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A prototype for the later Polity books
on 29 March 2011
Having only just recently started reading Neal Asher's books he has become one of my favourite Sci-Fi authors around. Mixing many elements of fiction, his Polity series of books have become a firm favourite of mine. In the span of the last year I have gone through all of the Cormack books followed by the series based around the Spatterjay virus. Looking for something new to read I came across this on Amazon.
The parasite is actually the second of his published books, more a novella than on his main books. Written 5 years before the Polity would be unleashed on the world. Yet on reading this book you find that much of the ground work for what would become the Polity is in here. There are mentions of AI's and Golems, Alien virus' (the central concept of the book) and the illegal weapons so dangerous they should never be used. In fact one of the weapons would later appear in the second of the Spatterjay books, The Voyage of the Sable Keech.
Jack Smith is a comet miner, a job that is being phased out as manufacturing plants can now easily reproduce the rare elements found on these comets. But there is something else on this asteroid and it is something that will come back with Jack Smith to Earth.
This is a tight and fast paced book, coming in at around 130 pages, I blasted through it in about two nights. While not tied to any of his pre-existing Polity universe, as mentioned above, you can see many of the themes that will occur in many of his later books. In particular the virus/parasite taking over and the change in humanity.
My only problem with the entire story is that one character is abandoned in the final parts of the book with no follow up or closure. It is hinted at that the character has a problem (don't want to say more than that for ruining the story). Other than this little blip it is an excellent story and well worth the money.