War Factory (Polity: Transformation #2) ★★★★☆

d256c6276aa7e43ce7408d202cdf0f95This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: War Factory
Series: Polity: Transformation #2
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 472
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

There are viewpoints from: Captain Blight and Crew, who Penny Royal the Black AI hitches rides with; Sverl the Prador who is turning into a human, prador and AI, Thorvald Spear who started out hunting down Penny Royal and now carries out its wishes; Cvorn the Prador who is trying to re-start the war between the Polity and the Prador Kingdom; Oberon the King of the Prador who seems to be a Spatterjay virus infected Prador who is trying to change his subjects so they can survive long term; and finally The Brockle, a forensic AI who pretty much tortures people and other AI who have committed crimes until the Polity gets what they want from the criminals, the Brockle considers Penny Royal to be the biggest criminal in the Polity to date.

Penny Royal seems to be trying to figure something out but nobody is sure exactly what that is. In the process it is fixing many of its past mistakes, most of which are included in the list of POV’s above.

The End Point is Room 101, a War Factory (hence the name of the book) from the war and the journey is getting everyone there at the proper time.

 

My Thoughts:

It has only been 3 years since I last read this but really, aside from from a couple of overall things, it was like reading a brand new book. It probably doesn’t help that the synopsis is so vague because of how many viewpoints there are that are interweaving for the whole book.

Speaking of viewpoints, Asher handled them like a champ. Unlike that rat custard Gwynne, I never got annoyed reading them during this book. When a view point would change, I never felt like I was leaving something undone and wanted to stay. Asher wove his story adroitly and expertly and I for one appreciated that.

The only real downside was that Asher once again delves into crustacean sex, like he did in one of his spatterjay books. I don’t know why he finds giant crabs doing it exciting, but he sure does. Doesn’t matter if it is used as a device to kill Cvorn later on, but having Cvorn cut off a younger crabs genitals, stitch them on himself and then use them to have sex for again for the first time in decades is just not something I really want to read about. However, it is unique. So if you are looking for a unique reading experience, you’ll get that here!

I did like how Asher delves into what is murder. Being an atheist, he approaches it from the complete cessation of existence. So a society that can recreate an entity if they’ve recorded themselves onto crystal has to decide what is murder. Asher, like many technologists of today, simply assumes that the brain and every biological part, CAN be recorded and that we are nothing but a collection of data. It doesn’t bother me because this is a universe in which AI exist. Throw in some dragons and the probability factor doesn’t actually change, if you know what I mean.

Half of the action was spaceship oriented, which isn’t my thing, but thankfully the other half was all groundpounder action. Now THAT is my thing.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Dark Intelligence (Polity: Transformation #1) ★★★★½

f5c20b1147913d15c73b181229ed7c8cThis review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Dark Intelligence
Series: Polity: Transformation #1
Author: Neal Asher
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 416
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Thorvald Spear wakes up in a hospital. Which is odd, because he remembers being killed by a Polity AI named Penny Royal, almost 100 years ago, an AI that was supposed to be rescuing him and his men on a Prador occupied world. With his memory still a bit glitchy, Spear does know one thing for certain, Penny Royal must die.

Spear tracks down Penny Royal’s old spaceship. With the help of a powerful gangster named Isabel Satomi, who made a deal of her own with Penny Royal and is now regretting it, Spear plans on tracking Penny Royal down to whatever hidden lair it’s hiding in. With Satomi’s transformation having gone a bit further than anticipated (she’s turning into a hooder), Spear abandons her and sets out on his own.

Satomi wanted revenge on Penny Royal for the changes it started in her. But with Spear’s betrayal, she’ll happily kill him too. She heads to a world in the Graveyard (an area of space between the Polity and the Prador Kingdom where neither has an official presence) where she can gather her forces and pursue Spear and then Penny Royal. While on The Rock Pool, a world ruled by a prador named Sverl who also made a deal with Penny Royal, the other Prador revolt against Sverl and he is forced to help Satomi if either of them want to survive.

All during this time Penny Royal has been dancing around and through everything, apparently orchestrating “something”. It shows up at Masada, an apparent guest of the newly sentient Atheter. Both Spear and Satomi also show up at Masada. Satomi is now a complete biomech warmachine, like the Technician before its demise. With such a weapon, the Atheter can now claim full control of Masada and kick the Polity out.

Satomi’s consciousness is pulled from the hooder into a crystal memplant. Spear realizes he has been manipulated this whole time so Penny Royal can begin making good on all the bad things it did while a Black AI.

 

My Thoughts:

The only reason I didn’t give this 5 stars this time around was because there was a very awkward, unnecessary and completely gratuitous sex scene ¾ of the way through the book. Other than that, I loved this book, again.

It has only been about 4 years since I initially read this but that is something like 600 books ago, so this was a good refresher. I remembered some of the larger details but that didn’t in anyway detract from my enjoyment.

The first time I read this Penny Royal kind of came out of leftfield because I hadn’t been paying any attention to mentions of it in previous Polity books. On my re-read of the Polity, I paid more attention to that and now it is paying dividends.

Asher is not telling disconnected stories all set in his Polity universe. Each series builds on the previous ones but without turning into a Never Ending Series. Each series has a definite beginning and a definite end, as does each book. You have no idea how much I appreciate an author that still writes that way.

I would not recommend starting Asher’s Polity with this book. While you could, I guess, there is just too much in the background that you need to have read in his previous book for this to make sense.

★★★★½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Infinity Engine (Transformation #3) (Polity) ★★★★☆

infinity (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 
Title:      The Infinity Engine
Series:   Polity: Transformation #3
Author:  Neal Asher
Rating:   4 of 5 Stars
Genre:    SF
Pages:    575
Format:  Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The End Game is in sight. Penny Royal, that black AI that nobody can seem to predict, control or even understand, continues to move the players like chess pieces.

Prador and Humanity move together as the Atheter makes it clear that it won’t be kept on Masada. The Brockle is convinced that it is destined to take Penny Royal’s place. There are a lot of players, a lot of threads and Penny Royal weaves them altogether with a Black Hole.

And pretty much becomes a god and watches the end of the universe and it’s beginning and it tries to figure out how to stop the loop.

 

My Thoughts:

I thought this was the best of the trilogy. With various threads coming together, it is easier to understand what is actually going on. And the ending is the wry humor I expect from Asher.

The one thing I didn’t care for was Asher’s continued needling of religion. In several cases anyone who is religious is compared to a mentally ill person who obviously can’t think straight. I’ve also realized that Asher always makes any Separatists idiotic douchebags just to show how awesome it is to always bow to a greater central authority. I spit on that. He continually makes his point [with battle axe bluntness sometimes] about how powerful the Polity AI’s are and how much the humans really NEED them to run things. But this whole trilogy was about how poorly the AI’s DO handle things. They are not omniscient, all powerful beings. They’re just as flawed as their creators and even “self” improvement leads to problems half the time. So Asher pretty much argues against the case he makes in the first place. So phrack Central Authority. It’s called Responsibility.

The character that I liked the most this time around was Sverl, the prador turned AI with a golem body. How weird is that? But Sverl does a fantastic job of showing multiple points of view from one character, as he has aspects of Prador, AI and humanity, all rolled into one. I don’t know what it is, but something about him just appealed to me.

I think that for whatever Asher writes next, I am going to wait to read the whole thing instead of reading them as they come out. There was too much going on for me to remember everything from book to book and I know that lessened my overall enjoyment.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

  1. Dark Intelligence
  2. War Factory

War Factory (Transformation #2) (Polity) 4….

d256c6276aa7e43ce7408d202cdf0f95This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

 

Title: War Factory

Series: Transformation

Author: Neal Asher

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 472

Format: Kindle Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Penny Royal is now taking a more active approach. His next goal is the War Factory where he was created. Room 101. However, in getting there, he drags along a host of his past mistakes which he appears to be trying to fix.

One of those mistakes is Sverl, a prador who is turning into a prador/human/ai combo. Spear, from the previous book, is still along. Also tagging along is Captain Blite, who seems to be more of an observer than a mistake.

 

My Thoughts:

Sverl seemed to be the biggest character portrayed this time around. Satomi from the previous book is mentioned but that is it. Spear, Blite and some other humans all kind of blend into the “human” faction. We are also introduced to another AI, the Brockle, who seems to be heading towards the same path that Penny Royal once trod.

Convoluted is the term that comes to mind when I think of my time reading this book. Other Asher books have been complex and multilayered, but Penny Royal seems totally inscrutable and so a lot of what happens just seem random.  And speaking of convoluted, it helps your understanding of this book if you’ve read Asher’s book Cowl, in which he describes some the drawbacks of time travel. If you’ve not read it, you’ll just nod and accept.

It did not enhance my enjoyment of this book that at the same time I was reading this, all the chaos about Booklikes being sold [potentially] came out. I was distracted and not focusing on reading nearly so much. I KNOW that made this not as enjoyable as it could have been. It kind of pisses me off that a booksite related issue had a deleterious effect on my reading enjoyment. Kind of like a chef screaming in your face while you’re trying to enjoy a good dinner.

Dark Intelligence (Transformation #1) (Polity)

f5c20b1147913d15c73b181229ed7c8cThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Dark Intelligence

Series: Transformation, Polity

Author: Neal Asher

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 416

 

 

Synopsis:

Penny Royal, a rogue A.I. that went black after the Human/Prador war, is back. It should be dead.

One man and one woman, working with and against each other and Penny Royal, seek it out to find out what has happened.

But how do you fight an A.I. that can turn you into another creature or change your very memories?

That is what Spear and Satomi must figure out if they want answers to their questions and an end to their quest for vengeance against Penny Royal.

 

My Thoughts:

I love Neal Asher’s Polity books. Hard Technology [as opposed to High Fantasy] and ultra-violence all wrapped into a thrill ride where you don’t know which way is sideways or how you’ll get there.

I always know I’ll enjoy these books and hence tend to save them. But at some point I just have to start eating and then I enjoy every minute of it.

Even though the book is ostensibly about Penny Royal, everything is through the eyes of Spear and Satomi, both whom have been wacked by Penny in one way or another. So it starts out as a Quest for Vengeance type story but as you read along, both Spear and Satomi realize that things don’t quite add up. By the end of this book [it is supposed to be a trilogy] it appears that this story is a story of Redemption and making things right.  However, my experience with Asher leads me to believe that the convolutedness of this story is JUST beginning and that I still don’t have a clue as to the End Game.

I did knock off half a star for the 2 unnecessary sex scenes. They weren’t “explicit” but were graphic enough that I thought noting them was necessary.   I also added the “Ultra-Violent” tag, but to be honest, I had to stop and think about it. So I’m either getting jaded or Asher is getting mellow.

To end, a really fun book that continues my love affair with Asher’s Polity Universe.