When the gabbleduck appears in the shrouded mist of a valley waterfall, someone is bound to die. 33 pages
Putrefactors (2008 novelette) - 4/5 - Unauthorized android attacks assassin Ansel: The Company's assassin's mission is to kill a villager on a gastronomically uninhabitable planet, but Earth Central is onto his plot. The tables are turned on Ansel when the same company he works for seeks to kill him off, one way or another. 25 pages
Garp and Geronamid (2005 novelette) - 4/5 - Salind snoops simulacrum, snubs safety: A reporter follows a murder victim reification, who later becomes an unwilling assassin for a non-Polity world's mafia queen. The ruthless police rear their ugly head in matters the visiting AI Geronamid considers vulgar. With the mafia's drug-crazed grip and vise-like clutch of fear over the people, a fair and democratic vote towards Polity integration looks unlikely, unless Salind can find a newsworthy story to broadcast back to the Polity. 45 pages
The Sea of Death (2001 short story) - 4/5 - Sub-zero subterranean sarcophagi sleep soundly: Millions of kilometers of tunnel lie below the surface of Orbus, each tunnel loaded end-to-end with frozen sarcophagi. The aliens within have been scanned and studied but only Duren the loosecannon was crazy enough to actually open one. The passing planetoid of Corlis is about to add some unexpected geothermal energy to the usually frigid Orbus. 18 pages
Alien Archaeology (2007 novella) - 5/5 - Rho's rare relic releases rampage: Rho's Atheter memory store is so valuable that pirate Jael steals is and offers to transfer its store into a gabbleduck, a creature which is thought to be a non-sentient de-evolution of the Atheter race. Havoc breaks loose as she attempts to sell the gabbleduck to the Prador, a situation which involves a reclusive rogue AI named Penny Royal, who inhabits the Prador/Polity borderland known as the Graveyard. Rho simply seeks revenge against Jael, but he becomes mixed up in Earth Central's attempt to hinder Jael's plans for the Prador. 76 pages
Acephalous Dreams (2005 novelette) - 4/5 - Murderous Daes dons Geronamid's node: Daes decapitates a man who once hurt him long ago, but he has no doubt that he'll be caught for his actions. The regional AI Geronamid's Golem offers Daes the chance to be given a cephalic implantation of a Csorian node. Should he survive, the charges will be droped. Once quarantined on a remote planet, Daes is quickly subsumed by the node and Geronamid's plans are soon revealed. 26 pages
Snow in the Desert (2002 novelette) - 3/5 - Arid assassins aim at albino: On a desert planet where water is scarce and highly valued, an albino man named Snow has a bounty placed on his testicles. Having fought off assassins before, the level of guile to retrieve his DNA has reached unexpectedly high levels. 41 pages
Choudapt (2008 novelette) - 2/5 - Mycelia medic manhandles malicious mold: Simoz carries a doctor mycelium inside himself. A virus keyed into the genetic augmentation of the population of Wrack has them hostile against outsiders like ECS Simoz. He and his mycelium, named Mike, must produce a retro-virus and find the perpetrators releasing the terror. 24 pages
Adaptogenic (1994 short story) - 4/5 - Antiquarian acquires autogenic at auction: Jason Chel bid for a hammer-whelk shell, a related early Golem series, and a box of miscellaneous items. The Golem is missing its long-term memory, something which fellow bidder Grable is eager to attain. When it's found inside the shell, Chel journeys to the Golem's last known planet of service to learn more of the story, only to be met by Grable, an uncooperative AI, and a planet on the cusp of a world-time. 30 pages
The Gabble (2006 novelette) - 3/5 - Spastic speech spurs corpse search: Jonas is eager to dissect a hooder in situ but gabbleduck researcher Shandelle has the only available ATV. The two decide to investigate a gabbleduck on the way to the forensic dissection. With dracomen, tricones, mud snakes, and heroynes littering the surface of Masasa, the 530km jourey is as interesting as their discoveries. 48 pages
Asher is a cyberpunk/hard scifi writer who can mix it with the best of them. The Gabble is an example of perfect weighting, with stories superbly executed and no padding whatsoever. Set in the Polity universe this collection is eminently readable as a standalone or as part of the wider sequence, without recourse to dense technobabble or any other weak literary device. Asher's frequently humorous style, naming the vicious alien predator which is central to several of these stories, a Gabbleduck is an example of a humanising touch that scifi needs to be truly enjoyable and believable.
Another glorious read from Neal Asher, who is fast becoming top of my list as an essential author to follow.
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