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Gridlinked (Ian Cormac) Paperback – 8 Mar 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New edition edition (8 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330484338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330484336
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 864,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Widescreen, action-packed science-fiction drama by a notable talent. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My first Neal Asher novel (and his too, I subsequently found). It was a good read - full of nice ideas, good tech, good settings and nice plot twists (though I did guess some bits in advance of reading them). It got me involved in the characters to the extent that I cared if they lived or died, even causing a stir of emotion when one or the other occured. It even made my me laugh out loud a couple of times (at genuine humour, rather than in ridicule)
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book. Delivered promptly. Many thanks!!
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In Asher’s glittering future galaxy, Earth is at the centre of a ‘Polity’ of AI-governed worlds, connected by various ‘runcibles’ (portals which instantly transport matter to another portal elsewhere in the galaxy) so called because the interface adopts the shape of a reflective spoon.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Science Fiction can often feel like you have started the book half way through a bigger story as the concepts can be so big. Something like ‘Gridlinked’ by Neal Asher is set in the far future on planets that are not Earth. Therefore, not only does a reader have to get to grips with the characters and their situation, but also the Universe as a whole. The best writers will balance the characters with wider world building, whilst others will write poor shlock science fiction in a confused universe.

Is Agent Cormac real, or just a myth made up by the all-powerful AI to keep the people in check? In fact, he is real, but has spent so long linked into the AI that he no longer exhibits the right human emotions and for someone that often goes undercover, this is not good. Now he is recently disconnected from the Grid and must investigate a possible terrorist attack whilst dealing with a mad man seeking revenge for the death of his sister.

At over 500 pages ‘Gridlinked’ is an investment in time and, to begin with, it was one that I was willing to give. The world of Cormac is an interesting one, he is a mysterious character who does the bidding of the omnipresent AI. The fact that Cormac is not a good guy also helps. The book kicks off with a murder he knowingly commits that has ramifications for the rest of the book. Pelter is a once handsome man, now disfigured by Cormac, who will do whatever is necessary to revenge the death of his sister. Watching Pelter fall deeper into revenge is well written.

Therefore, it is a shame that this element of the book appears to be a sideshow. Instead we are introduced to a creature known as Dragon – that may be AI, or may be a giant many part organism. Either way, Dragon is a little dull and confused.
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