July 4, 2005
Gridlinked by Neal Asher
Gridlinked kicks off in high action mode, following a recent mission of Ian Cormac, ECS (Earth Central Security) super agent. Cormac is Gridlinked, that is linked in to all of the AI's allowing instant access to a vast array of information in his head. (It's like the internet but without all the crap). The story follows Cormac dealing with an alien intelligence whilst "the one that got away" terrorist Pelter plans vengeance.
It's actually really hard to summarise this book because it is jam-packed with so many ideas. There are Runcibles, which are teleportation stations, run by AI's. There are big strange alien intelligences, one called the Dragon. There are multiple planets. There's a mad, crazy robot killer called Mr. Crane. There's guns, lots of guns. There's spaceships. There's even a strange, mysterious immortal bloke who seems to run ECS. Like I said, a lot of stuff, and I really enjoyed the endless wave of ideas.
The pace is pretty frantic, starting with action and continuing almost non-stop until the end. If you like action, thriller, SF adventures then you will like this.
However at the end of the book I realised that I hadn't enjoyed it as much as I wanted to. It was fun whilst it lasted but a bit throwaway. After a bit of thought I realised that this was because I didn't really care for the characters. Although I enjoyed their adventures I didn't have an emotional connection. Cormac, the main character seemed a bit invincible and I didn't really like him. Shame. Also the plot at the end seemed a bit confused to me and I was left wondering what had actually happened, may that was just me being dim?
It's interesting to compare this book to The Skinner, which is Neal's second published novel. I think that The Skinner is a better book, a bit more focused, a bit more crazy and a bit more unique. So I'm definitely going to read Mr. Asher's other books and I did like Gridlinked but on a actiontastic level rather than an emotional one.