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The Engineer ReConditioned Hardcover – 3 Feb 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Cosmos Books (3 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809556766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809556762
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,148,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Neal Asher lives in Chelmsord, Essex, UK.. This is his second novel.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Ed.F VINE VOICE on 11 Oct. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must admit i'm a big fan of Asher's work and this re-issued collection of short stories hasn't caused me to change my opinion of his stuff. This is a collection of quality short fiction loosely bound into slabs which may or may not link in with his other, novel based, work. The little notes from the author, about each story and how hard it is to be a sucessful SF writer, are a mild distraction but don't lessen the enjoyment of the collection. Good stuff.
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Format: Hardcover
Although I don't generally like to read short stories (the longer and more complex the story the better, I say), because I enjoy Asher's novels so much, I gave The Engineer a chance. I enjoyed each of the stories, even though they simply left me wanting more. It was particularly interesting to see characters from a few of his novels (Erlin, for example) before they figured in those novels. Some of the stories are set in the Polity universe, but, with the exception of the novella "The Engineer," the AI minds of the Polity play no role in those stories. Most of the stories take place in backwater or primitive worlds which have lost touch with the technology that brought the inhabitants to those worlds in the first place.

My one complaint is that the book is very poorly edited - many typos and even missing words, which surprised me since most of the stories were published earlier. Even the page numbers in the table of contents was screwed up.

But, still, if you enjoy Asher's novels, you will be sure to enjoy these stories. And, unlike the first reviewer, I liked the very short blurbs prefacing each story. It is interesting to get a sense of the person "behind" the author.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a collection of some of Neal Asher's earlier stories and it gives an interesting glimpse into his first forays into his Runcible universe and the planet Spatterjay.

These stories aren't quite as good as his more recent novels but any fan of his is really going to enjoy this novella and short stories.

But there is a huge problem with this book, and it has nothing to do with the stories themselves. I've never seen a professionally produced book before with so many amateurish mistakes and this goes far beyond just typos and even characters being called by the wrong names.

Several stories don't appear in the contents list at the front. Small problem you might think, but several of these stories are missing their titles and have been stuck on the end of the previous story as if it was just a new paragraph. This happens once after the story 'The Engineer' and TWICE after the story 'Spatterjay'.

If you can read around these problems there are some enjoyable stories here, but this particular edition is a shoddy mess.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Engineer - 4/5 - Science ship discovers a Jain alien with its artifact, separatists in action to destroy and the Polity come to bail the scientists out. 103 pages

Snairls - 3/5 - Giant aerial snails filled with passengers are being internally observed by a human and its contingent of a hornets Mind. 18 pages

Spatterjay - 2/5 - Too short, unsatisfying prequel to Asher's The Skinner novel. 19 pages

`The Sea Fage' - 4/5 - Ship crew get a nasty surprise aboard and the captain gets the rotten end of the stick. 14 pages

`Paul the Orbonnai' - 3/5 - Pre-sentient alien attracts the Church but the Polity doesn't like bible beaters... or Thrakai thrompers. 19 pages

Proctors - 4/5 - Mysterious Proctors take an unusual interest in human affairs and murder investigation on a colony planet loosely looked over by the Owner. 34 pages

The Owner - 3/5 - Ensemble of humans quest into Forbidden Zone to find answers about the missing Proctors. 39 pages

The Tor-Beast's Prison - 2/5 - Takes place in the Cowl universe, but it too hasty and too muddled to settle well. 13 pages

Tiger Tiger - 3/5 - Owner non-believers take it in their interest to hunt and kill a suspected tiger. 17 pages

The Gurnard - 3/5 - Baptiser and Earther leave on religious rite. 26 pages
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Format: Hardcover
The Engineer (Recondtioned) is a good place to start if you haven't read any of the erstwhile Mr Asher's books as it gives a fair sampling of his works - the Polity (or Ian Cormac) novels (massive weapons and sneaky AIs with their own agendas), Spatterjay novels (vicious monsters and sneaky AIs with their own agendas), and some standalone works (which may or may not involve sneaky AIs with their own agendas) all underpinned with some interesting specultations and extrapolations of the kind of biological systems they don't teach you in school.
Not quite as cerbral as Iain M Banks, not quite as nasty + violent as Richard Morgan, and not quite as politically charged as Ken MacLeod, but if you're fans of either (or more) of those three you should find something here to pique your interest.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good collection of short stories, several of which link to the universes of longer novels. Not all top quality but that's inevitable when you collect earlier works and especially when some are trying ideas out for size to see if they work before going big time. I particularly like Spatterjay-related stories (in which I include Snairls) as I think that milieu gives Neal the most scope for a little humour and his ecological adventures.

Thank goodness he avoids the need for a "twist in the tail" that some people seem to think is required in any short story.

Could provide a good start point for people to test out Neal's work.
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