Gridlinked: The First Agent Cormac Novel (Ian Cormac) Paperback – 23 Mar 2001
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Gridlinked is the talented Neal Asher's first full-length SF novel, an accomplished rapid-action thriller crammed with high technology, obsessed characters, and the glittering boys' toys of advanced weaponry.
Cormac is a legendary Earth Central Security agent, the James Bond of a wealthy future where "runcible" transmitters allow interstellar travel in an eye blink. Unfortunately Cormac is nearly burnt out, "gridlinked" to the AI net so long that his humanity has drained away. He has to take the cold turkey cure and shake his addiction to instant online access, even while investigating the unique runcible disaster that's wiped out the entire human colony on planet Samarkand in a 30 megaton explosion ...
Hot on Cormac's heels is vengeful terrorist Pelter, backed up by his unstoppable, psychotic android killer "Mr Crane" and a goon squad of mercenaries. Other trouble has been brewing since 27 years earlier, when Cormac was humanity's ambassador to a vast, incomprehensible alien that called itself Dragon. Deep beneath Samarkand's surface there are buried mysteries, fiercely guarded. And is it true that Cormac's enigmatic boss is an immortal who's lived half a millennium and was born in the 20th century?
Asher's galaxy is full of colour and sleaze, and his story rattles along at speed. There are surprises, double-crosses, elaborate lies to be seen through, astonishing escapes from certain death, and last-minute reversals. Though the ultimate fates of the lesser villains seem mildly anticlimactic, the true bad guy is dealt with in spectacular style. Sequels are hinted. Fast-moving, edge-of-the-seat entertainment. --David Langford
Widescreen, action-packed science-fiction drama by a notable talent. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I liked the settings of the novel, and the future that Asher describes; I like the hero, Cormac, and his companions the Sparkind soldiers, the golem androids, and his shuriken; I liked the lead villain Pelter and HIS companions, Mr Crane, Stanton and the mercenaries; Hell, I even liked the runcible AI's.
But did I like Dragon or The Maker? No way - I found them a bit "unbelieveable", even in this future context, and a bit too "comic book". And did I like the ending of the book? Even more "no way". In fact, did I even understand the ending of the book?
I read the last few pages again and again to try to figure it out. When I started reading the sequel "The Line Of Polity" I had to read the end of "Gridlinked" yet again, because I still didn't get what happened with the Dracomen! And I'm happy (I guess) to read other reviewers here who were equally confused.
Well, I think it's with some dismay that I find Dragon and a Dracoman in "The Line Of Polity", but hey, onwards and upwards and lets see how the plot develops.
Asher’s ‘Polity’, which is in effect a benign AI dictatorship, is seen in the novel as a safe, happy place to live, although the ‘quotation’ chapter prefaces gradually make us aware that AIs are capable of the manipulation of data and have, in effect, rewritten history to suit their own purposes. No system is perfect, as Asher subtly and cleverly points out.
Outside the Polity are other human-colonised worlds which have been supplying Separatists with arms and explosives. Ian Cormac a ‘gridlinked’ ECS (Earth Central Security) Agent, has infiltrated a Separatist cell and is forced to kill Angelina Pelter when his cover is blown, leaving her vain and psychopathic brother Arian vowing vengeance.
Meanwhile, on the planet Samarkand the unthinkable has happened. A runcible has exploded, destroying most of the AI controlling it and ten thousand people.
Cormac is recalled and advised by Horace Blegg (a strange Japanese and apparently immortal human) to relinquish the augments and AI links which he has been relying on for the last thirty years; to regain his human responses and investigate the disaster.
It’s an extraordinarily impressive debut novel, one of those you wish was longer. Most novels of 500+ pages tend to be inflated with extraneous fluff. This however, is dense, tight and wastes not a word.Read more ›
The plot is fast and the background is detailed, but there is a degree of simplification in the characterisation that undermines the overall quality of the book without harming the dramatic tension too much.
That said, there are sympathetic supporting characters and a nice sub-plot which rounds out a couple of the villains accomplices.
Many fine authors have tried (and often failed) to convey the 'alien-ness' of non human consciousness and though Neal Asher tries hard initially, the Dragon at the heart of the plot comes across as little more than a spoiled and vengeful child.
None the less, this is a feel good action thriller with a high tech space opera setting and a lightness of tone that I would liken to the 'Lethal Weapon' or 'Die Hard' type movies.
While it is not in the same literary league as the likes of Iain M Banks it is a creditable and highly enjoyable read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great read for anybody who is a fan of Neal Asher's work, or just anybody who likes great science fiction!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Asher does great monsters and reasonably good action. If that's what you want, buy this. If you want themes, fine writing, good characterisation (ANY characterisation), don't.Published 6 months ago by Bertolt
My first taste of the Polity universe, wont be my last, basically its a revenge piece, and those are always so uplifting... Read morePublished 6 months ago by sharpen the edge
This is the first of a series (which we like as it saves us having to remember stuff next time - and the Polity universe and associated AIs and FTL travel are well done, and there... Read morePublished 9 months ago by D. Jones